Of all of our beer names, Lightbulb might be our favourite. It’s also unique in that it’s the only one of our core range that doesn’t hint at the flavour. Originally it was how our head brewer James described the colour he was after – a 100w light bulb to be precise – but increasingly we’re aware it might be the beer that literally keeps the lights on.
Over our short lifespan it’s actually been responsible for some of our darker moments. It’s the recipe we have wrestled with the most by a long way, and most brewers will tell you it’s the simpler recipes that are hardest to lock in. It’s been in our core range since the start but we got Headband down much quicker. Headband is like a session version of our bigger beers – all overripe tropical fruit, rich mouthfeel and a quick, smooth finish. It’s a beer for the geeks who want to have a few. Lightbulb, meanwhile was the kind of beer we wanted to see people slinging back down on the Quay in Falmouth; the kind of beer we wanted to sling back, in fact. It was our beer for people who just wanted a damn pint.
But brewing a nuanced, full-bodied and consistent beer at 4.5% is incredibly difficult. We wanted a thread of that signature Verdant juice through it, but it couldn’t compromise on the sessionability or how approachable it was to all kinds of drinker. We first brewed it back in 2015, and we’ve tweaked it pretty much every time we’ve brewed it. Finally we think we’re dialling it in, brewing it two days in a row with different yeasts then blending them to achieve those two sides to its character. The bittering hops are turned up and the aroma hops down, using less fruit forward varieties and more of the old school C hops that bring both citrus and more savoury notes of pine and freshly cut grass.
At different times in its life Lightbulb has been a bit too chalky, a bit too soft; it’s been a bit bitter and also a bit flabby; it’s been a bit dark and a bit light. Nowadays it’s a consistent little sipper we adore. While most drinkers marvel at our bigger beers, our favourite moment is drinking Lightbulb straight from the tank. When we smash that balance between full-bodied juice and light, zingy cask ale drinkability, it’s probably our best beer.
As we look to expand, it’s a beer we’re going to rely on more. There are some beers you put in a tekku, and some that need to be in a pint glass – and we will never forget that most people love the latter, particularly down here in Cornwall. We’re super proud of being from this part of the world and we want to serve the community around us as much as possible. Lightbulb is how we can do that best.