My top Five Welsh Beers

The nice people (former colleagues) over at Walesonline asked me to come up with a list of great Welsh beers – they were in no particular order so

Here are my Top Five from the list I have had this year – there seems to be a lot of variants on stouts/porters – and no surprise Tiny Rebel come top – 90% of their beers this year have been amazing

1) Dirty Stop Out, Tiny Rebel: A stunning smoked oat stout which rightfully was Champion Beer of Wales 2013. ABV: 5%

Tiny Rebel Beer : Dirty Stop Out

2) Hadouken, Tiny Rebel: A perfect example of an IPA ABV: 7.4%

3) Shining Tsar, Brains Craft: One of the many excellent ‘craft’ beers from Brains – strong but very drinkable ABV: 7.5%

4) O6 Porter, Otley: Very good porter – also look out for the excellent mOtley Brew. ABV: 6.6%

5) Boilermaker, Brains Craft: A hoppy beer matured with Penderyn whisky-infused oak chips in Penderyn casks. Great on keg or bottled. ABV: 6.5%

of course I’m sure you have had others – so feel free to list your top five in the comments 🙂


Will you be drinking the strong ABV beers at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival

As tomorrow is the start to one of the highlights on the Welsh brewing and drinking calender Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival– I thought I would look at the ales that always seem to end my afternoon on the Friday at the festival – the ones over 6% ABV – but after my recent trip to Bruges I think I could handle a few of these earlier 😉 (ok maybe in thirds)

Some really strong ales this year , with Otley Brewing shouting the loudest with a shed storming Odessa 9.7 with Heart of Wales High as a Kite 9.5 coming in close – it’s left to two other Otley Beers to follow, the now classic Otley O8 8 and Otley Motley Brew 7.5

The new boys on the block from Newport Tiny Rebel have a very respectablel Hadouken IPA 7.4 then the Ponty boys are back in the race with their lovely Porter – Otley O6 Porter 6.6   but the dark horses are back again, with Cardiff brewery Brains showing off their Strong Ale 6.5 after a great entry last year.

So if you are going for the the strong ales – remember to take your time – and don’t get over excited like me – it’s all about pacing yourself 🙂

Here is the full list as nicked from but in ABV order


Bunch of Grapes Bottled Beer Festival (October 14th – 16th)

Some interesting Belguim beers but nothing untested in the past at the Otley brewing flagship pub when they have a Bottle Beer Festival – no prices mind.

The current count is eighty-eight bottles! Due to be topped up with a few more of our favourites as we get closer to the festival.


Anchor Brewing – San Fransisco
Steam Beer – 4.8%
Liberty Ale – 5.9%
Porter – 5.6%

Brooklyn Brewery – NYC
Brown Ale – 5.6%
Black Chocolate Stout – 10.0%
East India Pale Ale – 6.8%

Flying Dog Brewery- Maryland
Doggie Style – 5.5%
Road Dog Porter – 6.0%
Raging Bitch – 8.3%
Tire Bite – 5.1%

Goose Island – Chicago
312 Urban Wheat – 4.4% (as served in the White House!)
Honkers Ale – 4.3%
India Pale Ale – 5.9%

Sierra Nevada
Pale Ale – 5.6%


De Koninck – 5.0%
Duvel – 8.5%
Kwak – 8.4%
La Chouffe – 8.0%
Mc Chouffe – 8.0%
Houblon Chouffe – 9.0%
Vedett Blonde – 5.0%
Vedett White – 4.7%
Belgoo Magus – 6.6%
Van Honsebrouke Brigand – 9.0%
Van Honsebrouke Kasteel Blonde 7 – 7.0%
Van Honsebrouke Kasteel Brune 11 – 11.0%
Cantillion Geuze – 5.0%
Cantillon Kriek – 5.0%
Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus – 5.0%
Cuvee Des Trolls – 7.0%
Delirium Tremens – 8.5%
Duchesse de Bourgogne – 6.2%
Mongozo Coconut – 4.5%
Rochefort 8 – 9.2%
Rochefort 10 – 11.3%
Saison Silly – 5.0%
Brasserie Dubuisson Scaldis Ambre – 12.0%
Urthel Hop It – 9.5%

Abbey & Trappist

Chimay Red Cap – 7.0%
Chimay White Cap – 8.0%
Chimay Blue Cap – 9.0%
Karmeliet Tripel – 8.4%
La Trappe Blonde – 6.5%
La Trappe Tripel – 8.0%
Maredsous Blonde – 6.0%
Maredsous Brune – 8.0%
Maredsous Triple – 10.0%
Orval – 6.2%
Westmalle Dubbel – 7.0%
Westmalle Tripel – 9.5%

For the Full list go here.

