Last September I spent a week in Wales. It wasn't my first trip to this mountainous country, but in a very real sense I was seeing Wales anew. Because while I did spend a night in Cardiff and even managed a short hike in Brecon Beacons National Park, I missed many of the things that people travel here for: castles, museums, rugby, or in a few rare cases, bog snorkeling. Instead, the purpose of my visit was to drink cider.
Beginning in Swansea, I drove through the rain to the westernmost end of Pembrokeshire, across the Cambrian Mountains into Powys, and then back south again into the Valleys. Over the course of seven days I met craft cider makers and drinkers, along with a number of friendly Welsh bartenders and innkeepers. Somewhat unexpectedly, I also became a bit of a cider connoisseur myself. If you're curious about the drink and its origins, read about my trip in the current issue of DRAFT magazine or consider attending the world's first International Craft Cider Festival at Llancaiach Fawr Manor in August.