Thursday, March 06, 2008

Are The Welsh Revolting?

Is it just me and a strange series of coincidences or is there really something of a brewing revolution going on in the valleys? It seems that every topical ale publication I leaf through at the moment carries a piece on what the Welsh are up to with their blasted malt and hops, and to be honest, because I can't even pronounce Cwrw or Brady'r or Chwaden Aur (let alone know what they mean), I've tended to consciously skip these articles and move on - you know, adopt the typically English "they're just doing it to feel better about themselves bless 'em" attitude.

Anyway it seems I'm not going to be allowed to get away with this inexcusable crypto-racist indolence any longer. And the reason is? Well ... Wales, it seems, has come to Huddersfield big time! The good old Grove (left) has turned every one of it's twelve guest pumps over to our daffy-loving, leek-shoving cousins this week. Fortunately most regulars at this multi award-winning boozerama are in the habit of ordering their beer Chinese take-away style anyhow, so embarrassing pronunciation attempts won't be an issue. (If we can cut corners in Hudders, we'll cut corners thank you!)

All being well I shall return to this very page with one or two tasting notes and hopefully some thorough recommendations from what promises to be a rather unusual weekend's supping. In the meanwhile I shall leave you with the old adage - Mai 'ch beunydd fedda 'ch bîr. And that better mean what I hope it means Inter-Tran or I'm suing!

The logo above is that of the Evan Evans Brewery - one of the few I don't have difficulty saying!

Update: Only six were still available by Saturday afternoon but here are my findings:
Conwy - Honey Fayre 4.5% Disappointing as a honey beer as it was difficult to discern any aroma let alone taste of honey but was big on (Challenger?) hops providing a very dry & bitter though unfortunately short-lived finish.**
Plassey - Fusilier 4.5% The initial good fruit & malt balanced the surprisingly long bitter finish of this full-bodied and thoroughly satisfying tawny beer.***
Bragdyr Nant - Chwaden Aur 4.3% A complex and very different beer to anything else tried today with plenty of subtle flavours popping up, though brandy snap is what made it for me. The finish is very long and bitter and the whole experience is tremendously moreish.***

Conwy - Celebration Ale 4.2% Another sweet and biscuity mid-brown ale that stopped rather short of the excellent balance of the Plassey leaving me rather underwhelmed.**
Brains - Bitter 3.7% Have always rather liked the SA from this bunch but this standard session was rather thin in all departments and a long way from satisfying.*
Bullmastiff - Welsh Black 4.8% This award winning brewery has produced a stunning strong mild with this one. There are chocolate, marshmallow, biscuit and strawberry jam flavours aplenty and if the bugger hadn't run off I'd probably have stayed all afternoon. Disappointingly the brewery's Son of a Bitch 5% had just gone before I arrived but by all accounts was superb too. Shall be keeping an eye out for anything from these folks from now on.****


daveyravey said...

dyfal donc a dir y garreg

a swift one... said...

Thanks Dave. My online translator has come up with "diligent tinkle I go land the stone" for that one - which I have to say is probably the nicest comment anyone's ever made on this blog!

daveyravey said...

"Steady tapping breaks the stone" - old Welsh proverb. I was at the Grove last night. Quite enjoyable, except for the phony Irish folk music. I have always enjoyed Welsh beer.
The Grove now has 16 ales on, I don't know how they sustain it!

Anonymous said...

Have no objections to the principle of a themed festival, just wish that there were some other beers other than the Welsh ones and the regulars to choose from for a bit of variety. Not withstanding that there are many and varied flavours in the ones on the bar. Sure that one even has a hint of coal dust, but I won't spoil the surprise by saying which one. Timbo

Andy Holmes said...

I like the ordering by number idea, my own local (Rose & Crown, March, Cambridgeshire) does the same thing.

I'm off to North Wales at the end of April which is great as I'm a big fan of the Purple Moose beers (another one that's easy to pronounce).

I'll put something on my blog about it when I get back.

If you find yourself in the Star, Slaithwaite say hello to my sister (Angie).

a swift one... said...

Managed to land right between the two Mooses though did have one at a festival in Hebden Bridge not so long since.
Enjoy Wales Andy & I'll look forward to reading about it soon.
Is your sister the Angie that sometimes works at the Star?

Andy Holmes said...

The Star on Manchester Road, Slaithwaite is Managed by my sister and husband Mick. They have had beers from Copper Dragon & Saltaire in the past, last time I was there they had Adnams and something boring (GK or Pedigree I think).

a swift one... said...

Sorry was getting confused with the other Star. Will pop in next time we do the Colne Valley run.