Cornwall is becoming increasingly well known for its beers, but few outside of the Duchy realise just how many absolutely world-class breweries reside within the county. As well as the hugely famous “Big Three” (Sharp’s, Skinner’s and St. Austell), there are also a host of micro- and interesting craft-breweries, most of them welcoming visitors with open arms and offering tours of their premises with beer tasting included. Cornwall is rapidly becoming a top destination for beer afficionados and casual drinkers alike.
Their flagship brand Doom Bar is named after an infamous sandbank at the mouth of the Camel Estuary, and is the No.1 cask ale in the UK, available seemingly everywhere. Sharp’s Cornish Pilsner lager was also ranked the World’s Best Lager at the World Beer Awards 2013. Impressive stuff from a relatively young brewery based in a little known North Cornwall village. It is, however, a great area in which to be based, central for many Cornish attractions and activities, and replete with accomodation to suit all types of visitors.
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Makers of famous ales available all over the UK, with names like Betty Stogs and the amusingly titled “Betty’s Brazilian” marketed especially for the FIFA World Cup. Skinner’s also make Skindog lager and Press Gang cider. Situated in the beautiful cathedral city of Truro, their working brewery runs tours for groups or individuals. Recently, they have collaborated with River Cottage to make an English Pale Ale using the finest ingredients from the Westcountry.
St. Austell Brewery
A family brewery since 1851 and based, unsurprisingly, in St Austell, this large brewery produces a range of cask and bottled ales as well as the very popular Cornish lager, Korev. The beautiful old building also contains a great visitor centre with a shop, bar and restaurant, and the ubiquitous brewery tours are regular and interesting. If you prefer not to take a guided tour, there is also a fantastic interactive museum.
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As well as these towering giants of brewing, there are also a whole host of smaller concerns, most of which are very much worth a visit. Hence there are too many to list, but here is a selection of particularly interesting ones.
One of the most interesting brewing stories in the county. 852 feet above the sea at Trebarwith Strand, a redundant milking parlour on a farm has been converted into Tintagel Brewery, powered by wind turbine, and award-winning real ales have been developed for Cornwall to enjoy. Tours are available to groups if arranged in advance.
Based in Redruth but boasting another Tintagel connection, the Keltek brewery began life in a small stable on the Roseland Peninsula, more as a hobby than a business. But after winning a number of regional, national and even international awards, the brewery has expanded considerably. Their hand-brewed ales are a tribute to Cornwall’s Celtic heritage, and celebrate the tale of King Arthur who, according to legend, was born at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall.
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Nestling between the rolling hills and the Atlantic. Well, actually on an industrial estate in Truro. But make no mistake, these local guys are making some of of the most interesting beers in Cornwall. You can find them at the Truro markets the first and last Saturday of every month on Lemon Quay – beer, bottles and tastings!
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The Blue Anchor pub in Helston is one of the oldest original inns in Britain and unusually, continues to maintain a working brewery. Dating back to the 15th century, the inn can boast six centuries of brewing! Originally a monks’ rest house producing a strong, honey-based mead, it now makes a variety of ‘Spingo Ales’ to traditional recipes.
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