Pontypool teacher’s new beer draws on legendary recipe dating back to Roman invasion

A PONTYPOOL supply teacher is hoping to toast his future success with an alcoholic drink drawing on thousands of years of Welsh history.

Steffan ap Breian has been teaching Welsh for many years. He is well versed in all the old stories and folklore of the country.

Back in September he began keeping bees in hives located in a naturally overgrown section of the Mamhilad Park Estate in Pontypool.

Now, he has used the honey to create an alcoholic drink which dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain.

Bragawd Ceridwen, from brewing company Silwriad, is a premium – six per cent ABV – honey beer inspired by the story of Gwion and Ceridwen and the poetry of Taliesin, the father of the Welsh Bardic tradition and the father of Welsh poetry.

“The Silures were the iron age tribe of South East Wales,” explained Mr ap Breian. “Fiercely independent, they fought the invading Roman armies to a standstill in a quarter of a century long guerilla war.

“Their descendants peopled the world of the Mabinogi – the legendary world of Arthur and their drink of choice was none other than mead.”

Bragawd, Mr ap Breian continued, is not a mead and it’s not an ale – it is somewhere in between and has the characteristics of both.

“Customers have said the taste is unusual for a beer,” he said. “It’s not sweet. The honey is offset by gorse and heather.

“Our original batch was too sweet, so we added more of that.

“Our beer is brewed in Rhymney Brewery in Blaenavon, as close as we can get to the legendary recipe from the poetry.

“There’s a direct line from the heart of our bardic traditions to our beer.”

So far, Mr ap Breian has brewed a batch of 2,500 bottles which he sells on market stalls throughout the region.

Bragawd Ceridwen and honey from Mr ap Breian’s hives are also currently being stocked at Bwydiful in Victoria Park, Cardiff.

To learn more about the story of Gwion and Ceridwen, which inspired the beer, visit the website at silwriad.cyrmu