Skinner’s Cornish Knocker (4.5%) And Why People Should Move On

Last night I opened a bottle of beer that’s been sitting in my collection for some time.
I bought it as part of a multi-buy deal and kept looking at it and then putting it back.
Around the top of the label it proclaims, “Twice Supreme Champion Of The South West”, which I’m guessing would make many people think it was worth a go.
The thing is, in an age where we can get hold of amazing drinks full of flavour and life, isn’t it time to let go of the attitude that old and traditional is best regardless of its true worth?

Skinner’s Cornish Knocker (4.5%) is an amalgam of all the things wrong about CAMRA and “real” ale in 2011.
It pours as flat as dishwater, there’s the barest hint of malt (“Cornish Barley!” says the label) and the merest flick of hops.
It’s not undrinkable, it’s not even terrible, it’s just…well…unimaginative and uninteresting.
And to make matters worse it comes wrapped in a ridiculous 70’s “comedy” innuendo label.
England is no longer the land of Carry On Confessions Of A Beer Drinking Window Cleaner.
It hasn’t been for some time, though there are many who appear to wish it still was.
Tired and old and unnecessary, I find it hard to believe that people can still hold this kind of beer up as an example of what’s good about English brewing when there are so many breweries making bottle conditioned and/or cask beers with so much more life and vigour and excitement and FLAVOUR.

About Simon Williams

Founder of CAMRGB. Member of The British Guild Of Beer Writers. Leftist bigmouth. Old and grumpy.
This entry was posted in Beer Review, CAMRA, CAMRGB and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Skinner’s Cornish Knocker (4.5%) And Why People Should Move On

  1. Steve says:

    sounds like your palate has hop fatigue…

  2. Pete Favelle says:

    I’ve not tried Cornish Knocker, but I have had one or two other Skinner’s and been fairly unmoved by the beer.

    Totall agree with you on the labelling though; I seriously dislike their whole Carry On theme, and it’s actively put me off trying their beers further.

  3. Gareth says:

    I saw this in Waitrose when I popped in looking for the Sierra Nevada Torpedo you’d recommended (they had none.) In a way I’m glad it’s uninspiring since I would (and did) dismiss it simply because of the label. Quite frankly, they need to grow up.

  4. Ferg says:

    Very well written and so very true too! Nice one.

  5. Cornish Knocker says:

    Do you actually know what a Cornish Knocker is? Ignorance is bliss as they say.That’s right,get tapping it in to google,maybe you should have done that before writing this make it up as you go along review. Lovely hate filled review by the way.To give out marketing and design advice when your website looks like this is the funniest thing i’ve read this week.Skinner’s make the best beer in Cornwall and the 500,000 people who live there agree.Shame some self important no nothing in his bedroom doesn’t think so,or is it? By the way,you should try our Ginger Tosser! CAMRA Champion Beer of Cornwall Winner!

    • I know what a Cornish knocker is for two reasons:

      1. I lived in Falmouth for most of the 90’s and,
      2. It tells me on the bottle’s label.

      If you are going to post this kind of response please make sure you spell check.
      It’s “know nothing” not ” no nothing”.

      Having spent all that time drinking in Cornish pubs I do know what I’m talking about.
      Oh, and at the age of 42 with 3 children I think I moved out of the bedroom some time ago.
      Have you?

      BTW, we are all entitled to our opinions.
      This is mine.
      You have your own.
      That’s the beauty of the Internet and blogging.
      This site that you find amusing gets over 5000 hits a month after only two months online.
      People seem to like it.

    • Tim says:

      “Skinner’s make the best beer in Cornwall” – that may be your opinion and you are entitled to have it.

      Have you ever tried any St. Austell beers? They are all better than Skinners in my opinion. Proper Job is one of my favourite beers.

  6. Cornish Knocker says:

    The Campaign For Really Good Beer believes that:

    2. Beer should be taken seriously but is essentially a drink to be enjoyed and celebrated with good humour.

    There was no good humour shown in your article

    3. It is not for a select few to tell everyone what is or is not a good beer. The best way of judging if a beer is good is to listen to the people drinking it.

    The thousands of people who actually drink Cornish Knocker in Falmouth, making it the best selling ale in that particular Cornish town.

    5. Any discussions on points relating to beer or to The CAMRGB will be met with good humour and open, friendly communication.

    Friendly or Grumpy, which one are you?

