South Africa Cape Town Show

sa show

At the end of May Penpont’s beer made a long journey to South Africa to be shared with visitors to the Cape Town Good Food and Drink Show.

We took along a range of our beers which were provided as samples by our two lovely helpers .

Feedback was brilliant and they all went down really well with people asking where they could buy them.

“Stand was definitely taken care of by some lovely people, but not as fantastic as the beer, was very fortunate to be there to taste the beer!! look forward to it hitting our shelves here in Cape Town!! keep up the fantastic beer!!!”

“Lovely beer. Being an expat I do miss my real ales. Please guys get this beer on sale in the Mother city soon.”

We are now talking to a number of importers in South Africa and hope to launch soon.

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Joe becomes a Beer Sommelier

joe sommilier

Our very own Joe Thomson (pictured) who most of you will know as Penpont‘s Brewer and Managing Directcr, has become only the second person in the county to qualify as a beer sommelier.

Designed to provide accredited recognition of beer styles and beer and food matching and to further knowledge about hop identification and flavours, the qualification is run by the Beer Academy.

Four and a half years ago, Joe, who was working in a pub at the time, persuaded local farmer Stephen Medlicott to partner him in a venture to launch Penpont Brewery. Together they converted one of Stephen’s redundant milking parlours for the purpose and Joe, who is self-taught, quickly set about developing a new range of beers, becoming one of the country’s youngest brewers in the process.

Since then, Penpont Brewery has gone from strength to strength, winning SIBA gold awards in 2011 and 2012 and, as well as supplying Cornish beer wholesale to all parts of the UK, exporting to both Canada and Russia.

“I decided to do the beer sommelier course because I want to learn as much as I possibly can about all aspects of the industry,” said Joe.  “The additional knowledge and experience is already proving useful in helping us develop a new range of beers with assertive flavours that stand alone but also go well with food. It’s an exciting new phase in our growth strategy, adding niche products to our existing range.”

Penpont’s beers include An Howl which won a gold Taste of the West bottled beer award, Penpont Porter, which won several awards at the SIBA South West Beer competition and Penpont Ginger Beer, which won gold at the SIBA South West Festival.ving useful in helping us develop a new range of beers with assertive flavours that stand alone but also go well with food. It’s an exciting new phase in our growth strategy, adding niche products to our existing range.”

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What is a Growler?

A growler is a glass or ceramic jug used to transport draft beer. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer. The exploding growth of craft breweries and the growing popularity of home brewing has also led to an emerging market for the sale of collectible growlers.

Growlers are generally made of glass and have either a screw-on cap or a hinged porcelain gasket cap, which can provide freshness for a week or more. A properly sealed growler will hold carbonation indefinitely and will store beer like any other sanitized bottle. Some growler caps are equipped with valves to allow replacement of CO2 lost while racking. The modern glass growler was first introduced by Charlie and Ernie Otto of Otto Brother’s Brewing Company in 1989.[1]

The two most popular colors for growlers are amber (a brownish hue) or clear (often referred to as “flint”). Clear growlers are often 25% – 35% cheaper per unit than their amber counterparts. Glass handles are the most common type of handle for growlers, although metal handles (with more ornate designs) can also be found. Some growlers do not have handles – this is especially common with growlers smaller than 64 oz. that have Grolsch-style flip-tops.[2] 

The term likely dates back to the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one’s home by means of a small galvanized pail. It is claimed the sound that the CO2 made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around sounded like a growl. [3]

The History

1930s growler

circa 1930s

Otto Bros growler


Shortly after opening Wyoming’s first modern draft-only microbrewery, Charlie Otto was faced with a dilemma. He lamented to his father that customers were able to get his beers at bars but were not able to take them home. In response, his father said “You need some sort of growler!” Perplexed, Charlie asked, “What the heck is a growler?”

His father remembered filling up small metal pails at the local tavern and bringing home this fresh beer for his father, Charlie’s grandfather. Intrigued, Charlie investigated, and soon found an old growler in his father’s attic. In the dictionary a growler is defined as 1. A small iceberg, 2. A vessel for carrying beer. These covered pails were quite possibly called “growlers” because the lid made a rumbling sound as the carbon dioxide escaped from under the lid.

