Real Ale & Cider Festival Cwmavon
On June the 12th and 13th we held our first Real Ale & Cider Festival here at The Brit in Cwmavon and it went down an absolute storm! Even though the weather was poor over the both days it certainly didn’t deter beer or cider drinkers alike, from the second we opened the door Friday morning until late Saturday night the atmosphere was absolutely buzzing. We had a few of the boys from The Bois Afan male voice choir who came and sang a few numbers including Hymns and Arias, Tom Jones Delilah and the very emotional Myfanwy which put a lump in everyone’s throat.
Musicians Rob and Russ also came along to play some of their chilled out acoustic music on the guitar and double bass and Gos a customer with a talent for playing the piano also joined in the revelry. All in all the atmosphere was lively and very jovial.
We decided to go for all Welsh products because in recent years Wales is fast becoming a place for good real ales, with microbreweries popping up all over Wales some producing a very good standard of ale. In 2002 there were only a dozen or so breweries in Wales fast forward to today and there are over 80 breweries producing over 50 million pints a year. With over 50 awards won in the last 2 years including a dozen International Gold medals. We felt this was even more reason to shout about some of the fantastic ales being produced on our doorsteps.
So going with the all Welsh theme we had 10 Welsh real ales and 4 Welsh ciders on offer. We also had some delicious freshly cooked pies made locally by Evans Pies to help soak up some of the ale being consumed.
We went for a wide selection when it came to choosing the beers so we could try and suit everyone’s tastes, the beers themselves ranged from 3.8% to 6.0% in strength and from a very blonde to a Very dark/almost stout in colour. One of the beers (Goddess of the Spring) by The Celt Experience in Caerphilly was made with strawberries, raspberries and loganberries still fermenting in the keg which went down really well (to the point someone took a large jug of it home with them).
Goddess of the Spring by The Celt Experience 6.0%, Boss Brave by the Boss Brewing Company 5.5%,
Puddler’s Peril by The Borough Brewery 4.8%, JPR’s Pale Ale by Grey Trees 4.7%,
Treacle Toes by Cerddin Brewery 4.5%, American Pale Ale also Cerddin Brewery 4.3%,
Skirrid Welsh Bitter by Tudor Brewery 4.2%, Gold Beacons by Brecon Brewing 4.2%,
O1 by Otley Brewery 4.0%, Madog’s Ale by Purple Moose Brewery 3.7%
The beers came from all around Wales, some locations included Abertillery, Brecon, Caerphilly and the furthest was Madogs Bitter a multi award winning bitter (also the first ale to go over the weekend) from Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog North Wales.
We did keep score sheets and the most popular beers in order from 1st to 3rd were JPR’s Pale Ale from Grey Trees Brewery, American Pale Ale from Cerddin Brewery and Boss Brave from the Boss Brewing Company.
The ciders were much the same as in we got them from different locations all around wales, with the firm favourite being the Farmers Pride cloudy scrumpy cider From Gwynt Y Ddraig a multi award winning company based in Llantwit Fardre South Wales. We also had their award winning Two Trees Perry which was the second to go after being drank dry by some very happy customers. One of the other ciders on offer was Felin Fach from Palmers Upland Cyder in Newport a proper home brew made using a 16th century recipe, what some would call “a proper cyder”.
On a personal level we would like to express our gratitude at the support we received from our customers some local and some from further afield and once again from the people of CAMRA who continue to give great support. Dai Morgan from Cerddin Brewery in Maesteg helped us set everything up and kindly lent us some of the equipment needed. We have stocked his beers since we opened and have always had such a great response to some of the first class ale that he manages to produce. And when you talk to him what a lovely and down to earth fellow he is.
As people were leaving the pub a huge amount of them were asking “When is the next festival?” which is making us think we would like to do another one this year, perhaps to celebrate our 1 year anniversary at the end of September….. We shall see it’s been a crazy first year for us.
The Real Ale & Cider festival definitely gave us an idea of how many people out there are craving something more from their drinking experience and like the idea of all the different tastes available.
We have had to be brave in an area that was thought of as a no go for ale drinkers and were told before we opened that Real Ale wouldn’t work “in this neck of the woods”. But we have faith and know that Craft Ales and Ciders are definitely the way ahead. It’s just been such a great experience supporting other small business’s and receiving support from them also on what we hope will be the first of many Beer Festivals.
Over and out thank you for reading.