Drinking in Cardiff

Despite being fairly well travelled in the UK, I had not visited the capital of Wales. I was given the chance to rectify this recently when I was invited to take part in a Beer Academy tasting course hosted by Evan Evans* in their Cardiff pub, the Cricketers.

Simon Buckley serves up Gold
The pub is fairly well-turned out with up to 8 cask beers on at any one time. The course was interesting and well worth the trip. We tried Archers Gold (Archers is now an Evan Evans owned brewery) and Evan Evans Cwrw. Simon Buckley of Evan Evans certainly knows his stuff and I look forward to sampling their new offerings.

I was also fortunate enough to bump into Robert Gale, photographer behind the Beer Lens site, always good to put a face to a name, especially when they're so friendly.

Following the course I decided to go via a few other pubs to the Great Welsh beer and Cider festival, where I was keen to try Wales' newest brewery, Tiny Rebel.First stop was Cardiff CAMRA branch pub of the year, the City Arms. Hosting its only miniature beer festival I opted for a half of Doc Brown, Tiny Rebel's session bitter and found it met very much with my approval. We also had the fun spectacle of the naked bike ride passing outside.

From there I moved on to brew pub Zero Degrees, which completes my hat-trick having previously visited both the Bristol and Reading brew pubs. Here I tried the mango beer, the mango certainly noticeable but just not all that inspiring.

I hot-footed it along to the CIA Motorpoint Arena for the festival, where £10 got me a glass, program and a couple of pints. I headed straight for the Tiny Rebel brewery (Twtter) stand, unfortunately already much depleted with four beers sold out. I did get to try the Full Nelson a fantastic Nelson-Sauvin single hopped effort and Cwtch, an easy drinking American pale ale. I met one half of the brewing team, Brad, who was kind enough to let me try the end of Hadouken DIPA from the cask. I certainly hope to try all of these beers again! They'll be available in bottle soon.

I also got to try Brains brewery's new Barry Island IPA, brewed with the help of Real Ale Guide's Simon. An enjoyable East Coast USA style IPA, not pithy and brash like those west-coasters but a lovely beer. Look forward to trying other iterations brewed on the new craft plant, of which #3 was Mr Martyn Cornell. Also good to see Ffion fully recovered after her Japan/ #EBBC12 combo.

Cardiff is certainly well worth a visit and I look forward to returning to investigate some more pubs. There doesn't yet seem to be any "destination" beer bars, though perhaps that's not too bad as it prompts you to sample a variety of hostelries.

* As a member of the Evan Evans tasting club I got the course fee and all beers courtesy of the brewery, thank-you!

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