Teetotaller or sozzled. There’s no other type of Welshman. Times have changed since this nineteenth century English stereotyping, but there’s no denying we have had an ambivalent attitude towards the demon drink. It’s not that long ago — certainly within our memory — that pubs were shut on Sundays. But now the country boasts award-winning craft breweries (Cwtch has just been announced as the Champion Beer of Britain 2015), an upmarket distillery and even vineyards and wineries, creating red, white, pink and sparkling wines.
BEER IN WALES
Our local craft breweries are
Purple Moose Brewery / Bragdy Mws Piws
Bragdy Nant Brewery
Cwrw Llyn (Lleyn Beer)
There are over 50 micro-breweries in Wales. We haven’t had the opportunity to sample all of them, but a Beer Festival is held down the road in Llanbedr each September.
Way down south in De Cymru (South Wales) in the hideous town of Newport is the Tiny Rebel brewery. It’s only been going since 2012, but this year (2015) its ‘Cwtch’ Welsh Red Ale won CAMRA’s Champion Beer Of Britain award. A cwtch, pronounced kooch, means a huggle. They describe it thus:
Arguably the coolest word on the planet, Cwtch is our very own untraditional Welsh Red Ale. Six malts, two US hops and weeks of Tiny Rebel love and attention go into making this unique beer. Citrus and tropical fruit dominate the taste that is backed up with caramel malts that balance the moderate bitterness. Drinkability & balance makes this beer.
The biggest Welsh beer company. Cardiff-based. Beers widely available
Known by generations of greenish English rugby supporters as “Feeling Foul” after their regular thrashings by Llanelli on the Easter Tours.
Swansea-based. Harder to find.
We started drinking at seven
And went out for a breather at ten,
And all the stars in heaven
Said, Go back and drink again.
My wife dies of cirrhosis of the liver. She was Welsh, and drink never did the Welsh any good — think of Dylan Thomas and Richard Burton.
[At Ghent] you saw the peculiar habits of the Welsh. In the very depths of winter they were running about with bare legs … they were great drinkers.
It is time we remembered that England is our messuage and demesne, and that Englishmen were born to rule and not to be ruled, and least of all to be ruled by a bumptious, snuffling, flighty, tiresome, fifth-rate bunch of barbarians like the Welsh.
(On the prospect of David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland.)