We old(ish) people at the Real Ale Trail aren’t keen on change. Some of us are still sporting the same haircuts we were told were cool back in 1987 (and some of us don’t have any hair left, but that’s beside the point.)
So when we were planning this year’s Ale Trail (our fifth in the Vale), the concept “it ain’t broke, so we sure as eggs is eggs aren’t going to fix it” was very much in our minds.
However, an ale trail wouldn’t be an ale trail if it didn’t have some new venues to go alongside the tried and trusted old faithfuls we’ve come to know and love, and this year’s contains three brand new pubs that we’re confident will become firm favourites.
First up is award-winning microbrewery Tomos and Lilford’s pallet bar, which has a real rustic vibe that sits perfectly with its botanical ales and craft beers. Guaranteed to fill your senses with unexpected fragrances, it boasts the kind of flavours we at the Trail had never experienced ahead of our advance recce visit last year.
Next up is Harry’s Bar in Cowbridge. There’s nothing that warms our hearts more at Trail HQ than to see a brand new bar opening up and so when Harry’s did just that in 2019, replete with a cracking beer garden and a pulpit, we had to get it onto the next Trail. Not to be missed!
Our third new venue is the Roost on Rock Road in St Athan. It’s been razed to the ground, completely rebuilt, and stocked up with a ton of great ales, super modern menu and another rather nice beer garden to sample all those new ales they are very keen for you to get stuck into.
As it’s smack bang in the middle of a really old village and we can’t get the bus through, visiting the Roost might take a modicum of effort – a barely noticeable four-minute walk when all’s said and done – but we know you’ll agree that it’s well worth the trek. And with the magic of our new app, you’ll know exactly when the bus is coming back to pick you up (that is if you ever want to leave).
Not strictly classed as new pubs, but not old ones either, are The Cross Inn in Cowbridge and the Lamb and Flag in Wick.
The Cross’ owners have not just got the paintbrushes out and given it a brand new look, they’ve changed the style of ale too. It really is like a brand new venue has landed in the Vale.
The Lamb and Flag has a new owner (Martine) and she’s taken a wrecking ball to the décor, the food and, most importantly, the ale. It’s virtually a whole new pub.
Enough to whet your appetite? We thought so! Next step: check that you’re 24 or over, round yourself up a group of similarly ale-loving friends, and head over to our website to book. It’s as simple as that.
As ever, we don’t recommend trying to take in every pub on the list – which you’ll find below – as most Trailers enjoy spending the day having fun with their friends over a few real ales but like to remember what they talked about the next day!
Take your time, choose a handful of places you want to visit, soak up the atmosphere, sample the local ales and tasty food before moving on, otherwise you’ll spend the whole day travelling on the bus.
See you there!
Venues in full:
Three Horseshoes, Moulton
Hare & Hounds, Aberthin
Harry’s Bar, Cowbridge
The Cross Inn, Cowbridge
Tomos & Lilford, Llandow
Lamb & Flag, Wick
The Boverton Castle, Llantwit Major
The Blacksmiths Arms, Llanmaes
The Roost, St Athan