In the world of craft beer, every beer has a unique story to tell. Our Cornish craft beer Alba IPA is no exception, as it draws its name and inspiration from a historic event that unfolded in the picturesque town of St. Ives in 1938. The Alba boat's tragic wreck off Porthmeor serves as a poignant reminder of the bravery and sacrifices made by the local RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) crews. Read on to dive into this heroic story that inspired this Cornish IPA.

A Tale of Disaster: The Alba Boat and St. Ives

The story behind Alba dates back to the fateful year of 1938. In the tranquil coastal town of St. Ives, a heart-wrenching maritime tragedy unfolded, leaving an indelible mark on the community. The story is documented in the RNLI archives, chronicling the dual disasters that struck St. Ives during that time.

The RNLI has been a guardian of our shores for nearly two centuries. Its brave volunteers and lifeboat crews risk their lives to save those in distress at sea. In the tumultuous winter of 1938 a steamship called Alba got into severe trouble of the coast of Cornwall and St Ives. Against all the elements and in reality all odds, Thomas Cocking, the Coxswain of the St Ives lifeboat assembled his crew to mount a rescue attempt. Skilfully he gets alongside the Alba and manages to get all 23 crew of the Alba onto the lifeboat. Whilst many onlookers watch on from shore the lifeboat is then struck broadside and capsized, spilling the 32 to men into the water. The lifeboat self rights and members of the crew cling to the hull, allowing themselves to be washed ashore still holding on. The lifeboat crew make it back unscathed, as do many of the Alba’s crew, but five were not so lucky.

Alba Beer: A Tribute to Heroism

In honour of the brave individuals who manned the Alba boat and all RNLI crews who have selflessly served their communities, the St. Ives Brewery crafted a beer that captures the spirit of resilience and heroism. Alba beer is more than just a beer; it's a living tribute to those who risked everything to protect their town. It is also worth mentioning that in more recent times the famed hollow and powerful waves that break off the shore of Porthmeor are known locally as ‘Boilers’, in reference to the boiler form the wrecked steamship that has been there ever since.

The Brewing Process and the Role of Hops

Now, let's dive into the heart of what makes Alba beer so special: its ingredients and brewing process. Alba's distinct character is shaped, in part, by its carefully selected hops. Hops are a fundamental ingredient in beer production, providing a wide range of flavors, aromas, and bitterness levels Our brewery in Cornwall takes great care in choosing the right hops to craft a beer that pays homage to Alba's legacy.

The hops used in Alba are known for their earthy, floral, and slightly spicy characteristics. These hops infuse the beer with a refreshing bitterness and a delicate aroma that reminds us of the coastal landscape where the Alba boat once sailed. The complex blend of hops in Alba creates a balanced beer that's not too overpowering, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of beer enthusiasts.

Savoring the Alba Experience

When you sip a glass of Alba beer, you're not just enjoying a delicious brew; you're also partaking in a tribute to a heroic chapter of St. Ives' history. The beer's flavors and aromas, guided by carefully selected hops, transport you to the rugged coastline where the Alba boat once stood guard against the unpredictable sea.

If you are keen to try Alba IPA you can get in cans or bottles over on the website or try in person at the Hayle HQ taproom, the Art of Brewing in St Ives or at other pubs across the south west.
September 27, 2023