It seems that every week, there is some fresh improvement in the beer scene in Cornwall.
For example, Penzance now has its own home brewing supply shop; the Lamp & Whistle keeps expanding its range of Belgian and keg ‘craft beer’; and a specialist beer shop is to open in Truro in the next month or so.
Over a few pints of St Austell Big Job at Docktoberfest on Friday, we found ourselves pondering these developments, and whether they might fit into a generalised checklist of indicators of a healthy beer culture.
Here’s what we came up with:
1. There is a drinking establishment within walking distance of where you live where you like to spend time, and which serves decent beer.
2. If you are skint, there is an acceptable drinking establishment within walking distance which sells decent beer at ‘bargain’ prices.
3. If you fancy something special, there is a pub or bar within reach on public transport (WRPT) which sells imports and ‘craft beer’.
4. The nearest town/city centre has a range of pubs serving different demographics, and offering between them a range of locally-produced beers alongside national brands.
5. There is a well-established family/regional brewery.
6. There are several breweries founded since 1975.
7. There is at least one brewery founded since 2005.
8. There is a regional speciality – a beer people ‘must drink’ when they visit.
9. There is an independent off licence (‘bottle shop’) WRPT.
10. There is a shop selling home brewing supplies WRPT.
11. There is at least one beer festival in the region.
Perhaps inevitably, there’s an obvious UK-bias in the way we’ve approached this, and in how we’ve worded the list, although we did our best to avoid it. We’ve also used lots of deliberately vague terms – don’t ask us to define ‘decent’! (Or ‘beer culture’…)