First published in BEER March 2008 as part of a piece about Welsh beers. For more Welsh beers see previous post.
ABV: 3.9 and 5.5 per cent
Origin: Capel Dewi, Sir Gaerfyrddin
Dairy farmer Glyn Lenton took over Ffos y Ffin farm outside Capel Dewi in rural Carmathenshire in 1990. Some years later he and friend Steve Smith, both enthusiastic home brewers, discovered a spring on the farm was the perfect source of brewing liquor. They installed the brewery in 2005, designing and building the kit from scratch rather than buying an off-the-peg system. Their reputation for quality is spreading – a celebrity chef had been on the phone in search of samples just before I called.
Cothi Gold is named for a gold mine on a tributary of the brewery’s local river, the Towi. This is a tasty golden ale with a good bubbly head and a light mineral malt aroma with a yeasty banana-ish hint. A firm flavoursome and fresh palate has strawberry, vanilla and citric notes with light hops, while a cleansing swallow leads to a biscuity malt finish with deeper pepper hops and a very slightly soapy quality.
It’s a great example of refreshing session beer, brewed with floor malted Maris Otter pale barley malt from Warminster maltings, crystal malt, flaked maize and torrefied wheat, with Boadicea hops for bittering and Goldings, Progress and Zatec (Saaz) for aroma.
The name of the more robust Paxton’s Pride refers to a nearby folly built in 1812 by Sir William Paxton to celebrate Nelson’s victories. This reddish amber ale with its thick yellow head is actually brewed from the same grains as Cothi Gold, but in different proportions. The burst of hops on an intoxicating fennel and spiced orange aroma comes courtesy of Northdown, Fuggles, Styrian and a late addition of Zatec. The palate contrives to be both firmly malty and bone dry with incense and orange oil and a hint of smoke. The orange fruit turns pithy and marmaladey on a lingering and satisfying finish.
Four other real ales in a bottle are also well worth trying.
More Welsh beers in next post.
Read more about these beers at ratebeer.com: