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 ūüôā


Bacon, Yes , Caramel Yes – best bar snacks in Cardiff ever

First it was the amazing hop infused crisps, now Paul from the Urban Tap house has outdone himself with his candied bacon strips.

This is not a review just a celebration of what is good with the world “Streaky bacon encased in caramel”- they glistened in the afternoon light – saying eat me eat me – we know how good salted caramel is so these taste amazing – one ok, two is too much but what a bar snack (¬£1 a strip is not cheap but worth it’s weight in Caramel) and an amazing Amuse-bouche to what this man can do with a fryer – I’am told his deep fried gherkins are a thing of beauty as well.

Candied bacon strips

Candied bacon strips

Candied bacon strips


The perfect bar snack – crisps but not like crisps you have had before hop infused crisps

The brilliant craftbeer bar Urban Tap House in Cardiff is experimenting with bar snacks and the latest edition are the amazing hop crisps.

Made with Maris piper potatoes then cooked in vegetable oil with hops(citra) infused for a few minutes then tossed in a home-made seasoning (secret)

THESE are the best crisps I have ever tasted – ok I have a cold – but they smelt of beer and tasted sweet and salty – highly recommended.

Can’t wait to see that chef Paul has up his white{s} sleeves –

I think mini scotch eggs would be my lunch everyday if they did them – black pudding, boar and Gloucester old spot:)


Are you a fan of craft beer? Well Cardiff is the place to be

This autumn craft beer finally makes it’s fully fledged mark on the beer drinkers of Cardiff – with Tiny Rebel Urban Tap House raising from the ashes of Fire Island, Scottish naughty boys brewdog potentially throwing their shareholders money about and Waen Brewery opening what could be a revival of the off-sales trend – it’s a great time to be a beer drinker in the City.

I managed to have  a quick look at Urban Tap House Рthere are a lot of familiar faces behind the bar and a large  number of beards Рbut this is not your typical Camra member pub- they have all Tiny Rebels beers on cask/keg & bottle Рa great selection of Cask and some interesting Keg beers but what stands out is the sheer number of bottle beers РOne Hundred, the champion beard wearer & manager Chris reports , which I think is a first for a Cardiff pub.

Chris Rowlands

Some very amazing beers from Craft American Brewers Odell, Rogue Ales – old school Belgium and some great German/Dutch/Scandinavian and of course British modern classics like Thornbridge, Kernel and those brewdogs – plus a great selection of ciders – mostly bottled at the moment but more to come.

When the City arms opened a few years a go – I posted “Is the best Real Ale pub in Cardiff now the City Arms?” well time will tell but I think these two neighbours can complement each other instead of be in competition.

Here a selection of quick snaps


Sign & Friendly Drinkers: Urban Tap House Cardiff

IPA Menu: Urban Tap House Cardiff

Cask Ale List: Urban Tap House Cardiff

Friendly Staff: Urban Tap House Cardiff

Bar:  Urban Tap House Cardiff

Half: Urban Tap House Cardiff

Mega Bootled Beer Fridges: Urban Tap House Cardiff

Urban Tap House

You can follow the bar on social media – Twitter/Facebook to see what’s on tap.


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 ūüėČ (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 ūüôā

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