Saturday 23rd April sees the return of the Real Ale Trail in Flintshire and we’re bringing the beer! The pubs are ready, the buses are good to go, BUT the beer needs a name. To win a day’s brewing at Hafod Brewing Company with Head Brewer Phill and beer to take home too check out the Leader newspaper or www.leaderlive.co.uk to enter the competition and create a name for this year’s Ale Trail brew.
What sums up the Ale Trail? What will look catchy on a pump clip on the bar for hundreds of people to see? We’re looking forward to hearing the names you come up with – good luck!
If you’re not familiar with the Ale Trail take a look at the website and find out where to buy tickets http://realaletrailflintshire.co.uk/
So Dryanuary and Tryanuary are done and dusted. Happily for us loads more people joined in the fun this year, trying new beers, bars and bottle shops in what could have been a very dry month for the industry. Hafod cans are now available in Wetherspoons across North Wales and several new independent stockists – check out our ‘Stockists’ page for new places to grab a beer.
February is going something like this: Liverpool, refurbishment, meet the brewer, refurbishment, Liverpool…
We’re off to Liverpool a few times this month with 4 cask beers making an appearance at Liverpool CAMRA Beer Festival, including two limited edition small-batch brews, Macaroon 5.5% a sorachi ace hopped dark ale and Hopper Brewer’s Reserve 6.5% a super strength version of our bronze winning beer. At the end of the month we’ll be taking the brewery bar and bottles/cans to celebrate Global Scouse Day on Sunday 28th February at Sefton Park Palmhouse with other independent food, drink and craft producers: https://www.facebook.com/Artisansinthepalmhouse/?fref=ts Our cask and canned beers are cropping up across the city too. Look out for us in both branches of The Ship in a Bottle http://www.theshipandmitre.com/shops/
Kicking off with plans to refurb the brewery and make room for an events space this month requires all hands on deck; after promising a grand opening for a long time we might actually have one! (No, really.) Watch this space for details and some sneak peak photos. Work is ongoing!
Meet the Brewer
Just in time for the Six Nations Wales fixtures we’re fitting in a meet the brewer night at the independently run The Shop, in Cilcain this Friday 12th February; a great little shop where you can stock up on local produce. The plan is a chilled-out evening of beer talk, handpulled beers and a good excuse to stock up on cans and bottles ready for Saturday’s Wales v Scotland match. Tickets available from The Shop: http://www.theshopcilcain.com/
A busy month – can’t complain of boredom!
Happy New Year from everyone at Hafod. This January we’re supporting #tryanuary : a brilliant idea to get everyone to trying and talking about new beers, bars and breweries.
You can visit http://www.tryanuary.co.uk/ for more details or check out the #tryanuary tag on Twitter to join in.
On 18th January our very own Big Red IPA will guest star as one of the 31 beers of #tryanuary and the Tryanuary website will feature a Q & A session with head brewer Phill.
For a chance to win a dozen cans of Hafod, hop on over to our Facebook page and ‘like’ & ‘share’ the competition post. The winner will be announced on 1st February.
Can’t wait to get your hands on some Big Red?
Our #tryanuary stockists are:
Best Of British: http://www.bestofbritishbeer.co.uk/
Great Ale At The Market: http://www.greataleonline.co.uk/
Beer Dock: http://beerdock.direct/shops/
Chester Beer & Wine: http://chesterbeerandwine.co.uk/about-us/
Iechyd Da Liquor Store, Caernarfon: https://www.facebook.com/iechyddacaernarfon
Stori Beers, Bala: http://www.storibeers.wales/
Gales, Llangollen http://www.galesofllangollen.co.uk/
Olif Tapas, Betws-y-Coed http://www.olif-betws.co.uk/
Porter’s Deli, Llangollen http://www.portersdeli.co.uk/
Ship In A Bottle, West Kirby & Liverpool branches http://www.theshipinabottle.co.uk/
Sorry. Terrible pun. But then it’s been an exciting week here as two of our beers, Big Red and Safe Bet, arrived in cans.
After several years of toiling away at hand bottling small-batch brews of beer, capping, labelling the said bottles (again by hand) then waiting around for the bottle-conditioning process to work, it’s a satisfying thing to wave off the IBCs of beer and welcome them back in cans! So here they are…
Big Red our rye and spelt brew launched successfully at several north west beer festivals recently and makes a satisfyingly smooth transition to can. It’s due to be featured as one of the 31 Beers of January in the Tryanuary campaign – if you love trying new beers and you’re not sure what @tryanuary is then get on to Twitter and find out!
No pic of Safe Bet as it’s literally being collected from the cannery as we speak, but the name says it really: our 3.5% session pale with a subtle spicy hopped bitter finish…
Time for some more QC and by happy coincidence our new Hafod branded glasses turned up this week so it’d be rude not to try them out (wouldn’t it?!) The glasses, cans, giftpacks and the brewery bar will all be having their first Christmas outing this weekend to Liverpool – come and see us at the Artisans at The Palmhouse event on Saturday and Sunday for beer, beer and more beer. https://www.facebook.com/Artisansinthepalmhouse/?fref=ts
New beer, new image.
