Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ale on Anglesey


Nowt like a holiday to make you appreciate what you have on your doorstep eh?!

Extensive research had high-lighted a small number of pubs that had to be visited on Anglesey (Ynys Mon to the Celt locals!) and I did my best within the realms of a family week away. I heard that Purple Moose were a known brewery in this sparsely populated part of our kingdom but I didn`t spot them at all.

In fact, my first taste of North Wales beer came in Bangor? Nope. Conway? No.  Holyhead? No. It was actually in the esteemed Kelham Island Tavern! Great Orme Brewery appeared in our award-winning tourist tavern (and also in The Sheaf View) a couple of days before I set sail (well drove on the M56) to Anglesey. However, I was not enamoured with my half of Ynys Mon, a thin malty drop belying its 4%+ ABV.

On the island, my first beers were bottled ones form the Conwy Ales. Looking at their website, they have an interesting range and I tried Rampart (4.5%) and Welsh Pride (4.0%). Both were very amenable but I really enjoyed the Pride (aka Balchder Cymru) which was zesty but unusually orangey rather than the more sour fruits you expect in Summer ales with a spicy notes too. (These were purchased from Waitrose in Menai Bridge so I shall be paying for them in instalments over the the next 48 months.) Da iawn!

Looking for the perfect beach we ended a day at The Ship Inn which is a GBG stalwart. An isolated gem, this place stretches the wallet and offers an array of tasty food for passing pirates, okay scouse tourists. On the bar were Adnams, a Derby Brewery one (too close to home to bother with!) and so I enjoyed the  Kenneally`s house beer (named after proprieters for last 40 years) sat in the late afternoon sunshine.

However, other Beaumaris bars were not so noteworthy. The Sailor`s Return looked great but the badly-kept Bass was the only ale on offer and I showed my true colours by sipping half of it before running out of the door, wife-in-tow. The Robinson`s house George and Dragon was next. Unusually they had opted for a Friday night quiz to draw in the punters. I`m not sure what the four locals doing the test were drinking but I do know that answer number 4 was ZZ Top and that that my Trooper by Robinsons (4.8%) was not too bad actually. I would have had another but we were in danger of winning a prize in the quiz mainly due to our combined ability to breathe and sit.

Hancock`s HB was my ale of the night in Ye Olde Bull`s Head. The beer was average but this hostelry oozes with quirky character and, I suspect, has done so since Stuart times. More recently Dickens supped here; I wonder if it was as busy as when we bobbed in and I wonder if he ended up in the window seat too. Small bar with handpulls secreted away but worth the effort.

In very brief summary, Anglesey is a great place to holiday but beer geeks will likely be starved of suitable sustenance and will welcome their return to (Sheffield) civilisation. Funnily enough, my first venture out after my sojourn and I spied `Celtica` by Great Orme OTB at the Sheaf View which was a fruity reminder of my holiday, just a shame that the beer is kept so much better in S8 than in LL75!

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