beer reviews

Skinner's Coronaish/Cornish Lager


Skinner’s of Truro are becoming oddly ubiquitous in pubs around the UK. Their flagship beer, Betty Stoggs Bitter, turns up in our local in London from time to time. They’ve got a vast range of beers covering a whole gamut of styles (honey beer, old ale, wheat beer and so on) none of which have ever really impressed us much. But we just couldn’t resist trying their brilliantly cheeky Corona clone, Skinner’s Cornish Lager.

Billed as a “light lager”, it’s clearly American inspired, and even uses American hops. The clear 330ml bottle makes the specific inspiration very plain: a certain bland Mexican beer usually served with lime.

True to its inspiration, it was horribly skunked and more-or-less flavourless. And, yes, it was improved by a slice of lime chucked in the glass.

So, not a great beer, but surely a great way to take a slice of the market otherwise lost to license-brewed rubbish. After all, it’s just not practical to sling a few bottle-conditioned ales in a bag and take them to the beach. For one thing, they’ll get shook up. For another, you can’t drink them from the bottle. And — the final nail in the coffin — they just don’t look cool.

PS – could this be a late session post?

19 replies on “Skinner's Coronaish/Cornish Lager”

Interesting question – should new/micro brewers try to get a share of the 90% of the beer market that isn’t cask or PBAs, or is that some kind of sell-out?

They should go for it! A few of the larger real ale brewers license brew lager on the side anyway (e.g. Hall and Woodhouse and Hofbrau; and Shepherd Neame and Oranjeboom) and at least this way they’re putting their own name to the product and building a brand.

I sold a couple of 9s of their Spring Tide last week. It’s a great beer. Only 3.6% but bursting with flavour. I’ve re-ordered it.

I don’t know Spring Tide, but generally Skinners beers are poor. As for small brewers going for the non cask market as well? Why not? If they produce quality products that put the big boys to shame, all the better. There is room for a bit of that. I doubt that producing a Corona clone is wise though.

To be fair, one of the better beers we had on holiday was a pint of their (dreadfully named) Ginger Tosser in the Castle, St Ives. It’s a lighter coloured beer: is Spring Tide also pale? If so, maybe they are better at those than they are at brown beers?

Spring Tide was good. Myself and my customers enjoyed it, so judging by that I’m not really persudaded by someone stating as fact their unsupported opinion that “Skinners beers are poor”.

Well I could have prefaced my remark with “in my opinion” as that’s all it is. They are mainstream and as Boak and Bailey said “not all that impressive”. Read it as “in my opinion” then. So to recap, nowt special. In my opinion.

Funny old lager with maris otter in the mash and cascade and challenger in the hop grist, this is what Steve Skinner said in 2006, presumed it’s all changed since. Mind you, I enjoy several of their beers when they’ve been kept well.

‘We brew it here,’ says Steve Skinner, who started the brewery in 1997. ‘and we use a top-fermenting yeast, the reason being we wanted just one yeast in the brewery. Ours is a light and fruity yeast so the lager has more flavour than most. It has a slight ale-like edge, but people like it. We don’t do it as a normal lager, we do it as a Cornish one, which means there no rules. It’s basically treated like an ale before it goes up to Robinson’s where it is lagered for a week to 10 days. I would love three months but you have to have more space which is a problem for us being a small brewer.’

Can’t take bottle-conditioned beer to the beach? I beg to differ on that one.

All you need to do is decant your St Bernardus into a plastic bottle. No yeast to get disturbed. There’s the added advantage of some fizz being removed in the process.

It works equally well for the playground, too. You don’t want the other parents to spot what a pisshead you are. A Diet Coke bottle is perfect. St Bernardus Abt is about the same colour as Coke.

“It works equally well for the playground, too. You don’t want the other parents to spot what a pisshead you are. ”
Sounds like a good plan for the office too!

Adrian — I do feel a bit bad not being kinder about Skinner’s — they obviously try hard and love beer. Nonetheless, I’ve had Betty Stoggs in about half a dozen pubs, both in Cornwall and London, and never been very impressed. I think it might be another beer with that unbalanced crystal malt flavour I struggle with. And I suspect the clear bottles haven’t been kind to the lager we tried.

Ron — that’s actually not a bad idea. Personally, I’m not that fussed about looking cool either, but the target market for this lager (surfers, teenagers and stag dos) probably are. I quite like swigging from bottles, though. It makes me feel like Jimmy McNulty in the Wire.

ATJ – Bailey bought me a tourist guide to Cornwall from 1939, and it mentions the homebrewed beer at the Blue Anchor. Definitely a stop on the next trip.

Tim – the Castle was OK – definitely a Real Ale pub, for better or worse. The beer was in good condition but it was pretty quiet apart from a few beards. Then again, it was a weekday out of season – probably not the best time to be making judgements about a pub’s atmosphere.

“Then again, it was a weekday out of season – probably not the best time to be making judgements about a pub’s atmosphere.”

Glorious! If only other who write their opinions about pubs online had the same sensible attitude!

I’m tired of people writing that my pub seems “very quiet” having visited at 4pm on a Monday afternoon or somesuch other graveyard shift…

I’m sorry so many of you have had bad beer from skinners, I have NEVER had a bad pint from the Harbour Tavern in Mevagisse, a skinners pub.Their beer is a much needed alternative to (the recently improved) St Austell Ales.
Come to Mevagissey and try the Harbour Tavern, good ale, food and staff. A proper local thats popular with the tourists too. Thyey had Pendle Witches Brew on there recently too. Always well kept ales, a clean and friendly place.

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