Friday, 23 January 2015

Cidermaker to appear on Great British Railway Journeys


An award-winning cider maker from Abbey Dore in Herefordshire will be appearing on BBC2's Great British Railway Journeys on Tuesday 27th January at 6.30pm. Denis Gwatkin, who makes cider at Moorhampton Park Farm was visited by Michael Portillo during the cider-making season in September last year, where they picked apples and used Denis' Victorian apple scratter and press to produce juice to ferment into cider. The visit to the farm and cider house will be shown as part of Episode 17, featuring a train journey from Swansea to Hereford, using the Bradshaw's Railway Guidebook.

According to Denis Gwatkin, “Michael was keen to be involved in all aspects of making the cider, from shaking the apples off the tree using the traditional panking pole, to collecting the apples and using my restored Victorian scratter and press. Afterwards, of course, we retired to the cider house for a refreshing cup or two of my award-winning cider, which he said that he enjoyed very much!”

Cider has been made at Moorhampton Park Farm for generations, with the orchards clearly marked on the 1833 map, a few years before Bradshaw began publishing his guides. Denis Gwatkin has been producing cider commercially now for almost a quarter of century and has won numerous awards from CAMRA  as well as International Cidermaker of the Year. Moorhampton Park Farm features a farm shop where the full range of ciders and perries produced on the farm may be sampled and purchased. The farm also plays host to an annual music festival in August.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Another new Cardiff Brewery

Popped into the Pen & Wig in Newport today and discovered they have a new beer on tap from a new Cardiff Brewery, the Surfing Monkey Brewery! I don't know anything about this brewery but from this brew, Off Shore Howler, a wheat beer brewed with orange and coriander I have high hopes of great beer from them.
Tasting Notes:
Off Shore Howler is a slightly hazy golden colour, which as a wheat beer should have a haze to it. Spicy aroma with cloves, coriander and orange zest present. Coriander and orange in the taste as well, the orange dominating towards the end along with some astringency. Dry, bitter-orange finish. A good thirst quencher!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Now and then, Angel, Caerleon

 The former Angel ph, Caerleon is now a Sainsbury's Local Supermarket

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Buckley still acting as company director despite ban

Above is a screen shot taken from the Evan Evans website today which appears to show the MD is Simon Buckley, who since October has been banned from any directorships.
We all realise that  Simon's grasp of the law is similar to his grasp on reality but under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986

"where a person acts contrary to a disqualification order, undertaking or automatic disqualification without the leave of the court, he is guilty of an offence, and is subject on indictment to a sentence of up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine, or on summary conviction to a sentence of 6 months and/or a fine at the statutory maximum."

Hope you enjoy prison Simon, should bring back memories of your gay nightclub days!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Simon Buckley disqualified as a company director director for 3 years

Well, well, well, former gay nightclub boss and brewer of indifferent beer, Simon Buckley, has been banned from acting as a company director for 3 years. 


Case details for SIMON BUCKLEY
Name: SIMON BUCKLEY
Name: Welsh Estates Limited
Date of Birth: 1957-09-02 00:00:00.000
Date Order Starts: 2014-10-20 00:00:00.000
Disqualification Length: 3 Years 0 Month(s)
CRO Number: 05219412
Last Known Address: 2 Abbey Terrace, , , , Llandeilo, SA19 6BD
Conduct: (i) Mr Simon Buckley failed to ensure that Welsh Estates Limited (“Welsh Estates”) complied with its statutory obligations to HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) to file timely returns and make payments from at least 01 November 2007 to the date of liquidation on 26 January 2011. HMRC’s final Value Added Tax (“VAT”) claim at liquidation was £590,522. In particular: 

• VAT returns totalling £147,115 for 13 monthly periods from September 2007 to January 2008, March 2008 to August 2008 and November and December 2008, were not submitted until 2 and 3 April 2009. The oldest outstanding return for the period September 2007 was therefore filed 17 months late, with the earliest outstanding return for the period December 2008 filed 2 months late. HMRC were unaware of these liabilities until those dates, previously considered them to total £40,764 in central assessments.

 • According to HMRC's records no returns were submitted for the months January and February 2009, December 2009 and February 2010 to October 2010 leading to assessments of £325,810. • HMRC raised surcharges totalling £90,078 in respect of the late and non-filed returns of which £67,740 remains unpaid. • From 15 February 2008 to 07 October 2009 HMRC received payments from Welsh Estates totalling £115,750 in respect of VAT. Nothing was paid after 07 October 2009, although the company continued trading until October 2010, leading to estimated arrears before surcharges at liquidation of at least £354,162.

