I don’t know much about beer. Next to nothing actually. I barely drink the stuff at all anymore given that I made a decision between beer and bread many years ago that beer lost on account that you can’t fold chips and curry sauce from a tray into a heavily buttered beer. There are some exceptions for the times when the lansoprazole runs low and my oesophagus begs for relief that I’ll step away from the red wine and head face-first into beer. I know what I like; Attic, Deya, Pilot and Verdant. I really like Verdant, mostly because the beer nerds I know say it is the best and I’ve stolen opinion from them in the same way the city of Birmingham does from me when it comes to where to eat. Verdant have a taproom in Cornwall and I was in Cornwall. It wasn’t a difficult choice to visit.
This isn’t going to be a big post. Can’t be, not when I can’t tell you anything the beer. If it helps, I drank a Helles and a Rustling Substance and a Neal Gets Things Done which having worked with a Neal is a lie. They were all what I want and expect from a beer, so much so that I piled cans of them into the car to bring back for my Dad to enjoy.
Beer aside, I’m here for pizza, as I’m told by someone who I trust that it is very good. He is right. They are everything the Neapolitan style should be; slow-proved dough, blasted through an oven so hot the crusts camouflage for cover and the centre is sloppier than two teenagers out for Valentines. I could get technical but why bother? All you need to look out for is the marks on the crust and underneath, the elasticity of the rest of the dough, that barely-cooked centre, and the slightly milky smell of the bread. This has it all, with the added bonus of very-well sourced ingredients. If I’m being overcritical, maybe mine is too generous on the salami, so that every bite has a thick slice of spiced pig to go with the raft of ‘nduja underneath. The other with olives, anchovy, and capers has the salty breath of sea air. It’s about as good as pizza gets.
The temptation, as demonstrated at a venue closer to home, is to make the food an afterthought and to be reliant on the beer for people to visit. The Verdant Brewery Taproom is proof that when done properly, the food offering can compliment the drinks and be a reason in itself to visit. On the day I am there another couple have driven from Birmingham to enjoy a few pints and a pizza before driving back. Whilst I’m not going to support a ten hour round trip, it seems that any visit to south Cornwall should include a trip to the taproom.