Amongst a lot of other busy goings-on – there’s a whole different blog post for that – this autumn sees the launch of our new pump clip range AND Big Red, our brand new Spelt & Rye IPA. Some of our beers are all about subtlety; Big Red is all about a big, bold blend of 8 American hops and a mouth-watering bitter finish. Something you can get your teeth in to. Something that will be debuting at several North West beer festivals soon.
There’s a plethora of great beer festivals out there this season where you can support local micros by supping a pint of locally brewed beer and, more often than not, help raise money for good causes. We’ve just listed the ones where you can get a pint of Hafod (biased? us?!)
Festivals we’re supporting and supplying:
Chester Rugby World Cup Beer Festival Friday 30th – Saturday 31st October Watch the rugby and drink beer. Fool-proof. Unless you don’t like rugby. But then there’s all that beer, so what’s the problem? Landmark, Sunrise and Moel Famau will be making an appearance.
Mold Novemberfest Friday 13th – Sunday 15th October Sponsored by Hafod, we’ll be there with the Hafod bar, serving up 5 of our beers on hand-pull to go with a great beer line-up, food and foot-stomping bands. The beers will be: Cranberry Ale, Dubbel, Big Red, Hopper and Festivale.
Cheshire Beer Festival Friday 13th – Saturday 14th October A big variety of beers on at the Racecourse including our new beer Big Red!
Wirral Beer Festival Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th October Two casks of Big Red will be on at the festival, whilst six other beers will be on soon at The Ship and Mitre pub in Liverpool, including our seasonal Bilberry Brew and Moel Famau dark ale.
Beer, food and music – who doesn’t love a festival? Our diary’s full of them and people are spoilt for choice throughout summer and autumn. We’re pretty busy prepping for festivals so if this blog goes quiet you’ll know why. Here’s a round-up of our favourites – let’s see if we can persuade you to put at least one in your diary…
Nantwich Food & Drink Festival Friday 4th – Sunday 6th September http://www.nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk/exhibitors/
Do you know what’s great about this festival? It’s FREE and you get all this: 160+ food and drink producers and retailers, a live music stage, chef demonstrations, competitions and a minimum of four breweries attending, not to mention the numerous real-ale pubs in the town. Award-winning pub The Globe http://www.globenantwich.co.uk/ will have two of our beers on at their beer festival the weekend before and we’re certainly hoping to drop in when we’ve finished serving at the festival! We always measure how good an event is by whether we’d want to come along on our day off as punters and the answer for this one is YES. For the past three years we’ve imagined ourselves dancing to the live bands with a gourmet pie in one hand and a pint of ale in the other…alas the success of this event means we stay sober and continue to pull pints for the thirsty public! Can’t complain though really can we…
Flintshire Real Ale Trail Saturday 12th September http://www.realaletrailflintshire.co.uk/
The very popular sell-out ale trail with a bus that smoothly gets you between all the pubs on this trail around Flintshire (you won’t get stuck on a bus for 3 hours.) Beers come from a variety of north Wales breweries and NEWS JUST IN – we’ve been asked to brew a beer especially for this year’s trail. Name and taste notes TBA!
Mold Food & Drink Festival Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th September http://www.moldfoodfestival.co.uk/
You might say we’re biased about this festival as it’s in our home town of Mold and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t (a little bit) in favour of this one, but we don’t think you can go wrong with another bustling town-centre event. In its tenth year, the festival manages to cater to most tastes, celebrating local Welsh produce in the food, drink and chef marquees whilst hosting a mini music festival outside that is foot-stompingly good at night. If you’re after more pints of the good stuff afterwards the newly opened Fat Boar pub offers cracking food and ale http://thefatboar.co.uk/
NEW Brewers Beer Festival Friday 25th – 26th September http://www.cwrwial.com/#!newbrewfest/cjln
Now this one is brand new, but we’re pretty excited. Because north Wales brewing is alive and kicking and like so many areas across the UK it’s progressing rapidly. And that’s what this N.E.W. (North East Wales) festival is about: bringing seven local breweries together under one roof to celebrate the diversity and quality that we’re all about. Or if you want it put simply: an opportunity for a knees-up with seven ace brewers, live music and pies. It’s going to be one hell of a weekend and we can’t wait. Check it out, tickets available online.