 • If all payments are set against the earliest VAT debt there is still £14,325 due for August 2008, payable in full by 30 September 2008.
 (ii) He caused Welsh Estates Limited (“Welsh Estates”) to trade to the detriment of HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) from at least 01 January 2010 until cessation of trade on or around 31 October 2010 in respect of Value Added Tax (“VAT”) estimated at £156,031.

In particular:
 • On 31 December 2009 Welsh Estates had VAT arrears of £126,756. It subsequently incurred additional VAT liabilities of £156,031. The last payment made by Welsh Estates in respect of VAT was received on 07 October 2009. 

• Bank payments were made between 01 January 2010 and 31 October 2010 of £1,740,796 of which nothing was paid to HMRC in respect of VAT. • Company records show that trade creditors decreased by £256,171 from 01 January 2010 to 31 October 2010 whilst the outstanding VAT increased by £156,031 in the same period. 
This information is correct as at 2014-10-13 00:00:00.000



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Old Arcade has rugby makeover

One of Cardiff's most famous pubs has been given a makeover by owners Brains. The Old Arcade in the city centre, which dates from 1844, is now even more rugby themed with jerseys, photographs and other memorabilia adorning the walls. Have previously written about the pub here.
 As Brains Brewery says
Celebrating Wales’ national sport, walls will be adorned with match day programmes, exclusive signed and framed shirts, memorable newspaper front covers, and a feature WRU timeline.

RugbyBeers_SMLWayne Jones from Brains said: "There are few pubs in Cardiff with more sporting heritage than the Old Arcade. It has long been a favourite with sports fans but these changes mean it will become a true shrine to rugby. It’s the perfect place for rugby diehards and aficionados to gather, get their fix and be inspired by great rugby deeds of the past and present."

There’ll be a new menu, with an emphasis on hearty Welsh food, which includes a signature Celtic Pride ‘black and blue burger’ – created with 100 cap legend and lion, Martyn Williams. And when the pub opens you’ll find two limited-edition beers on the bar, brewed in collaboration with former Wales internationals Bob Norster and Rob Jones.

Powerhouse and Swift Half will go head-to-head and customers will get to decide which beer wins by voting in the pub or on Twitter, using the hashtag #BobsBeer and #RobsBeer.

Had a chance to visit the pub on the re-opening night and had to say my favourite beer was Swift Half, the American and New World hops made it for me.

Also ran into Simon Martin at the pub so we did a couple of interviews there with the rugby legends.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Brewdog Cardiff Celt Takeover

Popped into Brewdog in the 'Diff on one of my rare visits to Cardiff nowadays and discovered the Celt Experience Brewery had a bar takeover the night before. Eight Celt beers on, another eight beers from the Brewdog Collabfest and ten beers from Brewdog. oh and the myriad of bottles in the fridge.
Getting back to the Celt beers, Tom at the brewery has been experimenting with wild yeasts, planting traps for them around Wales and brewing beers from the captured organisms. Sounds mad? Yes but thinking outside of the box often works.
Three Saisons were on at the takeover including a dark IPA/Saison crossover The Black Book.
Hallstatt Deity another Saison but my favourite of the night was Home of the Fruit Cakes, a 6% sour but fruity ale.
The Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA, may not agree with the method of dispense in Brewdog pubs but you cannot argue with the quality of the beer served. Surely quality of a product is more important than the way it is dispensed?
There are plenty of poor real ales out there, surely it's time to support good breweries and their beers regardless of their chosen method of dispense?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Do the new Wetherspoons beermats have a connection with the owner of this brewery?

An interesting question to ask, regarding the mad, sad, twisted old drama queen and former gay nightclub boss Simon Buckley. Although, I understand, since his days and nights on the gay nightclub scene he has decided that he prefers moose knuckles to the tradesman's entrance. Allegedly.

How do you like Brains for Halloween?

Brains is to launch a new seasonal ale for Halloween, complete with its first ever motion-effect pump clip.
video

Open Casket, a rich, deep-red beer with bite, is available across Brains’ pub estate, as well as a number of key wholesalers and retail businesses, throughout October.
The motion-effect pump clip uses lenticular printing – a first for Brains – so when the pint is pulled customers will see a changing – and spooky – face.
Bruce Newman, head of marketing at Brains, explains: “Halloween has become one of the biggest seasonal calendar dates so it’s a great opportunity to bring people together over a pint of Brains. It’s so important to tap into customer mood and maximise that opportunity with a beer that stands out on the bar.
“It’s a real talking point – we believe it to be the first ever Halloween beer to use lenticular printing on the pump clip – and has a great bar call. We think customers will be dying to try it this Halloween.”
TASTING NOTES 
Open Casket is deep-red, full-bodied and gives a reviving bite. Cara Red and Cara Hell Malts offer a deep saturated colour and rousing malt aroma. With just a touch of Midnight Wheat, it is rich in flavour, hopped with Bramling Cross for a spicy sensation.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Cider tastings at Monmouthshire Food Festival this weekend

 
 
With no Cowbridge Food Festival happening this year, the Food festival scene in South Wales was looking a little empty until the Monmouthshire Food Festival at Caldicot Castle sprung up. The Festival will be on Saturday & Sunday 11th & 10th October.
 
