On Saturday, we made the 15 minute bus trip to the Star Inn at Crowlas, home of the Penzance Brewing Co, to meet a couple of friends who’d never been before.
They’re fairly into beer but like what they like: malty bitters and porters, and definitely not anything that smells of grapefruit. It is fortunate, then, that Peter Elvin, head brewer at PZBC and landlord of the Star, has recently taken a break from brewing pale’n’hoppy golden ales to produce what we understand is his first ever dark mild.
We were, frankly, excited to see it, so starved are we of mild down here in Cornwall.
At 3.6%, it was perfect session strength. Mr Elvin being obsessive about beer clarity and vocally critical of brewers who use caramel for colouring, we weren’t surprised to find it perfectly transparent — deep conker-brown rather than black. It was surprising, however, to find that it tasted like stout-lite, with plenty of roasted grain character, and the balance more towards bitter than sweet.
But what can you usefully say about a fairly by-the-book mild? It was flavoursome, good value (£2.60 a pint), and kept out the increasing wintry chill without getting us legless.
And this might count as a ‘top tip’: it was especially good alternated with pints of citrusy, fruity Potion 9, each beer making the other taste more essentially of itself by contrast.