Sunday in Bude – glorious autumn sun, rolling waves, but it’s a different sort of barrel I’m here for.
It’s the middle of the afternoon and the Barrel at Bude micropub is filled to capacity. Acoustic singer guitarist Michael Guild is captivating the drinkers, but the object of my drive up from Hayle is on the solid wooden bar top.
Micropub owners Ian and Rachel O’Hare and Dowr Kammel Brewing’s Simon and Justine Carruthers have teamed up to create a bespoke range of brews for the venue, with one launched in bottle already and two other available on tap.
Having, unfortunately, to drive, I went for half of the 6% ABV Lager, happy to find that the malt bill included Vienna Malt. I’m a sucker for Vienna malt which delicious richness, smoothness and a deep, yet not cloying sweetness. Interestingly, though, the beer – in fact all of Simon’s beers – features his own Cornish-grown Perle hops. Being in the Camel Valley, he enjoys growing conditions similar to the vineyard and these seem to favour hops.
An 8.5% ABV Pilsner was also on tap, and the plan is for both of these beers to be bottled soon. I took with me the one bottled beer so far, Tripel Barrel (10% ABV), Simon’s take on a hearty Belgian tripel. I haven’t had it yet – it’s on the desk in front of me and might as well be wearing a ‘drink me’ label, but it is only 10am so I’ll delay that gratification for now.
Dowr Kammel (Cornish for ‘crooked river’) was set up by Simon and Justine, in 2015. Coming to the industry via home brewing, Simon had been a builder for 20 years. The beers have gained a good following in North Cornwall and are also seen at venues such as the Blisland Inn.
The Barrel and Bude, meanwhile, goes from strength to strength, focusing on Cornish beers, but also with a good selection of cider, gins and even a proper ginger beer. It opens from Thursday to Sunday – check the times on the Facebook page.