    7. One should never forget the power of people speaking with one voice.


    8. Celebrate beer because beer is brilliant.

    As long as it’s in a cask or bottle conditioned according to you.

    Have a good day and good luck with your new site. Hopefully your future reviews will be more balanced and actually give the positives of a beer as well as any negatives.

    • Friendly or grumpy?
      You seem to be the latter also.

      As for bottle conditioning / cask.
      You seem to have us confused with another group who share the same first 4 letters of their acronym.
      We like any beer no matter how it’s made or dispensed BUT we/I am entitled to have an opinion on something even if, god forbid, it doesn’t agree with yours.
      When living in Falmouth I remember the most common/popular drink being Doom Bar. It certainly was in the Quayside, which was my local at the time.

      I have no idea whether you are from Skinner’s or not but sometimes people don’t like stuff.
      If the beer is as popular as you say then I shouldn’t worry about one bad review if I were you.

      Certainly my band’s records get lots of bad reviews, it doesn’t stop people who like them buying them so I don’t lose any sleep.

      The fact is that the label for CK looks like a 1970’s beer label with all the inherent bad sexual innuendo so prevalent back then and I have a right to say so.
      If you read the other comments you’ll see I’m not alone in that.


    • Matthew Mann says:

      I just wanted to comment on this thread. I’m an American who was stationed at RAF St. Mawgan from January 2005 to August 2009. I had the pleasure of trying many UK beers while I was there. Guiness alone was a whole new world (it’s nothing like it is here in the US).

      Anyway, my very first beer after arriving in the UK was Cornish Knocker. I, of course, had no basis for comparison (other than the typically watery American beers I’m used to and Victoria Bitter), but I have to say that I LOVED IT! It was a couple of RAF lads who introduced me to it and I was hooked from the first pint (and hit the floor after the 6th pint)! :o)

      I tried St. Austell beers and many others while there and truly enjoyed the experience. I do have to say that I kept coming back to Skinner’s beers….especially Betty Stoggs and Cornish Knocker. They really sat well with my palate! And they were both very popular with the Cornish from what I saw.

      My final word, the UK has so many great beers that you should all be proud. I’m very happy with my 4 years of experience with British beers (and Cornish ones, too). :o) We can get watered down versions of Strongbow and Guiness and a few others here, but I really WISH I could get Skinner’s beers here.

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that!

  7. Paul says:

    The above article does indeed sum up the argument against such awful marketing and imagery.


  8. The Bagmeister says:


  9. Zummerset born n bread says:

    Garr – seen all this bull before. Admit it – the pump clip and label is just a ploy to trap the grockles.

    Happens same up Cheddar Gorge with “Cripplecock” and “Legbender” and “Ratcatcher” and all those other dodgy scrumpy ciders. What’s more, on some of the worst offenders, the stuff in the jar is the leftover hosings off the cider house floor.

    I’ve never tasted Cornish Knocker, so can’t comment on the taste, but the marketing is right out the same barrel 🙂

  10. Pastey says:

    I’ve had many good pints of Skinners Cornish Knocker over the years, but I think that’s the nub of the problem right there. Over the years. It’s been around a while and whilst that in itself isn’t a bad thing, a brewery having a good, award winning beer can easily lead it to sitting back and being complacent.

    When I first started drinking and then running pubs, there was nowhere near the amount of breweries producing such great beers as we have today. Breweries came along, produced beers that were so different and so good that they caught the old family brewers napping. Yes, the majority of people continued to drink their pints of Worthington or Bass, for a few more years at least. But year by year, the number of people drinking those older more general beers dwindled.
    I fear that this may be the case with Skinners. The last pint of their beer I had was, well, okay. It wasn’t a bad beer, but it wasn’t as good a beer as I remembered. It could well be that they’re not being made as well as they used to, but I think it’s more a case that they’re being left behind by a currently vibrant global brewing industry that trying new, exciting things.

    I used to like the Skinners beers when I could get them, and I hope that it was a one off that the bottle wasn’t up to much.

    As for the labels, well is it any wonder that they appear on pumpclip parade so often?

  11. Publican Sam says:

    I must say I’ve quite often found the reviews funny, interesting … but having sampled some of the recommendations … pretty well right on target.

    Chacun a son gout … mes petites braves

  12. Pingback: Skinners Brewery: Leaving The Past Behind | CAMRGB

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