There’s been a lot of talk lately about the term craft beer but I’m just going to say craft and carry on. Not least because it is the subject of the next Beertalkers podcast and I don’t want to spoil the programme for you. However, for clarity in relation to drinking establishments, to me it implies one that sells a wide selection of non-mainstream brews dispensed in a variety of ways (cask, keg and bottle).
Now we’ve got that out of the way let me tell you the exciting news that a craft beer bar has opened less than 10 miles from my house. Woo hoo! (As they say).
Teign Cellars was formerly a small speciality beer shop in a side street close to Newton Abbot town centre, owners Chris and Stuart had been looking to branch out for some time and now they have. Taking over a building that was previously an average boozer (I use the term generically because I never went to the pub in question) called The Greene Man, they have moved their shop to the new premises and opened a bar too.
I attended their launch party last week and did a dance of glee at the beers on offer. Cornwall’s Harbour Brewing had a big presence on the bar with three of their brews available in keg and among others there was also Flying Dog’s ‘Doggie Style’ pale ale (5.5%) – which I tried for the first time – a bronzed golden glass of delightfully thirst quenching tropical fruit bitterness mixed with barley-sugared maltiness.
I followed it up with one of the Harbour beers. An 8.7% Imperial Chocolate Stout (No. 1) apparently aged in Jack Daniels whisky barrels. A slight red hue when I held it to the light and a buff-coloured head were the two subtle shades that broke up the blackness of the brew which although it had some pleasing rich roastiness to it did feel a little like drinking a beer-flavoured version of JD and coke.
Cask beer is also on offer via two pumps on the bar and two jacketed casks on a stillage. On the night of the launch these included one from another Cornish name, The Rebel Brewing Co (who I must add make a jolly tasty brew recently enjoyed by Beer Husband and myself – 80 Shilling, a scotch ale) and from my old friends Art Brew from Dorset. Expect also a regular local cask ale which Chris and Stuart hope to be able to offer at just £1.85 per pint.
That the launch party featured a superior buffet including obligatory sandwiches but also lovely smoked salmon and cream cheese wraps, chicken kebab skewers with mushroom and cherry tomatoes and generous hunks of tiger bread with crudités type veg tucked inside bodes well for plans to not just to serve food at Teign Cellars but also to develop a beer and food matched menu.
You can also expect beer tastings and meet the brewer events bringing the best of the craft beer movement – until now largely restricted to metropolitan areas – to this Devon market town.
So… plan your trips to the Westcountry with a visit to Teign Cellars in mind. It is easy to jump off the train en route to Cornwall as you’ll likely have to change at Newton Abbot anyway or make a stop overnight if you’re driving; or if you are already in Devon take note that trains from Newton’ to Plymouth or Exeter run till quite late so it is perfectly possible to have a decent night out and get back without any hassle.
You can have a double plus good beery experience in Newton Abbot by also visiting Tuckers Maltings – one of only four malthouses in England that still produce malt in the traditional way and the the only Maltings in England open for regular guided tours – and its fabulous beer shop as well.
What are you waiting for? It’s all happening in Newton Abbot. Book a trip now before everyone else discovers this new beery Mecca.