Hundreds of real ale lovers have been enjoying the “biggest pub in Wales” as the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival gets into full swing.
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has transformed Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena into the nation’s best-stocked bar, with more than 150 ales to sample as well as many ciders and an array of foreign beers.
Arfur Daley, the festival organiser and South Wales Echo columnist, said the festival was getting good numbers through the doors, with thousands more expected as the three-day event went on.
View photos from the first day of the festival
He said: “Most of what we have on show is Welsh. This is a Welsh beer festival and we want to showcase the best of what Wales has to offer.
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“A lot of hard work has gone into making the festival happen, we have been here since Monday and preparations have been in place since November. There have been a few hiccups: T-shirts for the festival were accidently delivered to a hotel nearby, but generally things are going well.
“It is always quieter on the Thursday, but as the live music gets going over the weekend then we are expecting more people.”
As many as five to six thousand are expected over the course of the weekend.
Today, the prestigious annual Champion Beer of Wales competition will be held.
Nick Otley, managing director of Pontypridd’s Otley Brewing Company, who have 13 beers and ales on show at the festival, said: “We have been appearing at the festival for about six years. It is our home festival and a great chance for us to showcase our beers to new people and a younger generation.”
One of Wales’ other flagship breweries, Brains, is using the festival to launch its newest – and most potent – ale, Brains Strong Ale, which has a whopping 6.5% abv.
Jon Evans, from Cardiff, who was enjoying the festival for the first time, said: “It’s a good atmosphere, everyone here seems relaxed and it’s a great chance to enjoy some amazing ales – the stuff you can’t find in most mainstream pubs.”
The festival is open from 11am to 11pm today and Saturday. Admission is £6 per person, including a glass and programme. Camra members and those under 26 receive an allowance of beer tokens.
Follow the event on Twitter using the #GWBCF hashtag.
Are you going along to the event? Have you been? Let us know what you’ve tasted in the comments below