Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sharp's Monsieur Rock

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.


BeerReviewsAndy said...

Glad you liked it mate!!

TIW said...

Is this a limited run, then? I've been looking for this down 'ere and not found it yet. Mind you, it took me months to find a bottle of Brewdog IPA.

Chris King said...

When you consider something, you have to do so in isolation. Your thoughts should be about that "product" and only in that time and place.

This becomes harder, and compounds the issue of considering how good something is, when it is a collaboration. Now I've had Sharps beers and thoroughly enjoyed them - I also had an Orval on Friday night which was the pick of the beers sunk (including Roosters, Marble and Ilkley)... so when I got home, still in the mood for a beer, I went for this.

To say it left me pondering whether I'd been sold the Emperor's new clothes is an understatement. I couldn't really pinpoint anything with this beer that suggested the hype was justified, or that it even sat in the top two beers I'd drunk that day, let alone in a lifetime of drinking.

I just don't feel what others clearly do. If this is a hard to get beer, if this is not a permanent line or not going to be in stores for much longer; then fine, tried it and will move on - more likely to more Orval. Which, if i'm frank - made me feel once more that it's probably better if two great brands simply smiled at each other and went their separate ways*

(*Adidas and Star Wars please take note)

Mark Dredge said...

I'm glad others have found it so impossibly hard to describe but so incredibly good! I adored this beer when I tried it and couldn't get enough of it, wanting bottle after bottle, so much so that I bought a whole case of it. What a beer.

Leigh said...

Mark/Andy - I really, really did like it. TIW - I think so, yes: you might be able to find out more on Stuart's excellent blog. Chris - thanks for the response mate, I know I can count on your for a measured response! I know what you mean about collaborations - and in fact, some 'hyped' beers - not hitting the mark; but isn't it just as simple as the fact that you didn't like it? If the hype had not had been here, the previous excellent good press, the clamour to get your hands on it, would you have enjoyed it more? I hope that I've got across in the review that, as a lager, or even 'lagered ale', there were flavours going on that I had not experienced in that kind of beer before. And for me, that alone is something new in beer. It's not Orval; nothing could be!

Rob Derbyshire said...

I liked this but at the same times its not as mind-bloggling as some people seem to think.
I've shared bottles with a few friends and they've all liked it. Super fresh and crisp, herbal and flavoursome. I can easily see the connection to Orval, it seems like a natural fit.
One thing that I found off putting was the intense carbonation make for a bloated feeling and maybe a too dry finish.