Many a great team have graced the field of the Millennium Stadium. Some of the world’s best rugby players, footballers and musicians have all put in performances of a lifetime within its wall. Now we look towards the great ales of Wales to do the same. We look towards the nation’s brewers to fill up their kegs, bottles, casks and our glasses with their finest beers. For three days, the W-Ales Beer Festival will witness nearly 270 different beers be pulled and poured from an all star team of the country’s best breweries; from the established big boys like Brains, right down to the new boys on the block like Tomos a Lilford. All will be united and no one shall go thirsty.
From June 5 to 7, the stadium will host the biggest beer festival that Cardiff has ever seen. The newly established W-Ales Festival will incorporate The Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival into a larger event that will provide a stage for demonstrations, food and an array of entertainment for festivalgoers to enjoy, but bringing beer enthusiasts together will always be at the heart of the event.
“I love the festival as it brings together brewers from all over Wales,” said Sue Haywood of The Waen Brewery, “some of whom are far flung in the most rural parts of the country, which means we see less of many Welsh brewers than we do of brewers from other parts of the UK,” she continued. As well as bringing her Blackbeery Stout, Pamplemouse pale ale, Sue will be taking their famous and award wining Chilli Plum Porter which has not only be recognised by SIBA, but was also named Beer of The Year by BeerBods.
Echoing Sue’s excitement and sentiment, Jaime Devine of Tudor Brewery said, “I’m most looking forward to meeting other producers, members of CAMRA and beer lovers in general.
“I am very proud of the beer we produce and feel that this is the best forum, in Wales, to show it off to a mass audience.”
Tudor’s team have been busy launching their latest creation, Tudor Red, across the UK, but will still be in force come the festival. “We will be taking our Blorenge Pale Golden Ale, Skirrid Welsh Bitter, Sugarloaf dark ale, our Tudor IPA, Black Rock and finally Tudor Red,” Jaime explained. Tudor Red, a ruby ale weighing in at 5%, has seen launches in Cardiff, Birmingham and Belfast as well as Liverpool, London, Newcastle and Scotland. A hit with punters across the cities, Tudor Red is one to look out for at the festival.
The weekend will also act as a diving board for Tomos a Lilford to launch their beers to the wider public after only being available exclusively at The Gallery in Barry. “Our Rosemary Ale and Personal Best will be making an appearance,” said James Lilford, and if their successful stint at The Gallery is anything to go by, this brewery is one to watch for the future.
Among other new beers to hit the bars at the festival, The Handmade Beer Co.’s latest brew, an American IPA, will also be making an appearance but you better be quick if you want a sip. “There’s only going to be one firkin available,” the brewery announced on Facebook, so only a lucky few will be able to get it down their necks.
It wouldn’t be a beer festival in Cardiff however, without the mighty Brains, a stalwart in the capital’s brewing scene for over 100 years. Boasting two different bars, one in The Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival and one in the drinks area of the larger W-Ales Festival, Brains will be bringing their A-game as well as over 20 different beers for punters to get their lips around.
“Our GWBCF bar will feature nine cask ales,” said Danny Champken Brand Executive of the brewery, “some from the core Brains range and some new and favourite beers from Brains Craft Brewery.
“Then on the drink bar we will have eight beers from the craft brewery available on keg, and a further four craft beers in bottles,” he continued, “and then some rotational additions in bottles too.”
If that’s not enough to wet your whistle, I don’t know what is.
Tickets range from £10 for a day pass, to £25 for a three-day pass, as well as the opportunity to buy a group ticket for 4 at £30 and can be bought from here.