The Gwaun Vallery Brewery is a family brewery in North Pembrokeshire in West Wales. They produce several real ales including a Light ale, Pembrokeshire Best Bitter and Farmhouse ale. We visited the smart new brewery five miles from Fishguard and tasted the special limited edition Christmas Ale. This has been christened ‘Yule be Merry.’ Having an alcohol content of 4.8% that is probably a fair comment.
The Gwaun Valley Brewery is open every day of the year except Christmas Day and runs an acoustic music night every Saturday night. The beer labels feature watercolour paintings by Sarah Davies and some of the originals are displayed on the walls of the brewery. Usually they are of the local landscape but the Christmas special has a seasonal scene of celebration and warmth. Which brings us to the beer.
The ingredients are simple. Pure spring water, roasted barley, rolled oats and chocolate. Chocolate? Yes – I checked with the brewer Len Davies and there is real chocolate in this ale. Not just any old chocolate but luxury dark chocolate. If ever there was a beer that needed tasting this was it.
With the cap popped off the ale reveals itself to be a dark-brown, reddish colour, with a medium body and a sweet bouquet. It has a complex taste that reveals itself gradually. There is a caramel hit at first, with overtones of espresso. Then the chocolate flavour kicks in before leaving a bitter-sweet long-lasting aftertaste.
Verdict: Yule be Merry looks good and tastes good. But it’s only being made for Christmas so hurry!
or you can visit – they are five miles from Fishguard and the main ferry terminal to Ireland – an ideal place for a pre-ferry refreshment!
I was a guest of the Gwaun Valley Brewery.