Falmouth: A Beer Geek Destination

Seven Stars, Falmouth.

In recent months, we’ve been asked several times by beer geeks where they should visit in Cornwall. These days, there is a clear answer: Falmouth.

This small coastal town (pop. 27k) now has enough going on that, even if it can’t com­pete with Lon­don or Man­ches­ter, it could be said to have a ‘beer scene’. There’s cer­tain­ly plen­ty to keep a beer geek enter­tained for a few hours.

A pub crawl

Here’s our sug­gest­ed route which takes a very man­age­able 20 min­utes or so to walk end-to-end, right down the main street.

1. Five Degrees West, Grove Place, TR11 4AU

A pub that wants to be a bar, 5DW is a good place to tick off cask ales from small­er local brew­eries such as Rebel and Black Rock. There are usu­al­ly some Bel­gian and Amer­i­can beers in bot­tles, though noth­ing out of the ordi­nary.

2. The Front, Cus­tom House Quay, TR11 3JT

For a long time, Corn­wal­l’s pri­ma­ry real ale des­ti­na­tion. In the face of com­pe­ti­tion, it seems a bit less excit­ing than it used to, but is still a great place to find a wide range of real ales, includ­ing many less­er-spot­ted beers from local stal­warts Skin­ner’s and Sharp’s. (We’re not enam­oured with either brew­ery, but that’s a mat­ter of taste.) There are also sev­er­al inter­est­ing ciders. There’s no kitchen but you are pos­i­tive­ly encour­aged to bring along your own fish and chips or pasties from one of the near­by shops.

3. OPTIONAL: The Odd­fel­lows Arms

To extend the crawl, or to adjust the bal­ance towards real ale, take a detour to the Odd­fel­lows Arms (2 Quay Hill, TR11 3HA) for pints of well-kept Sharp’s in a res­olute­ly pub­by atmos­phere.

Beerwolf Books, Falmouth.

4. Beer­wolf BooksBells Court, TR11 3AZ

We loved this dis­count-book­shop-pub mash-up from the off and it keeps get­ting bet­ter. We par­tic­u­lar­ly appre­ci­ate the range of cask ales from out­side Corn­wall (e.g. Mag­ic Rock, Salop­i­an, Dark Star, Burn­ing Sky) but this is also one of a hand­ful of places which reg­u­lar­ly stocks beers from the Pen­zance Brew­ing Com­pa­ny, based at the Star Inn, Crowlas. Bot­tled beers include Hitachi­no Nest, Rebel Mex­i­c­o­coa and Bel­gian clas­sics. There is also a choice of ciders. Its cosy atmos­phere is bet­ter suit­ed to win­ter than sum­mer, though.

5. The Sev­en Stars, The Moor, TR11 3QA

An old-fash­ioned pub which has been list­ed in CAM­RA’s Good Beer Guide since the 1970s, the Sev­en Stars prob­a­bly won’t appeal to the ardent craftophile: it’s spe­cial­i­ty is per­fect­ly kept Bass Pale Ale. There are also guest ales, some­times adven­tur­ous, but it’s not real­ly about tick­ing or nov­el­ty. If you don’t stop here for at least one pint, you’re miss­ing some­thing great.

6. Hand Bar, Old Brew­ery Yard, TR11 2BY

Fal­mouth’s very own ‘craft beer bar’ is the very oppo­site of the Sev­en Stars – mod­ern in style, with an empha­sis on the diver­si­ty of beer. Run by a for­mer employ­ee of North Bar in Leeds, it feels as if it has been trans­plant­ed from a more met­ro­pol­i­tan set­ting, and is pop­u­lar with stu­dents. The beer can be expen­sive, but not unusu­al­ly so for this sec­tion of the mar­ket, and there are usu­al­ly some gen­uine rar­i­ties to be found on tap or in the bot­tle fridges.

7. OPTIONALThe Bot­tle Bank (off licence), Dis­cov­ery Quay, TR11 3XP

Right back at the oth­er end of town, near 5DW, this off licence offers a very decent range of inter­est­ing beers from brew­eries such as Siren, Hard­knott and even Mikkeller. It is also a good place to pick up the Sharp’s Con­nois­seur’s Choice range.

8. FOR TICKERS ONLY: The Sev­en Stars, Pen­ryn, TR10 8EL

This oth­er­wise unre­mark­able pub in Pen­ryn, 15 min­utes from Fal­mouth by bus, is the local out­let for Spin­go Ales brewed at the Blue Anchor at Hel­ston. We have enjoyed pints of Ben’s Stout here, in an atmos­phere of glum dis­trust…

Beyond Beer

Apart from beer, Fal­mouth also has decent beach­es, coastal walks, shop­ping, an excel­lent muse­um and plen­ty to stim­u­late the his­to­ry buff. It also has some great places to eat, includ­ing, at the Meat Counter, the most con­vinc­ing posh burg­ers and hot dogs we’ve had this side of Bris­tol.

In pre­vi­ous years, we’ve pro­vid­ed lists of our favourite Cor­nish pubs (2012 2013) and beers (2012 2013). All the places we men­tion in those posts are still worth a vis­it, and the gen­er­al stan­dard of Cor­nish pubs is pret­ty high, as long as you don’t mind Trib­ute, Bet­ty Stogs and Doom Bar.

8 thoughts on “Falmouth: A Beer Geek Destination”

    1. Jim­my – we’ve seen the kegs in Hand, and Beer­wolf had their Amber on cask last week­end. They could real­ly do with a brew­ery tap.

  1. The boathouse and star and garter are both worth a few more yards past the hand bar for beers and views

  2. Spin­go in Pen­ryn – blimey. Ded­i­ca­tion required! I think Pen­ryn’s the sin­gle most hos­tile place I’ve been to in Corn­wall (to tourists, incom­ers, peo­ple from Pen­ryn in gen­er­al – and for that mat­ter to any­one want­i­ng to take kids into a pub). Not the dead­est – com­pared to Liskeard, say, it was pos­i­tive­ly buzzing – but def­i­nite­ly the least wel­com­ing.

    I remem­ber one hol­i­day in Corn­wall when every day seemed to end with rather a long dis­cus­sion of where to eat (“OK, we’ve had a look around, where do you suggest?”/“Well, there are plen­ty of pubs…”/“I’m not tak­ing the kids in there!”) One day in Pen­ryn we were hav­ing this dis­cus­sion, while stand­ing out­side the pub I’d picked as look­ing the least unfriend­ly, when an old bloke sit­ting inside spot­ted us, knocked on the glass and told us to go away. He was­n’t swear­ing at us or any­thing, which in a way made it even worse – he was just where he was sup­posed to be, and we weren’t.

    We got some chips and took them home. They were very nice – and, now I think of it, the chip­py was doing a roar­ing trade; that’s prob­a­bly your best bet for a night out in Pen­ryn.

  3. We have enjoyed pints of Ben’s Stout here, in an atmos­phere of glum dis­trust…”

    Love it. What time’s that bus?

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