Stuart Howe, brewer at Sharp's, is a clever chap. I know to look at him in his gorgeous rowing outfit (and I'm sure he didn't take much persuading to model that), he looks like a bit of a bruiser, but frankly if I had triceps like that, I'd be modelling them too. As it is, if I wore what Stuart is wearing in that picture, rather than looking like a Cornish obelisk, I'd look more like a Yorkshire Obelix. Not that I'm particularly chubby, but I don't have the drive to look quite that chiselled. I'm going to assume that Stuart is pointing to the brewery name on his shorts, rather than any other noteworthy appendages he has in that area. Shall we have a 'phwoar' before we move on? Go on then - PHWOAR!
Anyway, enough of the irreverence, because I've just opened a bottle of Stuart's "52 Brews" series Chestnut Porter, and it's great. Although it doesn't quite have the body and sweetness to cope with this Hotel Chocolat easter egg I'm currently working through (and to be honest that's imperial stout territory), it is a great beer in its own right. Weirdly, it smells like a Sharp's beer on the nose - I'm assuming its fermented with Sharp's proprietary eat-anything yeast, as it has that tell-tale whiff of ozone and beach about it, alongside a nutty mocha aroma. On the palate, the spritzy carbonation keeps everything light but firm, with big chunky chocolate flavours to the fore. The chestnut character really comes through in the finish, with a nutty vegetal edge riding alongside a sweet coffee note. Great balance, great length, great complexity. If Sharp's don't put this out as next years winter seasonal, I'll model that rowing outfit myself.