Beer is a working fishing village as well as a picturesque tourist attraction.
Working off the beach are fisherman whose families have fished here for generations, their fishing boats are still launched from the beach to put out to sea and winched back on to the shore on their return.
The village of Beer with its own small cove enclosed by chalk cliffs nestles in a valley with picturesque stone houses and cottages built on many different levels of the slopes of the hillsides.
Beer brook runs down the main street with its fast flow fed by 3 springs.
Originally, the water ran slowly down all over the cobbles of the main street where it was used as a drain by the fishermen who tossed the gutted remains of their catch into the water whilst sitting outside their doorways.
Lady Rolle, the wife of the Lord of the Manor at that time was so offended by the smell of the fish guts, she ordered the springs to be diverted into the culvert we see today, so that the fast flowing stream would take the waste quickly out to sea and relieve the smell.
Now, Beer is a romantic Devon village visited by people from all over the world.
Visitors can sit on the ‘sun trap’ beach at one of the beach cafés amongst the fishing boats and forget the world and its troubles.
The local fishermen still launch their boats from the beach landing their catches of fresh fish, crabs, lobsters and scallops and in the summer month’s visitors can get a hint of a fisherman’s life by going on a mackerel fishing trip.
Motor boats can be hired by the ¼ hour or the hour and on fine summer evenings and weekends the dinghy’s of the Sailing club and the sailing luggers of Beer Luggers club are out in the bay.
Beach Cafés on Beer Beach.
Beer Regatta Day.
Each year Beer holds its Regatta Week with a series of events most of which take place on Regatta day.
Regatta Day is always on the 2nd Thursday after the 1st Monday in August. Regatta Day will be on Thursday 13th August 2015.
The sheltered bay in the past allowed the fishermen of Beer to put to sea in weather which prevented other Devon and Dorset fishermen from leaving their more exposed beaches.
The seafaring skills of the Beer fishermen were put to use in the past to improve their poverty-stricken lifestyles by making use of Beers isolation to smuggle in contraband goods such as, brandy, tobacco and tea.
Much of these smuggled goods were bought in from Alderney in the Channel Islands though some contraband goods were bought over from France.
With the Beer seaman gaining the reputation of being the ‘Kings of the Smugglers’ they soon attracted the attention of the Revenue Men and a constant game of ‘cat and mouse’ was played to seize the contraband goods and catch the smugglers and their accomplices.
Although Beer was first and foremost a fishing village, many of the past residents of Beer were Quarrymen engaged in the quarrying of the famous Beer Limestone.
Quarrying started with the coming of the Romans who founded their most westerly outpost in Exeter. Beer became a rich source of the lime stone the Romans needed for the construction of their most important buildings.
The seam of limestone can readily be seen at low tide on the western side of the beach at the foot of the cliffs.
Just above the shingle is a layer of greensand stone and above that is a narrow band of creamy coloured limestone.
Quarrying for this limestone has been going on in Beer for almost 2,000 years with the last removal of stone in the 1920’s.
Beer limestone has been used in many fine buildings locally the most well known being Exeter Cathedral.
Other famous buildings which have used Beer stone in their construction are Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and London Bridge.
In the 16th century that Flemish refugees settled in Beer and bought with them the skills of lace making.
During fine weather the women of the village would sit at their doorways making full use of the light to create fine handmade lace.
Such was their skill that Queen Victoria commissioned the women lace makers of Beer to make the lace flounce of her wedding dress.