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Where is the best real ale pub in North Wales?

Published on 11 Nov 2019 by Gwion Llwyd

Where is the best real ale pub in North Wales? Finding a great pint can be a challenge, but you’re never too far away from a good craft beer in North Wales. From top micro-breweries to the best cosy-log-fire pubs, we choose a few of our favourite places to enjoy a great beer.

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 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.  Casks vary from local favourites like the Conwy Brewery to the Great Orme Brewery in Glan Conwy. The Erskine also features beers from slightly further afield including the Purple Moose Brewery in Porthmadog, The Celt Experience, Caerphilly and many more besides. Dogs are welcome in the courtyard only.

The Erskine Arms, Rosehill Street, Conwy LL32 8LD

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. The brewery also produces limited-edition seasonal ales at various times throughout the year, and visitors can book in for a brewery tour. Ales-wise, look out for the Brenin – a delicious copper ale, and the Glyndwr Aur – a super-smooth golden ale. Dogs are welcome in the outside seating area.

Cwrw Llyn Brewery, Nefyn, LL53 6EG

The Groes Inn, Conwy Valley

The Groes Inn is the oldest licensed pub in Wales, dating back as far as the 15th century. It is perfectly nestled between the beautiful Conwy estuary and the stunning Tal Y Fan mountain – the panoramic views to the wonderful green whalebacks of the Carneddau mountains make this the most wonderful setting. As well as a changing roster of regional ales, you can expect tried and tested favourites from the award-winning brewery owners JW Lees, including their special blend ‘Dragon’s Fire’ ale.  A tasty menu which features plenty of local produce makes this a great place to stop for an indulgent lunch or dinner to enjoy with your pint.

The Groes Inn, Llanrwst Road, Conwy LL32 8TN

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 cosy 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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