We’d been told to expect “a real local’s pub” and “a PROPER pub with no food and no music”. These are not usually the sort of reviews which get us excited as they can be code for a really grumpy old bastards’ pub.
The Star Inn is also a brewpub, though, and home to the Penzance Brewing Company, so while we were in the area, we just had to pop in and check it out.
We were impressed from the moment we entered. There were four of their own cask beers available plus Dark Star Espresso Stout, not to mention Blanche de Bruxelles on keg. The favourable impression continued when we got onto tasting their beer, which is not only a cut above the average brewpub, but really gives St Austell’s best beers (Proper Job and Admiral’s) a run for their money.
Potion Number 9 seems to be the popular choice, and rightly so. It’s a 4% hoppy, golden brew, which is really moreish and, we’d say, flawless. You can taste the cereals in it, like fresh bread crusts, but not at the expense of a lively hop aroma and tingle. It reminded us of the perfectly balanced beers we’ve so enjoyed from the Bristol Beer Factory. Crowlas Bitter is a pleasant enough brown session beer at 3.8%. Brison’s Bitter could be a German dunkles if it was served much colder — it was sweetish, not at all hoppy except perhaps for a bitter, metallic bite at the very finish. Finally, their IPA is superb, not unlike Thornbridge Jaipur but perhaps more flowery. At 6% it’s dangerous, though.
All of the beers were beautifully presented and kept their heads until the last drop.
Oddly, though, given all the “it’s a real pub” schtick in Good Beer Guide and on Beer in the Evening, we got yet more local radio and a quiz machine. Not that we mind either.
Crowlas is on the number 17 bus route between St Ives and Penzance. If you like beer and you’re in Cornwall, you’d be a mug to miss this place.