Out and about you get the impression that Christmas is just around the corner. It isn’t, its months away, but still the shops fill with Christmas tat. I’ve even seen mince pies with a sell by date of the end of November, meaning they are stale a month before Christmas. I find it is important to do some Christmas preparation. I don’t mean buy presents or buy tat or send cards. I mean prepare for the fact that before you know it a load of scrotes will be coming around your house for Christmas visits and parties and necking your grog. I’ve still got loads of decent grog nice people sent me for free that I haven’t got round to necking yet.
This is the time for a bit of mid week binge drinking to ensure all the decent grog is necked so when people punt up at your door, all you have in is a bottle of Jacobs Creek Chardonnay and a few bottles of Stella.
It was with this in mind I cracked open a bottle of Sharps Single Brew Reserve 2009 4.5%, sent to me by Stuart Howe of Sharps brewery, way back when. Brewed & batched in December 2009, conditioned for a month before bottling with live yeast the gumph on the bottle promised a balanced & complex flavour. A beer of this promise deserves my Stella Artois glass. Ooo, the smell. Sugary, like an old school type sweet shop. There’s a whiff of parma violets in there. I’m prepared to accept that not all pongy ale smells are rank. This aroma made my mouth water. The buggar of bottle conditioned ales is the upright storage and careful pouring but the rich malty taste and mild hopping really went down a treat. Front of the mouth and tip of the tongue flavours rather than a back of the mouth bitterness. Nice stuff and didn’t last long. I sunk it with indecent haste. The squeeze raised an eyebrow and enquired whether I was intending a session. Could be, treacle, could be.
Slight malty taste to it, sweet fragrance. A well balances bitter. Malt hits you first then a lingering dryness kicks in rather than a bitterness. I’d class it as a top notch bitter and whilst I’m wouldn’t presume to give it a baron rating, I’d give it a Viscount rating of “top notch”, as Viscounts are up a notch from barons. Certainly no “boring brown bitter” for those of us whose taste buds have not been ruined by hops.
Four beers, all nice, not to pissed up but with a belch it was off to bed as a slightly disgruntled squeeze made it clear to me that four was quite enough for one night.