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Our favourite real ale pubs in North Wales

Published on 16 Jan 2023 by Amy Greenwood

Where is your favourite real ale pub? Finding a great pint can be a serious – and tasty –  endeavour, and the good news is that you’re never too far away from a good beer in North Wales.

Our region is a hive of brewing activity, including Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog, Conwy Brewery, Snowdon Craft Brewery in Llandudno and Nant Brewery in Llanrwst. 

Such is the dedication of North Wales Brewery in Abergele to sourcing local ingredients that owner John Wood drilled 500 feet into a mountain in search of pure spring water to add to its casks. Among the range of beers are an alcoholic Dandelion and Burdock, as well as a Chilli beer which is made using homegrown peppers.

So from our top micro-breweries to the best cosy-log-fire pubs to sup in, we thought we’d do a quick round up of our favourites. Keep on reading to find out where they are.

The Albion, Conwy

Conveniently, the Albion Ale House in Conwy is a joint venture between four great North Wales breweries, so you can sup and sample some of the rich variety of beers on offer in this region without having to move very far.  The Purple Moose Brewery, Great Orme Brewery, Bragdy Nant Brewery, and Conwy Brewery have combined forces to offer a great array of beers. There’s a decent wine menu, and nibbles on offer too. Expect a characterful and friendly pub, with a cracking log fire. Close to the castle, harbour, and town walls.

The Albion, Upper Gate Street, Conwy LL32 8RF

The Erskine Arms, Conwy

The Erskine Arms is a traditional Georgian coaching inn nestled within the medieval walls of Conwy. It’s just a stone’s throw from King Edward I’s imposing medieval fortress, Conwy Castle. With chunky old furniture, rugs and open fires, the Erskine is exactly what you’d want from a traditional Welsh inn. This place has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, and the bar boasts a great selection of local beers, with a minimum of six real ales on tap. Expect to see local breweries and microbreweries well represented, including the popular ‘Clogwyn Gold’ from Conwy Brewery, which is less than 10 miles away. Dogs are welcome in the courtyard only.

The Erskine Arms, Rosehill Street, Conwy LL32 8LD

The Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey

The Ship Inn is an 280-year-old pub set in a perfect location, overlooking the beautiful Red Wharf Bay on the northwest coast of Anglesey. Facing east on the lee side of a hill, it is protected from the prevailing winds and catches the morning and afternoon sun perfectly. It is difficult to imagine a better place to enjoy high quality food and real ale, whether it is taken outside at the picnic tables or inside in the cosy bars or restaurant areas. The whole place exudes charm and warmth, and there are plenty of great walks straight out of the door.

The Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, LL75 8RJ

The Australia, Porthmadog

The Purple Moose / Y Bragdy Mws Piws is a ’40 barrel’ micro-brewery based in the historic harbour town of Porthmadog, and The Australia, Porthmadog, is its brewery tap. A showcase for the brewery’s excellent range of cask, keg and bottled beers, you can expect an extensive range of IPA’s, dark beers and session ales. This is a real taste of North Wales – look out for The Dark Side of the Moose, Elderflower Ale, Glaslyn Ale, Madog’s Ale, Snowdonia Ale as well as seasonal specials. In addition to the Purple Moose beers on offer, you’ll find a variety of lagers as well as an extensive gin list. And the home-cooked food is delicious. The brewery tour is £10 per person, including tastings at the brewery and a pint at The Australia. You might want to take your time here! The Australia is dog-friendly (but the brewery tour is not!). 

The Australia, 31-35 High Street, Porthmadog, LL49 9LR

Cwrw Llŷn brewery tap room, Nefyn, Llŷn Peninsula

The Cwrw Llŷn is a small independent brewery producing delicious, characterful beers. You’ll find it in Nefyn, a small fishing village on the Llŷn Peninsula, North Wales. The brewery’s ales are hand-made in small batches, at a rate of around 180 firkins of ale per week. The brews are inspired by the legends, people and places of North Wales and made using water drawn from a local lake. The brewery takes its carbon footprint seriously:  it recycles as many of its raw materials as possible. Spent brewing grains are used to feed local pigs and waste hops are also recycled. There are usually four beers on draught in the tap room (they are rotated according to what is brewing) as well as a full selection of bottled beers. Dogs are welcome in the outside seating area.

Cwrw Llyn Brewery, Nefyn, LL53 6EG

Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Llyn Peninsula

Sitting on a sheltered sandy bay at Porthdinllaen, and with stunning views over Yr Eifl to the Snowdonia mountains, this wonderful North Wales pub is regularly name-checked as being one of the best beach bars in the world. Park at the Nefyn Golf Club car park and follow the well-marked path over the course, it will take you around 15 minutes to get to the pub. With covered outside seating and the sound of waves lapping the shore, it really is the most perfect place for a pint. But it’s not all about the location! The Ty Coch Inn rotates a consistently excellent real ale selection, so you will always find something local and delicious on tap as well as an excellent selection of bottled beers. Visit at lunchtime to enjoy delicious home-cooked food including one of the best ploughman’s around, delicious mackerel paté, and other freshly prepared sandwiches and snacks. The Ty Coch Inn has limited opening hours in the low season, so it may be worth checking the pub’s website or social media before you visit. Well behaved dogs are welcome inside the pub, there are usually lots of happy dogs running along the beach.

The Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Morfa Nefyn, LL53 6DB

The Hoptimist, Llangollen

It’s well worth seeking out this quiet little micro-brewery just off the high street in Llangollen. It’s the result of a collaboration between Dovecote Brewery in Denbigh – which produces exclusively vegan beers made with 90% Welsh ingredients – and the equally local Cwrw Iâl Community Brewing Company, which has its HQ in Mold. This is a real micro pub, housed in a former cafe, so expect a fairly intimate space warmed in the winter by a cosy range stove. The low food-mile beers are the stars of the show of course, and there are usually five cask real ales on the go, with up to seven keg craft beers. Brews from Dovecote and Cwrw Ial feature heavily, of course, but expect some delicious guest ales too. Opening times vary so check before you travel. All that beer made you hungry? Head to The Oggie Shop next door for a delicious pasty to soak it all up.

The Hoptimist, 20 Market Street, Llangollen LL20 8PS

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