World Beer in Penzance

Brooklyn Lager and Duvel at the Lamp & Whistle, Penzance.

It’s tak­en a while but, at last, we can now go to the pub in Pen­zance and drink Bel­gian and Amer­i­can beer, at the Lamp & Whis­tle, five min­utes walk from the cen­tral sta­tion in the cen­tre of town.

When we first moved to Pen­zance prop­er, we went to ‘the Lamp’ quite a bit, part­ly because it tend­ed to have St Austell Prop­er Job in excel­lent con­di­tion, but also because it is one of the few places in the area not trad­ing to some extent on the ‘cosy Cor­nish inn’ image. In fact, it feels as if it has been trans­plant­ed from a street cor­ner in a trendy bit of South Lon­don. Then Prop­er Job dis­ap­peared, and we decid­ed we pre­ferred the atmos­phere in the Dock Inn, and haven’t been back for a while, though we always peer through the win­dow when we walk past.

When Tom Goskar tipped us off to the avail­abil­i­ty of Brook­lyn Lager, how­ev­er, we thought we ought to inves­ti­gate, and we found quite a few changes. The ceil­ing has been fit­ted with what are tech­ni­cal­ly known as ‘dan­g­ly stem glass hold­ing rack things’, fes­tooned with Chi­may, Duv­el and Bac­chus brand­ed glass­ware; a tow­er­ing, osten­ta­tious Brook­lyn Lager font adorns the very cen­tre of the bar; and there’s a brand-new-vin­tage Anchor Steam plaque fixed to the wall. It would seem that the James Clay rep has been.

These aren’t beers at the cut­ting edge of the import mar­ket (Chi­may Rouge first hit Britain in 1974, Anchor Steam c.1979, at the start of the ‘world beer’ boom) but, come on, this is the wild west, and a town with a pop­u­la­tion of c.21,000, so they’re out on a limb going even this far. We’re delight­ed, at any rate.

We did­n’t enjoy the keg Brook­lyn Lager espe­cial­ly – it seemed less flo­ral than the bot­tled incar­na­tion with a lot of addi­tion­al tof­fee flavour and, yes, actu­al ris­ing, burp-induc­ing bub­bles aka ‘fizz’. Chi­may and Duv­el, on the oth­er hand, were a real treat, and scarce­ly more expen­sive than they are in super­mar­kets these days at £4.30 a bot­tle. (We paid £7.50 for a 330ml bot­tle of local ‘craft’ stout in Truro recent­ly, so this ques­tion about the price of Bel­gian beer remains.)

There was also cask ale from the less­er-spot­ted Pen­pont Brew­ery, and evi­dence that the pub­li­cans’ real pas­sion is for spir­its in the wide selec­tion of vod­kas, rums and whiskies on the back shelf. (Żubrówka!)

If you’re in the area and fan­cy some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent, in terms of both ambi­ence and beer selec­tion, the Lamp might be just what you’re look­ing for.

We should men­tion that the Renais­sance Cafe – not a pub! – also had Duv­el with love­ly glass­ware last time we went in.

7 thoughts on “World Beer in Penzance”

  1. I just can’t get excit­ed about for­eign beer any­more, not when we make such fan­tas­tic beer in this coun­try.

    1. I’m sur­round­ed by for­eign beer, livin’ in fur­rin parts loik oi do, and there’s not a lot of it that’s a patch on a good British ale in good nick. On the oth­er hand, on my trav­els I can buy Gulden Draak for the equiv­a­lent of a quid a bot­tle, so it’s not all bad.

  2. Py0, we agree with you total­ly – but as the range of home­grown beer that we can get is pret­ty lim­it­ed then our thresh­old for get­ting excit­ed is con­sid­er­ably low­er than most beer geeks.

  3. Chi­may and Duv­el, on the oth­er hand, were a real treat, and scarce­ly more expen­sive than they are in super­mar­kets these days at £4.30 a bot­tle.”
    Not sure what you mean by super­mar­kets but Duv­el is £2.19 at Tesco where I live, or £1.66 when it’s on sale, which is quite often.

    1. They’re both £2.20+ in the super­mar­kets near us, when they have them, which they don’t often. Tak­ing into account glass­ware, hos­pi­tal­i­ty, ser­vice, etc.., an extra two quid does­n’t seem too exor­bi­tant to us, com­pared to the near­ly six quid we paid for an Orval in Truro the oth­er week, or the price of a pint of Per­oni in most pubs.

      1. Fair enough, I agree a Duv­el served in prop­er glass­ware in a nice pub def­i­nite­ly has high­er val­ue than one bought at Tesco. 🙂

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