A thread devoted to Real Ales in Wales

Discussion in 'Wales/Cymru' started by William of Walworth, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Inspired by a recent contribution by bendeus to this thread by claphamboy, I thought I'd start this one.

    What are your favourite ales in Wales, and can you name your favourite pubs and outlets for finding them?

    When visiting Cardiff, I do like Brains' SA Gold which is by far the best (IMO) of their ales, although Reverent James is also pretty good. But I have to say I find Brains too dominant in too many of the capital's pubs (unsurpisingly I guess!). At least you can find Vale of Glamorgan ales in the Mochyn Ddu -- anywhere else?

    Much more, I'm a fan of Otley's beers, but these are somewhat harder to find. The Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd, owned by the brewery, is a fine pub with other real ale choices, not all Welsh, as well as Otleys.

    If you are able to track down Bryncelyn Beers, those Buddy Holly themed ones brewed in Ystalyvera (too micro a brewery to boast a website!) then try them, in my view they rate very very highly, The Wernfawr in that town is a fine if eccentric pub with odd/limited hours.

    Here in Swansea, Tomos Watkins beers (known by some as Hearns) are surprisngly hard to find in the city centre as the brewery doesn't seem to own its own pub centrally. Also, I'm not personally a big fan, I find them a bit ordinary ....

    The Railway up in Upper Killay outside Swansea usually boasts some very fine beers including beers from the Swansea Brewery Company (no website) as standard. they are also available in the Joiners Arms in Bishopston on the Gower, also well worth the trek. We love SBC's beers, well we would say that :D as the brewer, Rory, is a friend and local CAMRA stalwart -- but they are genuinely very good.

    Breconshire Brewery's beers, especially Ramblers Ruin (5%) are excellent ..

    Wye Valley's beers, although from just outside Wales (near Hereford) are available in some Welsh pubs and are well worth tracking down ...

    We also rate the Rhymney Brewery's beers -- Rhymney Dark and Rhymney Export are very well worth sampling ....

    All the above and plenty of others (over 100 we hope) from inside and ourside Wales will be available (plug time!) at the Swansea Bay Beer Festival, Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th August (coming up to Bank Holiday weekend).

    Festivaldeb is the Festival Chairwoman ("so, Mr William of Walworth, what attracted you to ... " etc etc :D )

    Lets be having your real ale and real ale pubrelated thoughts, Urban Welsh drinkers!! And from ANY drinkers who visit or live in Wales and have drunk ales in Wales ....

    ETA : This blog by our CAMRA colleague 'Arfur Daley', Brew Wales, is full of constantly updated news and information on pubs, beers, beer festivals and all related things. Most recently a story about the likely fate of the Pen and Wig in Cardiff, known as an ale haven.

    The blog is pretty good ... we hope he'll be able to add a list of Swansea Bay Beer Festival's choices as soon as possible after we've finalised it, very soon ...

    I realise all the above, Brew Wales included, is very South Wales oriented, but feel free to add stuff about the North -- we love breweries like Facers and Purple Moose as well and we'll be representing them and other North based breweries at the Festival ...
  2. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    The Cayo round the corner from the Mochyn, and Y Cadno, about to be renamed "the cricketers", owned by Simon Buckley both have a range of real ales.
  3. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Bull Mastiff/ Sonofabitch in Cardiff.
  4. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Been to the Cayo but not the Cadno I don't think ... ta.
  5. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Your mention of Simon Buckley is interesting .... he's known to be something of a combative character, shall we say, in West Wales ... not everyone gets on with him, but he does know how to brew. Evan Evans in Llandeilo is his brewery, some of whose beers are very pleasant, others (IMO) somewhat blander. He recently took over the recently gone bust Archers Brewery, once of Swindon, and now brews a range of Archers Beers in Llandeilo, sort of under licence if you like.
  6. Gavin Bl

    Gavin Bl terrible awful baaad

    I was very impressed by a pint of Rhymney Dark in Winchesters in Merthyr over Xmas. Shame I couldn't say the same for Winchesters. I think its linked to the Brewery, pity really.

    Mind you, I did go for a pint the Wyndham after that - super chilled bitter, for crying out loud. But as it was the Wyndham, I didn't complain...
  7. Brockway

    Brockway New Member

    What is that Y Cadno place like? Is it an actual pub or more of a restaurant type place. It's quite discreet, doesn't really draw attention to itself.
  8. Col_Buendia

    Col_Buendia sort code

    As William appears to have listed every beer in Wales, this thread is now closed! :D

    So was it you two that were handing out the Beer festival flyers at the Small Nations? We passed like ships in the night, then.

