When you say Beer you might think of a cold pint of golden lager, or even a bottle of the finest ale. But for others, Beer is more than an alcoholic beverage – it’s their home.
The village of Beer is situated in south-east Devon and is part of the 95-mile long Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural world heritage site. It encompasses a stretch of picturesque cliffs and a steep curved pebble beach.
Once renowned as a fishing village, Beer soon became well known for its production of Beer stone. The fine textured limestone which was quarried and mined in the Roman times, provided materials for some of Britain’s most famous buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey. The quarrying and mining of Beer stone in the past has now led to a unique attraction for the modern day visitor of the coastal town. The Quarry Caves are a manmade underground complex located just west of Beer. Now open to the public, services include guided visits showing the different methods of quarrying used over the centuries.
Despite its architectural history, the Beer Quarry Caves were also a haven for smugglers in the past. The caves, hidden deep in the cliffs, were a prime location for outlaws to store contraband; one cave that was used was the Adit between Branscombe and Beer Head.
One of Beer’s most notorious smugglers was Beer-born Jack Rattenbury who was sent out to sea to become a fisherman at the age of nine but soon became a smuggler at the age of 16. His diary, which can be read here, notes both his early life and life as a smuggler.
Steeped in beauty and history alike, there is plenty to do in this scenic coastal village. If you find yourself visiting Beer, the one thing you need to do, ironically, is have a beer.
Some of Beers most famous brews are born out of Branscombe Vale Brewery. Choosing to source local ingredients and products this craft brewery really is ‘truly’ local.
In 1992 former dairy workers Paul Dimond and Graham Luxton fittingly started brewing in cowsheds owned by the National Trust. The sheds were soon converted, and later extended to meet growing demands. In 2008 a new 25-barrel plant was added to the brewhouse and around 80 outlets are now supplied.
Branscombe Vale does not supply to major supermarkets or pub cos, rather opting to support, once again, local and independent outlets nearby with their draught and bottled ales. Four regular ales are available on draught, with the best known of these being Branoc (3.8%).