Our guide to the best breweries and real ales in Cornwall
Beer drinkers will be in their element wherever they choose to stay in Cornwall, with large and small breweries producing tasty ales from Penzance to Launceston. Find out where to sample a pint of Cornwall’s finest in our breweries guide.
Skinner’s Brewery, Truro, South Cornwall
Marketed as an independent, family-run brewery, Skinner’s crafts a range of excellent beers that are often considered some of the finest in Cornwall. The company was established in Truro in 1997 by Steve Skinner, and in that time, Steve has perfected the brewing process, producing a selection of distinct and delicious Cornish Ales.
The brewery uses barley grown in Cornish farms, which then crosses the border into Devon where it’s malted at Tuckers Maltings. The rest of the brew takes place at Skinner’s traditional brewery, before the beer is shipped to pubs and bars across the world.
- Betty Stogs 4.0% ABV – A copper coloured session beer that won Gold in the Campaign For Real Ale’s Best Bitter Category at the Champion Beer of Britain awards.
- River Cottage EPA 4.0% ABV – Brewed in conjunction with River Cottage, this English Pale Ale has a heady floral aroma, with notes of citrus and cedar.
- Ginger Tosser 3.7% ABV – A golden ale with a hoppy character; hints of ginger and honey coupled with a round finish make for a very drinkable ale.
- Address: Skinners Brewery, Riverside, Newha Road, Truro, TR1 2DP
- Contact: 01872 271885; www.skinnersbrewery.com
Coastal Brewery, Redruth, North Cornwall
Established in 2006, Coastal Brewery quickly found its feet amid Cornwall’s real ale elite. The brewery – located on Redruth’s bustling Cardrew Estate – was setup by Alan Hinde, who moved from his home in Crewe to pursue his dream of brewing fine Cornish ale.
Today, Coastal’s ale is sold in pubs, off-licenses and specialist ale shops throughout Cornwall, as well as further afield. In 2011, the brewery’s ‘Merry Maidens Mild’ scooped the coveted bronze award in the Campaign For Real Ale’s Champion Beer of Britain awards, establishing Coastal as the Cornish brewer to watch. Brewery tours are currently unavailable at Coastal, but there is a shop and bar where you can sample a pint or two of their delicious ale.
- St Piran’s Porter 6.0% ABV – A wholesome, malty porter with aromas of nuts and dried fruits.
- Merry Maidens Mild 4.0% ABV – A brown-bodied, reasonably dry beer with notes of chocolate and toasted malts.
- Angelina 4.1% ABV – A hoppy, golden beer characterised by its floral aroma and toasty, herbal character.
- Address: Coastal Brewery, Unit 10B, Cardrew Industrial Estate, Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 1SS
- Contact: 01209 212613; www.coastalbrewery.wordpress.com
Blue Anchor Brewery, Helston, West Cornwall
As Britain’s oldest pub to operate a brewery on site, Blue Anchor has quite the story to tell. It’s thought beer has been brewed here for over 600 years, and was once a favourite watering-hole among Cornish tin-miners. In the early 1990s, the pub and its brewery were given a lease of life by new proprietors, Simon and Kim Stone, who improved brewing techniques and restored Blue Anchor to its former glory.
Now, the Blue Anchor Brewery produces a range of its trademark Spingo ales, including Blue Anchor IPA and Blue Anchor Middle, both of which regularly rank among the best beers in Cornwall.
- Spingo IPA 4.5% ABV – A hoppy IPA with a crisp, clean finish; brewed to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
- Spingo Middle 5.0% ABV – A sweet Cornish beer whose history dates to the First World War.
- Spingo Bragget 6.0% ABV – A smooth, strong beer with hints of apple and honey, first brewed in 2001 to celebrate Helston’s first charter of 1201.
- Address: The Blue Anchor Inn, 50 Coinagehall Street, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 8EL
- Contact: 01326 562821; www.spingoales.com
Treat yourselves to a fabulous meal before going for a pint at the Blue Anchor Brewery - read through our guide to 5 of the best restaurants in West Cornwall and discover the best places to go.
Sharp’s Brewery, Rock, North Cornwall
Head to any ‘proper’ pub in the south west and you’ll likely find a Sharp’s tap or two. As one of Cornwall’s most successful brewers, Sharp’s has a large fan base, and its flagship beer, Doom Bar, is now shipped around the globe.
Sharp’s Brewery is located in Rock Cornwall, close to Cornwall’s dramatic Atlantic Seaboard. The influence of the coast is apparent in the brewery’s ale roster; its beers have an energetic, fresh taste, and the brewery uses both modern and traditional techniques to produce some of Cornwall’s most distinctive ales.
