A former drovers inn in Mid Wales, which believes that good beer sits at the heart of a good pub, has been named Bae Ceredigion CAMRA Pub of the Year for the second time.
Mick Taylor, owner of Y Talbot, Tregaron, has always been passionate about beer. Having been brought up in the famous brewing town of Burton-on-Trent, he remembers the air being permanently diffused with the smell of hops, yeast and malted barley and has been interested in beer, brewing and pubs ever since.
Arriving at Y Talbot in 2011, one of Mick’s first projects was to rebuild the beer cellar, replacing all the beer dispense equipment and installing new stillage and hand pumps for serving top quality cask ales.
Since then, Y Talbot’s sales of cask ales have gone from strength to strength and Y Talbot’s reputation for great beer has grown with it.
Reflecting these developments, Y Talbot was named Ceredigion and West Wales CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2012, was a runner up in 2013 and 2014, before retaking the crown in 2015. Y Talbot also entered the Good Beer Guide in 2012 after a 20 year absence and has featured every year since.
“It’s really important that I take a close interest in the beer but it’s also vital that both general manager Sion Tansley and the bar team share that interest,” said Mr Taylor. “We now have in-depth expertise to keep and serve cask ales in first class condition.
“Bar staff Steven and Chris are equally enthusiastic about racking and tapping the casks, cleaning the lines and ensuring that the pint is well poured into the right glassware. This is very much a team effort!
“Brewing in Wales has seen a renaissance in recent years and there’s a great choice of top quality ales available. It seemed a natural decision to specialise in “ales from Wales and the borders” rather than better known brands from far flung parts of England.
“It also fits with our ethos of using local products and services wherever possible, as it means low food miles and fresh beer straight from the brewery. We extend our remit to the borders partly because it’ as close to the Ludlow and Hereford as it is to Porthmadog and partly because there’s some cracking brewing going on there as well.”
Welsh favourites include Purple Moose brewery in Porthmadog, Mantle Brewery in Cardigan, Evan Evans brewery in Llandeilo and Jacobi Brewery in Pumsaint, whilst Ludlow and Wye Valley breweries represent the borders.
“Contrary to what you might hear, beer sales in pubs can grow,” added Mr Taylor. “We now sell four to five firkins (a firkin is 72 pints) of delicious cask ale a week and more in the summer.
“Customers will travel many miles for a good pint. Even better, they stay the night and then savour a few pints over an evening meal. So yes, we really do believe that good beer is at the heart of our business, as is good food, a comfortable bed and warm hospitality. Cheers!”