Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Gravity Station comes to Cardiff

The Gravity Station

 Cardiff''s first micro-pub opened the other week, situated in Barrack Lane.


Yes, I had to look it up as well, Barrack Lane runs parallel to Charles Street on the Eastern end of the St David's 2 redevelopment. Not too sure when the Barracks were ever here though but it must have been before 1855 as the Barracks marked on a map of that date are on Roath Road, later Newport Road and the Cardiff Royal Infirmary site. The lane is marked on the 1831 map but there are only a couple of buildings marked on it. More recently, before the St David's 2 development, there was an open-air market on the site.

 How to find The Gravity Station?

Exit St David's 2 via the Food Court and turn left, the Gravity Station is on the left-hand-side, halfway along the lane.

Google Map:

View Larger Map
/>,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=14&iwloc=A&cid=1543232312660098535&ll=51.480283,-3.173695&source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map

The Gravity Station is an unique, at least for Cardiff, combination of pub and off-license. Owned by the Waen Brewery of Llanidloes, Powys, this compact bar sells a range of beers from cask, keg and bottle, to drink in or take-away,

The Gravity Station is a fusion of bar and off-licence, with this extensive range of bottled beers available to drink-in or take-away.

The keg beers are served from the bar whilst from the rear cabinet, real ales are served via gravity from pins, 4.5 gallon casks, which makes sure no beers are kept hanging around for too long.

Oh and this pub does not smell of fish.

Star to host beer festival this weekend

The award-winning Star Inn, Talybont-on-Usk will be holding a beer festival over this weekend.
The Champion Beers of Britain - beer festival on
April 11 and 12 will feature the winners of CAMRA's Champion Beers of Britain from 1998-2013:
13 Real ales - all CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain winners. There will also be live music in the marquee
Friday 9pm: The Bleedin Noses
Saturday 1pm: The Mansel Davies Duo
Saturday 8.30pm: SoulD and more!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Polar Beer for Pubs

The latest beer to come out of Brains Craft Brewery is a 5% single hopped brew, Polar Beer, a sunshine yellow blonde ale, brewed
with Polaris, a new-generation German hop. Polaris being another name for Pole or North Star. Ale and lager malts combine to create a smooth, crisp malty base with a sweet nose, followed by refreshingly light and distinctive herbal flavours from the Polaris hop.
Polar Beer will be available in keg and delivered to selected Brains pubs from Thursday 3rd of April.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

CAMRA's Best Pubs in Wales 2014

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has announced their list of over 200 Local Pubs of the Year to help launch April’s Community Pubs Month and none of them smell of fish!
CAMRA’s branches, which consist of thousands of volunteers, judge all of the pubs in their area to find their Branch’s Local Pub of the Year. Pubs are judged on their decor, value for money, customer service, that they appeal to all different demographics and of course, the quality of its real ale. The local branch winners then go forward to battle it out in the regional heats in their quest to become National Pub of the Year, announced in early 2015. Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman said, “I would like to thank all of the volunteers that have judged pubs up and down the country. This can take a lot of dedication to find the best real ale pubs in the area. We like to announce the winners in Community Pubs Month to highlight the best pubs Britain has to offer to help raise the profile of pub-going.
New research shows 28 pubs close every week across Britain and 38% of British adults no longer visit pubs. Community Pubs Month has been launched to help raise the profile of the British pub and pub-going. Thousands of pubs across the Britain will be participating in this campaign by organising events and trying new marketing initiatives to attract more trade during April.
Mr Valentine continued, “There are literally thousands of wonderful pubs that need our support at this moment in time and I would urge everyone to visit their local pub in April and discuss with the licensee ways he or she could encourage you to visit more regularly.” Local winners in Wales are:
Wales Branches Pubs of the Year
Abercolwyn Albion Ale House Conwy
Chester & South Clwyd Bridge End Ruabon
Gwynedd a Mon Snowdonia Park Waenfawr
Vale of Clwyd Halcyon Quest Prestatyn
Brecknockshire Star Inn Talybont
Cardiff Landsdowne Canton, Cardiff
Gwent (Country) Clytha Arms Clytha, Raglan
Gwent (Town) Coach & Horses Chepstow
Mid Glamorgan Fagin's Ale & Chop House Glan-y-Lynn, Taffs Well
Neath-Port Talbot Pontadawe Inn Pontadawe
Swansea Pilot Mumbles
Vale of Glamorgan & Bridgend Red Fox Penllwyn