The light clicked on! Knowing that the health department might be more inclined to allow a glass container instead of a metal pail, Charlie moved forward, single-handedly bringing growlers back into modern usage. In 1989 he bought an small Atlas hand silk screener and began silk screening ½ gallon glass cider jugs with the brewery logo. These jugs were filled and re-filled at the brewery and liquor stores around town. And the rest, as they say, is history! Today, the use of glass growlers by beer patrons is estimated to have stopped over 1 billion cans and bottles from going into the trash each year[1]

  1. ^ “History of Growlers”. Grand Teton Brewing Company. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  2. ^ “Complete Guide To Buying Growlers”. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  3. ^ “The Growler: Beer-to-Go!”. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  4. Wikipedia
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Music Inspired Beers

penpont beer listening to ACDC

Here at Penpont we have been reading an interesting blog on music that inspired beer.

There is certainly something special about drinking beer and listening to music and not just in the UK but worldwide.

Paste, have published a list of 10 beer inspired by music from across the world which you can read here.

We listen to all sorts of stuff at the brewery and have even tried playing music to our brews.


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Winning Ingredient

Winning Pie with Crucial Ingredient

Grumpies Steak and Ale Pie has been named as the top pie in Cornwall and it contains our very own Roughtor Ale.

They also do a steak and ale pie called the Beast of Bodmin which uses our ale of the same name.

The pies can be found across Cornwall and even in Harrods don’t you know!

The Top 5 were put together by Cornwall Food and Drink as part of British Pie Week.

Read more about the Top 5 on This is Cornwall

Find out more about Grumpies delicious pies by visiting their website

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Penpont Goes To Canada and USA

Penpont Goes To Canada and USA

Welcome to a blog post from Amy. I’ve started working for the brewery as we gear up for a busy year of sharing our beer with the rest of the world. We’ve been told it’s just too good to keep to ourselves in England!

Today marks the start of an exciting 10 days for Penpont Brewery.  Joe, Managing Director and Head Brewer is going on his travels to visit our wholesalers in Canada and then onto the USA.

He will leave London for Canada, where he will meet our current importers and begin a busy 5 days of talking with lots of potential and current stockists. Hopefully he’ll also have some time to sample the local beers!

The trip then continues with a flight down to Washington, USA to visit to The Craft Beer Conference. The conference is a jam packed 4 days that offers brewers “education and idea sharing to improve brewery quality and performance”. With “5,000 brewing industry professionals enjoying craft brews together” it is also a social event. The CBC is run in conjunction with “BrewExpo America® to allow exhibitors and buyers to develop business relationships and helps brewing and brewery restaurant professionals encounter the latest and best products and services in the industry”. Take a look at the website to find out more

So all in all a busy and exciting time up until Easter both here and abroad!

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Beer and Food Night – Truro

Penpont and Azure Sky Food and Beer Night

Friday saw the first Penpont Food and Beer Night. We teamed up with local restaurant, Azure Sky, in Truro to put on a night of local food matched with our Penpont Beer. The restaurant was full and there was a real buzz with people enjoying the delicious food, made from locally sourced ingredients.

enjoying the food

Customers enjoying their food in the lovely Azure Sky restaurant.

silent knight in glass

Penpont Silent Knight that accompanied the main course.



The starter was Fowey mussels, steamed in orange and coriander infused Cornish Arvor ale served with beer sourdough.

This was matched with our An Howl ale to provide orange, melon and citrus hop notes along with a great mellowing malt flavour.  

Main Course










The main course was a duo of slider burgers with handcut chips, homemade mayonnaise and relish.

One burger was a classic beef burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. The second was a lamb burger, lightly spiced, served on pitta bread with Greek salad and tzatziki.

This was matched with Silent Knight, a lightly spiced ale.


porter cake










The dessert was porter chocolate cake, served with mulled An Howl ale ganache, caramel drops and Chantilly cream.

This was matched with Ginger Beer to provide a refreshing accompaniment.  

More than just food…

Throughout the evening Joe, Head Brewer, at Penpont talked to people about the courses and beer.

Feedback from the evening was that everyone had a great time and left feeling very full and having tasted a good range of beers.

Looking forward

We’re now looking forward to our next evening in St Ives on Saturday 9th March.

If you’ve got a suggestion of where we should go throughout the rest of the year let us know!

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Craft Beer Rising – February 2013

Craft Beer Rising February 2013

At the end of February we took our beer to the Craft Beer Rising Beer Festival in The Old Trewman Brewery, Brick Lane, London.

