10 beers from indie brewers you have to try in Cornwall

1. Driftwood Spar’s Alfie’s Revenge

Named after a stuffed squirrel who used to live in the Drifty bar who one day decided to go walkabouts after a night on the lash and never return. Alfie’s Revenge is rich, malty, chocolatey and with a characteristically biscuity note. Some might say it tastes a little like Christmas.

2. Blue Anchor’s Spingo Middle

The Blue Anchor are known the Duchy over for some pretty hefty hangovers from their variety of pub-brewed ales. Spingo Middle (5.0%) has the classic, locally-loved and hearty taste of Spingo, without leaving you Spingo’d like Bragget will. Drink with care, it’s not for the faint of heart.

3. Rebel’s 80 shilling

Malty, thick and with a sweet, treacle taste, Rebel’s 80 Shilling goes down so smooth you’ll wonder how you’ve got through 3 pints so quickly. It’s also been awarded CAMRA Kernow’s Supreme Beer Champion award three years in a row.

4. St Ives Brewery’s Boilers

Smooth, citrusy and with a bit of a kick, Boilers is an ale that goes down best whilst sat looking out across the surf from St. Ives towards Gwithian and along the north coast.

5. Keltec’s Lance

Light, fruity and sweet, Lance is the perfect accompaniment to a sunny Cornish day. Named after the Battle of Camlann, between Lancelot and King Arthur, said to have taken place in Cornwall.

6. Wheal Maiden’s Grandma’s Weapons Grade Ginger Beer

Not your traditional beer, but worth an honourable mention for being no less than balls-out-blow-your-socks-off goodness. It’s fiercely-fiery and eye-wateringly spicy. Perfect for warming you from the inside out during the coming winter months.

7. Harbour’s Amber Ale

Heavy on the hops with a hint of thick caramel and a light floral finish, this Amber Ale goes hand in hand with a steak & kidney pie or a thick wedge of steak.

8. Padstow’s IPA

A silver medal winner from CAMRA Kernow, Padstow IPA is refreshing and light. Sipped all over the county in traditional pubs by those who know how good malt should taste.

9. Dynamite Valley’s Pioneer Wheat Beer

New to the Cornish booze scene, Dynamite Valley is a crowdfunded microbrewery that’s extremely good at what they do. The Pioneer is made especially for summer days, with hints of orange and a light taste, it’s the ultimate date for long evenings on the beach.

10. Black Flag’s White Cross IPA

Bitter and full to the brim with a blend of hops, White Cross IPA is a pretty special India Pale Ale. Nutty, fruity and exactly what the doctor ordered.

Beercation 101

Want to put a tasty twist on your next vacation? If you consider yourself a hophead or a sucker for stouts, you might want to get in on one of the latest travel trends among foodies — a beercation!
To learn more about what a beercation entails, I went to Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association and publisher of CraftBeer.com to see what she had to say about beer tourism — and see if she had any tips or tricks you want to know about before you book your next vacay.
Fit Bottomed Eats: Beercation! That sounds awesome. What are some of the top U.S. destinations?
Julia Herz: The top six large metro destinations are Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA, Denver-Aurora, CO, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA, Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME, Colorado Springs, CO, and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA. If you’re looking for a smaller area, you might want to look into Bend, OR, Boulder, CO, Fort Collins-Loveland, CO, Corvallis, OR, Missoula, MT, or Burlington-South Burlington, VT. Looking for a different location? Travelocity’s list goes 20 cities deep.
FBE: What factors went into naming those destinations as the best?
JH: Travelocity used four factors:

  1. Breweries per 1 million residents: Working with the Brewers Association (an organization representing the majority of independent brewers in the U.S.), every Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was scored by the number of breweries and brewpubs per 1 million residents.
  2. Rideshare availability: To get a full sampling of a region’s beer culture, a beer tourist may need to visit multiple breweries across the area. Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft are invaluable for this, so each MSA was scored on availability of both, either or neither of these services.
  3. Nonstop air destinations: If the MSA has an airport with scheduled air service — from how many destinations is nonstop service available?
  4. Lodging score: Each MSA was scored on the price of an average room night for the 2015 calendar year. The lower the price, the higher the score for the MSA.

