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After England scraped past Fiji and their tropical rainwater beer they face a tougher test this week in Wales. Ranked 6th in the world Wales are somehow the third best team in this pool. In their first game they comfortably overcame Uruguay 54-9 and managed to rest a few key players as well. It has been well documented that Wales have massive injury problems and lost key men Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb in warm up matches and Corey Allen who scored a hat trick of tries against Uruguay also now looks set to miss the rest of the tournament. Is the beer scene in Wales as depleted as their rugby squad?
The biggest brewery in Wales is Brains who have been brewing since 1882. Their beer is in over 270 pubs, bars and hotels in Wales and the West of England and can be found in many supermarkets nationwide. Brains also has close links with Welsh sport. Their name was on the Welsh Rugby Teams shirts for six years and they now sponsor Welsh Rugby Union, Glamorgan Cricket and the Football Association of Wales.
Their most famous beer is Brains SA which is a nutty best bitter and is a good session beer. If you are also watching the Rugby at the Millenium Stadium you’ll be able to try it for yourself. Like bigger breweries Brains have also expanded on their core beers and now offer a craft beer range. For more information about Brains visit their website here.
Tiny Rebel Brewery have come so far since their launch in 2012. As the only brewery in Newport they have won loads of awards, most notably the Champion Beer of Britain 2015 for Cwtch their red ale. Their other beers which I actually think are better include FUBAR, Urban IPA and Dirty Stop Out. They also opened the Urban Tap House the first craft beer bar in Cardiff which I’d love to go and visit.
Other small breweries worth a mention are Artisan Brewery who produce Pipes beers such as Chocolate Wheat and Smoked Lager which sound absolutely wonderful. Purple Moose Brewery are based in Porthmadog and I managed to try their dark beer Dark Side of the Moose when I was recently at the Great British Beer Festival and I was very impressed. Another Welsh beer I have tried at numerous festivals is the excellent Welsh Black by The Great Orme Brewery.
Wales have some good emerging breweries alongside a few established big names however I think they will come up short against England.