Wales Focus: choose a local beer

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Related tags: Progressive beer duty, Good beer guide, Wales, Brewing, Beer

Like other parts of the UK, Wales has seen a growth in microbrewers since the advent of progressive beer duty encouraged small scale producers to set...

Like other parts of the UK, Wales has seen a growth in microbrewers since the advent of progressive beer duty encouraged small scale producers to set up. There are more breweries operating in the principality than for 70 years and the Good Beer Guide 2007 lists five more newcomers.

Wales, in fact, seems well-blessed with choice for the publican who wants to add a local flavour to the beer range, although these days beers you could call distinctively Welsh - unless you count the branding - are in the minority.

Arthur Daley, the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA) former regional director for Wales, describes the native brew as "sweet and malty", a quaffable ale that could slake the thirsts of miners and steelworkers.

Brains Dark and Hancock's HB, now made by Coors, are long survivors of the style. "But tastes have changed," says Arthur. "Like drinkers in the rest of the UK, the Welsh are going for golden ales."

He points out that, in complete contrast to tradition, CAMRA's reigning Supreme Champion beer is Otley's 08, a hoppy brew that weighs in at a less than quaffable eight per cent ABV.

Otley is one of the newcomers, set up in Pontypridd in 2005, as was Porthmadog's Purple Moose, which has also been picking up the awards, not only claiming two regional CAMRA titles last year but being named the Society of Independent Brewers' Champion for the West.

Brewing since 2004, Penlon Cottage of Llanarth is another one to note, since, unusually, it specialises in bottled beers. That hasn't stopped it finding a market among food-led pubs for its brands, though, which, incidentally, are all named after sheep.

The following list was compiled with the help of the Good Beer Guide and you can find more information there or on the brewer's website, if they have one.

Most of the smaller companies are limited in direct distribution but they may be listed by wholesalers - and they're always willing to make an effort if the order is big enough!

SA Brain

Cardiff

029 2040 2060

brains@sabrain.com

www.sabrain.com

Breconshire

Brecon, Powys

01874 623731

sales@breconshirebrewery.com

www.breconshirebrewery.com

Bryn

Denbigh

01745 812266

info@bragdyrbryn.co.uk

www.bragdyrbryn.co.uk

Bryncelyn Brewery

Swansea

01639 843625

wernfawrinn@fsmail.net

www.bryncelynbrewery.org.uk

Bullmastiff Brewery

Cardiff

029 2066 5292

Conwy

Conwy

01492 585287

enquiries@conwybrewery.co.uk

www.conwybrewery.co.uk

Cwmbran

Upper Cwmbran, Torfaen

01633 485233

cwmbranbrewery@btconnect.com

www.cwmbranbrewery.co.uk

Evan Evans

Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire

01558 824455

info@evan-evans.com

www.evan-evans.com

Facer's

Flint

07713 566370

dave@facers.co.uk

Felinfoel Brewery

Felinfoel, Carmarthenshire

01554 773357

info@felinfoel-brewery.com

www.felinfoel-brewery.com

Great Orme

Colwyn Bay, Conwy

01492 580548

info@greatormebrewery.co.uk

www.greatormebrewery.co.uk

Jacobi

Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire

01558 650605

justin@jacobibrewery.co.uk

Jolly Brewer

Wrexham

01978 263338

pene@jollybrewer.co.uk

www.jollybrewer.co.uk

Kingstone

Whitebrook, Monmouth

01600 860778

Otley

Pontypridd, Mid-Glamorgan

01443 480555

info@otleybrewing.co.uk

www.otleybrewing.co.uk

Penlon Cottage

Llanarth, Ceredigion

01545 580022

beer@penlon.biz

www.penlon.biz

Plassey

Wrexham

01978 781111

plassey@globalnet.co.uk

www.plasseybrewery.co.uk

Purple Moose

Porthmadog, Gwynned

01766 515571

beer@purplemoose.co.uk

www.purplemoose.co.uk

Rhymney

Merthyr Tydfil

01685 722253

enquiries@rhymneybreweryltd.com

www.rhymneybreweryltd.com

Swansea

Swansea

01792 290197

rorygowland@fsbdial.co.uk

Tomos Watkin

Swansea

01792 797300

beer@hurns.co.uk

www.hurnsbeer.co.uk

Vale of Glamorgan

Barry, Glamorgan

01446 730757

info@vogbrewery.co.uk

www.vogbrewery.co.uk

Warcop

Wentlooge, Gwent

01633 680058

william.picton@tesco.net

www.warcopales.com

Webbs

Ebbw Vale

01495 370026

info@webbsbrewery.co.uk

www.webbsbrewery.co.uk

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