Award-winning tapas resturant Bar 44 is set to launch its own-label craft pale ale coinciding with the opening of its new restaurant in Cardiff city centre on June 19th.
Called ‘Toro Blanco’, which translates as White Bull, the pale ale has been brewed in Wales by The Glamorgan Brewing Company.
The bespoke craft beer, which will be available on tap, has been developed with Spanish influences in its flavour profile and specifically to pair with some of the produce and dishes on the menu at the restaurant on Westgate Street.
The brothers behind Bar 44, Tom and Owen Morgan, are also helping bring sherry from family-owned Bodegas Baron based in Sanlucar de Barrameda to the UK for the first time.
Sherry will feature prominently in the bar’s offering and certain sherry styles will be served straight from the barrel, one of only two places in the UK you can experience this. Gonzalez Byass has been seasoning three barrels in Jerez for the last month in preparation to be shipped to Cardiff.
Other drink producers sourced to bring a taste of modern Spain to Wales include Avalon Sidra, Spanish cider made in Asturias in the north west of the country. This will be another first in the UK market on draught. Bodegas Beronia rioja wines will also be a highlight along with many small biodynamic wines, Alhambra and Estrella Galicia beers, as well as some craft Spanish bottled beers.
Taking inspiration from recent trips to Spain, two menus have been designed specifically for the new venue, using meticulously sourced and seasonal ingredients from handpicked suppliers that the team have been visiting in Spain, as well as local suppliers that they have had a relationship with over the last 13 years
Owen Morgan, co-founder of Bar 44, said: “Craft beer has become as big in Spain as it has in the UK.During a trip to a craft beer festival in Jerez I was able to sample lots of small production local beers. When I came back to Wales we approached The Glamorgan Brewing Company about collaborating on our own pale ale – made in Wales, inspired by Spain. We’re delighted to be launching Toro Blanco in conjunction with the opening of our new Cardiff restaurant.
“In recent months we have had several trips to Spain to continue to develop relationships with key small producers, whilst also seeking out new suppliers of incredible ingredients. Some of the country’s finest food and drink producers will be championed in the new restaurant, alongside popular suppliers already in our Cowbridge and Penarth restaurants.
“For some of these producers it will be the first time they are showcasingtheir products in the UK and we’re honoured to be able to serve them and hopefully fo them justice.
“We are hugely pleased to be serving three different styles of sherry straight from the cask. Traditional tabanco’s in Jerez and in the sherry triangle of the Cadiz region serve sherry this way – they are almost akin to a traditional pub, Andalucian style!
“Three 225 litre barrels have had to be seasoned in sherry in Jerez for four months before shipping, which will ensure the wines keep in excellent condition behind our bar. This will help the sherries evolve and mature in the barrel. Our lighter, dry styles of sherry, such as fino and manzanilla, will still be kept in and served from the fridge as you would for a white wine, but for certain styles our barrels will be perfect. We can’t wait to create our own little slice of sherry country right here in Cardiff – perfect with some tapas. ”
Bar 44 in Cowbridge was established in 2002 due to the Morgan brothers’ love for fresh Spanish food, having holidayed there as a family. The success of the Cowbridge restaurant led the brothers to open their second restaurant in Penarth in 2012, with the Cardiff restaurant set to launch on June 19th
The restaurants have received UK-wide recognition from the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013 and Bar 44 in Cowbridge has recently been awarded Waitrose Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year for Wales. It follows being included in The Sunday Times Food List Cheap Eats Guide, which profiles 130 restaurants in the UK that provide value for money food, and runner up for Best Spanish Wine list for independent restaurants in the prestigious UK wide Harpers’ Wine awards.