We all love a glass of good wine but I also enjoy a decent beer from time to time. Not the mass produced, highly preserved artificial stuff, but good traditional beer made in a brewery by a man, not just machines. Hard work, sweat and toil to craft a delicious cooling foamy brew that gets drunk by the pint! And plenty of them.

Well good news on this front. My brother, Dave Lang, started his own brewery – The Forge, 18 months ago in Hartland (Devon) unsurprisingly in an old forge.  His beer has just been awarded Society of Independent Brewers Gold Medal and overall Champion Beer of the Competition for the South West 2010. He also took two Bronze Medals for two of his other beers. A truly remarkable achievement when Dave only started brewing 18 months ago.

He designed and built The Forge Brewery from scratch using a limited amount of  second hand equipment, but a great deal of it he actually engineered himself in the workshop, building his own cooling system and cask washer system. He works harder than anybody I know, as his brewery was at full capacity within months of going live. Somehow Dave manages to put in the equivalent of 9 days a week when I thought I was busy working  only 7!

It’s great for the Forge Brewery to get this recognition but sadly it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to buy his beer in your local pub. There was already a waiting list before the awards, there’s certainly going to be even more demand now. Dave won the Champion Beer Award for his Lighthouse Ale which is fantastic. I arrived there about 6 months ago and pulled up by the storage shed. I’d drunk 10 pints before I even got as far as the house, then we went to the local pub where we polished off another half a dozen. And the hangover? What hangover? I woke up fresh as a daisy because, like our wine, Dave’s beer is made naturally without the use of artificial preservatives. I was ready for another 10!

You may be lucky enough to try a pint in the Sportsman’s at  Newtown though, where Dave has a good working relationship with Pam Honeyman from Monty’s Brewery – another runaway success story in the world of brewing. Pam’s only been brewing a few months longer but has already won Champion Beer of Wales for her stout – Monty’s Midnight, plus other awards, and has been featured in various press articles as her beer is fed locally to ‘Wagyu’ cattle to produce the world’s most expensive beef! She also supplies her beer to the House of Commons where our beloved MPs can enjoy a well earned pint – although it’s you and me who’ve earned it, and are paying for it, but it’s our MPs who are drinking it!

Finally, if you live in North Wales, you may be lucky enough to find a good pub with some Forge beer over the summer months. Dave will be sending some up to be distributed by Quick Keg along the coast.