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


029 2040 2060


Brecon, Powys

01874 623731



01745 812266

Bryncelyn Brewery


01639 843625

Bullmastiff Brewery


029 2066 5292



01492 585287


Upper Cwmbran, Torfaen

01633 485233

Evan Evans

Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire

01558 824455



07713 566370

Felinfoel Brewery

Felinfoel, Carmarthenshire

01554 773357

Great Orme

Colwyn Bay, Conwy

01492 580548


Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire

01558 650605

Jolly Brewer


01978 263338


Whitebrook, Monmouth

01600 860778


Pontypridd, Mid-Glamorgan

01443 480555

Penlon Cottage

Llanarth, Ceredigion

01545 580022



01978 781111

Purple Moose

Porthmadog, Gwynned

01766 515571


Merthyr Tydfil

01685 722253



01792 290197

Tomos Watkin


01792 797300

Vale of Glamorgan

Barry, Glamorgan

01446 730757


Wentlooge, Gwent

01633 680058


Ebbw Vale

01495 370026

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