Beer now selling Bottled Beer – including the wonderful Otley Brewing Company O8 Beer

Amazon today I think starting selling grocery’s but more importantly they are selling Bottled beer & Cider

some great ones as well, including great Welsh Beers & Cider from Otley Gwynt-y-Ddraig, Breconshire Brewery,Kingstone Brewery , Vale of Glamorgan Brewery , Tomos Watkins and RCH Brewery to name a few.

the Otley ones are being sold by their offshoot REALBEERBOX and also offer 10 & 20 Litre boxes of beer as well, great to see them selling on a big selling wossname as Amazon

good luck to the otley’s and other local suppliers i hope the delivery price is the same if you buy in bulk as the 20 Litre of 08 has my name on it


Best cask beer in Wales is Otley O-Garden

Well done to the Otley team they were happy yesterday, and today after the announcement at the Great British Beer Festival that their Brew O-Garden has won best cask ale in Wales.

Its a great wheat beer with similar tones to a certain Belgium beer.

Otley happy lot

I wonder if COLUMBO was up for it that’s another great Otley beer.

but if they brewed that new beer by MelissaCole thai-bO I would vote for that all day.


Pub Review : The Otley Arms – Treforest – Freehouse

I have been drinking on and off at The Otley Arms for the last 15 years.. and a few years ago its was my permanent local for about 18 months…where people know your name sort of place, even though I only live 4 miles away now – as the bus drives, I don’t visit this pub enough, but nothings changed apart from the bar maids hair colour.

The Otley arms does not pull any punches it serves quality real ale and all the favorite keg beers to an audience that’s either students and locals or the odd person who pops in depends on the time of the year.

If you like an old fashion pub then you may think you are getting one from the outside

Otley arms

Otley arms

But the Otley has gone through so many internal changes over the years that It does not really know what it is.

Otley arms

But I think that’s what gives it its unique charm, Pool for the students, great jukebox, good food the Sunday lunches are what you would expect and more – many tellys and a biog screen for football/rugby when the big matches on… and some great odd regulars who never seem to leave.

The saving grace and the reason I always seem to return if I get off the train at treforest is the quality of the beer, there is always at least two award winning otley beers on tap (yes they brew their own up the valleys) – mostly the excellent O1 (£2 a pint currently) and whatever they are brewing at the moment like OG a stronger brother to O1.

The guest beers they have on are normally of good quality and wide ranging but the price is something you would be-used to in the city unless you are a holder of an Otley card or a O badge were you will get a discount.

Otley arms flanker's tackle

One of the beat beers they do is called ColumbO but this was not on on my recent visit, in fact it’s one of my favorite beers from the last few years, if your local serves it then grab a pint.

Otley columbO

If you want a proper history to the Otley then beer “know it all” Arfur Daley has a post somewhere online 😉


Beer Notes: Otley columbO

Went to the Otley Arms in treforrest for a quick couple of pints, I used to go a lot more (when I lived in Rhydefelin) but now only manage it about every other month, the same people are there and I always end up talking to Mostyn about photos and his latest expensive lens!

The ever helpful Andy behind the bar (Number one as they call him), always lets me know what beer is going well.

so I started with a great little pint Stonehenge Ales – Danish dynamite


I have had it before there many times, but the 5% it’s not a session beer(well some of the regulars seem to be on it all day!), but it’s great tasting and well worth searching out.

The other pint I had was a new one (well I have never had it) from Otley Brewing called Otley columbO it’s a hoppier version of their standard O1 using the Columbus hop, a winner I think..


ArthurD over at brew wales has a more professional review of the beer.