Two Cornish brewing opposites have united to produce a new limited edition beer available in both keg and can
From an outsider’s viewpoint, it might appear that one of Cornwall’s largest producers of ales – Sharp’s – and the county’s smallest nanobrewery, Bluntrock, would be natural adversaries: they’re on opposite sides of the road, they have vastly contrasting scales of production and even their names are ‘opposing forces’.
Yet due to their close proximity and shared love of brewing and history, the two actually couldn’t be more excited to be working together. Their first co-conceived small batch brew, Camel Trail Pale Ale, is a hoppy, hazy 4.5% beer, brewed using a special American IPA yeast strain, and it launches on Friday (Sept 9).
Sharp’s is the largest brewer of cask ale in the south west, and Doom Bar is arguably the most successful cask beer of its generation. In comparison, Bluntrock is one of Cornwall’s newest breweries, having set-up in August 2021, with a focus on modern styles of beer, from hop forward hazy IPAs to fruited kettle sours. Sharp’s sells its beer nationally, whilst everything Bluntrock brews is sold from its onsite taproom.
George Collins, Bluntrock’s head brewer started his career in beer when he moved from his home in Burton-on-Trent, aged 19, to take up a position as a brewer at Sharp’s. While there he learned all the fundamentals of the brewing process at scale, including the need for optimum precision and consistency as well as all the skill that goes into creating highly accessible beers. He then went on to work at Padstow Brewery before co-founding Bluntrock with Hugo Roads.
In a perfect case of ‘neighbours’, Collins has joined forces with Sharp’s head brewer Aaron McClure and technical brewer Jon Wide, all of whom worked together at Sharp’s in the early days of their brewing careers, to collaborate on a new limited edition beer, that they have co-created on both brewing kits.
And the resultant small batch of Camel Trail Pale Ale, named after the local cycle track where people regularly use tandem bikes, is a departure from Sharp’s typical style. It will be available as a limited edition cask beer at local Cornish outlets including The Mariners in Rock and as a canned version from both the Bluntrock and the Sharp’s Brewery shops.
Sharp’s technical brewer, Jon Wide, said: “It’s been really fun to work with George and to create the same brew on both of our brewing kits. George’s nano-plant makes 150 litres and our small-scale pilot plant makes over 1,000 litres per batch, whereas our normal scale is up to 25,000 litres per brew so it’s great to brew at different scales and on different equipment.
“George’s beers are big and bold and he challenged us to step out of our comfort zones and create something different from our norm. We’ve used liquid hops in this beer, which Bluntrock Brewery use a lot, but which we’ve not used before at Sharps. It’s been a really interesting journey, and just brilliant to be collaborating now as close neighbours.”
Collins added “This has been really exciting for all of us and it’s good to see that a brewery with Sharp’s success is still keen to engage with a tiny brewery like ours at Bluntrock. For me, it’s been great to be able to go back to where I started brewing and be made to feel so welcome all these years later.”