Thursday, 16 July 2009

Day 4 - South West Coast - St Austell - St Austell Brewery

From Eden, it’s a five minute drive to St Austell Brewery, where you can ponder the future of the earth over several pints of real ale. The brewing company has more than 170 pubs in the south west of England, where you can enjoy their five or so different types of beers. It’s been in the family for five generations, and when you do the brewery tour you get the feeling that they really do love their beer.

It’s not contrived or commercial at all – if you love beer, then do the tour, especially because you can sample all the different ales. St Austell’s beer lasts only 6 weeks in the cask, because they don’t use any chemicals or preservatives. And the brewing water is still sourced from the same spring that was originally used.

Jeremy Mitchell at the brewery looks after all the different pubs in Cornwall, and has spent plenty of time visiting all 173 of them. So he knows the area like the bottom of a beer bottle. His top picks of things to do and see in the region:

- Charleston, for its famous tall ships.
- Fowey (pronounced “Foy”), because it’s a pretty but un-touristy coastal village.
- Veryan, because there are two thatched houses which are round: locals believed that the devil could hide around square corners.
- Halford Passage, because there’s a famous oyster farm there
- Gweek, for its seal sanctuary
- Lizard Point, the southernmost point on the British mainland.
- Porthcurno, firstly because you can suntan naked – there’s a nudist beach there. And secondly, the Minnack open air theatre is apparently spectacular and hosts shows every night in summer.
- Watergate Bay, to visit Jamie Oliver’s restaurant called “15 Cornwall”.
- St Meryn, to enjoy another celebrity chef’s food: fish and chips at Rick Stein’s Cornish Arms
- The whole coast between Newquay and Padstow...there are at least seven long beaches, all with decent surf breaks. Jeremy grew up in St Agnes, whose nearby beach has a particularly good reputation amongst local surfers.

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