Tuesday, 8 February 2011

His bark is worse than his bite

With the news that Sharps had been acquired by Molson Coors last week, people on the blogsphere began to wonder if head brewer Stuart Howe's wonderful seasonal & limited batch beers would continue. Thankfully Stuart later posted on his blog "Molson Coors are very happy for me to continue uncensored and the 12 brew project is still very much on track with two brews nearly confirmed for February". Oh if you've not already stumbled across Stuart's blog I highly recommend it.

With this news I felt it time to try out some of Sharps less well known beers...

Late last summer I took trip to Padstow a stones throw away from Sharps brewery and the millionaires play ground of Rock. Padstow has also aptly dubbed "Steinstow" after the TV chef  Rick Stine who seeming owns half of the bustling harbour town, with four restaurants and cafes. 

So when Rick challenged Stuart to create a distinctly English beer with the character, individuality and quality to stand alongside the Belgian greats. It was going to take something special.

First up was Chalky's Bite 6.7 ABV%, named in honour of Rick's dog and with the unusual addition of wild Cornish fennel added to the brew. This beer produces a lovely golden blonde appearance and with the first sip comes a bitterness with intense flavour. There's a smells of fruit & hint of spice from the fennel. Being based on a Belgian beer there's that familiar yeasty after-taste matched to the strong lingering alcohol.
Overall this is a strange beer for me, as I'm not always so keen on Belgian whitbier, but the added spice from the fennel makes this beer different and some how more interesting to drink.

Being so pleased with Bite, Rick again challenged Stuart to create another beer, so up next was Bite's successor Chalky's Bark 4.5% ABV Again with a novel ingredient this time Ginger.

Like the beer its based on it has a golden blonde appearance but this beer is a lot lighter tasting. It offers a sweet citrus flavour and is wonderfully contrasted by the ginger which gives this beer a subtle zest without being over powering like you may expect. This is defiantly a beer with beer with ginger and not a ginger beer.  This is a highly refreshing beer perfect for summer thankfully I've stashed a bottle away for just that!