Liq­uid gold

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Discover -

It says The Dyf­fryn Arms over the door, but ev­ery­one knows it as Bessie’s. The pub in Pont­faen has been in the Davies fam­ily since 1840 and Bessie has worked here since she was 20 – she’s now in her eight­ies. Bessie has no truck with gas­tro-bar gloss and you’ll find a sin­gle room with wooden set­tles and plain walls stuck with ban­knotes sent from around the world. Jugs of beer from the bar­rel are served through a hatch, and the food op­tions are pick­led eggs or peanuts. A glance at Tri­pad­vi­sor shows this place isn’t for ev­ery­one: there’s no mu­sic or TV, and while the floor was freshly mopped when we vis­ited, it can get dusty around the edges. But most peo­ple rel­ish the fast-van­ish­ing chance to drink in a tra­di­tional ru­ral pub and if you stop by of an evening you’ll find it lively with lo­cal chat, much of it Welsh. If you’re not flu­ent in Cym­raeg you can still raise a glass with a iechyd da ( cheers). The vale is also home to two mi­cro-brew­eries, both open daily. Pont­faen’s Gwaun Val­ley Brew­ery ( www. gwaun­val­ley­brew­ery.co.uk) cap­tures the tints of au­tumn in its ruby-red Blod­wen bit­ter and golden Light Ale, while the range at the Blue­stone Brew­ing Com­pany ( www.blue­stone brew­ing.co.uk) in nearby Cil­gwyn in­cludes a lo­cally-themed Pre­seli Pils.

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