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Discover Cornwall’s historic breweries

Discover Cornwall's historic breweries
Cornwall once had many local breweries, each serving the local community and producing a huge array of hand-crafted ales. While some were exclusive, made in the pub’s back room, other’s branched out into larger concerns. Many breweries were bought out by the nationals until in the 1980s only one Cornish brewery remained to fly its independent flag – St Austell Breweries.

However, like much of history, the tide has changed and small local breweries are again back in business in Cornwall, supplying a select few pubs in the area, and gathering a good reputation and a few awards along the way.

St Austell Brewery

For those enjoying a self-catering holiday in the West Country, a visit to the award-winning in is a great family day out. Established in 1851, it was started in the heart of the town as a family business by maltster and wine merchant, Walter Hicks. This local success story now owns several pubs and supplies ale to 150 pubs in the county. The brewery attributes its success to the secret spring which supplies the water which is turned into golden nectar before being bottled or stored in traditional casks.

With its interactive museum, Victorian Brewery and stories of the families (and horses!) that played a part in the brewery’s history, along with a guided tour to see the beer-making process, it has something for everyone to enjoy.

The tour ends in the tasting room of the Hicks Bar, which incidentally does some great bar food, and provides the opportunity to sample a few of the award-winning ales over a pub lunch. The Brewery Shop is also a great place to pick up cheap gifts for hard-to-please men, which are sure to be a winner.

Blue Anchor Brewery

wins hands-down for being the prettiest brewery. Possibly the oldest brew-pub in the UK, this historic smuggling inn on Helston’s main street has a thatched roof with a straw anchor worked into it! It has typical small paned windows, a low threshold and an authentic skittle alley as well as a well-polished bar. The Blue Anchor began life in the 15th century as a Monks Rest House where honey-based mead would have been brewed. Today it follows traditional recipes to produce its range of “Spingo Ales”.

Forget slot machines and piped music, visitors to the Blue Anchor come for the drinking experience and real ale aficionados will probably want to make plans to retire here after a visit!

Skinners Brewery

For those enjoying a self-catering holiday in the Truro area, the chance to sup the 1998 Supreme Champion Beer on its home turf should not be passed up. is a relative newcomer, founded by Steve and Sarah Skinner in 1997. It continues to name its ales after Cornish characters, hence names such as Betty Stogs appear on the labels. Visit the brewery at Riverside View or sample one of their many award-winning ales in the local pubs.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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