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Latest News
We've got 4 pint jugs to take away real ale and cider!
Come up to the top of Halkyn Mountain and join us as we drink in the atmosphere of the house of ale repute
20p per pint discount on cider for card carrying WPCS* members
and on cask ale too for CAMRA* members

I'm often asked what beer I would recommend, my reply has always been "sorry I can't, all palates are different - taste them and make up your own mind." It doesn't sound that helpful a response but having spent many years travelling and supping all kinds of brews, a taster will get you past the problem I experienced of having a pint in front of you, bought with your own hard-earned cash and feeling upset as you really couldn't stomach finishing the beer.

You can help those still in a quandary by adding your own beer comments and there's guidance from CAMRA & Cask Marque along with some notes from Roger Protz (Good Beer Guide) below. Here is information on how beer and cider is actually brewed from WikiPedia. To help you distinguish between Welsh and other cider & perry varieties we've used the Welsh forms for Seidr and Perai! Press here for CAMRAs NBSS (see below).

Steve

Black Dragon Seidr 7.2% PDF Print E-mail
Reviews Beer - Real Ales

ImageA lovely Welsh oak conditioned medium dry cider 7.2% abv from Gwynt-y-Ddraig in Pontypridd, South Wales. One of the nicest medium ciders we've ever had here at the Blue Bell Inn, smooth, strong and definitely medium!

This special reserve cider has been hand crafted exclusively from cider apples grown by traditional methods in ageing orchards. The juice pressed from these apples is fermented and matured in oak barrels to produce a cider rich in colour, body and flavour with a fresh fruity aroma.

News for 2010: Gwynt y Ddraig's Black Dragon draught cider was judged OVERALL CHAMPION at the International Cider Competition held at the Hereford Cider Museum last month. This followed a Silver Medal for Black Dragon at CAMRA'S National Cider and Perry Judging held in Reading the previous week. More recently and indeed closer to home, Black Dragon has won Cider of the Festival at the Welsh Beer & Cider Festival held in the CIA, Cardiff.

Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs.

Gwynt Y Ddraig Cider started production in the late autumn of 2001. Bill George and Andrew 'Drew' Gronow embarked on a cider making venture with one remit, to make Cider using traditional methods. There were no plans with what would be done with the cider once made, apart from being drunk that is, and it was all very much approached as a hobby with 100 gallons in the first batch.

Apples were picked and pressed pretty much at random as they had no real experience in the cider making field and the resulting juice was left to ferment in some old oak casks. Surprisingly the resulting cider, as Bill & Drew put it "wasn't half bad," although it was strong enough to knock out a couple of elephants! Many a person fell at the hand of that first batch. Importantly though, it gave them the cider bug. Realising that they had no way of re-producing the cider they had made due to the random mixture of apples they had used, they decided to take a more methodical approach.

From now on they would only use apples they recognised and had information about their cider producing properties.Through trial and error the technique slowly evolved into the methods used today. Still very much on a learning curve they continue to experiment with traditional methods with an emphasis placed on experimenting with apple blends to produce new and unique flavours.

When we visited them in Dec '09 they had something more than 500,000 litres of cider on the go!

 

You might wish to use the new beer scoring system from CAMRA. It goes like this...

CAMRA has a new online National Beer Scoring Scheme (NBSS). The NBSS is a six point scale (0-5) for judging beer quality in pubs that has been designed to assist CAMRA branches in selecting pubs for the bestselling Good Beer Guide. In the past CAMRA members filled in cards to rate the beer in a pub and then submitted the entries to CAMRA, but now they are able to fill the details in online at www.beerscoring.org.uk - making the process quicker and easier than ever before.

CAMRA members will be asked to examine the look, smell, and taste of each beer before offering their evaluation. The scores are:

0 = Undrinkable: No cask ale or the quality is so poor you can't finish it.

1 = Poor: Barely drinkable

2 = Average: Competently kept but uninspiring.

3 = Good: Good beer in good form. Worth another pint.

4 = Very Good: Excellent beer in excellent condition, another pint is a must.

5 = Perfect: Very rarely given by the seasoned drinker. Probably the best beer you are likely to find.

Should you feel like waxing lyrical, Roger Protz kindly let us reproduce some tasting notes for your guidence below...

Table courtesy of the Cask Marque Trust
Term
Description
Sweet
Sugary
Bitter
Tonic Water, Quinine
Hoppy
Floral, Grassy, Citrus
Tropical/Soft Fruits
Peach, Pineapple, Banana
Malty
Toffee, Horlicks, Biscuit
Burnt
Coffee, Burnt Toast
Body
Fullness, Thick
Alcoholic
Spirit, Warming
The Language of Beer

Nose: the aroma. Gently swirl the beer to release the nose. You will detect malt: grainy, biscuity sappy. When darker malts are employed the nose will have powerful hints of chocolate, coffee, nuts, vanilla, liquorice, molasses and such dried fruits as raisins and sultanas. Hops add superb aromas of resins, herbs, spices, fresh-mown grass and tart citrus fruit - lemon and orange are typical with intense grapefruit hints from American varieties. Sulphur may also be present when waters are 'Burtonised': i.e. gypsum and magnesium have been added to replicate the famous spring waters of Burton-on-Trent.

Get your copy here!Palate: the appeal in the mouth. The tongue can detect sweetness, bitterness and saltiness as the beer passes over it. The rich flavours of malt will come to the fore but hop bitterness will also make a substantial impact. The tongue will also pick out the natural saltiness from the brewing water and fruit from the darker malts, yeast and hops. Citrus notes often have a major impact on the palate.

Finish:
the aftertaste, as the beer goes over the tongue and down the throat. The finish is often radically different to the nose. The aroma may be dominated by malt whereas hop flavours and bitterness can govern the finish. Darker malts will make their presence felt with roasty, chocolate or coffee notes; fruit character will linger. Strong beers may end on a sweet or biscuity note but in mainstream bitters, bitterness and dryness come to the fore.

ROGER PROTZ
Editor Good Beer Guide
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This site is authored by Steve Marquis for the Blue Bell Inn

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