Thousands of visitors are expected to pack out the streets of Newport for this Saturday’s food festival – sponsored by Tiny Rebel.
The award-winning brewery which runs Urban Tap in the city centre is the headline sponsor of the free, one-day event which will see 80 stalls and more than a dozen food demonstrations or talks.
Tiny Rebel’s Bradley Cummings said: “We’re a proud Newport business so coming on board as headline sponsor of the festival is a great honour.”
The Golden Lion at Magor is a supporting sponsor – and two of its chefs are on the bill.
The mouth-watering line-up of chefs includes the Celtic Manor Resort’s TV chef Larkin Cen, Ben Periam of Mojo The Food Bar, James Sommerin of The Esplanade in Penarth, and Steve White of The Ruperra Arms.
The festival’s hotly-contested teen chef competition final will be staged at 10am upstairs in Newport Market, and there will be a battle of the burgers there between Pretentious Burger Kitchen and Meat Bar & Grill at 4pm.
There’s also a packed programme of entertainment with choirs and bands performing throughout the day.
Here are 9 tasty things to do at the festival:
Learn how to make perfect pasta – including a simple dish anyone can replicate at home – with the Executive Chef of The Park Michelin-starred restaurant and The Brasserie at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Hywel Jones. His session will take place at 11am in the upper area of Newport Market.
Spice up your life with a tasting of some of the hot and fiery sauces from Monmouthshire producers Sorai. If you love chillis, these sauces are for you! We recommend the onion and balsamic sauce which has a hot tang.
Brush up on your cake decorating skills at a demonstration with Nia Thomas in 44 High Street at 2pm. Nia has 18 years of experience in decoration and sugar craft – and she has passed on her skills in classes and day schools for the past two years.
Sample fantastic, fresh, and funky vegetarian food at the Parsnipship stall – created at their base in South Wales. We’re in love with Parsnipship’s haloumi burgers.
Catch a demonstration by Gwent chef James Sommerin, whose Penarth restaurant has been awarded title of Best in Wales in the Good Food Guide 2016. He’ll be at the Pobl offices at 11.30am. He has inspired his 17-year-old daughter to work alongside him in his kitchen.
Check out the sweet taste of Clam’s Handmade Cakes at their stall – last year, they did a roaring trade. So pop along early to get the widest selection of cakes!
Learn how to cook with beer with the help of Tiny Rebel’s Paul Turley. His demonstration will be in the Pobl offices at 2.30pm.
Taste some wine or liqueur from exhibitors Cwm Deri Vineyard. We caught up with them at the recent Abergavenny Food Festival and loved their light and bright elderflower gin and smooth sloe gin.
Grab an ice lolly with a kick from Mojo The Food Bar’s pop-up cocktail bar – or a special cocktail created by mixologist and head bartender, Andrej Madaras.
A North Wales brewery scooped a prestigious award in tonight’s Champion Beer of Britain Awards.
Heavy Industry Brewing based at Henllan won the strong bitter category with its ale, 77, at the awards staged at the Great British Beer Festival in London.
Founder Tom McNeill set up the brewery in 2012 after completing a course in British Brewing Technology at Brewlab in Sunderland.
He learned he loved brewing cask ales and worked for the summer of 2009 at Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog. There, he learned about running a brewery.
Heavy Industry Brewing started out with a ten barrel brew kit and now produces 10 beers including 77, Diawl Bach, Nelson’s Eye, Pigeon Toed Orange Peel, and Dr Jekyll’s Last Waltz.
The winning beer, 77, is an amber IPA brewed with pale and crystal malts and has a flavour of dark Seville marmalade spiked with pepper. Find out more about the brewery here.
It was a good night for Welsh brewers.
Aberdare’s Grey Trees Brewers picked up a silver in the golden ale category for Digger’s Gold.
Newport’s Tiny Rebel Brewery – the winner of last year’s champion ale title with its beer Cwtch – picked up two awards. It won silver in the bitter category for Hank, and joint bronze in best bitter category for Cwtch.
The Great British Beer Festival is run by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.
This year’s supreme champion brewery is Bingham’s of Runscombe in Berkshire for its Vanilla Stout.
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Passionate brewer Alexis Jones has been cooking up a great 2016 for his company, Mad Dog Brewing.
The Goytre company is currently brewing the official beer for the National Eisteddfod 2016 which will be staged in nearby Abergavenny. Europe’s biggest cultural festival is expected to welcome 160,000 visitors between July 29 and August 6.
He’s also poised to take on his first two staff, both experienced brewers, and to expand into a nearby unit as his business grows. He also has plans to open a family venue in Abergavenny.
The company’s beers can now be bought across South Wales. Mad Dog Brewing supplies Wetherspoon’s pubs from Llanelli in the west to the English border in Monmouthshire.
It’s a DIY success story born from home-brewing in his kitchen after watching a number of videos on YouTube. After learning his trade, qualifying in microbiology for brewing, and working for a brewery in Caerphilly, he started his own company just two years ago.
Now, he’s begun his eight brews of the Eisteddfod beer Iechyd Da, a red ale which tastes of oranges and chocolate and has a spicy finish on the tongue.
“It’s clean and crisp and is 4.1%,” he says.
