The 2013 Carmarthen Beer Festival - A Recap

Again this year, the Carmarthen Beer Festival showcases some of the finest local ales available in South Wales and beyond. The Festival started a week later than usual this year, between Thursday the 3rd and Saturday, 5th October.

The Carmarthen Beer Festival Bar.

Entertainment was supplied this year by two accomplished bands. Abergwili based The Blue Street Band played on the Friday night, whilst UBATUBA closed the Beer Festival on the Saturday. Both bands were excellent, bringing the crowd to their feet and onto the stage at some points!

This year we had a total forty five real ales on offer along with a selection of Ciders and Wines available. Unfortunately, The Friends Arms failed to supply us with one of their ales this year. Hopefully they will have an ale of some sort to offer some of the disappointed customers next year.

Brewery Ale ABV Brewery Ale ABV
Archers Golden Ale 4.4% Bath Gem 4.1%
Brecon Dark Beacons 4.2% Brecon Green Beacons 4.3%
Brecon Red Beacons 5.0%
Bryncelyn Oh Boy 4.5% Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous 4.0%
Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch 6.0% Buntingford Twitchell 3.8%
Caffle Kis't Blonde 4.3% Cerddin Cascade 4.8%
Dark Star American IPA 4.7% Elgood Black Dog 3.6%
Elland 1872 Porter 6.5% Evan Evans Cwrw 4.2%
Evan Evans Cwrw X 4.?% Evan Evans Full Cry 4.3%
Evan Evans Warrior 4.0% Fyne Ales Jarl 3.8%
Gower Gold 4.5% Gwaun Valley Pembroke Best 4.5%
Handmade Brewing Special Bitter 4.5% Heart of Wales Aur Cymru 3.8%
Jacobi Original 3.8% Jacobi Dark Ale 5.0%
Kite Gorslas Ale 4.0% Kite Carmarthen Pale Ale 4.1%
Mantle Mumbles Mile 3.8% Ossett Silver King 4.3%
Otley O5 5.0% Otley O9 Blonde 4.8%
Tenby Ales Baggywrinkle 4.5% Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale 3.6%
Robinson Trooper 4.8% Seren Bluestone IPA 4.2%
Swansea Three Cliffs Gold 4.7% Swansea Original Wood 5.2%
Tiny Rebel Urban IPA 5.5% Thornbridge Jaipur 5.9%
Tomos Watkin Blodwen 4.5% Tomos Watkin OG 4.2%
Tomos Watkin OSB 4.5% Tring Tea Kettle Stout 4.7%
Woodeforde Wherry 3.8%

This year's festival welcomed again of some old friends ale wise including offerings from the Bryncelyn, Evan Evans, Swansea, Tomos Watkin & Brecon Brewing.

On the Thursday morning we tapped the Ales to determine whether each one was ready to be put on sale. On a good year we should at have at least half of the ales ready to be sold at 5pm Thursday. This year however, we had at least forty ales ready! Bullmastiff's Son of a Bitch, a notorious slow settler, usually takes until Saturday to be ready, however to the amazement of Huw, Richard and myself, for the first time ever on Thursday, we could put Son of a Bitch on sale! From what I can recall, the only ales that took an excessive amount of time to settle were ones from the Otley Brewery, which is hardly no surprise, as that's how Otley brews are (but all good things come to those who wait!) and surprisingly, Gorslas and Carmarthen Pale Ale from The Kite Brewery.

The messiest ale to tap this year was Robinsons new collaborative brew, Trooper. When we tapped, we had an explosion of gas and hops, that continued to seep for a good while, that made a terrible mess around that section of the stillage. Trooper was more bark than actual bite however, as the ale itself tasted a little dull to me. Nevermind.

Beers of the Festival

This year the Beers of the Festival was won by Ossett Silver King. A firm favourite amongst both CAMRA staff members and the people who attended the festival, Silver King was a last minute addition to the ales that were marked down for the festival. Rumour has it that Richard Evans, the Carmarthen Beer Festival decided to put Silver King in over previous festival favourite, Oakham Ales' Attila! Inspired, or contreversial.

The Beers of the Festival were:

# Brewery Ale
1 Ossett Silver King
2 Bath Gem
3 Gower Gold

My Beers of the Festival were as follows:

# Brewery Beer
1 Elland 1872 Porter
2 Faye Jarl
3 Ossett Silver King

Beer Festival Champion

This year's Beer Festival Champion is regular Hefin John, who after years of trying, managed to sink all the ales on offer at the festival first.

Hefin John, the Beer Festival Champion for 2013.
Hefin John, 2013 Beer Festival champion with Bryan Glynn, Chairman (pictured left) & Peter Davies, Treasurer (right).

Next year is the twenty year anniversary of the Carmarthen Beer Festival. We are planning a few special events to celebrate this milestone, one being the return of all past beer festival champions on the Thursday or Friday night. We might see the return of Barrie Thomas, who has not been at the festival for over eight years...

Beer Festival Links

Justin managed to take over sixty pictures over the Saturday at the beer festival, luckily enough capturing some of the shanigans that took place during UBATUBA's performance in the evening.

Evan Evans' verdict of some of the Beer Festival Ales

The only sour note of the weekend was Simon Buckley's critisisms of some of the ales that were available at the festival. To quote from his blog post:

Why do we let these amateurs call themselves brewers. I tasted some really poor beers at the festival. Badly made, badly constructed, and frankly some of them microbiologically unstable.

However, it was unfortunate for Mr Buckley, as whoever posted that blog entry attributed the wrong date to the article, that made it out that the words had been written a day before the festival had began! This caused a total shit storm on the popular social media sites, when influential Welsh beer blogger Arfur Daley posted on his popular Brew Wales blog a small article under the headline Brewer critical of CAMRA beer festival before it opens!

Simon Buckley, Managing Director of Evan Evans Brewery, Llandeilo.
Simon Buckley (pictured left), Managing Director of Evan Evans Brewery, Llandeilo.

I have no problem when people have an opinion, but I don't think it's really the place, on a brewery website, to critisize the produce of other breweries. I'd much prefer Evan Evans would concentrate on the quality of their own output.

Simon Oksien pulling a face at the last day of the 2013 Carmarthen Beer Festival.
Simon Oksien expresses what he thinks. Until next year!