The Great Welsh Beer Festival
CAMRA’s Great Welsh Beer Festival is taking place at the Depot in Cardiff (10 minutes walk from Cardiff railway station) until Saturday night. If you’re in or nearby Cardiff do go along. Entrance is modestly priced and the venue is spacious with plenty of seating and plenty of beer (and cider and perry) to try in half pints.
I’ve been attending the GWBCF since the days it was in the Star Centre in Splott. The Star Centre (now revamped) was in those days a monument to the architectural ambitions of Eastern Europe in the days before the demise of the Soviet Union.
The GWBCF is to an extent one of the more traditional CAMRA fests. It is cask only (no keykeg) and the range of beer is similar to that you might find at the Great British Beer Festival. That is to say some really excellent beers and rather more that are perfectly OK and perfectly drinkable but not perhaps stand out.
Of course what you like is down to personal taste and preference.
It is good to see two Cardiff breweries that are usually keg only -Crafty Devil and Pipes- with highly drinkable cask options. Otley and Tiny Rebel the leading names in independent Welsh beer are both there and I was also impressed by the two beers from Tenby. Other developing breweries such as Hopcraft, Mad Dog and Heavy Industry also have casks. Grey Trees and Boss are arguably a little more traditional in beer style but if that’s your thing you’ll certainly enjoy.
That said once you’ve sampled what’s on offer at the Depot you’ll find an equally impressive range of beers (cask and keg) these days back after a short walk to central Cardiff. The Cambrian Tap, Brewdog, Zero Degrees, The Urban Tap House, City Arms, and the Hop Bunker probably offer between them almost as many beers as you’ll find at the GWBCF.
Good beer drinking in Cardiff is changing for the better and the Great Welsh Beer and Cider festival is an important part of that change.