September 1, 2017 by Kay Byrne
We’ve seen one new brewery established and another is in the pipeline, while our existing brewers have been winning awards and coming up with exciting new recipes to meet beer drinkers’ increasingly adventurous tastes.
Swansea’s newest brewery, West By Three, is run by Richard Axon and Hamish Thain. They started brewing small batches of craft ale in 2016 and their beers are already so sought after that they can’t keep up with demand.
The friends, who met at school , now live thousands of miles apart – Richard in Swansea and Hamish in Brooklyn. Yet they have collaborated in setting up the brewery which specialises in natural, unfiltered beers.
Said Richard: “Neither of us wants to give up our day jobs so we brought in Colin Peterman, a brewer from Colorado, to look after things.
“It’s gone so well that we went from a one-barrel operation in January to six barrels by April. Our output has doubled or tripled every month for the last eight months.”
Their beers include Berry White IPA, which has Amarillo, Mosaic and Citra hops blended with berries and rhubarb.
“We are quite seasonal in the way we brew,” said Richard. “We don’t have core beers but regular beer styles that we go back to.”
If you want to try West By Three ales, Richard says they are available in bottle or keg at N.D.John, Swigg, the Last Resort, Elixir and periodically in the Park and the Ale House in Mumbles.
Meanwhile, another new brewery is in the pipeline. Richard and Jo Bennett of the Pilot of Mumbles are busy converting their new premises in Swansea Marina, the old Sea Angling Centre, into a new brewery and bar.
Richard, who already brews cask and keg ales at the Pilot brewery, says the new brewery, named Beer Riff, will brew a whole new range of craft keg beers.
The upstairs bar will have fantastic views over Swansea Marina towards Kilvey Hill, and a beer garden area, so watch out for the opening later this year.
Another local outfit that has seen great success this year is Mumbles Brewery, run by brothers Rob and Peter Turner. Earlier this year four of their brews won a total of six medals at the SIBA Wales and West Independent Beer Awards held in Ludlow.
Meanwhile, Tomos Watkin brewery has undergone a rebranding with new look labels, pump clips, and cans. It’s also been brewing for new palates lately, as brewer Gareth Moule explains: “We’ve been branching out with new styles in small runs of limited edition beers.
“The new brews include Black Beard, a 4.5% spiced rum stout, and Dark Horse, 4.5%, a delicious stout with an oaty flavour. On the lighter side, the team came up with a new IPA, which has proved so popular it looks like it will be joining the core range.”
The family business has also started putting some of its new brews in cans, to meet a growing market for canned craft ale. Hurricane Blonde, 4%, and Kick Ass IPA, 6%, have both been marketed in this way.
Gower Brewery is also going from strength to strength , opening a brewery tap at its Crofty base from 4-7pm every Friday to allow locals to try out their new brews as well as their core range.
They have also introduced a new range of bottled craft ales called Hoppy Seabird (pictured, top), including Nosedive APA, Rockers IPA and Light44, a continental style lager. A fourth brew, Fifty6, a silky oatmeal stout, will follow.
Slightly further afield, the formerly pub-based Borough Brewery in Neath has expanded and moved into a 10 barrel brewery in the Pelenna Valley, now with brewery tap!