When we heard rumours that Sharp’s Brewery was heading up a secret bar at this year’s Padstow Christmas Festival, we had no option but to dust off our tasting glasses and investigate …
In its eighth year, Padstow Christmas Festival ends the South West’s year of foodie festivals on a delicious high, and with some of the region’s most acclaimed chefs making an appearance – we’re talking Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and the like – it’s definitely one for the diary. So when festival sponsor Sharp’s invited us along to a secret pop-up tasting bar, we managed to make a little room in our busy schedule (right between stuffing our faces at the market and swotting up in the kitchen theatre) to see what was going down.
Fresh off the stage talking beer and food pairings with head chef Zack Hawke of Mariners Public House in Rock, Sharp’s sommelier and all round beer big-wig, Ed Hughes, had a sophisticated sampling session in store. Designed to focus and heighten the senses in order to revolutionise the way we drink and appreciate beer, this was certainly no standard Friday night tasting session down the pub.
An intriguing selection of innovative beers from Sharp’s ever expanding collection were served in brandy glasses, ‘allowing drinkers to acknowledge the scents of the beers as much the taste,’ explained Ed, ‘just like wine tasting’. Each beer was paired with a mini dish, which after tasting, sipping, and then tasting again revealed intriguing new flavours in both the beer and the food.
Throughout this unique beer and food matching experience, sommelier Ed explained how he would like to see beer treated with the same seriousness as wine. ‘Most people will ask for a certain type of wine, and most probably know the good regions too, but currently the same can’t be said for beer.’
As the event was under wraps, we can’t divulge what we ate (maybe you could persuade us after a few pints of Sharp’s), but from what we experienced at this secret bar, we’re looking forward the yields of the increasingly popular beer and food matching trend.