The team started with a long road trip, culminating in a drive through central London. Quite a shock for us country bumpkins from the middle of Bodmin Moor!

It was the first time the event had been run and all the tickets had sold out so we knew we were in for a busy few days.

craft beer rising glass beer

After setting up our stall, the Friday started with a trade show where we met lots of great people from pubs, restaurants and bars all across the UK. We also met some interesting beer writers and reviewers and other people involved in craft beer.

Friday night and Saturday saw the public beer festival, accompanied by a range of talks and music for folks who wanted to dance.

We took along six casks – four of our tried and tested popular brews: Shipwreck Coast, Cornish Gold, Beast of Bodmin, An Howl. At the event we launched two new beers: An Howl Reserve and Monks Brew 1127. Our Ginger Beer in bottles was also available.

By lunchtime on Saturday our popular Ginger Beer had sold out with people hearing about it around the festival and coming to taste it.

Our An Howl Reserve also sold out, proving very popular for its hoppy flavour and being very drinkable despite an ABV of 7%!

All the beers were appreciated by the visitors to the Craft Beer Rising and we had some brilliant feedback. We will no doubt be back next year and are looking forward to building on the momentum of this event to share our beer in the London area!

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Launceston Augustine Beer

Augustine Beer

Our local town, Launceston, has a particularly unremarkable brewing history as far as the last few hundred years are concerned. However look a little further into the past it looks a little better, from 1127 until the dissolution in 1539, a priory ran by Augustine monks resided in Launceston. This priory became the richest of it’s kind in Cornwall, acquiring lands from all over North Cornwall and Devon.

As far as brewing was concerned, beer was brewed both for consumption amongst the residents at the priory, and for sale to raise funds. The priory were granted exclusive rights to sell their beer on the bridge that was the only crossing point of the river running past the site. The Priory was established by William Warelwast, the Bishop of Exeter at the time, who was originally from Normandy, where he would have learnt his trade. Interestingly the styles of beer now thought of as Belgian or Trappist abbey ales were developed in Normandy, before various wars drove the monks into Belgium. We can be sure that William Warelwast would have brought over his brewing knowledge learnt with the Augustine Monks of Normandy, and taught the newly resident Friars of Launceston.
Of what we know of beers brewed at that time, beers that would have been brewed to sell (and therefore be stored for longer than the weak beers brewed for everyday consumption) would have been strong in alcohol as most the wild yeasts/bacteria producing the most unpleasant off-flavours can’t survive at high alcohol/sugar levels. Hopping levels would have been low, although there is evidence of hops being used on the continent so this may have been brought over. More likely other ingredients such as Juniper and Rosemary would have been used to flavour the beer. These beers would have been fairly sweet with malt flavours predominating, possibly with some smoky flavours from the woodsmoke used to kiln the malt.
This is our view of it anyway, based on our research of what evidence there is of religious brewing recipes of the time. So much of that period is unwritten in history there is always going to be some guesswork involved, but now to look forward to the first tasting of our version based on this evidence. It’s all brewed, and a first tasting will be at Craft Beer Rising on the 22nd of February 2013.

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Tasting Our Cornish White Ale

Tasting Cornish White Ale

A couple of weeks ago we brewed a test batch of Cornish White Ale, a now extinct style of beer brewed with eggs and flour, along with malted barley and very little hopping. Fairly unappetizing sounding then, yet it did survive as a popular drink for hundreds of years, whether because it was cheap or maybe people actually liked it. Either way, now that the batch was brewed it had to be tried, and actually it was no way near as bad as I thought it would be. You couldn’t taste the egg at all, I don’t know what the egg contributes and why it was traditionally added (maybe a microbiologist could help with that?) but it came out as a fairly drinkable, fairly bland ale. There was a hint of ginger, which we added in accordance to the traditional recipes, but other than that it was just the taste from the malt as a fairly full bodied 4% ale. In traditional recipes wild yeasts would probably have been used, which would have changed the outcome completely compared to our use of brewers yeast, (although there was mention of using brewers yeast in some references to white ale).

General conclusion then was that Cornish White Ale, or our version at least,  didn’t taste as bad as the recipe suggests, a little bland but perfectly drinkable. Wouldn’t want to keep it around  for long though as I’m sure the egg will cause something horrible to happen sooner or later. Cheers!

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