Added: Wednesday, August 1st 2012
|Style||Extra Strong Bitter||ABV 5.0%|
Sharp’s Special (5%)
Sharp’s, based in Rock, Cornwall, was controversially bought by global brewer Molson Coors for £20 million in 2011, with fears the brewery might close, and production moved to a more central site. To date, the only result has been considerable investment in the plant, with head brewer Stuart Howe given scope to produce several new beers. Molson Coors, it seems, has been the first global brewer based in Britain to spot that quality beer – cask and bottle conditioned in particular – is the growth sector of the industry.
Sharp’s Special has been a cask beer for several years and is one of the brewery’s most popular brands. Stuart Howe has now produced it in bottle-conditioned form to catch the fast-moving tide of premium bottled ales. Special is brewed with Cassata pale malt, crystal malt and roasted barley. The hops are English Northdown and from Bavaria Hallertauer Northern Brewer and Perle: units of bitterness are 30.
The beer has a bright new penny copper colour with a superb floral hop nose followed by a big punch of orange/citrus fruit and a smoked malt note reminiscent of fresh pipe tobacco. Juicy/nutty malt dominates the palate but there are strong contributions from increasingly bitter hops and tangy orange fruit. The finish is long and lingering with rich fruit – lemon now appearing alongside orange – bittersweet hops and nutty, roasted grain.
£2.25 500ml bottle. From specialist beer shops, Sharp’s brewery shop (sharpsbrewery.co.uk) and the Eden Project in Cornwall.