I’ve been on more brewery tours than I can remember and I’m not sure that I can remember this one already, and the reason for that is I spent more time in the brewery bar than I did going around the brewery itself.
I’m not complaining mind you, because all the samples were free. No mucking about with half pints here – straight in with pints – and that’s before the start of the tour.
There were 10 of us doing the tour – some from England, some from the U.S. and some from France, and together we sat with our drinks and watched an introductory film about how the family brewery started up – as well as finding out who Betty Stogs is!
Skinner’s is only a young brewery and situated in a modern(ish) unit opposite the Truro River. As such the actual tour doesn’t take a great deal of time. We were shown the usual process of how malt, hops and yeast are turned into barrels of beer, and after what seemed like only 5 minutes, we were back in the bar trying out more beers.
By the time I left the brewery I didn’t feel inclined to do much else, so I wandered along the riverside back into town – and into the Old Ale House – where who should be in there but none other than some of the other people that were on the tour.
The Old Ale House has always been my favourite pub in Truro, and until a few years ago it was a Free House (a pub that could sell what beers it wanted), but for some reason, the proprietors left, and Skinner’s stepped in and turned it into their ‘Brewery Tap’ (a brewery’s flagship pub for want of a better description).
The downside of all this is that the pub no longer sells the vast array of independent beers from the barrels behind the bar that it used to, but to Skinner’s credit they haven’t changed the pub at all.
It’s not just the beers that are kept in barrels, but free monkey nuts as well. This tradition has been going on ever since I can remember, and when you’ve finished tucking into them don’t worry about throwing the shells on the floor as they help to keep the wooden floorboards well oiled.
They do have some guest beers on offer, but naturally they concentrate on selling their own brands including ‘Betty Stogs’ , but who was Betty Stogs?
For the answer to that you’ll need to leave the car behind and come down to Truro by train and take the Skinner’s Brewery Tour yourself. Just don’t blame me if you’re late for work the next day.
What’s my preference? I’ll have a pint of Portleven thanks.