Microbreweries have been enjoying a renaissance since real ale became the beverage of choice for people young and old. If sampling local, bespoke beers brewed by people in the know is your thing – you’re in the right place.
With flagstone floors, low beams, open fireplaces and thick stone walls, this 17th Century pub is the quintessential country pub. In summer, make the most of the pleasant surroundings and enjoy your drink or meal in the pretty front garden. Beers come from Sharp’s Brewery in Rock or one of the many Cornish microbreweries. One of them, Glory Ale, is brewed especially for the pub and is used in the homemade steak and Glory Ale pie. As well as the pub’s own local twist on a traditional pie, local produce also features strongly on the blackboard menu, including Cornish crab, Cornish pasties (of course), Mr Kittow's sausages (from the local butcher) and a good choice of fish dishes.
Photo: The Crown Inn, Lanlivery, Cornwall
This red-brick village pub was originally a farmhouse, built in the 1840s by the head gardener of nearby Avington House. The rustic public bar and the cosy saloon feature period open firesplaces. A large garden allows young ones to let off steam. Award-winning beers like Pots Ale or Diggers Gold are brewed in the microbrewery across the way. Simple and honest pub food is the order of the day: toasted sandwiches, jacket potatoes, and tasty hotpots served with crusty bread, basmati rice or jacket potato. And on Wednesday, there’s a Punjabi curry night.
Housed in a three-storey Victorian grainstore, this microbrewery produces beers and ciders from the finest quality hops and ingredients. Guests can sample them in the pub’s taptoom or enjoy one of the wide range over a wholesome meal, where the ales play an important part in some of the recipes. With tours of the brewery available and a full diary of events, there are plenty of reasons to make a trip here.
Photo: The Grainstore Brewery, Rutland
Tucked away behind The Black Bull Inn & Hotel is the Coniston Brewery, where Ian Bradley uses local mountain water to brew his award-winning real ales and lagers. Try a pint of Bluebird Bitter, which commemorates Donald Campbell’s attempts on the world water speed record, or perhaps an Old Man Ale, named after the local 2,634-ft mountain. Stay a while longer and make time for a hearty meal at this traditional Lakeland pub.
Schoolboy humour is on the menu at this popular brewery complex on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Besides the guided brewery tours, you can simply call in to eat and drink in the stylish bistro and bar. In just 13 years, Black Sheep ales have achieved a national reputation. Dishes like lamb shank in Emmerdale Ale sauce and Riggwelter casserole make the most of the brewery’s own ales. Other signature dishes include roast local pheasant, poached salmon or Provençale vegetable tartlet.
Photo: The Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
Located in the centre of Moulin and very close to bustling Pitlochry, this traditional Scottish pub has been dispensing hospitality for over 300 years. The on-site microbrewery offers a range of refreshing beers, including Ale of Atholl, Braveheart, Light Ale and Old Remedial. There's a good choice too of malt whiskies and wines. Plus, a range of rooms if you need to sleep it off. The excellent food is marked by the rich flavour of local game, including strips of local venison, pan-fried in Braveheart beer.
This historic pub really puts the ‘ale’ in ‘Corvedale’ with its range of brews from the on-site brewery. Landlord Norman Pearce brews beers such as Dale Ale and Normans Pride in what was the pub’s old chicken and lumber shed, and has won numerous award and accolades. And it’s not just the beer that’s award-winning: the inn has been voted best village pub in Shropshire, amongst other things, and is well worth a visit for its delicious food.
This pretty, whitewashed country pub on the banks of the River Creedy houses Devon’s oldest working microbrewery. After tucking into a hearty home-cooked meal, head downstairs to the viewing gallery where you can take a peek into the brewery itself and see the beer being made, while memorabilia on display will give you a taste of the pub’s history. Their beers are available to take away in various sizes so guests can continue their sampling at home.
Photo: The Beer Engine, Devon