The rain was drumming down as we left Portmadog with little reluctance, heading back up through Snowdonia in grim weather which threatened to blow us off the road. Our destination in the short term was Snowdonia Brewery at the ParcBrewery Tap on Beddgelert Rd, Waunfawr. At the stroke of opening time we dashed the few yards from the car park into a warm welcome and very decent beer indeed. Perfect Snowdonia Gold and a nice chat to the brewster, who good naturedly chastised the bar staff for not offering us samples from the range, restored our faith in all things beery. Even the samples were crisp, clear and cool. Would it last?
Our next destination, Conwy, was immediately impressive with its streets busy despite the downpour and the castle replete with two Welsh flags dominating the scene in a good way. We parked at the Castle Hotel, an old coaching inn which regrettably seemed to have had all character removed, though that didn't detract from the very warm welcome received from the young and enthusiastic bar staff. We noted too in the hour or so we were there, the large number of diners and drinkers. They are obviously doing something right. Beer here was from Conwy Brewery with the 3.6% Clogwyn Gold being a bit of a belter.
Lastly in Conwy, a terrific pub of tremendous appeal and character. The Albion is a splendidly restored 1920s, multi roomed pub which positively gleams inside. Again the welcome couldn't have been warmer, nor the beer in much better form. Local pork pies from Edwards (what a shop they have - worth a trip to Conwy just for their Bara Brith and sandwiches) were spot on too. It was consequently a cheery bunch of old gits that left for Chester. Now North Wales has been slagged off by some respondents and I can see why, but Conwy was a gem and I dare say we'd have found some other decent beer there too. It just had that sort of feel to it.
Above all what set Conwy aside from Portmadog was the quality of the offer. A warm welcome and excellent beer really makes all the difference. It isn't that much to ask surely?
You are no doubt wondering about the dead dog. He is ubiquitous in these parts. The sad tale is here.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
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