Continuing on the theme here is Land Shrimp Pale Ale, famously made with woodlice, creatures I would squash without thinking about it when I was younger. This has a good carbonation, a zip and a zap of fizz when the top is popped. Hazy orange in the glass, fruit gum, orange flavoured, on the nose — not a big bazooka of aroma, but there it is, to be joined by pineapple. Mouthfeel is initially creamy, followed by a sprightly dance of carbonation, a good two-step action. Pineapple, orange and no woodlice — I don’t really know what to expect; further gulps bring forth an earthiness or is that the mind playing tricks on me? There is a good appetising dry finish with bitterness and subtle pepperiness in the background; plus a hint of chalk. There is still the cleanness of what I come to feel is the signature of Sharp’s beers.
This then brings me to think about the idea of clean vs dirty beers. I remember writing once about how Kernel’s beers were dirty and the better for it and I would say the same with Sharp’s from the clean perspective. It reminds me of something Alastair Hook said to me years ago about lager — about how he was trying to have his beers show off the flavours and aromas of the raw materials he was using. That’s the definition of a great lager. With the cleanness of the beers of Sharp’s, you also get to smell and taste the raw materials, but with the ale yeast adding that extra dimension. Clean vs dirty — it doesn’t have to be divisive.