FBE: If someone is interested in booking a beercation, is there anything you’d recommend they do to prepare? Should they study up on beer local to the area, or is it better to taste and learn on the spot? Should they book a tour or do their own thing?
JH: Book a beercation to where interests you, and the breweries will be there ready to receive your smiling face. Today 78.5 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery, so most any market has amazing world-class beer being made locally and serving it up straight from the source.
When it comes to picking the breweries, there are great insider apps like Brew Guru and Travelocity that have pre-arranged discounts. Websites like CraftBeer.com have the full list of U.S. breweries and the stories behind today’s small and independent U.S. craft brewers. Be open minded to touring both the heritage craft brewers (it’s so great to taste beer you’ve had already or heard about when at the source) as well mix in touring the newbie breweries. I also like to always build in a day to just wing it. Often while hanging at one brewery, the staff and visitors turn you onto the next great brewery that is nearby.
There’s also how one travels. By foot, car, boat, bike or train, there is always a new way to take in different breweries. Plus many people who love touring breweries are into the outdoors. Activities in-between the tasting are never far from the breweries. In a poll from Harris and Niesen from 2016, 80 percent of people that drink one craft beer a month consider themselves health conscious compared to 76 percent of non-craft drinkers.
FBE: Are beercations only for people who consider themselves craft beer snobs? Or would you recommend them for a newbie beer drinker who’s just beginning to explore the world of craft beer?
JH: Beercations are for anyone who want to experience beer culture up close and personal with the makers themselves. You can take a quick backyard getaway, a break from a business trip or have your beercation be the main reason for beer-focused vacation travel. Beer snobs are few and far between. Most every person you would meet in a brewery are friendly, happy and interested in sharing their passion for beer with others. Usually new friends are made each and every sip.
FBE: Are there certain destinations that are better for people with different tastes? Like, should an IPA lover go to one area, while a sour drinker might go elsewhere?
JH: Since the U.S. is now the number one destination for beer on the planet, the diversity in each beer market is exponential. However, there are some styles of beer more concentrated in certain regions. So if beer terroir is of interest, try San Diego for West Coast style IPA and New England for New England IPA or the pacific northwest in the fall for fresh hop beers and the south for pecan-influenced beers. Local ingredients are a true feature being utilized by many of today’s small and indie craft brewers. Persimmons, walnuts, choke cherries, pumpkins, specific styles of oak, popcorn, grapes, apples, honey, chilies and more. Today’s brewers are like chefs.
How’s a beercation sound to you? I had a great time spending a day touring breweries when I was in Portland, Ore. last summer, and I’m dying to give Asheville a proper look, but the list above has me thinking I might’ve overlooked some other awesome beercation destinations! Kristen

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!

10 of the best craft breweries to explore in Canada

Published: November 23, 2014 · Updated: June 12, 2017

It’s no surprise that Canadians love their beer. In fact, we drink an average of 80 L per person, annually. But we’re not just consumers, we’re the creators of some mouth-watering beers, too. That’s why it’s worth adding a brewery tour to your next domestic getaway—to not only taste Canadian brewmasters’ incredible creations, but to also see the process behind it.

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company – Canmore, Alberta

Located just minutes from Banff National Park, and surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Canmore is a truly beautiful spot, and the Grizzly Paw brewery is the perfect place to take in the surrounding scenery. From light bodied pilsners, malty nut browns, or the sweeter raspberry ale, the brewery offers a wide array of beers made with fresh mountain water. Book a tour of the 20,000 sq.ft. facility to learn all about the art of the craft, and bring the kids along to taste some of their caffeine-free handcrafted sodas. More info: www.thegrizzlypaw.com

Muskoka Brewery – Muskoka, Ontario

Nestled in the heart of Ontario cottage country, Muskoka Brewery prides itself on the freshness of products, the purity of ingredients, and its independence as a Canadian-owned company. Since their original, now signature 1996 brew, Muskoka Cream Ale—which remains a favourite in the Muskoka region—they’ve added a number of interesting flavours to the mix. From hoppy IPAs, chocolate raspberry stouts, lighter summer ales, and darker winter stouts, there’s a taste for everyone and tours of the brewery are available every weekend. More info: www.muskokabrewery.com

Garrison Brewery – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Located in the Halifax Seaport District, Garrison Brewery introduced the craft beer movement to Nova Scotians in 1997, with its now signature Irish Red Ale. Built in 1929, the building is visually stunning with its exposed brick walls, beautiful hardwood ceilings, iron beams, and high windows. Booking a tour will give you both an insight into the history of the brewery and a sampling of their delicious beers. Including ambers, IPAs, nut browns, and raspberry wheats, there is something for everyone to enjoy. More info: www.garrisonbrewing.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. – St. John’s, Newfoundland

The small fishing village of Quidi Vidi is located at the mouth of the harbor, just a short drive from downtown St. John’s. Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., housed in the former Cabot Seafood’s fish plant, has a distinctive ingredient—iceberg water harvested from icebergs that drift off the coast of Newfoundland, which spawned the creation of one of their renowned iceberg beer, “a gently hopped, light-bodied brew offering a clean, sparkling finish, crisp with no aftertaste.” You can try this one, along with a bunch of other award-winning brews on their guided tour. You’ll also learn the step-by-step process behind each delicious batch. More info: www.quidividibrewery.ca

