Heavy Lies the Crown

A cat outside the Cornish Crown.

Cornish Crown is a difficult brewery for us to write about so we’re relieved to find that, finally, it might finally have come good.

It is based in an indus­tri­al unit out­side Pen­zance and has a brew­ery tap here in town, The Crown on Bread Street which is the only PZ pub in the 2017 CAMRA Good Beer Guide. It’s a good pub, the pints are rel­a­tive­ly cheap, and gen­er­al­ly in good con­di­tion. It’s just that, for sev­er­al years, the beer itself has been some­where between indif­fer­ent and down­right rough.

We said cau­tious­ly good things about the brew­ery when it launched, expect­ing it to get bet­ter, but actu­al­ly, it got worse. But with decent brand­ing, com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, and a strong local sto­ry, the beer was every­where for a while, includ­ing places like Lon­don from where friends would text us: ‘This Cor­nish Crown… is it meant to taste like that?’

Every now and then some­one would ask us what we thought of the brew­ery, on Twit­ter or in real life, and we’d be hon­est: ‘We don’t rate the beer.’ Some­times, that would be met with aston­ish­ment, and we began to think that per­haps we were being a bit fussy. (We are, gen­er­al­ly.) But the fact remained that for a long time we were hap­pi­er to drink St Austell or even Skin­ner’s – anoth­er brew­ery towards which we are luke­warm – than Cor­nish Crown.

We kept check­ing in, though, things do change over the life­time of a brew­ery (new kit, new staff, train­ing and devel­op­ment) and, sure enough, last year we noticed a sud­den upswing in qual­i­ty. The keg vanil­la porter in par­tic­u­lar was not only pass­able but pos­i­tive­ly delight­ful. Then yes­ter­day, prompt­ed in part by the estimable Ellie Ben­nett, we made anoth­er vis­it to The Crown and gave the beer a fair work­out.

Cause­way best bit­ter is still not an excit­ing beer but was at least clean-tast­ing. If you like this kind of beer, there’s no rea­son you won’t like this par­tic­uarl exam­ple. One-Hop, the beer Ellie was excit­ed about, was an extreme­ly pleas­ant sur­prise, no longer mud­dy and card­board-like, but pop­ping with sweet cit­rus. It’s still fair­ly heavy-bod­ied and hon­ey­ish so not our favourite type of gold­en ale but there was noth­ing wrong with it at all with­in those para­me­ters. Extra Stout Porter, a cask ale at 5.9%, was also sweet, mild and mor­eish, with no stale notes to spoil the fun. Our com­pan­ion felt conned by the keg Red IPA –‘It’s more Greene King than Lagu­ni­tas’ – but it was­n’t sour or cab­bagey as we have found it in the past.

We’d still rather drink a great pint of St Austell Prop­er Job than any of these beers but, for now at least, The Crown is back on the cir­cuit for us, and we’re upgrad­ing our advice on the beer from AVOID to GIVE IT A TRY.

One thought on “Heavy Lies the Crown”

  1. Sour and cab­bagey seems to be what becomes of red IPAs out of con­di­tion. They get a bit dis­count Roden­bach with­out any of its ben­e­fits.

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