Category Archives: Sharp’s

>Sharp’s Monsieur Rock

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Like many beer nerd, I have a ‘Wants’ list. It stretches as far as the eye can see most of the time, but since late last year, one beer has been firmly at the top; Sharp’s Monsieur Rock (5.2abv). Luckily, those nice lads at Beer-Ritz recently nabbed a haul, and I managed to fight my way through the scrum and secure myself a couple.

MR was hyped by us Beer Bloggers upon release, and I’m now proud to say rightly so, in my opinion. It’s quite unlike anything I’ve drunk before but in subtle ways; yes, it’s lagered, but it’s so much more than lager. There’s a complex nose, which I’m sure I haven’t really nailed yet, but I’m getting Peach, Pear drops and Orange pithyness all wafting upward. It’s quite possibly the palest beer I’ve drunk (you were right, Ghostie) and – this is something I don’t say often – perfectly lively; the bubbles are light and champagne-esque, lifting all that summery, light, complexity out of the glass, onto your tongue and up your nose.
There’s a little malt-biscuit backbone to hold things up, and it drinks with a little more Lemon poking through than on the nose. It’s 100% hopped with Saaz, and that grassiness is evident in the final part of the sip – the cleanest lagered ale I’ve drunk, without a doubt. There’s almost zero aftertaste.
Aplogies – I know this has been a somewhat hyperbolic post from me, but I really can’t get across how much I enjoyed this beer enough. Grab some whilst you can. Stuart Howe’s blog can be found here, and he details how he made MR with Orval’s Jean-Marie Rock. Do read. It’s one of the best blogs out there.

I’ll also take this opportunity to wish Stuart and all at Sharp’s best of luck for the future, whatever that might hold.

>The Hunter’s Inn/The Dyneley Arms, Otley, Near Leeds

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Life has a funny way of turning full circle at times.
The Hunter’s Inn, in Otley, near Leeds, was the scene of, or rather the cause of, my first real hangover. A real, adult, honest to god, head-throbbing, stomach churning, muscle-tremoring hangover. We were only young, and maybe that made The Hunter’s scarier than it actually was – although in those days it was clearly a Biker’s hangout; the pool table and jukebox were the most important things there – not the bar. Lord, not the bar. If I remember correctly, Newcastle Brown was the tipple of the evening that will forever be scorched into my mind. And forever scorched onto my friend’s mum’s lawn the next morning.
We drive past it often, and I had recently noticed subtle changes– a Theakston’s sign was up, and a notice telling me that up to 9 rotating cask ales were on offer. It ticked away in my mind, and last month, on the way back from The Leyburn Festival of Food and Drink, we dropped in – quite unsure of what to expect.
I don’t know the two landladies, but they have done a great job. Firstly, the place is way more welcoming, and there are no bikes in the doorway (sorry, bikers – no offence) – but the ales spoke volumes. My heart sank when I saw Rooster’s Yankee available – not only would I have to try it (being one of my all-time faves), but if it was in bad nick then it was game over. I’m outta there.
I lifted the glass to my lips and drank – perfect. A great pint. The bar stocked – to name a few – beers from Kelham Island (more on them later), Roosters, Old Bear, Goose Eye, Marston Moor, Barnsley and Sharp’s…a better choice than you would expect, to say the least. The fire was roaring, people were smiling and laughing – hey, we were in a good pub. Not a bar. A pub.
I’ve not written a pub review in a while, simply because I had nothing to say on the matter. The Hunter’s has improved so much, it’s a little beacon of hope for a time when the pub trade seems to be in a bad way. Put it on your beer map – it’s a worthy destination. There’s also an excellent farm shop next door if you need something for tea on your back home.
Another Otley pub from my youth, The Dyneley Arms, has been reincarnated as a Sam Smith’s pub. We dropped in, lured by the prospect of a pint of Smith’s Wheat Beer (which I believe to be greatly underappreciated) and found a much changed pub to the Dyneley of the past. The place is immaculate; and luckily the beer is too. Well kept, honest beer, in a cavernous , suitably rustic setting. My only reservation was a silly one – it all seemed a little too new. I’m used to enjoying my pints of Sovereign Bitter in slightly rougher surroundings. Oh well – I’ll get used to it. Drop by, see what you think.
· But aren’t the beer mats the greatest you have ever seen? You really don’t get them like that anymore. Well done, Sam Smith’s design guy (or Girl).

The Hunter’s Inn – Harrogate Road, Pool in Wharfedale, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2PS, Tel: 01132 841090
The Dyneley Arms – Otley Road, Otley, LS21 1ET Tel: 0113 2842887
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