I’ve never really paid much attention to beer, however recently a colleague of mine recommended that I have a flick through ‘300 Beers to Try Before You Die!’ – a comprehensive guide to all kinds of beers from around the globe, from Belgian fruit beers to British real ale, by leading beer writer Roger Protz.
My interest sparked, on a recent holiday to Cornwall, I couldn’t resist a visit to St Austell Brewery – founded in 1851 by Walter Hicks, this family-owned brewery is now run by Hicks’ great-great-grandson James Staunton. For just £8, you can go on a guided tour round the working brewery to find out how real ales are made (in the next post I’ll explain the process further), try various samples, and enjoy a pint (or half) in the bar.
The St Austell Brewery portfolio contains various award-winning ales including HSD, Tribute, Proper Job, Trelawny, Smugglers, Admirals Ale, Dartmoor Best, Clouded Yellow, and Korev, most of which I managed to try while at the brewery (small samples that is, not full pints!) and purchase in the onsite shop…
Not for the faint hearted, Hicks Special Draught is full-bodied and ruby in colour, with dried fruit aromas and complex spicy hop flavours.
The perfect match to medium-rare peppered steak.
St Austell’s best-selling beer, Tribute was originally created by Head Brewer Roger Ryman to celebrate the 1999 solar eclipse (then called ‘Daylight Robbery’). Pale amber in colour with ripe citrus flavours, this is easy-drinking Cornish ale at its best.
Enjoy with light chicken or fish dishes.
My favourite of the lot, Proper Job, an authentic India Pale Ale (IPA) is golden and deliciously malty, with grapefruit flavours and a light texture.
Serve this at a picnic or as a great alternative to Bucks Fizz at a wedding reception!
A recent addition to the range, made using a blend of English hops and Galaxy hops from Tasmania, this ale is much lighter on the alcohol than St Austell’s other beers but it fully delivers on flavour. With stone fruit and biscuity characters, it is nutty and delicious.
Serve with smoky meats at a BBQ before the weather fully turns.
This blend of dark ale and barley wine, brewed and stored in oak whisky casks is rich and warming with spicy flavours and complex notes of vanilla and toffee.
Enjoy after dinner with some hard cheese.
This wheat beer, named after a migratory butterfly from continental Europe, has been brewed with vanilla, cloves, and coriander to give a spicy nose and tropical fruit flavours.
Perfect with spicy Thai food.
This special brew was created earlier this year for balmy summer evenings using juicy Cornish strawberries to give a refreshing and light fruity beer.
Serve alongside a big bowl of ripe English strawberries.
You can purchase St Austell beers from their website but if you’d like to get hold of an authentic Cornish beer in your local supermarket, Marks and Spencer’s Cornish IPA, brewed at St Austell Brewery is the perfect partner to a mature cheddar Ploughman’s on a Sunday afternoon.