Last year’s festival was a huge success and by Saturday it closed early due to being drunk dry. This year more beer was purchased and there were also bigger reserves. Some beer did last until the end of the festival but both the Tiny Rebel and Otley bars had been drunk dry by around 5pm.
As expected, Welsh breweries were well represented at the festival with many of the 60 independent breweries in Wales featuring at least one of their beers with some showcasing their entire range of ales.
Long established Welsh brewery Brains offered both it’s traditional ales along with a new range of beers brewed using its new craft brewery. The small batch beers include a 5.2% IPA and a 6% American style IPA. It’s interesting seeing larger breweries taking a step back and experimenting with other styles beyond their core range and hopefully Brains will be brewing a good variety with their new kit.
Newport’s only microbrewery and one of Wales’ newest breweries, Tiny Rebel, have pulled out all the stops by joining the likes of Brains and Otley by having their own stall at the front of the festival. The ambitious brewery featured 7 of their beers including a Welsh Red Ale called Cwtch, a 7.4% IPA called Hadouken IPA along with their core beers Urban IPA and Fubar. The Fubar pale ale was served through a ‘Hop Rocket’ which added extra amarillo hops as the beer was being poured. Unique to the festival, it proved popular with a cask selling out in just a few hours.
The Otley Brewing Co.’s bar proved as popular as ever no doubt due to their excellent range of beers such as O6 Porter, Oxymoron Black IPA and their very strong 9.7% Odessa. Unfortunately their 18-month old cask of O8 didn’t make it and it’s now unlikely that you’ll ever be able to try it from cask again.
An interesting new brewery at the festival was Pixie Spring, a small microbrewery based in the Wheatsheaf pub in Llantrisant, south Wales. Named after the fabled Asrai Pixies, which are supposed to live deep below the village, the brewery uses water from the Pixie Spring which the pixies supposedly used to make their potions. They have four core beers and two were available at the festival, the 4.5% Deliverance APA and the 5.5% Prince of Bengal IPA.
Other Welsh breweries such as Purple Moose, Bullmastiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Felinfoel and the Waen Brewery also featured.
This year, the other beers from outside Wales were all from Yorkshire. Some excellent breweries were represented including Acorn with their Barnsley Bitter and Gorlovka Imperial Stout, Ilkley with the 3.5% but very flavoursome Mary Jane and Timothy Taylor with their Landlord and an unusual appearance from their 3.5% Dark Mild.
You can view the full list of beers here.
Champion Beer of Wales
The annual Champion Beer of Wales was awarded on the Friday with a tiny brewery based in the Neuadd Arms Hotel, Llanwrtyd Wells taking the award. The Heart of Wales Brewery won the award with their 10.5% High as a Kite barley wine (video review). Their Welsh Black stout also took second place as well as Champion Stout of Wales.
Mary Ann Street
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