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    Saturday, 1 March 2008

    What Wales Is Best At

    Today is St David's Day, the national day of Wales. Being part of the British Isles it has a tradition of brewing real ales. In fact two breweries still exist which started production in the 1800's. Brains, and Felinfoel, both from the more industrial Southern half of the country.

    Brains flagship mild has won silver once and bronze twice in the Champion Beer Of Britain Competition while Felinfoel has its place in British beer folklore, being the first brewery from these isles to sell beer from a can; a dispense method which people were very sceptical would take on.

    Some decent microbreweries have started up in the last few years; notable ones being Jolly, Otley, Kingstone and the sadly short lived Bryn Cyf. However for me the best drink being produced in Wales at the minute is fruit based.

    Both cider and perry is enjoying a real revival in Wales. The Welsh Cider and Perry Society has its own website which is in the throws of being replaced, but on which at the moment a good deal of information about the many outstanding producers can be found. We are lucky in that Welsh cider and perry is quite common at our better beer festivals so you don't have to dig out your Welsh/English dictionary to find somewhere to drink it.

    Producers I would particularly recommend are Gwynt y Ddraig who do a large range of ciders most of which are bottled, but whose perry is without question the nicest perry I have ever tasted, Troggi another excellent perry producer, and Seidr Dai who have a prolific range of both ciders and perries.

    Don't forget to drink Welsh real ale, but do not overlook the ciders and perries; there's some great stuff out there.

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