I need a drink! Doom Bar

Monday 24 July (2006)

Here’s a new feature for you to get excited about, you rascals! It’s not a regular feature like the Sunday Reviews, but if I’m lucky I’ll get to update it quite often. The premise is very simple: if I come across a drink (invariably alcoholic) that I like, I’ll put it under this heading. After a while it should turn into a veritable database of good drinks – and the world will always need those. To get the ball rolling here’s a great beer from the Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall: Doom Bar.

doom bar bitter

Before I start I have to mention here, I discovered this beer when I was staying at Sally’s house. Thus, you might as well say (sigh) that if it weren’t for her, I would never have known it existed. Shit, she may as well have brewed it herself.

Anyway! There’s a pub in her little hamlet (actually; there are three, a fact which is astonishing when you consider that there are only actually seven people who live there) called ‘The Bell’ which is the perfect cross between friendly local and country pub, with reasonable prices to boot. As a pub, I recommend it heartily, although my enjoyment of it stems mostly from the fact that whenever I’m there it feels like I’m on holiday. Either way, regardless of how much you like the place, the one thing you can’t knock is their local ale (actually not that local, as Sally lives in Somerset) which is the aforementioned Doom Bar bitter.

The way I approach English ales is much the same way as I approach wine: I know a bit, but not a lot – I’m not a connoisseur, but I have good instincts. To me, it’s about the name of the beer, and what the logo on the tap looks like. For instance, if the logo is some amazing piece of work which was clearly expensive, then it puts me off – it doesn’t come off like a small-time producer churning out barrels that have care and attention to them. Similarly, if it just looks shit, it’s hardly appetising. The name is the most important thing though, and I’m not going to drink a pint called ‘Monkey’s Armpit’ or something like that. No, I prefer something more enigmatic – something that catches the eye – and ‘Doom Bar’ certainly does that.

All this aside, the only factor which really matters with a drink is how it tastes – I’m the first to admit I’ve got it wrong before, and some of the nicest ales I’ve had have had awful names and boring logos – such is life, I suppose. Doom Bar tastes very, very nice. It’s 4% so it doesn’t get you too intoxicated, which is a good thing because it’s a very more-ish beer. It’s one of those sneaky ones with subtle flavours that makes it very easy to drink, and lingers behind just long enough to make you want another. According to the online profile, it’s been up for a few awards in recent years, and this doesn’t surprise me.

The bad news: I’ve only seen this in the south-west of England. I have no doubt some supermarkets around the country will sell it bottled, but I’m yet to find one. And, as I live in Gloucestershire these days, I’d say that getting this on tap anywhere further away from Cornwall than Somerset is unlikely. But that’s one of the things I love about ale in England – each county has its own treasures, which means you keep on tasting new beers all the time.

If you find yourself somewhere in the South-West and come across this beer, have a pint – it’s great.

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12 Responses to “I need a drink! Doom Bar”

  1. Sally Says:

    Don’t you mean south-west? Tut-tut.

  2. Sally Says:

    You forgot to change the 2nd one – last paragraph? 😛

  3. Sally Says:

    That’s better. 🙂

  4. Stephan Says:

    I’ve just returned from a trip to Cornwall and also discovered this delightful brew. You can buy it online from http://www.doombar.com/ but it works out quite expensive (heavy shipping). I’m trying to find a local source but without much luck so far.

  5. Joe Says:

    Thanks for all the comments on Doom bar. We at the brewery are very proud of this beer and we will take on board your comments on delivery costs via the website.

    In the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to Sharps beer in the local area by cask or bottle.

    Kind Regards

    Joe Keohane (Director)

  6. Alex Says:

    Doom Bar is simply a great drink, and as I live in the heart of Cornwall, I’m fortunate enough to have several locals that stock it.

    Unfortunately, I’m soon going to be moving to Cardiff. Does anyone know if this city has a pub which stocks Doom Bar? I was hoping, as it’s a big city, maybe it’ll have some speciality pubs. Failing that, if anyone knows of a pub in Cardiff that stocks any Sharps beer? I’ve noticed several supermarkets stocking bottles of various Sharps ales, so I suppoose I could stock up on those, but its just not the same!

    Any help appreciated,
    Alex

  7. Jim Says:

    Discovered Doom Bar on holiday in Cornwall last year (2005)… lovely stuff… may have had a few 🙂 Looking back, there were two beers I really liked from that trip… Doom Bar and Eden Ale, as it turns out, both are from Sharps. I was looking at the Sharps website just last night and debating how much shipping would be, but don’t think it would survive the trip to Toronto, Canada. Must get myself back to Cornwall.

  8. paul Says:

    Doom Bar Found a bar in Soho selling it as beer of the week, yet to see it in a supermarket on the bottle bitter section, would do well there.

  9. Twigathy Says:

    “The Dolphin” in Canterbury occasionally has this on tap. It’s good stuff. 🙂

  10. James Says:

    I’m from the Stratford-upon-Avon area, and I’m glad to say its available in a few local pubs around this area. Love the stuff! 🙂

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