Seaweed Beer in CardiffThursday 8th December 2016
Approaching the first one or two stalls on the pavement next to the river in Cardiff on Saturday, I hesitated and parked in the first roadside space I saw. The hustle and bustle had already begun, we were in for a busy day.
The back of my little car was packed to the brim with Beach Food, the sweet seaweed scent, one which had filled the car on its journey down the M4 that morning a strong one. When I stepped out, the air outside were amazing too, smells of fresh coffee and food already cooking began drifting my way. The weather was beautiful and the familiar sounds of market traders clashes, bangs and playful calls exciting.
I decided to walk through the market to see if I could spot the man I was there to meet before unpacking any stock. Two thirds of the way down I see a figure carrying a coracle boat. Slung on his back in the traditional way the man looked like a turtle, chuckling at the other market traders reactions to his extravagant prop. Yes I thought, that’s him, that’s Rob Lilford.
And so we set up together on a joint stall, seaweed crackers and seasonings on one side, more seaweed on the other, only this time in the form of a dark seaweed stout – a beer named ‘Cwrgwl’. And so the launch of our collaborative project began.
I spent the day marvelling the creation put together by the guys at Tomos a Lilford brewery. It wasn’t difficult to promote their new beer made with our laver seaweed - Welshman’s Caviar. The taste is wholesome, yet relaxed, very easy to drink and nods just so gently to marine flavours. The visitors to Riverside Market in Cardiff that day were as impressed as I was, by 2 o’clock we’d sold out of everything, but not before I’d bagged a few cases to bring home to Pembrokeshire myself.
After a fantastic afternoon hearing stories from the other traders, chatting to the locals and looking on in wonderment at a city centre street not phased by rules like pay and display and single parking it was time to leave.
With a bottle bank for a back seat and the smell of seaweed replaced by the clinking of full bottles of Cwrgwl I waved goodbye to those clever Tomos a Lilford boys, Rob, Rolant and Jim, and headed West into the sunset.
Cheers Cardiff you were magnificent as ever, here’s to Cwrgwl!
by Dock Rock