So this weekend was the Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival, which tied in nicely with a stag do i was going on, my friend Rob is the lucky man.
After a morning shooting we headed straight for the festival, although a slight detour into the Horse and Groom was a big mistake, if you want lager and pretty much nothing else then thats where to go. Straight up to the Vale of Glamorgan pub which has hosted the real ale festival now for a good few years running. Standing room only, the pub was heaving, so straight out to the marquee for the beer list . I some how only managed to photo the second and third lists. Some like the Purple moose beers had already sold out and the Otley O8 and O1 soon followed by early afternoon. Other brewery's present on the first list were Moor's of Somerset, Bullmastiff from Cardiff and Newmans of Caephilly.
The Otley Kowhai was one of the first i tried being a new one to me, very pleasant start drinks lighter than its 4.9%, nice bitterness overall , could definatly drink a pint or two of it. I had to wiki Kowhai to find out what it was named after, a common New Zealand garden tree apparently.
Next i had a Newmans brew called 'Last lion of Britain' which was not to impressive which is a shame as some of their other beer are quite nice. Waen's 'Blackberry stout' was up next, which was strangely disappointing, the first few sips seem quite pleasant with lovely blackberry notes coming in sweetly, but after that i really started to not enjoy it, seeming a bit watery and unnecessarily harsh, i only had a half and didn't finish that, nor did one of my friends.
After a couple of other halve's i fail to recall i tried the Gwaun valley 'Bitter' which was as good as it is in a bottle thankfully, and the Breconshire brewery 'Baroque ale' was next - unfortunately i cannot remember what it was like, i think i pointed it out to someone but i'm not sure if it was a 'have that next' or a 'avoid avoid!'.
By far the best i tried, despite being surrounded by welsh breweries was from Somerset's 'Moor Beer' . Their 3.8% bitter 'Revival' was wonderfully refreshing, great hoppy flavours, singing in the mouth, citrus, and nice dryness comes through. Really good beer.
After a food stop in the chippy we headed to the Brains' Duke of Wellington to try and find a seat after hours of standing at the Vale. This pub hosts the Cider festival for the weekend and a few of the party wanted to sample these delights.
It was strangely situated out the back in a marquee set at the back of the garden but seemed forgotten, little signs telling us where it was, the conservatory we walked through was mostly empty and would have been a far better setting for it. Seemed very under promoted, and even the cider heads with us in the end didn't make the trek back out, just going to the inside pub bar for the pump stuff.
Anyway a couple pints of a lackluster Rev. James, couple of Dark and for once a surprisingly decent SA.
The following day i went back to the food festival side with the wife and family, always enjoyable, loads of tasting samples and great lunches to be found. Among the exhibitors were Otley, Pen-lon, and Warcop.
I bought the xmas offering from the lovely ladies at the Otley stand who very very friendly, apparently the new coloured bottle top wrapping is to aid identification of the different beers for retailers, probably needed as often you see their beers in Spar and the like, wrongly lined up to another price ticket.
I then had a nice chat with the guy from Warcop, (website a little outdated but they reply to emails quickly) about the Great welsh beer festival and my disappointment on the day i couldn't try his beers, and bought his Honeyed Stout 4.5%, Furnace ruby ale 4.5%, and his Caspa real lager 5.4% and look forward to trying them all, reviews as and when.Meanwhile my utility room has far to much beer in it for my wife's liking so i'm off to move some to the shed for a bit.