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24 September 2014

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Peter Martin (left) the overall festival champion

Beer today, gone tomorrow

Around 12,500 pints of beer were consumed in this year's CAMRA Beer Festival in Falmouth. The overall winner of champion of the festival was brewed in tiny 'bathtub brewery' in Stithians.

It must be thirsty work going to Beer Festivals in Cornwall.

Falmouth's Beer Festival saw visitors consume 12,500 pints of beer and 2,000 pints of cider in two rather hazy days. The Sunday opening had to be cancelled as 3,000 happy samplers had left the festival dry!

Colin Tranah from Wheal Maiden Cider
Colin Tranah looked after the cider

In the event, the local brewers walked away with five gold awards out of the six on offer for the various styles of beer, as well as taking trophies as overall Champions of the Festival.

The Cornwall branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA Kernow), which organised the festival, invited landlord Brian Bazeley of the Ring O'Bells Inn, St. Columb Major to bring a team of independent tasters to the festival on the Friday morning to work through all of the beers, awarding points for such qualities as appearance, aroma, condition, taste and aftertaste.

To everyone's surprise - not least that of the brewer himself, Peter Martin - the Champion Beer of the Festival was declared to be Pete's Porter, a dark and sweetish brew made in the tiny brewhouse of the Bathtub Brewery in Stithians, at the back of the Seven Stars Inn.

CAMRA Kernow members
Beer festival organisers

The brewery itself is Cornwall's smallest, being tucked into a shed at the Seven Stars Inn in Stithians.  Not much bigger than a home-brew plant, it is only capable of brewing 50 litres (88 pints) at a time, which is just enough to fill the familiar standard beer cask or firkin of 72 pints capacity. 

Pete insists that his operation is too small to be called even a micro-brewery.  "More of a nano-brewery", he says. 

By comparison St. Austell Brewery produces the equivalent of 600 firkins of real ale in a single brew-up.

"Now I'll have to get brewing again", added Pete, who as a sculptor spends much of his time in his workshop at Four Lanes hewing stone into artistic shapes to order. 

With less than seven weeks to go before the winter beer festival at the pub in Stithians, he needs to move fast to produce the same award-winning brew by then.

last updated: 27/10/06
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