- Doom Bar 4% ABV – A clear, brown bitter; very drinkable, with notes of caramel, toffee and malts.
- Sharp’s Cornish Pilsner 5.2% ABV – Voted ‘World’s Best Lager’ at the World Beer Awards 2013; a refreshing, dry lager with a brisk citrus finish.
- Sharp’s Special 5.0% ABV – A strong bitter made with premium malts; the sweet, roasted finish complements creamy Cornish cheeses.
- Address: Sharp’s Brewery, Rock, Cornwall, PL27 6NU
- Contact: 01208 862121; www.sharpsbrewery.co.uk
St Austell Brewery, St Austell, South Cornwall
As Cornwall’s largest and most successful brewer, the beers of St Austell Brewery are regularly stocked in pubs and bars across Cornwall and beyond. Established in 1851 by Cornish brewer Walter Hicks, the brewery has a long, proud heritage, and remains 100% family owned.
With an extensive range of draught, bottled and canned beers, the St Austell brewery has an ale to suit all palates, and you’re free to taste-test the range as part of a tour. The brewery features an award-winning visitor centre and museum, as well as a bar which serves great food and of course, a selection of St Austell brews.
- Tribute Cornish Pale Ale 4.2% ABV – A popular Cornish pale ale, characterised by its light finish and notes of citrus and hops.
- Proper Cool IPA 5.5% ABV – A strong India Pale Ale with hard hitting citrus zing and a grapefruit aroma.
- Korev 4.8% ABV – A crisp lager brewed in the Helles style; a clean, fresh taste and herbal aroma make Korev very drinkable.
- Address: St Austell Brewery, 63 Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 4BY
- Contact: 0845 2411122; www.staustellbrewery.co.uk
Driftwood Brewery, St. Agnes, North Cornwall
Visit Driftwood Spars Pub and Events Venue at Trevaunance Cove and you’ll find a delightful micro-brewery producing a range of nine tasty brews. The project began in 2007, when Pete Martin, Driftwood’s chief brewer, attended the St Austell Brewery beer festival. Since then, Pete has crafted nine distinct Cornish beers, one – Alfie’s Revenge – winning the prestigious Campaign for Real Ale award for Supreme Winter Beer in 2012.
The bottled beers of Driftwood are available to drink in the Driftwood Spars pub, or are available to buy in the brewery’s on-site off license, the aptly named ‘Into the Brew’. It’s worth enjoying a pint or two on-site however, as the pub offers superb sea views over Trevaunance Cove.
- Alfie’s Revenge 6.5% ABV – A rich, red-hued bitter characterised by the contrasting flavours of chocolate, biscuit and hoppy spice.
- Lou’s Brew 5% ABV – A light, hoppy beer with notes of grass and citrus.
- Badlands 4.8% ABV – A malty bitter with a toasted caramel aroma; Badlands is named after local surfing beaches.
- Address: The Driftwood Spars, Trevaunance Cove, St. Agnes, Cornwall, TR5 0RT
- Contact: 01872 552428; www.driftwoodspars.co.uk/brewery
Atlantic Brewery, Newquay, North Cornwall
Taking its name from the spectacular Atlantic Ocean which lies just a few miles away, the Atlantic Brewery is an organic and vegetarian brewer that produces a handful of tasty bottle-conditioned beers and cask ales.
Housed in an 18th century farmhouse near Newquay, the brewery was accredited 100% organic by the Soil Association in 2006, and is committed to using only the finest ingredients, some of which are grown on the brewery’s small-holding. Thanks to its processor license, all of the beer produced at Atlantic is bottled and packaged on-site, reducing the miles it takes to get to your pint glass.
- Atlantic Gold 4.6% ABV – A light, refreshing pale ale; golden in colour, with notes of biscuit and ginger.
- Fistral 5.2% ABV – A strong blonde beer characterised by its herbal aroma and crisp, citrus finish.
- Blackcurrant & Molasses Cornish Porter 5.5% ABV – A slightly sour bitter, with dark fruit aromas; a good accompaniment to beef casserole and blue cheese.
- Address: Atlantic Brewery, Treisaac Farm, Treisaac, Nr Newquay, TR8 4DX
- Contact: 01637 880326; www.atlanticbrewery.com
Believe it or not, when it comes to alcoholic beverages, Cornwall's not just about breweries. Take a look at our 5 of the best vineyards in Cornwall guide for a chance to sample the county's best wine.
If the thought of visiting these traditional breweries has got you considering a trip to Cornwall, there's no time like the present to start planning your next holiday! Take a look at our wide range of holiday cottages in Cornwall and discover some of the beautiful places to stay.