Yukon Brewing – Whitehorse, Yukon

What started as an ambitious idea around a campfire on a canoe trip nearly two decades ago has grown into an award-winning brewery and one of the only suppliers of beer to the Canadian North. Formerly known as Chilkoot Brewing, the brewery, owned by two native Ontarians, gives daily tours explaining the brewing, fermentation, filtering, and packaging components with a stop off in the sampling room, where you can get a taste of any and all of their eight signature brews. And the best part is that all proceeds from the tours go to local charities. More info: www.yukonbeer.com

Church-Key Brewing – Campbellford, Ontario

Housed in an 1878 Methodist Church, this charming brewery is located in a small community of about 3,500 people in Northumberland County, halfway between Toronto and Ottawa. With nearly 15 years in the business, Church-Key has expanded its distribution to licensees and LCBOs from Cornwall to London. The brewery offers daily $5 tours, and while there is much to learn about the brew process, there is a special focus on the company’s green initiatives here. At the end of the tour you can enjoy some of the brews and a bite at their pub, The Stinking Rose. More info: www.churchkeybrewing.com

Half Pints Brewing Company – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Visitors are always welcome to tour the Half Pints brewery, and the brewers are fans of trading their creations for a local craft beer from your hometown, so be sure to come prepared. Some delicious choices to consider include four flagship beers with interesting names like Stir Stick Stout and Bulldog Amber Ale. A few seasonal gems are also in rotation, like their quirky, rainbow-labelled Queer Beer, made exclusively for the Pride Winnipeg Festival. More info: www.halfpintsbrewing.com

Paddock Wood Brewing Co. – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

When Ontarian Steve Cavan, along with his wife, moved to Saskatchewan in 1992, he encountered a big problem – there was no craft beer. The solution, he thought, was to do it himself, thus starting Saskatchewan’s first microbrewery and Canada’s indie beer. After more than two decades in the business, Paddock Wood’s pure brews can be found bottled and on-tap in some of the finest independent establishments and beer stores in Western Canada. More info: www.paddockwood.com

Driftwood Brewery – Victoria, B.C.

The newer kid on the block is Victoria’s Driftwood brewery, a project that began to develop in 2008 with a pack of ambitious pals. As soon as they built a space for their brews, they hit the ground running and have stayed busy with orders since that day. But already the brewer has become a sought-after brand, ever since Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA was named Beer of the Year at the 2011 Canadian Brewing Awards. While the team is busy bottling, filling kegs and brewing beautiful, hop & malt liquids, the brewery tours will be available in the near future. More info: www.driftwoodbeer.com

McAuslan Brewing – Montreal, Quebec

Industry Reactions to Goose Island Sale

Last week, the craft beer enthusiasts community was shocked to learn that Goose Island was sold to Anheuser-Busch/InBev for 38 Million Dollars. While acquisitions happen everyday in the business world, this particular acquisition struck a cord with craft beer fans, as they felt they’re losing one of the staples of the community to “the man.” Liking craft beer is similar to liking Indy rock music or underground hip-hop. Folks who like those sub-genres of music, or in this case like craft beer because it’s good, and because it sets them apart from those who “aren’t in the know.”

Personally, I wasn’t shocked this happened, and it doesn’t affect my craft beer enjoyment one bit. Goose Island will most likely continue pumping out the hits, and will probably be taking over some more taps, and most likely in places you haven’t seen them before. Mark my words, it won’t be the last time a darling craft brewery gets acquired by AB/IB or MillerCoors.

So the day the story broke, we watched Twitter and Facebook fill up with largely negative remarks, some were filled with anger and sadness. We wanted to find out what members of the craft beer industry thought. Here are some reactions from around the industry. Of note, Sam Calagione of Dogfish, Bryan Simpson of New Belgium, Rob Todd of Allagash and Bill Manley of Sierra Nevada all declined to comment on record. The common theme of their reply was that they didn’t have enough info to form an opinion, and the underlying tone seemed “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.” Keep in mind, there are only a few short pieces with the Hall family floating around, and of course, the official press release outlining the transaction. There may very well be a bigger story that has yet to be told, and for sure a story about the craft beer industry that is just now unfolding.

Joe Tucker, RateBeer.com – “At RateBeer, we don’t care who the owners are. We care what’s happening in the glass. There is precedent for both positive, negative and no changes related to brewery buys by larger entities so the effect of the acquisition on product quality is uncertain. With Goose Island, which is a top rated brewer at RateBeer (#10 in the world last year http://www.ratebeer.com/RateBeerBest/bestbrewers_012011.asp), I am clearly hoping their top rated beers remain completely unchanged through the transition.”

