Artisan Brewery: The Bar
In my list of places to buy good beer in Cardiff, I touched on Artisan Brewery. Now, for licensing reasons, they don’t sell bottled beer on the first Saturday of each month – instead, they open the bar, so you can drink down their beer fresh straight from the tap (well, you can, but they would become dangerously agitated if you did that instead of using a pint cup).
So, after a few hours in the office on Saturday 1st September, I came home early afternoon. The missus was in London seeing a gig, no one else was around, and so I went for a wander. It was one of those late summer days, where the sun was giving an all-out, encore performance so brilliant that everyone in the first three rows spontaneously combusted. The smell of impromptu barbecues hung in the air, and it fired up my thirst for more of Artisan’s Smoked Lager.
The Artisan Brewery is small, more of a large garage, with no room amongst the pipes and brewing vessels to sit down. Instead, you’re outside. It shouldn’t work as a drinking spot, really. It’s a narrow alley-cum-yard walled in by workshops and, well, walls. When it rains your best hope of cover is putting one of the step-stools used for seating on your head. But, get a good day, and it suddenly becomes ones of those ‘local hidden gems’ tourist guides love to rave about.
The sun filtered through surrounding trees, music played from speakers discreetly positioned about the area, friends and couples sat around the makeshift collection of tables and chairs, and everyone was enjoying good beer. Meanwhile, the owner, Simon, stood off to one side, barbecuing jerk chicken so spicy that I was high on seasoning for quarter of an hour after just one piece. He also does vegetarian options, which would have pleased the missus had she been with me.
On tap that Saturday was Helles Lager, Vienna Lager, Smoked Wheat (alas, no Smoked Lager), Alt Beer and Cider. Apparently, Alt Beer (the style) is something of an ‘in-thing’ at the moment, moreso for its scarcity – as far as the excited queries I received on Untappd would indicate. It’s a great beer – robust, nutty, with a red berry edge, not unlike brown ale, but denser in body and still refreshing.
I could have stayed all day, and really should have given that it was the last good first-Saturday-of-the-month of the year (October, you’re welcome to prove me wrong), but I had a powerful urge to rack up some badges on Untappd and set off on a mini-crawl through Cardiff back home.
The best weather of the year is probably behind us, and the idea of standing in a freezing yard watching ice form in my pint isn’t the most appealing, so I highly recommend you pencil in ‘Artisan Brewery bar’ for next Summer.