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Brains to open new pub under Cardiff Bay

Brains – Wales largest brewer and pub operator
– is set to open the UK’s first underwater pub in
Cardiff Bay.
Aqua Nova will be situated five metres below the
surface and accessed via a jetty, located a short
water taxi ride from its sister pub, the Brains-
owned Terra Nova. With panoramic views of the
Bay, the aquarium style venue will offer
customers a once in a lifetime experience.
Bruce Newman, head of marketing at Brains,
said: “Customers are always looking for
something new and different. Aqua Nova won’t
disappoint. As well as a great range of beers,
such as Brains’ All at Sea IPA, customers can
also look forward to a fresh seafood menu,
including Cardiff Bay fish of the day.”
Head of UK Naval Technologies, Captain Burt
Sye, has been working closely with Brains,
supervising the development. He added: “This is
a complex but revolutionary project and one that
is sure to be popular with the British pub goers.”
Work is due to start next month and it is
expected that the bar will be open in the summer
of 2015.
In the meantime, Brains is looking for volunteers
to be the first to test its beers underwater to
ensure they’re unaffected by changes in
pressure. Volunteers will wear specially adapted
dive suits, allowing them to sip a pint below sea
level. For more details, and to sign up, call
Brains on 029 2040 2060, quoting ‘Aqua Nova’.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Best pubs in Wales

The votes are in and have been counted for Wales Online Best Pub in Wales, top 30 below:
The top 30 in full:
1.Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen
2. Plough and Harrow, Monknash
3. The Coach, Bridgend
4. Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth
5. Kings Head Inn, Llangennith
6. City Arms, Cardiff
7. Y Mochyn Du, Cardiff
8. The Gwaelod-y-Garth Inn, Gwaelod-y-Garth
9. The Star Inn, Treoes
10. Blue Anchor Inn, Aberthaw
11. Urban Tap House, Cardiff
12. Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron
13. Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon
14. The Pelican in her Piety, Ogmore
15. The Star inn, Talybont on Usk
16. The Pentre Arms, Llangrannog
17. The Bush Inn, St Hilary
18. Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
19. Old Swan Inn, Llantwit Major
20. The Sloop, Porthgain
21. The Goat Major, Cardiff
22. Uplands Tavern, Swansea
23. The Pilot, Mumbles
24. The Bear Hotel, Crickhowell
25. The Worms Head Hotel, Rhossili
26. The Lansdowne, Cardiff
27. The Ship Inn, Tresaith
28. The Ship, Llangrannog
29. Rummer Tavern, Cardiff
30. The Queens Hotel, Swansea

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

CAMRA Budget response

CAMRA celebrates another brilliant budget for
British beer drinkers
“CAMRA is delighted to see the Chancellor
implementing an unprecedented second
consecutive cut of a penny in beer duty. This is
not only about keeping the price of a pint
affordable in British pubs but helping an
industry which has been in overall decline
continue on its long road to recovery. CAMRA
cares greatly about the future of the Great
British pub and it is clear from this Budget
announcement that the Government do too.
“Keeping the price of a pint affordable is vital
for the long-term health of the pub sector and
CAMRA would hope this latest vote of
confidence in British pubs will go some way to
slowing the rate of closures, by encouraging
more people to make use of their local this
“No doubt many of CAMRA’s 160,000 members
will be raising a glass to the Chancellor this
evening to toast another brilliant Budget for
British beer drinkers.”
Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Aberdare to get a beer Festival!

The town of Aberdare is to get a beer festival in May, on the Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May 2014. The Market Tavern Pub are hosting the Main Event with support from Grey Trees Brewery. The Marquee will be situated in the Centre of Aberdare in the Market Tavern Car Park.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Brains Brewer gets on his bike to bring beer to boozers!

