Not remotely trendy

Moor beers, from their website

The County Stores in Taunton is one of those shops which seems to have been there forever — the kind of place where you wouldn’t be surprised to see Miss Marple filling a wicker basket with shortbread and packets of powdered egg. Like much in Somerset, it is resolutely conservative and old-fashioned, but there is a point where that instinct overlaps with a fashionable interest in small, local producers.

The result? Shelves stacked with beers from almost all of Somerset’s small breweries. Quantock, Cheddar Ales and — perhaps most excitingly — Moor are all represented in a selection which, perhaps unwittingly, echoes what you might see in a much trendier specialist off-licence.

If you’re passing through Somerset and want to stock your fridge with local beer, head here but, also, if you’re anywhere else in the country, keep an eye on your local family-run department store or farm shop — you never know what might lurk within, beyond the cardigans, balls of wool and miniature porcelain cottages.

12 thoughts on “Not remotely trendy”

  1. Great place, got my bottle of Illusion there over Xmas, they used to do the whole range of Sam Smith’s as well and there is a good old range of ethic spices and sauces towards the back. Darts Farm at Topsham also has a good range of beers and ciders and marvellous fish and chips.

  2. We picked up a bottle of Illusion, too. Looking forward to trying it. I went in looking for Sam Smith’s and was pleased (I think) to note that they’d “gone all local”, despite yesterday’s post questioning whether local loyalty is always a good thing.

    Pyne’s the Butcher’s big new farm shop at North Petherton also has a few local bottled beers (didn’t try them on this occasion) as well as a decent range of local scrumpy.

  3. Loved illusion at cheddar ales fest last year. Had old freddy and fusion at christmas. Wasn’t keen on the unfined confidence at factoberfest. Had a lovely Moor beer last week in Nicholson’s though. Need to try more of the range.

  4. I have to disagree, I think that the County Stores is a very cool place to go shopping, it’s Retro as hell and has all the cool stuff that neither Supermarkets nor ‘trendy’ little deli’s have.

    Can’t fault you on the shouts for Cheddar, Quantock and Moor though.

    Don’t know if you do the ‘Beeriodical’ at the Seven Stars in Bristol or not, first Monday of the Month, but we did their ‘London’ selection last month, they have Manchester beers on at the moment, and hopefully we’ll be doing an ‘Essex and Kent’ one with them for February. The Beeriodical runs until the beer runs out, and has around 20 beers on over a roughly 5 day period. well worth a train journey from Taunton even with the hopelessness of South West Trains.

  5. Justin — we’re in Penzance, so Bristol might as well be Aberdeen… (My hometown is Bridgwater, so I was there for Christmas, hence the trip to Taunton.) What’s Beeriodical all about, though? Sounds interesting. Got a link to some more info?

    That’s our point, by the way — that if you just go to self-consciously cool shops and bars, you miss out on a lot of cool stuff!

    Steve — you’ll have to pop into the County Stores next time you’re home in Somerset!

  6. Steve, Jem and I are having a conversation this week about how to make this year’s Cheddar Ales festival bigger and better than before. 😀

    Bailey, There isn’t a lot of stuff about ‘beeriodical’ about at the moment, we are trying to get Paul at the Seven Stars to let us help him promote it at the Stars, and to roll the concept out to other interested Landlords. The idea is pretty simple, we supply 20-22 casks of Ale from a specific area or of a specific style (I’m angling for an IPA-fest in the Summer for instance), and they run a 5 day beer festival just using their existing hand pumps and a small stillage behind the bar. The joy is that it works in any size boozer and there are different beers ‘on’ over the five day period so the Thursday night is different to the Monday.

    I have to go to Penzance soon, apparently there are a couple of pubs that want to buy from our new *top secret* supplier. You will like this. 😀

  7. @Bailey sounds like I will indeed, I picked last lot up from West Country Ales in Cheddar (well worth a visit).

    @Justin I’ve heard good things about it from my Dad (who I introduced to the Seven stars originally). He has a habit of ringing me mid drinking session to tell me what’s on, just to wind me up I reckon!

    Not sure if I’ll make it to Cheddar fest this year but intend to for 2013 (ideal for a pre-glasto warm up!)

    As remote as it may seem to you guys, remember Cornwall isn’t as bad as Northern Ireland pubs and beer wise!

  8. I love Moor. There’s a big bottle of Fusion in one of the fridges at The Bull in Highgate. I need to team up with someone and drink the hell out of it.

  9. What you’re talking about here is the spirit of beer-hunting! I’m always dropping in at supermarkets, offies and delis in strange and new places that I may find myself, ‘just in case’. My hit-rate’s pretty good! in fact, even my wife keeps an eye out when travelling with work for me! Can’t say better than that.

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