    They sell Tomos Watkins in the bar at work, and given that the previous beer highlight of the stock was Carling, I have grown quite fond of it.
  9. Infidel Castro

    Infidel Castro Producto Falso

    Mate. it was shite. It's a Victorian building, and the front part is actually nice, but the extended area was like a Wetherspoons pub. It was big on food initially, but the head chef fucked off and was deemed to be pretty shite anyway from what I've heard. That's gossip and hearsay, so how much of it is true is anyone's guess. However, it looks like they've realised the error of their ways and shut it down, revamping it as Cricketers as 1927 said, and again the talk is that it'll be made to feel more like a pub with partitioned areas, nooks and booths, etc. If they get shot of the appalling carpet it would help.

    I'm a Cayo man, but I don't get there too often these days, a combination of being skint and too busy. I do like the ales in y Mochyn Du at times, but they aren't always well looked after. Improved lately though. I tend to drink in The Romilly, and they always poor a nice pint. Same with The Goat Major in Cardiff town itself, especially the Brains Dark.

    I pick up Rhymney stuff in Tesco now and again, particularly the Dark. Otley is the best I've ever tasted. HB is my favourite Welsh session beer along with Brains Bitter and Tomos Watkin's Cwrw Braf.
  10. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    This is where we're heading this very evening ... the very limited buses in the Upper Swansea Valley mean we'll have barely two hours there, it doesn't open til 7!

    Excellent pub and even better beers nonetheless (Oh Boy! ;) ), well worth the hassle ... :D
  11. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Hence the reason no bugger ever drinks in there. That and a succession of twats for landlords!
  12. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Buddy Marvellous evening ;) , despite the maximumly frustrating bus timetable!! :confused: :hmm:
  13. bendeus

    bendeus Bellend Tagline Generator

    Real ale festival at the Swan Inn in Llantwit Major on the 15th promises to be decent - always a good crowd if the weather holds. Also went to the one at the Plough and Haroo (best pub in the world) the other week. Absolutely rammed and excellent value. They serve Otley throughout the year, WoW.
  14. ddraig

    ddraig dros ben llestri

    cayo is being trendified at the mo as well
    stupid having 2 pubs within a few hundred yards closed for refurb at same time

    OT - had some cwrw haf - tomos watkins iirc at the eisteddfod on monday and i have been know to have the odd otleys in Mochyn du which is very nice
  15. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Yeah we've been to the Swan before, tis excellent. Can't make the 15th though sadly, we're on festival tour outside Wales ....

    Other worthy of attention pubs include :

    The Boars Head Pontyclun (easily accessible by train from Cardiff, Bridgend and even Swansea -- a quick walk from Pontyclun station) and well worth the trip for Cardiff based ale loves seeking variety of beer choice and a beer garden ... :cool:

    The somewhat more upmarket, but still excellent, Plough and Harrow in Monknash -- easily accessible by bus from Bridgend bus station or (I think) from the Llantwit Major direction too. Buses back to Bridgend run surprisingly late ... check out this gem of a pub, ale fans! :D

    More pubs later :p
  16. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    We've had the odd dubious pint at the Mochyn as warned about earlier up, but in general the pub is very pleasant, with better kept beer of late we think, and Vale of Glamorgan ales are hard to find so we will certainly be back at some point ...

    Talking of that general CF area, has anyone tried the Artisan Brewing Company''s products? It's a microbrewery in Cardiff, trading sometimes as Bare Naked Beers. There's a mini beer (and music) festival in their brewery courtyard this Saturday, the 7th. We'll be in Dorset this w/e so can't make it this time, but those events are always cool, we've been to two! :D
  17. bendeus

    bendeus Bellend Tagline Generator

    When I said

    I of course meant,

    Fingers, why did you desert me? :oops::mad:

    Another amazing real ale pub of my acquaintance is The Royal Oak in Rhandirmwyn near Llandovery (you're Swansea based aren't you, WoW? - a nice and easy day trip with great walks thrown in). Landlord knows his beer and no mistaking. A fantastic selection which included various kreikbiers and trappist ales as well as more traditional but equally fantastic British ale :)
  18. Col_Buendia

    Col_Buendia sort code

    Yes. They sell the lager in Gwdihw, which is a fun little place imo. It takes them about 15mins to dribble a pint of it into a glass, but hey, it helps the client stay sober longer :D I wanted to go to the last Artisan festival but couldn't in the end. They look like fun.
  19. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Rhandirmwyn ! - that brings back memories , my dad used to know the landlord back in the 60's , before they built the dam up there -twas a very , very rural spot then - probably still is.

