The County Stores in Taunton is one of those shops which seems to have been there forever — the kind of place where you wouldn’t be surprised to see Miss Marple filling a wicker basket with shortbread and packets of powdered egg. Like much in Somerset, it is resolutely conservative and old-fashioned, but there is a point where that instinct overlaps with a fashionable interest in small, local producers.
The result? Shelves stacked with beers from almost all of Somerset’s small breweries. Quantock, Cheddar Ales and — perhaps most excitingly — Moor are all represented in a selection which, perhaps unwittingly, echoes what you might see in a much trendier specialist off-licence.
If you’re passing through Somerset and want to stock your fridge with local beer, head here but, also, if you’re anywhere else in the country, keep an eye on your local family-run department store or farm shop — you never know what might lurk within, beyond the cardigans, balls of wool and miniature porcelain cottages.