New Caldicot brewery Castles will be there along with Brecon and Tudor Breweries, or if you prefer cider Gwatkin, Gwynt and Ty Gwyn will also be there, the full list of producers is here.
There will also be beer and cider tastings with Buster from Brecon doing the beers and Arfur from Gwatkin Cider doing the cider tastings.
 
Entry is £5 with under 12s free
 

How to find Caldicot Castle.

Church Road, Caldicot NP26 4HU
By car
From M4 take junction 23a onto B4245 to Caldicot.
From M48 take junction 2 for Chepstow. Follow the A48 towards Newport and B4245 to Caldicot.
Free car parking is available at Mitel car park a short walk from Caldicot Castle. Follow the signs for Monmouthshire Food Festival.
Disabled parking is available at Caldicot Castle. Follow the signs for Monmouthshire Food Festival Event parking and then Disabled and Exhibitor parking into the Castle. Please have your badge ready.
This car park is only available for disabled parking.
By train
Caldicot Halt is served by mainline services between Cardiff and Gloucester. If travelling from Bristol change at Severn Tunnel Junction. The castle is about a twenty minute walk from the station.
By bus
Bus services run to Caldicot from Bristol, Newport and Chepstow. From the Cross the castle is a five minute walk along Church Road


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Cider pressing at Gwatkin Cider

The first apples of the season have arrived at Gwatkin Cider in Abbeydore
Just under 30 tons of apples!

Picking up the apples and placing them carefully in the hopper with the tractor

Denis Gwatkin and Bernard look on as the mill fires up
The apples are fed down the hopper, washed and then chopped to create a pulp which is then pressed between belts via rollers.

Mickey shovels the dry pulp away
                               The dry pulp at the end is fed to Hereford cattle on the farm

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Brains bikes beer to Bala

Brains team cycle cask of beer 150 miles

A team of 13 from Welsh brewer and pub operator S.A Brain and Co Ltd are celebrating after cycling a cask of their current seasonal ale, Le Peloton, 150 miles from Cardiff to Bala.

The team, who cycled relay style, set off from the Cardiff Brewery at 1pm on Thursday 3rd July and finished 14 hours later on Friday 4th July (the day before the Tour de France) at the White Lion Royal Hotel in Bala – having carried the cask in the specially adapted baker’s-bike-turned-brewer’s-bike. 

Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains and part of the cycling team, said: “We’re all keen cyclists but cycling 150 miles through some pretty hilly parts of Wales, weighed down with a cask of our seasonal beer – Le Peloton - was tough.

Le Peloton was developed to celebrate the summer of cycling, which this year started in Yorkshire. The beer is available now in pubs throughout the UK, as well as Tesco stores throughout Wales.

The Le Peloton bike ride also raised more than £1,000 for Wooden Spoon, a charity supporting disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The charity organises fundraising initiatives, spending money raised where it is most needed.

Gloucester Food Festival Beerex

This weekend the Gloucester Food Festival is on in the Quays and as well as Gwatkin Cider being there, the local Gloucester Brewery will be holding a beer festival at their premises. The Food Festival is on for 3 days and looks a good one to attend.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Now and Then: Tredegar Arms, Pill, Newport

 
The Tredegar Arms used to stand on Church Street in Pill, Newport and was demolished around 1999, the large pub, formerly owned by Ansells Brewery had closed some years previously. A large section of the surrounding Victorian houses were also demolished to be replaced by modern flats and houses.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

New pub for Newport


Last month a new pub opened in Newport, on the old town dock, the Blaina Wharf is on the corner of Usk Way and the Southern Distributor Road. Owned by Marston's Brewery the Blaina Wharf is not there first pub in the City as the brewers have sat on the empty and derelict Westgate Hotel for years, however, this new build is a welcome development in an area of the town where a lot of the old pubs have closed.
This modern pub features three real ales from the extensive Marston's stable, a beer from Jennings Brewery of Cumbria was one of the ones on tap on my visit as well as a carvery and full pub menu. Situated in what is becoming a new residential area, this pub is sure to be a goldmine for Marston's, the junction on two main roads and a large car park are also helpful!

In the right-hand side of the photograph above the burnt-out remains of the former maltings of the Phillips Brewery can be seen. The pub was quite busy when visited and it's good to see a Newport pub thriving when so many others in the City are not.
The Google Map supplied on the Marston's website is slightly inaccurate and the Streetview just shows an undeveloped plot of land.
View Larger Map

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