Otley Brewing Co, O9
The Otley family have been selling beer for over 50 years. Alf Otley started it all when he bought the Commercial Hotel in Treforest and changed the name to the Otley Arms. During a time when Wales wasn’t renowned for the quality of its beer output, Alf was sourcing the finest cask ales from all over the country to entice discerning drinkers.
The family have gone on to own and run three pubs; another one in Treforest and The bunch of Grapes just down the road in Pontypridd. The latter establishment has carried on Alf’s legacy by gaining a wonderful reputation nationwide for the quality of its food and drink.
It was The Bunch of Grapes that tempted Alf’s son Nick Otley back home after building a successful career as a fashion photographer in London.
Nick, his nephew Matthew and cousin Charlie Otley decided they wanted to do more than just source and sell the finest beer. They wanted to make the stuff as well and so Otley Brewing Company was formed in 2005. “I only wish I’d started earlier” says Nick. Whilst fashion photography isn’t the standard training ground for most brewers, it must have something to do with Otley’s sleek branding and appeal to female drinkers, something the brewery is rightly very proud of.
From humble beginnings where they borrowed space and equipment from the Moor Beer Co. over the border in Somerset, Otley have gone from strength to strength, moving to a purpose built 5,500 square foot brewery, picking up two Champion Beer of Wales titles and two Champion Beer of Great Britain gold medals. There were 9 breweries in Wales when Otley was founded. Now there are over 60. Otley are leading the way in a Welsh micro-brewing revolution.
O9 Blonde (which most of you are drinking) started life as a wheat beer… without any wheat in it (don't ask). Nowadays it’s described more accurately as a blonde beer, but it still has features of a wheat beer and a good old-fashioned English pale ale. A smidgin of roasted orange peel, coriander and cloves sit on top of a light, sweet biscuit base, offering up plenty of spice and a clean, dry, grassy, bitter finish.
O4 Columbo (which a few of you lucky folk are drinking) is a fantastic pale ale packed full of delicious American hops (hence being named after the TV cop). At only 4% it’s surprisingly tasty, with tropical and citrus fruits dominating. Just one more thing. Another dry, bitter finish.
Picking one beer from Otley was always going to be tough. Picking two wasn’t much easier. So we’ve put together an Otley Brewing Co mixed case so you can try some of the others.