Cannonball Run

Party night! It’s my birthday, so time to sit back and enjoy a cracking set of beers. I’ve seen posts on social media about this ‘Cannonball Series’ by Magic Rock Brewing and I am SO excited to finally try them.

Having a series based on an original beer is daring. It’s like a sequel in a movie series: they often just don’t live up to the original. With beer production though, hopefully Magic Rock can build upon the original “Cannonball”, tweak it and make some other great-tasting beers! Instead of keeping it simple and creating a special DIPA release of “Cannonball”, three additional beers were produced:

  • Human Cannonball, a Double IPA
  • Neo-Human Cannonball, a New England DIPA
  • Un-Human Cannonball, a Triple IPA

Let’s find out how the beers measured up!

Mandatory “Canonball” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.42 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 7.4%
  • IBU: 60
  • Style: IPA
  • Serving: Can, 330ml

First beer of the ‘Cannonball Run’. I obviously had to start with the original before moving onto the other varieties. I took the can from the fridge: it was the smallest in volume of the set and despite it being the original, this was the can that actually looked out of place when all the beers were lined-up together!

The beer poured a slightly hazy mid-golden colour. A slight bright white foam head was formed, but this quickly fizzed away. The beer had a slight citrus edge to its aroma. “Cannonball” hit the true notes of an IPA – it had great volumes of hops and a strong ABV. This was my kind of beer. At first, I could almost have been convinced that I was drinking “Jack Hammer” by BrewDog. The beer had a hugely resinous, hop-tastic feel to it, with juicy topical-citrus notes complementing the malt-filled base. A soft bitter end rounded off this light beer that also had the benefit of a great mouthfeel.

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Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Cannonball” tastes similar to “Jack Hammer”, so I was certainly going to like it! I love the current trend of resinous IPAs and this beer is no exception. So, the core beer of the ‘Cannonball Series’ starts off great – let’s go meet the rest of the family!

 

Mandatory “Human Cannonball” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 4.19 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 9.2%
  • Style: DIPA
  • Serving: Can, 500ml

The DIPA version of the original. It had the alternative can design, maintaining the green colour as an accent on a black base. I found it quite funny – although it was a DIPA, it wasn’t even 2% stronger than the original “Cannonball”… I suppose, had this beer have been officially doubled to a whopping 14.8%, I wouldn’t have been able to stand, let alone type-up my thoughts regarding the taste!

The beer poured slightly darker than the original. It had a soft white foam head that just covered the surface and unlike the last beer it remained throughout drinking. There was little aroma from the head of this beer, just a touch of resin. Regardless of scent though, this beer was delicious. It had the essence of “Cannonball”, with a deep resinous hit and slight citrusy notes, but there was a roaring bittersweet caramel end, which took this to the next level.

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Diagnosis: 4.0/5. “Human Cannonball” is the original’s big brother. Yeah, I’d be jealous of this too if it were my older sibling – given that it’s just perfect, stronger, handsome and eases through life. Thankfully, I’m an only child: I evidently wouldn’t cope with living up to a superior version of myself.

 

Mandatory “Neo-Human Cannonball” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.7 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 9.2%
  • Style: NE DIPA
  • Serving: Can, 500 ml

Everyone has a cousin somewhere in the USA these days, so it should only be fair that the ‘Cannonball Series’ has a New England inspired variety. Not only am I happy that a further beer turns what should be a triplet into a quadruple selection, I am also super excited about the chosen style. NEIPA beers are a huge favourite of mine and if there’s one on the menu, it will take some stiff competition to beat it!

This can design had a colourful mix of orange, purple and yellow. The tropical and exotic inspired colours really shone bright as I drank it on a (rare) gloriously warm and sunny day in Glasgow. If I could have spared the time, I’d have put the radio on and taken the beer outside to hit-up the dartboard in the back garden. The beer poured a hazy orange, similar to the accents on the can and reflecting the neon orange writing on the board behind. The beer is super smooth in texture, with a medium amount of carbonation. It gives a great tropical hit and is a very thick, juicy beer and enjoable for every single sip.

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Diagnosis: 4.25/5. “Neo-Human Cannonball” is another easy-drinking beer and one that I could have a few pints of. It has a familiar feel to it, though the tropical hit gives this beer a great twist.

 

Mandatory “Un-Human Cannonball” Facts

  • Untappd Rating: 3.7 (at time of writing)
  • ABV: 11.0%
  • Style: Triple IPA
  • Serving: Can, 500 ml

I saved the big Triple IPA until last. The accents on this can were silver, but the beer poured the darkest of the entire quartet. It had a typical IPA scent, with a bit of citrus and a touch of bitterness, and had a slim, foam head. Triple IPAs can be overwhelming with the ‘boozy’ hit, so I was cautious before sampling the last of this year’s ‘Cannonball Series’.

This beer was jam-packed full of hops. Three times the number of hops were used in “Un-Human Cannonball” and this was definitely reflected in the taste. A great hop-loaded initial sip, gave way with a citrus-tropical inspired edge, coming primarily from the Citra hops. The beer rounded-off with a complex combination of bittersweet caramel tones and a warmth from the alcohol. It was actually subtler than I would have expected for a triple IPA, particularly with the ABV figure proudly hitting double digits.

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Diagnosis: 3.5/5. “Un-Human Cannonball” is lovely, well-rounded and surprisingly complex for a beer of this strength. With 5.5 UK alcoholic units contained in the can, it certainly isn’t a sessionable beer – I could feel it by the end of the pint!

 

A great Cannonball Run comes to an end. It was brilliant to taste the original again (I had not had it in over a year) and to be able to sample some new versions too! If these are released next year, I’ll certainly be taking on the series challenge again.

 

 

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