Other beer festivals this season:
Our beer is going out to lots of different festivals that we can’t actually be at, but are definitely worth going to – check these out if you’re in the area:
August Bank Holiday Weekend
http://www.mcgivernales.co.uk/page6.html Ruabon pub The Bridge End Inn hosts a festival of 30+ beers and ciders, with food and live music. In its 6th year, sure to be very busy.
http://www.globenantwich.co.uk/#!facilities/c66t Nantwich pub The Globe hosts a weekend of beer, music and activities for the kids (5 minutes peace whilst you have that pint might be possible…)
http://www.wherecanwego.com/event/919497-llanffest-3/events.aspx Community pub Y Pengwern hosts its 3rd annual beer festival, featuring local Welsh breweries and with live music too.
Hope to see you for a pint at one of these – cheers! Suzanne
This week we welcomed ITV Wales in to the microbrewery to film the story of our Moel Arthur Bilberry Beer, a limited edition seasonal craft beer that we produce from the small bilberries (or winberries) which grow locally in the Clwydian Range, north Wales. If you’re wondering what on earth a bilberry is then you wouldn’t be alone! Put simply they are a small native relative of the blueberry and grow wild on high ground in the UK.
Bilberry picking up a mountain is a pretty time-consuming and sticky activity; when you add that together with the potential for falling down a slope or in to the many gorse bushes, some people might wonder why we bother making a bilberry beer. We think the resulting beer is worth it: a copper-coloured ale, with a touch of bitterness, a subtle malty fruit finish and a nod to the beautiful local mountain range.
Crafting small batch beers like this one is something we started out doing three years ago; the Bilberry beer sits alongside our other locally inspired beers, Moel Famau dark ale (infused with heather from the Clwydians) and Moel Fenlli honey ale (made with heather-honey from hives up in the same hills). Since then we’ve obviously moved on to brew many other types of beer, from pilsner, trappist-style, and IPA to stout, amber and pale, but we’ve always kept the locally inspired beers in the range because of local demand. People like to know the story behind their beer and we’re proud to share it. When you’ve spent the day hiking up that mountain, quenching your thirst with a pint crafted with ingredients from that same hill is quite a novelty!
If supporting and buying from local producers is your thing then take a look at the many fantastic producers and retailers who’ve linked up to form the Clwydian Range Food & Drink Trail: http://www.foodtrail.co.uk/horizontal/ We can vouch for the freshness and deliciousness of the products they make and the stunning scenery of North East Wales you’ll get along the trail is an added bonus! The Food Trail news report will appear on ITV Wales at 6pm, Friday 14th August. meanwhile it’s back to cask washing for us – don’t worry, the fame hasn’t gone to our heads. A brewer’s work is never done…
Last weekend’s 2015 CAMRA North Wales Beer Championships turned out to be quite a nice surprise. Due to brewing commitments we were unable to make the trade session on the Friday night so only found out through Twitter our entry for 2015 Hopper had been awarded Supreme Bronze 2015!
We did make up for it the day after by getting along and tasting the great beer selection chosen by James from Axiom Brewing Co and Matt from McGivern Ales – thanks guys. Here we all are, brewer included, with our Hopper pump clip.
Thanks to Alison from Purple Moose, whose lovely Ysgawen Elderflower Ale won the Silver Award, for the photo. Congratulations to Gold Award winner Tom from Heavy Industry Brewing Co for his excellent ’77’ brew, completing a hat trick of Gold Awards.
A blog for all things beginning with B. Ready?
Testing brewing on the Hafod big kit commenced in April. Head Brewer Phill has been twisting the taps on the new brewkit, putting it through its paces with a brand new recipe. The results are sitting in our conditioning tanks, well, conditioning! A probable early appearance for the beer could well be Wrexham Food & Drink Festival 16th & 17th May in the beer tent. As for the name and style…you’ll have to wait and see just a little longer
Further work has continued on the rest of the conditioning tanks and their cooling systems in addition to keeping the little brewhouse running at full capacity.
During the visit we sampled many local beers including several Captain Lawrence Brewing Co beers, an excellent schwartzbier from Catskill Brewery, Blue Point Breweries Mosaic IPA and even some hand pull beer from Smuttynose Brewery at the tremendous Mugs Alehouse in Brooklyn http://www.mugsalehouse.com/
I had some concerns prior to visiting Brooklyn Brewery that it might disappoint due to their commercial success (that hipster problem!). Delighted to say I was very wrong. Although it took a rather long wait to get into the tasting rooms, the beers on offer inside more than made up for it.
All of the beers we tried were in excellent condition. Two absolute stand out beers were the Sorachi Ace pale ale (so good I tried it twice) and Wild Horse Porter (fermented with wild yeast). We have a stock of Sorachi Ace at the brewery, which I now have even greater plans for!
Another feature we loved about the tasting rooms was the mix of people spending their Saturday afternoon in there. Brooklyn’s tasting rooms were a bouncing mix of everyone including, we reckoned, more than 50% women.
So unsurprisingly craft beer is alive and well in NYC. Brooklyn Brewery is flying the flag with style and there are a tremendous number of interesting beers and breweries over the pond. Now Phill, about that Sorachi Ace you’ve been saving…