    I recall falling in the river there at the age of 7 or so - (no beer involved I have to say)
  20. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Would absolutely love to check the Royal Oak out, thanks for that recommendation bendeus.

    Sadly even Swansea is not very near Llandovery .... :confused: :hmm: :(

    The 'only being able to get there by car' thing might be an almost insurmountable problem .... I don't drive, debbie does ..... but only to get to propa festivals, not as a taxi to the pub! :oops: ;)
  21. teqniq

    teqniq DisMembered

    VOG (Vale of Glamorgan) beers imo are very nice, and if you're in Cardiff the The Artisan Brewing Co (Barenaked beers) are definitely worth a try - they have a small festie at the brewery once a month which is worth a visit, outlets for the beers are limited but one I know for sure is the Nos Da in Riverside (bottled only).
  22. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Cayo is closed, but cricketers is very much open. Talking to all my cato drinking buddies the other night the general consensus is that we will not be returning and will be crossing the road to the Beverley. It is obvious form the exterior look of the Cayop that it is no longer interested in the traditional trade and us regulars, opting more for a far more affluent business type clientele. No kids allowed in pub at anytime rather makes it a nogo for me and ickle 27 anyway, so fuck em.
  23. ddraig

    ddraig dros ben llestri

    yeah, looks that way, even got glass covered wicker style tables and a new poncy sign
  24. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Rant(justified imho) alert!

    Went past the cayo tonight and there are people drinkig in the garden, so I call in for a pint. At the rear there are lovely sofas under cover in a smoking area, full of 20 somethings I have never seen in Cayo before. I go to the bar and ask for a pint of cider from a barman from pre decorated Cayo days. NBefore he can serve me another member of staff jumps in and says its VIP only night and she will have to ask if I can have a pint. She goes off and asks the landlord(new) if I can drink and he says ,No come back tomorrow. Evidently tonight was for invited VIPs only, including the Glamorgan team and Charlotte Church, but also some of the old regulars.

    Now consdiering that I drink in the Cayo on more days of the year than I miss, and have done so for the past 7/8 years I am more than slightly pissed off that some new landlord considers that I am somehow not worthy to drink in his pub the night after they repaint the place and that he would rather have Charlotte Church and some group of loser cricketers.

    Firstly seeing as ya z-list celebs probably wouldnt step foot in there when it opened at 6pm, so I doubt there was very little chance of me bumoing into somebody who may have considered me below them,there was no harm in welcomimg me and letting me have a pint, even if \i had to leave by a certain time. Secondly I spend far more in there than Charlotte Church is ever likely to do I am well pissed off and really dont want to give them my custom again.

    However, the place is very nice, but more night club than pub and I get the feeling that they really dont want me drinking there anymore. I certainly dont think my tarmac covered boots and oily jeans are gonna be welcome of an evening, and this thought-that I'm not welcome-makes me more determined to frequent the place as often as possible!!

    Serioulsy tho, I think this may have nbackfired bigtime, where are ya celebs gonna be on a wet wednesday nightin October, when even the old regulars couldn't fill more than a table or two. Now that even the regulars have been pissed off I hope they are scartching round to find anyone to drink there.
  25. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Fuck me.I have just looked at the webiste for the new Cayo and I couldn't believe my eyes.

    Bearinmg in mind this used to be ya 2 meals for a fiver, megaburger and chips type pub grub just have a look at the bollocks thye are now serving.
  26. badlands

    badlands the mercy seat

    have they bought a fancy new microwave?

    oh for the days of aunty debbie and proper cooking.

    anyway, we've got rid of more landlords than I care to remember.

    this new bloke is gonna be dust
  27. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    I wish I was a fly on the wall when some resident suspended ceiling contractor comes into the bar and orders his evening meal,Slow-cooked belly pork, honey glazed apple with black pudding and leek mash!!! Considering that construction workers were their main customer base for thr omms I can't see that happening anymore, can you?

    Really dont think we will be comforatble in there anymore, althiough you may get away with it with ya arty bent, but the hoi polloi will be across the road in La Bevoir!
  28. badlands

    badlands the mercy seat

    La Bevoir is out for me, the landlady hates me.

    I'm gonna fuck with the cayo landlords head

    he's putty

    we'll all be home soon
  29. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    I keep hearing/reading about the Clytha Arms near Abergavenny, which I believe is an absolute temple for ales and proper ciders, but transport logistics seem pretty bloody difficult ... frustrating.
  30. Scaggs

    Scaggs following seagulls

    The Clytha is great, especially if you have kids or a dog with you. There's a campsite nearby (chainbridge) which is in the grounds of a pub. Maybe close enough to cycle.

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