Here is the second post for the ‘100 Beers from Wales you must try’ series, taking us through numbers 11 to 20: 11. Crafty Devil - Safe as Milk
Canton’s Crafty Devil are establishing themselves as a prominent player on the Welsh craft beer scene. A really high quality stout. An earthy and slightly smoky nose which leads to a strong flavour of black coffee with an almost charcoal-like flavour in the background. A smooth and creamy stout with a rich earthy finish.
12. Hopcraft - Profits of Doom
Pontyclun brewery Hopcraft’s Profits of Doom is another very good Welsh stout. Woodsmoke and earthiness on the nose, which follows onto the palate with the interesting addition of dark fruits (berries and cherries), giving a slightly sweet malt kick. A slightly sharper finish than you might expect. An interesting beer.
13. Grey Trees - Afghan Pale Ale
Aberdare’s Grey Trees are one of Wales’ most acclaimed breweries of recent years and deservedly so. Afghan Pale is an awarding winning ale which uses vibrant North American hops. A refreshing nose with floral and tropical hop-led notes. These notes follow on to give a refreshing and crisp palate which is very drinkable indeed!
14. Lithic - Black IPA
Relatively new brewers Lithic have produced some very good beers, including this interesting Black IPA- which is a fairly uncommon beer style. As you would expect from the name, this is a black beer but has an attractive reddish glow and a creamy head. A malty nose with roast coffee which then gives way to an interesting palate of hoppy herbs, biscuity malt and coffee. An interesting beer which is worth seeking out.
15. Geipel - Pilsner
Corwen based brewer Geipel specialise in traditional lager varieties. This Pilsner is a classic example of the style - a sweet nose with hints of money and zesty lemon. The palate is clean and crisp with the freshness of lemon giving a citrusy hit. Light and refreshing, an exemplary Pilsner.
16. Felinfoel - Double Dragon
One of Wales’s oldest breweries and a pioneer in their own right - being only the second brewery in the world to produce canned beer. This bitter ale is a good example of the style- copper in colour, a sweet malty nose with a hint of berry. The flavour is driven by caramel and toffee malt notes with a subtle hint of sharper fruity hops adding balance to the palate.
17. Cwm Rhondda - Pit Head
Treorchy based Cwm Rhondda produce beers which tend to be named after valleys or mining related tropes. This golden ale has a fresh sweet nose with biscuity hints, leading to a dry bitter palate with grassy and floral notes at the back of the mouth. A slight hint of citrus which lifts this beer nicely.
18. Well Drawn - Pale Ale
Another relative new comer, Bedwas based Well Daren’s pale ale is a solid example of the style. Making use of English hops (fuggle and target) rather than their North American counterparts, this is a more traditional British session pale. Bitter flowers and mild hops on the nose followed by a well rounded flavour which this light with herbal notes and a distant hint of black currant.
19. Bluestone - Crystal Ruby
Pembrokeshire’s Bluestone are a very accomplished brewery with an excellent range. Crystal Ruby is an American style red ale with complex flavours. Malt and cherry on the nose with notes of citrus and warm malt coming through on the palate. This is a very good beer.
20. Bragdy Nant - Mwnci Nel
This winter ale is a great example of the style. A rich nose with dark cherries and burnt coffee, which follow onto the palate alongside a twist of strong dark chocolate. The finish lifts the beer with a hop-driven bitterness. A delicious beer for a cold winter’s evening!
For the first
time since probably the 1930s, Wales now has over 100 active breweries. The last decade has
seen a dramatic increase in the number of Welsh micro-breweries, with growth
outstripping all other parts of the UK apart from London.
Over the past couple of years, it has regularly been predicted that Wales would
soon break the 100 brewery barrier, with 88 independent breweries recorded in 2015.
It now appears that we have reached that landmark figure. Below, we have
listed all the active breweries in Wales – giving a total of 115. Four of
those breweries are not yet brewing commercially (denoted by *). However, even discounting those 4 companies still leaves a total of 111 breweries operating in Wales. The geographic
footprint of the breweries is impressive, with every local authority area in Wales (yes, all 22) having at least one brewery! In
terms of size and scale, the list is very diverse – including long-standing
giant Brains alongside newly established microbreweries. The r…
A few years ago the Guardian produced a list of the top 10 craft beer pubs in Cardiff. Walesonline has produced a couple of similar lists, but inevitably such lists become outdated as some bars close whilst new ones open. The purpose of this post is to provide an up to date guide to the craft beer pubs/bars in Cardiff. I've decided not to rank them, or to limit the list to 10 because I believe it's important to try to present a holistic depiction of the thriving craft beer scene in Cardiff. In the last few years I've visited quite a few cities in the U.K. and Europe, as well as a couple in North America. I genuinely believe that Cardiff stands out as a high quality craft-beer destination. More needs to be done to promote Cardiff as a great destination for a city break, and the city’s flourishing craft beer scene could be a key element of its appeal. Before I start, one caveat: I've not included bottle shops - although there are some great ones in Cardiff. The focus here…