Deb Carey, President/Founder of New Glarus Brewing – “This is a tough and competitive industry John and Greg are a great team and have built a successful brewery. Dan Carey has fond memories of assisting with their start up in 1987, when he was working for JV Northwest. With so many years of hard work behind them this is not surprising. They have been happy with their AB partnership and this sounds like the logical next step. Of course, losing another American brewery to ABInBev is tough but they are keeping the plant open and retaining jobs so we will have to be grateful for that. Dan and I both hope this sale results in the chance for Greg and John to catch their breath, maybe even get a day off, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Jamie Smith, Marketing Director on behalf of Firestone Walker – “They made a business decision that made sense for them and undoubtedly will add another element of interest to the craft beer vision of AB/CBA.”

Dan Kenary President and Co-Founder, Harpoon Brewery – “I have known and liked John Hall for many years and only have good wishes for those guys as they go forward. I used to live in Chicago and know what a brutal market it is so I congratulate them for what they have accomplished. The interesting twist to this for me is why they did it and what it means for CBA. Is the A-B model now changing and will they be looking to buy 100% of craft brewers? The main concern we would have is access to market and avoiding a return to the 100% share of mind days when AB wholesalers would not carry non-AB craft beers.
We know from personal experience that all the big brewers are nosing around craft beer along with the private equity guys (e.g. Magic Hat and Long Trail). The influx of private equity/hedge fund money is changing the craft industry as well.”

Neal Taflinger – Communications Director of Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis, IN – “I spent most of my teens and early 20s in the punk rock scene and it’s interesting how many parallels there are between craft beer and the indie music world. Not just in terms of the regional scenes and collectors coveting limited release records/beers but in small brewers’ attempts to subvert the big beer business model and achieve success on a smaller, more human scale. And like some big indie record labels and punk rock bands decided over the years that partnering with major labels could better help them reach their goals, some brewers will have decided – and will again in the future – that partnering with AB InBev or SAB Miller Coors is the best thing for their company’s long-term health. Whether that’s good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. I remember being heartbroken or feeling betrayed when one of my favorite labels or bands “sold out,” but as I aged I started to understand why some of those decisions were made, even if I wouldn’t have made them for myself.

Is a bigger, stronger Goose Island bad for craft beer? I don’t think so. Is Big Beer’s influence in craft something to be feared? Maybe, but it’s inevitable so fearing it is a waste of energy. AB didn’t buy Goose Island to compete with craft brewers, it bought it to retain market share that it’s losing to craft. We’ll probably see a number of breweries sell shares to AB InBev or SAB Miller Coors in the coming years, but my gut tells me that we’ll see many more companies redouble their efforts to make great beer, creatively tinker with business models, and have a transformative impact on the economies and cultures of their respective communities.”

Tomme Arthur, Director of Brewing Operations – Port Brewing/Lost Abbey – “I know the Hall family from my travels to Chicago. I respect their accomplishments and have nothing negative to say about this deal. From my perspective, they ran a very solid business for many years. Expanding is one of the hardest (and most expensive parts about this business). We know this because in our 5 years of business, we have constantly expanded through reinvesting all of our profits. Growth costs money. In the end, they also made a decision which allowed by father and son an opportunity to choose a new direction in their life.”

Greg Koch – CEO, Co-Founder of Stone Brewing Co. – “They sold partially to the A-B group a couple years ago. It’s quite difficult to be half pregnant. Now they’ve gone all the way, and everyone knows (no wearing loose clothing to try and hide it, as they did when they sold partially a few years back to the so-called Craft Brewers Alliance which is partially owned by A-B).

Banks are practically lining up to provide financing to growing craft breweries. Bank financing is MUCH ‘cheaper’ than selling equity (or just plain selling out). Comments that the sale was necessary in order for the brewery to grow seems like it doesn’t paint a full picture. Any entrepreneur would rather bank finance, and thus not have to give a chunk of flesh, than sell equity in their company. That is, unless their balance sheet chased all the bankers away, or they simply wanted to sell out. Which is, of course, their choice. Wearing loose clothing might not work.”

DORSET: Fortnum’s X Cold Brew Tea Liqueur, Conker Distillery, Boscombe

Gives a new meaning to afternoon tea. This tea liqueur is cold-brewed for 24 hours in traditional copper stills in Dorset’s Conker Distillery, then blended with Fortnum & Mason’s signature Countess Grey black tea – so bergamot and orange flavours – and New Forest spring water. Perfect in a Champagne cocktail, served long with soda and a peach wedge or just over ice. £40.

To win a bottle of Hussingtree’s Bumbleberry gin, hit up Muddy GlosWorc’s instagram page and enter now! Worth £39.50 this award-winning, perfect autumn gin could be yours by a roaring fire by the 28th September.

And, for an extra entry which will be counted, enter here on our Reader Treats page too.

Watch the video: The 20 Best Pilsner Beers, According to Beer Makers Themselves

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