Our tour of the St. Austell Brewery was really interesting – I’ll post more details and some pictures in one of the other sections of the web site when I get time. The fact that we got the tour for free as part of the hotel deal through the St. Austell Brewery CAMRA Club was an additional bonus. If you’re ever in the area and you get the opportunity, I would really recommend it – it’s not expensive (if, unlike us, you have to pay for it) – adults £5 if you’re a CAMRA member, £7 if you aren’t – and that includes vouchers for two free half pints at the Visitor Centre bar afterwards. Details on the brewery website.
The culmination of the tour was, of course, sampling the wares in the Visitor Centre bar. We were given (small) samples of any of the beers, then we each had two vouchers for half a pint of whichever beer we wanted. Needless to say, we sampled a few of them!
The Black Prince was interesting – described as a “black ale” rather than a stout, one of the brewery staff described it as a “dark mild”, and it certainly wasn’t as bitter as I had been expecting – I thought it would be a bit heavy for a lunchtime, even though it weighs in at 4%, so I decided to leave a proper tasting of this until another day.
Clouded Yellow is a bottle-conditioned wheat beer, flavoured with spices. We were given two samples – one poured without disturbing the sediment, and the other one with the bottle shaken to disturb the settled yeast. Everyone in the tour party thought the clear one tasted better, with the subtle flavours not being overpowered by the taste of the yeast.
Now to the star of the show as far as I’m concerned – an IPA called Proper Job. I thought the Tribute was good, as I said in my previous post, but this is even better. As with the Tribute, it was originally brewed as a seasonal beer, but it proved to be so popular that the brewery continued to make it. It’s 4.5%, which is not strong for an IPA (though the bottled version comes in at 5.5%). It is powerfully hopped, light, dry, citrussy…..and delicious. Guess where my two vouchers (and one of Sarah’s) went! Good job Sarah was driving!
We brought back a few bottles for sampling at home – obviously the bottled versions will be different from the cask versions, but it will be interesting to see how they compare.