Photo courtesy of Dom at Welsh Icons
With the Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival in full swing this weekend, where better to go to than the CAMRA award-winning pub, the Vale of Glamorgan, to celebrate their annual beer festival.
The following article was written for the South Wales Echo and published on the 10th October 2009:
The historic town of Cowbridge dates from Roman times but the town layout today is based upon the medieval layout of burgage plots with a narrow street facing side and a long rear area. The rear area was for the workshops, or as in the case of the Vale of Glamorgan pub, a brewery and maltings. The first mention of a pub on this site is in 1780 when it was called the Greyhound but by 1868 the pub had acquired its present name. The brewery continued in existence until 1914 when it was bought by Hancock's of Cardiff. Today there is still an old Hancock's Brewery Toastmaster sign on the wall outside the pub but the Vale of Glamorgan pub is now a freehouse. As well as the old pub sign, a newer one hangs outside, featuring a rural scene with a farmer and his horse. The sash window has stickers on it celebrating some of the years the pub has been in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. There are two entrances to the pub; on the right an old archway through which the old brewery horse-drawn drays used to use or the left hand side door with the with the lettering above saying “Entrance to Lounge and Smoke Rooms”.
The welcoming interior features high backed settles on a slate floor at the front, with the wooden-floored bar running lengthwise towards the rear, carpeted seating area which features a stone-built wall. The bar features gleaming brass handpumps, serving the regular real ales, Hancock's HB, Wye Valley HPA and Hop Back Summer Lightning together with 2 guest beers from breweries from across the UK, as well as Mole's Black Rat Cider from Somerset. Above the bar is a large collection of pumpclips of beers this pub has sold over the years. The walls of the bar are decorated with old photographs of Cowbridge and the occasional article on the pub as well as the fireplace with cast-iron range and gleaming brass utensils.
A reminder of the days when this pub was home to a brewery is the door window on the way out to the backyard with “Order Office” etched on to it. The backyard of the Vale of Glamorgan pub features more seating and is covered over once a year during the Cowbridge Food Festival for the annual beer festival held at the Vale, this year the Festival is over the weekend of the 24th-25th October. The pub is a previous winner of the local CAMRA branch pub of the year.
The Vale of Glamorgan is open all day and home-cooked food is available lunchtimes apart from Sunday. Curries, fish and duck recipes all feature on the regularly changing menu.
Beer List for the Beer Festival, 24th-25th October, all subject to availability
Vale of Glamorgan Brewery VOG 4.3% ABV
Grog Y Vog 4.3 %
+ 1 other
Hop Back Crop Circle 4.2%
Entire Stout 4.5%
Wye Valley Brewery Butty Bach 4.5%
Harvest Hop 4.5%
Wholesome Stout 4.6%
Robinsons Wags to Witches 4% ABV
Holdens Dragons Blood 4.7%
Hydes Rocketeer 4.5%
White Horse Wayland Smithy 4.4%
Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew 5.1%
Hall & Woodhouse Tanglefoot 4.9%
Brains Rev James 4.5%
Rhymney Bitter 4.5%
Theakstons Old Peculiar 5.6%
Black Sheep Golden Sheep 3.9%
Breconshire Brewery Brecon County 3.7%
Ramblers Ruin 5%
Bryncelyn Brewery Buddy Marvelous 4%
Bullmastiff Brewery SOB 6%
Welsh Black 4.8%
Conwy Brewery Rampart 4.5%
Dare Brewery Falcon Flyer 5.2%
Green Dragon 4.4%
Evan Evans Warrior 4.6%
Facers Landslide 3.7%
Flintshire BB 4.9%
Great Orme Welsh Black 4%
Monty's Mojo 3.8%
Celt Experience Bronze 4.0%
Native Storm 4.5%
Otley Dark O 4.1%
Plassey Offas Dyke Ale 4.3%
Dragons Breath 6.0%
Nant Mwnci Nell 5.3%
Chawden Aur 4.3%
Purple Moose Madogs Ale 3.7%
The Duke of Wellington pub opposite the Vale of glamorgan pub will be holding a cider festival at the same time with 25 different ciders on, all served in their rear mock-Baronial hall.