Few things have truly succeeded in world domination. Take Brain, the genetically enhanced mouse for example, who would always witness his schemes to take over the world scuppered by his less enhanced sidekick Pinky. And then there’s Dr Evil. No amount of evil lairs and wicked plans could help the bald baddie take over the world. Even the Romans couldn’t do it and their rule was described as Imperium Sine Fine, meaning ‘empire without end’ as they believed, in all their big headedness, that neither time nor space could possibly limit their Empire. How did that work out for you Caesar?! One thing however that has perhaps given it a good old whack is American culture. Americanisation has seemed to hit all corners of the globe (well except maybe those carnivorous Amazonian tribes with bones through their noses) and we are certainly not immune.
Cardiff has welcomed all things ‘yank’ with open arms, empty glasses and knives and forks at the ready and no, I’m not talking about McDonalds, Wendys, Budweiser or Coors. I’m talking authentic southern BBQ paired with craft beer and luckily The Pilot, owned by small pub chain Knife & Fork, will be fulfilling such desires at their American BBQ & Craft Beer Festival this August Bank Holiday.
“I organised our first Bank Holiday American BBQ & Craft Beer Festival in August of 2013,” said Pilot’s General Manager Phil Newbould. “I wanted to showcase what American beer was today and dispel the myth that it’s just pissy weak lager.” After that festival went down better than a pig trotter bobbing competition at The Redneck Games, Phil organised a second in May of this year but this time showcasing modern British craft beer twined with classic pub grub.
“South Wales has a really strong ‘foodie’ culture, but doesn’t like pretence,” he continued, “I think this is why South Wales doesn’t really do ‘fine dining.’ We demand great quality, honest food and great service in comfortable surrounding.” It’s this type of attitude that has allowed American style BBQ to create such a buzz in our city, but also applies to Cardiff’s craft beer craze.
“I think nationally we are demanding better quality produce and people are sick of being told what they should like and what they should drink by the likes of Interbrew, InBev and Coors. This is proven in America where local craft brews now take up 15% of all beer sales and is growing year on year,” said Phil.
The festival, featuring relaxed Bluegrass and Country performances, will run between Thursday 21st and Monday 25th of August at the pub in Penarth and will also mark the beginning of Hang Fire Smokehouse’s next residency running until the end of November.
Both Phil and the Managing Director of the Michelin Guide recognised pub, Sean Murphy, are faithful Hang Fire fans and when it came down to who they wanted catering their festival there could only ever be one choice. “We knew we wanted to repeat our American Festival, so who better to cook the ribs and pull the pork than the Hang Fire girls!” said Phil and so Sam and Shauna will be serving up their famous brisket, pork, Texas hot links and meatballs at the event and will also be calling the Penarth pub their new home for the next couple of months. “On the back of conversations with Sam and Shauna about our festival they expressed interest in looking for a new venue for their next pop-up and of course we are delighted to seize the opportunity to have the chance to work with them,” Phil continued.
But the collaboration doesn’t stop there. Pontypridd based brewers, Otley, as well as the boys from The Bottle Shop are also getting in on the action at the festival. Otley, one of The Pilot’s main ale suppliers, will be supplying some of the 16 cask offerings (including 12 on the festival bar and four on the normal bar) and will be kicking off the festival with a meet the brewer night on the Thursday.
“This wil be doubly exciting as we will also be using this night to launch our very own Knife & Fork/Otley collaborative house brew,” Phil explained enthusiastically as he’s in charge of the first beer. “This will be a seasonally changing beer, only for our pubs, brewed together with Otley at their brewery,” he continued.
When it comes to cask beers, it’s very much a Welsh dominated line-up and as well as Otley, expect beers from Tiny Rebel, The Celt Experience, Waen and Grey Trees but also from South Wales’ newest nano-breweries Crafty Devil and tomos y lilford and brews from London’s Tap East, 5 Points and Redemption. When it comes to bottles however, it’s all American baby with Dan and Si from The Bottle Shop sourcing american favourites such as Flying Dog, Sly Fox, Brooklyn and Founders.
“Myself and Sean really believe that collaboration is the way forward!” said Phil. “Working together, Knife & Fork, Otley, Hang Fire and The Bottle Shop can provide something for our customers that none of us would be able to do alone… and I say, why not?!”
The festival runs between Thursday 21st August-Monday 25th and BBQ will be served from 6pm on the Friday and 1pm on the Saturday so head down to The Pilot, located at 67 Queen’s Road, Penarth, and have yourself a ball.
- The Hang Fire Smokehouse Story
- Crafty Devil to launch
- Adventures in beer with tomos y lilford
- Brewing at Otley