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Ale for the love of Tenby

Harbwr Brewery

Pub names in towns and villages the nation over can define the spirit of their area, or even an era, offering an intriguing glimpse into the past. They often represent national heroes, local history or even macabre events, and historic royal or religious affiliations. When they are connected to certain local industries, suggesting an earthy working-class ethos, like the Miners Arms, The Carpenters, The Shipyard Tavern, they speak of community.

Pub names famously represent workers of a particular skill set. They were established when travelling tradespeople would head to a specific pub in a new area, hoping for news of paid work being offered locally. You’ll know of a Plough, Woolpack, Masons Arms, The Three Horseshoes.

Although anything but romantic when they were built, these pubs can romanticise our modern-day ideas about the past. This is particularly evident in seaside towns, even more so in harbour districts with fishing fleets. Picture The Navigator, The Moby Dick, The Smugglers Rest, The Mariners, The Fisherman’s Arms.

Around Tenby, what could be more evocative than the pub names The Buccaneer or The Hope and Anchor? Pubs for hardy men, needing a hearty pint after bringing the catch in. They just scream salty seadogs and sou’westers.

Lick your lips, and you can almost taste the brine.

These days, when we visit these two much loved local pubs, we may be more Jack Wills than Jack Tar, more yummy mummy than rum and baccy, more port and stilton, than Port and Starboard.

Yet, in these atmospheric pubs, we still sense the history and love the ambience.

But so comfortably so, because these lovely old places are right up to date, offering a proper Tenby welcome, tasty food, great drinks and all that a harbour, fishing boats, crystal blue sea, huge expensive skies, the cry of seagulls (and yes, that tang on your lips that is so tantalising) can give you. A seaside holiday at its absolute finest.

HARBWR Tap and Kitchen

For 25 years, the family behind The Buccaneer and The Hope and Anchor have enjoyed great success with these two family-friendly, honest to goodness, fantastically located and much-loved pub-gruberies. Always a warm welcome and atmosphere, lovely flower-filled pub courtyards, great local seafood and decent prices, not to mention excellent chunky, proper chips!

What more could you want from traditional pub fayre?

Expanding into pretty Saundersfoot with the well-received Harbwr Bar and Kitchen, the family were able to add a more contemporary twist to this new offering. They have created a bright, modern space with a nod to nautical styling and a front terrace with beautiful sea views. The menu offers the same value for money, generous portions and a great choice as their sister pubs in Tenby.

HARBWR Bar and Kitchen Saundersfoot

Despite the popularity of their three venues, the family felt that one element was missing. They wanted to be able to offer the complete package of taste experience in this gorgeous area, and they knew a good beer when they tasted it in their guest ales.

An ambition grew to produce tastes and flavours from their own brewery that would enhance their excellent menus and display local quality. All they needed was a microbrewery to create their own brand of seriously good craft beers.

The result was Harbwr Brewery, and they have achieved their aim perfectly.

A short search found them the perfect premises in the shape of a historic abandoned old bottling shed. Right in the heart of Tenby and tucked away in an ignored area of Sergeants Lane, just off quaint St Julian Street.

The famous and stunning harbour is just 30 seconds away; you can taste the salt air sharpening the desire for a wonderful local pint. The space could’ve been made to order for their requirements, albeit a space requiring much love and imagination.

The dilapidated but still charming old building had retained many of its original industrial features and lent itself perfectly to the new endeavour. With the vision of local architect (also a superb artist as featured in a previous Around Tenby blog), David JP Morgan and the talents of builder Martin Hurlow, the original building was retained as much as possible.

It’s now the ideal place to show off the range of micro-brewed ales unique to Harbrw and offered in all their venues with pride of place taps or by the bottle. And, of course, they do the tasty, seasonal food you are hankering for, with each superb pint. The beer is brewed just feet away, the atmosphere is very charming, and a very warm and friendly welcome is always on tap here.

The brewery range is expansive, with beautifully designed imagery and packaging, and available to order. Many of the beers are named for historic boats of Tenby Harbour and pay homage to the harbour community. Caldey Lollipop is a particular favourite of the Around Tenby team. Regular special additions celebrate sporting heroes or events (rugby, of course, gets a special mention!).

The brewery also attributes beers to areas with links to the brewing trade or local beauty spots.

These are excellent ales, and you don’t have to take just our word for it; these are award-winning and highly-respected quality ales. The guys recently picked up awards from both SIBA (The Society of Independent Brewers) and CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

The newest member of the Harbwr ale family is Atlantic Dragon. Created to celebrate the astonishing achievement of Gareth Reynolds, who rowed 3000 miles from The Canaries to Antigua and Barbuda as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Gareth has chosen the MS Society as his charity, aiming to raise £100k and has already reached £60k. The sales of Atlantic Dragon (50p from every bottle goes to the MS society) are also amazing; all 100 cases of this special edition were sold out within four days.

If you are new to the joys of craft ales, the team offer tasting sessions and brewery tours, along with delight in your interest in their craft. They also do regular historic pub tours of our old friends, The HARBWR Tap and Kitchen (formally The Buccaneer) and The Hope and Anchor, those venerable old seafarers’ haunts. It’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the history of Tenby harbour, the characters and famous old boats honoured by the brewery.

If you’re new to Tenby, you couldn’t experience a more truly local, unique and welcoming introduction.

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