Sunday 26 July 2009

Sharp’s Brewery, Rock, Cornwall

We popped into the brewery shop at Sharp’s in Rock. We got a mixed case of their more normal beers, and some more exotic offerings in small and overpriced bottles. Four pounds for 330ml of beer is pretty steep even if the beer is strong. It’s not easy being a beer nerd.

The case contained Doom Bar, Eden Ale and Atlantic IPA kegged in clear glass bottles and Single Brew Reserve 2008 and Special bottle conditioned in brown bottles.

I like Sharp’s and the first three were very drinkable, if a little sweet and lacking in aroma. As it should be the IPA was the most bitter and my favourite out of them. The bottle conditioned beers were a bit more distinctive, the Single Brew Reserve at 4.5% ABV was hardly one for laying down in the cellar but was a nice drop and the Special at 5% the best of the bunch.

That some of the bottles are clear and some are brown has made me a bit suspicious. As I’ve posted before clear bottles can cause real problems for beer and Sharp’s will be well aware of this. Lightstrike can be avoided by putting beer in brown bottles or using isomerised hop extracts instead of hops when making the beer. As Sharp’s boast of being a modern brewery I’m a bit suspicious that the main brands are brewed using hop extracts and only the smaller run beers get near actual hops. I’ll be doing some research on this soon so watch this space.

We also picked up a bottle of Chalky's bark (4.5% ABV) which is mildly flavoured with ginger. It was drinkable but it wasn’t a patch on Daleside’s Morocco Ale where the ginger helps make a delicious dark brew. The fennel flavoured Chalky's bite (6.8% ABV) really didn’t do it for me though so in this case the bark is better than the bite.

St Enoch’s double (8.5% ABV) was one of the overpriced and undersized beers. Brewed in the style of a Belgian double it was really very good. It had a warming alcoholic taste but as it was brewed with sugar it didn’t have the thick cloying texture common in British strong beers. Definitely worth trying, though at that price not worth drinking regularly.

The other beer we got was Massive Ale at 10% ABV. That’s not been drunk yet so you’ll have to wait.

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