The Plymouth Adventure

Saturday 21 January 2017

The Plymouth Beer tour with a Plymouth Gin twist The Famous Five (oh and a few others!) Cross the Bridge into Devon

On Saturday 21st January a grand representative group of CAMRA Kernow members caught various trains over the border into Devon, to alight at Plymouth for a trip to the Plymouth Gin distillery. Now, you might say this is not the usual beer trip that CAMRA members are so good at – and you would be right, it was a beer tour with a gin twist!

We gathered in the Gog and Magog next to Plymouth Gin for a quick one to whet our whistles before starting our tour of the Gin Distillery at 12.30pm. The guide gave us a very comprehensive history of Plymouth Gin which started its life in 1793. We learnt about the distilling process as well as having the opportunity to examine and smell the botanicals used to flavour Plymouth Gin. This was followed by the much anticipated tasting of the gin mixed with a drop of water, which enabled us to appreciate the delicious gin flavour. A sample of Sloe Gin was also enjoyed. We adjourned to the cocktail bar for a Gin and Tonic, packed with lots of ice and felt that we could sit in the bar all day working our way through the cocktail list, but no….the Pub Crawl awaited…

Dickie from Plymouth CAMRA had very kindly put together a very comprehensive list and map of the pubs we could visit, both in the Barbican area and en route back to the station. At 1.30pm we met up with the rest of the group in the Queen’s Arms ready to start drinking beer and visiting pubs. The group had grown to about 35 of us by now. The Maritime on Southside Street was next on our list and we split up, some to eat and others to visit this pub and some of the other pubs on the route separately. This turned out to be a good idea since we weren’t all queueing at the bar for a drink at the same time! Throughout the tour we kept bumping into each other and this kept everyone chatting over their pints.

Part of the group moved on to The Ship on Quay Road, a very busy St Austell Brewery pub, then into the Dolphin, a historical pub on the Barbican, well known for its draught Bass served straight from the barrel. On our visit it had 8 different beers on the bar, served by gravity. It is also the setting of several of the artist Beryl Cook’s paintings, some of which are displayed on the walls.

Classic photobombing by a passer-by – perhaps we should have signed him up to CAMRA! Yes, there really were other people on our tour, not just these two!

Next some of us ventured up the hill and off to the right to find the Fisherman’s Arms, tucked in behind the Barbican. An open fire and large armchairs greeted us in this Freehouse, definitely a pub to sit in cosily on a cold winter’s day. We lingered longer in this pub before moving back down the hill to The Minerva where we found half the group installed on long benches and tables. We were happy to join them and partake of the beer in the oldest pub in Plymouth – dating from 1540.

It was recommended that we then go ‘off piste’ and try out the Bread and Roses pub, Plymouth’s only Social Enterprise pub for community and arts events. The pub was very interesting architecturally and the beer was great too!

Alas it came to that time when some of us were ready to make a dash to the station for trains home. Several of us set off together, then lost each other, but still ended up on the same train going home.

The pubs we visited were interesting historically as well as serving good beer. The selection reflected our Cornish heritage in some pubs but we did manage to drink some out of county beers. The Plymouth Gin tour was enjoyed and much discussed by all, and we all concluded that it had been a Grand Day Out!

Article discussed by everyone, written by Ann and photos by Sonia!

A copy of the Tour map is you fancy a walk around Plymouth at a later date

Download the Barbican Map and Pub Information