Planning a trip to Cornwall? The good news is there’s plenty of great beer to found across the West Country. The bars, bottle shops and breweries are scattered throughout the county, so this is by no means a walking tour. This list provides a selection of places to seek out whilst exploring the rest of what beautiful Kernow has to offer.
Red Elephant Beer Cellar – 4 Quay St, Truro TR1 2GA
The Red Elephant Beer Cellar is a fantastic bottle shop in the centre of Truro, which opened in 2013. Here you’ll find at least one or two beers from almost every Cornish Brewery, as well as highlights from further afield. It’s run by a friendly chap who seemed more than happy to talk to us about every bottle and can lining the shelves. The prices are reasonable and it serves as a good outlet to pick up some beers from the local breweries that you can’t visit in person.
The Old Ale House – 7 Quay St, Truro TR1 2HD
The Ole Ale House is a traditional pub, which serves as a tap house for the well known Skinner’s Brewery in Truro. Here you’ll find the full Skinner’s Brewery range, including some exclusives and rarities, plus guest beers on both cask and keg. The pub also has live music most nights of the week.
St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre – 63 Trevarthian Rd, St Austell, PL25 4BY
An operation the size of St Austell Brewery makes for an interesting tour and I highly recommend you make the journey out to their visitor centre to experience it for yourself. For the £12 entry fee you get an extensive tour of the entire facility, concluding with a tasting session and a bottle or two to take away with you. Don’t expect this to be restricted to the commonly found Tribute and Proper Job either, we got through more than 10 different beers, including samples from their standalone small batch brewery built below the bar area.
Verdant Brewing Co – 6 Tregoniggie Industrial Estate, Tresidder Cl, Falmouth TR11 4SP
Verdant have put out some of the most highly sought after craft beer of the past few years and it’s brewed here, on an industrial estate in deepest, dankest Cornwall. As easy as it is to build the brewery up as a mecca of craft beer in your mind, like most small outfits, there’s not a huge amount to see here as the team we met confessed, but the juice bomb aroma that hit us when we stepped in was worth trekking every mile for. If you’re lucky (we were!) you might just get pick up a fresh batch. They also have a small selection of branded merchandise for sell.
Hand – Old Brewery Yd, High St, Falmouth TR11 2BY
Hand is both a bar and bottle shop, occupying neighbouring units in the centre of Falmouth. It’s perhaps the closest we found to a modern, dedicated craft outlet in the county and makes sense to be located here, not all that far from Verdant, in a University town with a younger age demographic. Speaking of Verdant, the bottle shop’s selection from the brewery rivals that which they hold in stock at their official outlet. The bar has indoor seating and an outside area in a picturesque courtyard, which is also home to a handful of other small businesses.
Beerwolf Books – 3 Bells Ct, Falmouth TR11 3AZ
Beerwolf Books delivers on exactly what it’s name promises, beer and books. I was actually taken back by quite how much of a legitimate book shop this pub manages to double up as. It’s a bizarre concept but fits right in with the rest of Falmouth’s vibe. I would possibly go so far to say that the book selection was greater than the beer, though if I’m honest, my eyes truly lit up when I saw they’d also made room for three pinball machines.
Padstow Brewing Co. Tasting Room – 4-6 Broad St, Padstow PL28 8BS
Padstow isn’t all just Rick Stein you know! Padstow Brewing Co. have something to say about this, opening a tasting room in the centre of town as an outlet for their brewery. The shop stocks both their iconic “pint of Padstow” 568ml bottles and their new craft influenced series, with striking artwork from students at Falmouth School of Art. Padstow Brewing Co. do also offer tours and brewery experiences at their brewery based on the outskirts of town.
Bude Brewery Tap Room and Shop – Kings Hill Industrial Estate, Bude, EX23 8QN
Bude always seems a little out of the way when visiting Cornwall, situated further up the Atlantic coast, close to the border of Devon. It is however home to a great little brewery, the aptly named, Bude Brewery. Time your visit right and you’ll catch one of their lively tap room sessions. If not, there’s still beer for sale, including a new range from their sister brewery Kreft Beer.
What about Newquay?
While there is craft beer to be found on tap and in the fridges of many nice, stag party free bars in Newquay (honourable mentions to Tom Thumb, Bear Bar and Whiskers), our best find was 55 Yards (at 5 Cheltenham Pl, Newquay TR7 1BA), a bar and relatively well stocked bottle shop on the ground floor of a town centre B+B. No. 5 Brewhouse is another promising sounding bar, unfortunately it wasn’t open when we visited mid week, nor does it open outside of the main summer season.
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