Top Ten Cornish Beers (So Far)

Potion 9 pumpclip at the Star Inn.

UPDATE 22/03/2013: Our revised top ten Cor­nish beers list for 2013 is now avail­able here.

For a coun­ty (sor­ry – Duchy) with a per­ma­nent pop­u­la­tion of only around 540,000, Corn­wall has quite a few brew­eries, and more are appear­ing every month. There are some whose wares we’ve yet to try; oth­ers we rarely see except in bot­tles; and a few we sim­ply can’t rec­om­mend with a clear con­science.

This list, then, is of beers we’ve par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoyed in pubs in Corn­wall and would advise vis­i­tors to seek out. As before, our loca­tion in the far west means that we’ve got an unin­ten­tion­al bias towards brew­eries whose beers make it down this way.

  1. Drift­wood Spars – Dêk Hop (3.8%) Pale amber, flinty and tan­nic; hop­py with­out being flow­ery.
  2. Drift­wood Spars – Bol­ster’s Blood Porter (4.8%) Remind­ed us of some­thing from the 1909 Syle Guide, with stewed bit­ter­ness and very lit­tle hop aro­ma. A touch of pleas­ing sour­ness. Very refresh­ing after a long walk to St Agnes.
  3. Pen­zance Brew­ing Com­pa­ny – Potion 9 (4%) Our beer of the year for 2011. Gold­en, with US hops (Amar­il­lo, last time we checked) and great for a ses­sion.
  4. Pen­zance Brew­ing Com­pa­ny – Trink (5.2%) Potion’s big broth­er, edg­ing towards Thorn­bridge Jaipur ter­ri­to­ry. This is the one the reg­u­lars at the Star Inn get real­ly excit­ed about.
  5. Pen­zance Brew­ing Com­pa­ny – Scil­ly Stout (7%) A chunky, chewy stout that would be per­fect for export; poised between bitter/sweet, and more of a plum pud­ding than a cup of cof­fee.
  6. Skin­ner’s – Porth­leven (4.8%) We’re not huge fans of Skin­ner’s (we blame their yeast) but this pale and hop­py beer was a very pleas­ant sur­prise. We drank many pints at the Old Ale House in Truro and then went back for more a few weeks lat­er. Keeps get­ting hop­pi­er, too, as the recipe evolves.
  7. Spin­go – Flo­ra Daze (4%) The newest addi­tion to the Spin­go range and yet more evi­dence that pale and hop­py might suit Cor­nish water. By no means a hop bomb, but the dry-hop­ping at least is aggres­sive enough to trig­ger hayfever.
  8. Spin­go – Mid­dle  (5%) A clas­sic, and an illus­tra­tion of a typ­i­cal sweet West Coun­try beer – an acquired taste, but not actu­al­ly flawed. Has become more bit­ter and clean­er in the last year or so.
  9. St Austell – Prop­er Job (4.5%) The best of St Austel­l’s beers and found (we esti­mate) in about a third of their pubs. Almost too hop­py: can start to feel palate-strip­ping after three pints.
  10. St Austell – Trib­ute (4.2%) With Sharp’s Doom Bar and Skin­ner’s Bet­ty Stogs, part of the bog stan­dard line up on a Cor­nish free house bar, but by far the best of the three. Actu­al­ly an inter­est­ing beer (cus­tom Vien­na-type malt, US hops) and, on good form, a delight.

We’ve also enjoyed every­thing we’ve tried from Coastal, though they’re hard to find and we rarely see the same brew twice, so can’t rec­om­mend a par­tic­u­lar beer.

As with our Corn­wall pub list, if you’re a brew­er won­der­ing why your beer has­n’t been men­tioned, email us and we’ll let you know.

One thought on “Top Ten Cornish Beers (So Far)”

  1. Can’t dis­agree with any of these, real­ly. For all its ubiq­ui­ty, a pint of Trib­ute, when it’s served well, is a treat. As far as St Austell goes, though, Prop­er Job is the stuff for me. Trink was on the bar at the Star a cou­ple of days ago which prob­a­bly means, when I get there tonight for rit­u­al pool humil­i­a­tion, the lat­est cask will have gone. I’m secure in the knowl­edge, though, that there’ll be some­thing crack­ing in its place. Until then, Must Do More Work…

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