The Best in Pints: Our Guide to Cornish Beer
Producing for hundreds of years, Cornish breweries have established themselves as unique creators of both complex and delicious ales, beer and ciders. Nowadays, some of the most popular drinks in all of the UK are coming out of the county on the South West coast.
Whether visiting or the day, or staying in the one the many beautiful holiday cottages in St Ives and around Cornwall, there are plenty of reasons to try one the county’s best loved brews. Here are some not to miss:
An obvious starting point for any discussion of beer starts (and maybe ends) with Sharp’s Doom Bar. Based in Rock on the northern Cornish coast, the beer was first produced in 1994 and has grown to be the most country’s best selling bottled ale. Although it was pointed out in a recent BBC report that the bottled version is now brewed in Staffordshire, not Cornwall, the ale is found in nearly every pub and supermarket in the country. The name Doom Bar comes from a dangerous, shipwrecking sandbank near the mouth of the river Camel.
The amber ale blends hearty hops with fruity notes creating a high level of smooth, drinkability.
This definitive regional cider has quite a nice bite to it. It has a higher juice content than most other ciders – giving it a uniquely cloudy quality. It is produced by Healy’s, the biggest “cyder” maker in Cornwall. The company has been distilling the apple-based drink for more than 300 years. Variations on the original have been released in recent years, with pear and berry varietals.
The true Rattler likely remains the best for its overall complexity and slightly tart “bite”.
The Beast of Bodmin Moor
This red ale is produced by the Penpont Brewery in Bodmin Moor. Started as a microbrewery in 2008 by Joseph Thomson and Stephen Medlicott, they use their own spring water and fresh, local ingredients to create their ales and beers. A relative newcomer to the market, this ale has turned quite a few heads.
With its deep chestnut colour, it offers complex malt flavours with a slightly fruity but bitter finish.
Spingo’s Bragget Ale
The Blue Anchor Inn in Helston is home to the universally delightful Spingo Ales. Dating back to the 1400s, it is believed to be the oldest private brewery in the UK. They specialise in four distinct types of beer. Although there is always going to be a heady debate on the which is best, many agree their smooth-tasting Bragget Ale leads the pack. At a full 6% ABV, it has traces of apples and honey in its sweet taste.
The brewers have a warning though, the Bragget is “not for lightweights”.
Thanks to a mixture of their success as brewers and marketers, the Tribute Ale is one of the Cornish standard bearers for ale. Produced by the St Austell Brewery in Truro, Tribute has found itself into many of the pubs and bars in the South West. According to St Austell’s, it is brewed using specially grown Cornish Gold Malt. With an amazing taste and smooth finish, this local favourite is a perfect addition to any meal, or drink with your mates.
The Potion of Penzance
Penzance may be famous for its pirates, but the Potion Number 9 is a great addition to the culture and import of the town. This light, golden bitter is a permanent fixture in the Penzance Brewing Company’s main pub in Crowlas. Named after the fact is was the ninth ale released at the Star Inn, this ale is worth the taste.
According to the brewer, Fuggles and Pilgrim go directly into the boil with pale ale malt. Hops are later added to finish the brew.