Wednesday 29 July 2009

The Blue Anchor, Helston, Cornwall

I’ve wanted to go to this pub for years.
An old thatched pub, at one point it was one of only five remaining brew pubs in Britain, a left over from the days when most pubs brewed their own beer. And if that wasn’t enough it’s also been in every edition of the Good Beer Guide.

Having also associated Helston with the Blue Anchor I was slightly surprised on arrival to see that the town sign fails to mention the pub, instead proudly proclaiming that Helston is home of the Furry Dance. I’d never heard of this but it sounded reminiscent of a Wicker Man style pagan fertility ritual. I don’t know what the locals get up to in deepest Cornwall but I thought if they start building a big bonfire I’m out of here.

The pub was one of those odd mid-terraced thatched buildings, where the surrounding buildings have tiles. Inside it was all you could hope for in an old pub: two small rooms on either side of the bar, a large covered smoking area outside and further rooms along the side. We managed to get some rocking chairs beside the fire place which I’m sure would be prime spots in Winter.

The beers were nothing special, all being a bit sweet and under-hopped for my taste. This worked best in the strongest beer: Spingo Special (6.6% ABV). It’s dangerous territory knocking back things this strong by the pint, and having already had the Spingo IPA and Middle before I got to this one I took the rare step of ordering a half. After already having a pint of it that is, you don’t want to go too far with this moderation malarkey.

I declined getting any of the beers in bottles, though they were all available. I’ve had Spingo Special in bottle twice before with mixed results. One time it was horrible infected and the other it was delicious. The higher carbonation of bottle conditioned beers compared to cask really offset the sweetness making an excellent strong ale. But as I still had plenty of beers from Sharp’s in the car I didn’t fancy taking a gamble this time.



  1. Halves are a good thing to go for in situations where great numbers of quality beers are available so you can get through more different ones. Isnt the Anchor the oldest brew pub in the UK? I read somewhere it was.

  2. I think they said it had been around for 500 years, not all as a pub though.

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    - St Austell