Wales’ first micropub to be launched at Swansea Bay Beer & Cider Festival

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August 15, 2014 by Kay Byrne

The first ever micropub in Wales is being launched at Swansea Campaign for Real Ale’s annual beer & cider festival next week.

Rod Undy and Karen McGeoch, who are opening Wales’ first micropub.

The first ever micropub in Wales is being launched at Swansea Campaign for Real Ale’s annual beer & cider festival next week.

The Mumbles Ale House, on Dunns Lane, Mumbles, will sell real ales straight from the barrel from micro-breweries all over the UK.

Micropubs were invented in 2005 with the opening of the Butchers Arms in Herne, Kent. The idea quickly spread and there are now almost 100 micropubs in England.

The micropub association defines a micropub as “a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks.”

Now Wales is to get its first micropub, thanks to Mumbles couple and real ale fans Rod Undy and Karen McGeoch.

“From the moment we first heard of a micropub we’ve been following their progress and just love the simplicity of the concept,” said Rod. “We had to keep the idea quiet for a while because we wanted to be the first micropub in Wales.”

Rod and Karen, who are members of Swansea Camra, decided to launch the pub at the annual Swansea festival as they knew there would be an appreciative audience of more than 2,500 real ale fans to welcome the glad tidings.

“We really want to focus our attention on delivering the best ales we can find and giving our customers the opportunity to try something new, but we’ll also complement this with a small selection of cider, a few wines and some interesting soft drinks,” said Karen.

Real ale fans will have to wait until August 29 to visit the pub, but in the meantime they will have the chance to sample more than 170 different brews at the Swansea Camra festival at the newly refurbished Brangwyn Hall over the bank holiday weekend.

Rob Turner, who took his Mumbles Brewery beers to the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia this week.

Rob Turner, who took his Mumbles Brewery beers to the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia this week.

This year’s event will not only feature more than 100 real ales, but also more than 60 craft-brewed ciders and perries, which will have a new cooling system to ensure they are served at the perfect temperature.

Many of the real ales this year come from small microbreweries that have emerged all over Wales recently to quench a consumer thirst for new and original beers.

There are now around 50 microbreweries in Wales and around 20 of them will have beers at the festival. While large breweries and pubs have been closing during the economic downturn, microbreweries have been bucking the trend and seeing rapid growth.

Two new micro-breweries have launched in Swansea since the last beer festival, the Mumbles Brewery and The Pilot Brewery, both of which will have beers at the festival.

Richard and Jo Bennett, proprietors of the Pilot of Mumbles, Swansea Camra's pub of the year 2014.

Richard and Jo Bennett, proprietors of the Pilot of Mumbles, Swansea Camra’s pub of the year 2014.

“We are delighted to be able to offer some of the very best beers, ciders and perries that Britain has to offer,” said festival chairman Chris Radford. “The festival is always a big hit with discerning drinkers and this year is going to be bigger and better than ever.”

“We also wish the Mumbles Ale House a successful launch – this is going to be another welcome addition to the real ale scene in Mumbles, which is already blessed with past and present CAMRA Pubs of the Year, The Park and The Pilot.”

The Swansea Bay Beer & Cider Festival is open from 5pm-11pm on Thursday, 21 August; and from noon to 11pm on Friday, 22 August and Saturday, 23 August. It is being held in the Brangwyn Hall, St Helen’s Road, Swansea, SA1 4PE.

The festival is sponsored by the Brains and Tiny Rebel breweries.

Entry is £5 per day for non-Camra members (£3 for Camra members) and that includes a glass and the festival programme and tasting notes.

There will be live musical entertainment on all days as well as a fringe programme of talks and tastings, plus a range of hot food.

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