The largest real ale brewery in Wales, SA Brain, have launched their seasonal beer for September, Merlin's Oak. Originally brewed at the former Buckley's Brewery for the Carmarthen Beer Festival, this ale takes its name from an ancient oak, pieces of which are still kept in St Peter's Hall, venue of the beer festival.
According to local folklore, Carmarthen is said to be the birth place of the mythical wizard Merlin (the town’s Welsh name Caerfyrddin coming from Myrddin, the Welsh name for Merlin and Caer for fort, named after the Roman encampment there).
Merlin is said to have made a prophecy regarding an old oak tree in the town centre; "When Merlin’s tree should tumble down, then shall fall Carmarthen town." When the tree died in 1856 the prophecy appeared to come true as the following winter Carmarthen suffered the worst floods for many years. There is a story that a local trader deliberatly poisoned the tree for his own benefit as it was blocking access to his shop.
The beer will be available across the UK, with Coors, Waverley and Halls taking it on a guest.
Merlins Oak is described as, "A well-rounded ale with a rich autumnal hue, warm oats, honey and nutty flavours " and is 4.3%ABV