The beer has a lower AVB than some other craft ales because it is designed to be a refreshing drink for the Eisteddfod maes, where Mad Dog will have a bar. It will also be sold in bars in South Wales.
The brewery is making 160 casks for the festival, along with 1,000 500ml bottles.
Iechyd Da will be launched at The Bridge in Llanfoist on June 4 – and Alexis will also be showing off one of his most popular beers, Bohemian Hipster.
“I was asked to brew the beer by Monmouthshire Council. When I first got the email, I thought it was a wind-up, but I went to a meeting two days later and found out it was serious,” Alexis says.
“As well as having a bar on the Eisteddfod field, we’ll be staging a brewing demonstration on the first Saturday of the festival.”
The event will provide a huge audience for Mad Dog’s beers – and a massive boost to the company’s profile.
The secret to Mad Dog’s success is the fact Alexis is a perfectionist who uses unusual and local produce, like juniper berries and granola, as part of the brewing process to create unusual and delicious tastes.
The brewery carries out a pilot brew on its ales as they perfect the recipes, ensuring all its beers meet Alexis’s exacting standards. Even its used mash doesn’t go to waste – it becomes cattle feed for a nearby beef farm.
The brewery is planning its own beer festival with guest ales from around the UK in September at its site in Goytre, to raise funds for mental health charity MIND.
In July, Mad Dog will also be involved in a ‘tap takeover’ at Cardiff’s Urban Tap House, and Alexis is in the process of planning a Christmas event too.
“Our two new brewers start work in the next few months, which will help us meet the growing demand for our beers,” Alexis says.
He can’t reveal more details about his plan for an Abergavenny venue as yet – watch this space!
UPDATE: Monmouthshire brewery Mad Dog has been chosen to create the official beer for this year’s National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.
Founder Alexis Jones says the decision was made by Monmouthshire County Council and the Eisteddfod board. The ale will use Welsh ingredients, and, like its Six Nations ale, it will be red.
Cwrw Steddfod will be available in cask and bottles in pubs in Mid and South Wales, and there are plans for a brewing demonstration at the July event.
Six Nations ale goes red for Wales:
If you want to show your Six Nations support for the Welsh rugby team while supping a local craft ale, the Mad Dog brewery has come up with your perfect tipple.
The brewery based in Penperlleni near Abergavenny has brewed a Welsh cask ale called Scrum Sox which it is distributing to a select group of pubs. In honour of Warren Gatland’s side, it’s red.
Brewer Alexis Jones says the ale is made using chocolate rye malt, which gives it the distinctive colour.
“I’ve made about 1,000 litres, and it will be available in the Boar’s Head, Brecon, the Horseshoe in Mamhilad, and the John Fielding in Cwmbran,” he said.
Mad Dog has made a name for itself by creating delicious craft ales from unusual ingredients, many of which are sourced locally. Its All Day Breakfast granola stout, available between October and March, uses handmade granola from the Wye Valley.
Afternoon Sunshine, which has citrus notes, is an American Pale ale which is dry-hopped to the finish. Alexis said this is to give the beer “extra bark”.
Full-bodied stout John Peel, available between September and March, is infused with fresh orange peel, and is named after one of Alexis’ musical heroes.
“I listened to John Peel’s programme when I used to drive a truck,” he said.
Submissible Anarchy, available between September and March, is a golden crafted ale made with local honey, and added flavours of citrus and juniper berries.
A keen home brewer whose passion for creating beer was re-ignited by YouTube videos, Alexis learned his craft at Caerphilly’s Celt Experience brewery. He also completed a microbiology course in beer at Brew Lab.
He started Mad Dog Brewing Company Ltd in October 2014, initially creating four beers from his home kitchen – Afternoon Sunshine, Bark Like A Bird, Dirty Dog, and Now In A Minute.
He moved the brewery to a unit in Penperlleni in February 2015. The business has taken off, and now he’s expanding, and hopes to take on two members of staff.
A number of Mad Dog’s bottled beers are available in a number of shops as well as cask ale being available in pubs.
“We’ve got around 26 different wholesalers situated across the UK,” Alexis said. Close to home, the beer is sold at The Marches Deli in Abergavenny.
There are 103 reasons to visit Llangollen Food and Drink Festival this weekend.
With 103 exhibitors, the festival is one of Wales’ largest and it is celebrating its 18th anniversary this year.
The event is supported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd.
Committee chairman Colin Loughlin: “We have a wonderful array of fantastic food producers clustered in the area and the festival is the perfect shop window for them.
“A food festival is so much better and more interesting than going to the supermarket because here you can sample the food and talk to the producers.”
Helen Roberts, Cadwyn Clwyd’s agri-food project officer, said: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.”
The 2015 event will also feature demonstrations by top chefs, including Britain’s youngest head chef, Luke Thomas, and Welsh culinary champion, Graham Tinsley, along with stand-up comedian, Silky, who will show off his cookery skills for the first time ever. The event is rated among the top 10 food festivals in the UK, and in the past has has helped launch successful products like the Aberffraw biscuit, Blodyn Aur extra virgin rapeseed oil and the Dangerous Food Company’s chilli jam.
Venue: The Llangollen Pavilion, Llangollen Dates: Saturday October 17, Sunday October 18 Times: 10am to 5pm both days Entry fee: £5, under 16s free, £4 for over 65 Parking: On-site and nearby car parks