Last December I went down to Sharps to help brew (or rather watch it being brewed) Winter Berry. When Stuart Howe first asked me to come up with a receipt for a winter beer, I suggested at least 7% abv, but it was not to be (4.5% was its strength). However, the other day a couple of bottles of a 9.3% version arrived in the post. Hooray! Here’s what I thought: a dark ancient sideboard handed down the centuries sort of colour, the nose reminiscent of those juicy fruit chews we had as kids (black currant flavour perhaps?). Drinks deceptively easy, a voluptuous, rich and secretive body and the sort of beer that will improve with age I reckon; at the moment it’s sweet shop fruit gums on the palate with a sugary depth but nothing too sweet, there’s a big bitter finish; there are berries in the background on both the palate and finish. For it’s strength it’s remarkably viscous and rich without being too sweet, and it’s incredibly well balanced. This brewing thing is a right lark innit?