Brains – the official ale of the WRU – is set to cycle casks of SA through Cardiff city centre tomorrow (15th), ensuring no Brains pub runs dry on match day. Brains has turned a baker’s bike into a brewer’s bike, featuring a specially adapted rack to carry a cask of beer.
The bike embarked on a ‘trial run’ yesterday, but will take to the city centre streets on Saturday, ahead of Wales v Scotland.
Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains, said: “The Six Nations is bigger for us than Christmas and some of our pubs sell a week’s worth of beer in one match day alone. Because a pint of Brains and a visit to a Brains pub have always gone hand in hand with international rugby in Wales, we’d hate to disappoint fans by running short of Wales’ best loved beer. “The Brains SOS bike will be on standby on Saturday for pubs who need an emergency beer order – the perfect match day solution!”
Jon Adams, manager at the Yard, said,“Match day is incredibly busy so it’s great the brewery is putting on these SOS deliveries to keep fans in stock of SA.”
Bill took the Brains SOS bike on the ‘trial run’ yesterday (13th March) and will be on call to make deliveries on Saturday, adding “Fans can track the progress of the bike on Twitter by following the hashtag #BeerSOS”.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Vote for your favourite pub in Wales

Use the link below to pop over to Wales Online and vote for your favourite Welsh pub - the shortlist now stands at 86!
Oh and there's an interview with me in the Bell in Caerleon as well!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Now & Then, former Royal Oak, Newport

Former Royal Oak, Newport The Royal Oak on the corner of Chepstow Road and Royal Oak Hill was demolished in 1981 by Welsh Brewers who replaced it with the Toby Carvery that is still on the site today. A building on this site is named Royal Oak on the OS Map of 1830. In recent years the pub has been marketed as 'Toby Carvery at the Coldra', despite being half a mile away from the Coldra!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New life for old breweries

There is a piece over at the BBC on new life for old breweries, concentrating on England so let's have a look at some of the former brewery sites in Wales:

Phillips Brewery, Dock Street, Newport - demolished, now a car park for Asda

Hancocks Brewery, Cardiff Road, Newport - demolished, now the Police Station

Lloyds & Yorath Brewery, Cambrian Road, Newport - demolished, now shops, although it was an open-air car park for years

Brain's Old Brewery, Cardiff is now home to the Brewery 1/4

Ely and Crosswells Breweries have both been demolished and industrial buildings/housing are now on the sites. The 1963 administration block was used until recently by South Wales police (Crosswell site)

Buckley's Brewery, Llanelli - partly demolished, residential accomodation and Aldi now on part of site

Rhymney Brewery (original), Rhymney - demolished, a Kwik Save was built on the site but that closed, demolished and was replaced by an Aldi, which Street View shows still open, though on a visit last year it was closed
View Larger Map Back across the border, someone pointed out to me that the site of the former Ushers Brewery of Trowbridge has become a housing estate

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

1942 Plymouth Breweries Price List

In case anyone is interested, here is a price list from June 1942, from Plymouth Breweries. Found on the wall of the Dog Inn, Eywas Harold, Herefordshire.

Herefordshire cidermaker recognised by CAMRA

Herefordshire cidermaker Denis Gwatkin of Abbeydore was recently awarded a tankard by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, to celebrate twenty-five years of campaigning for cider and perry. One of only ten recipients of this award in the whole of the country, Denis has won numerous awards for his cider and perry over the years. It’s a double celebration for Denis as well, as he has just completed the installation of two giant wooden fermenting vats of over one thousand gallons each, purchased from another Hereford cidermaker, Ivor Dunkerton. The traditional oak vats are well over sixty years old and help give an oaky character to the cider, something that is appreciated by the more discerning cider drinker.

According to Denis Gwatkin, “It’s a great accolade from CAMRA coming after all the years of effort that all the staff at the farm have put in. And not just our farm, our neighbours across the valley often find themselves giving us a hand! It’s also great that these two wooden vats are going to be used for cidermaking for years to come; Ivor Dunkerton has made sure that these historic vats have gone to a good home and are going to be fermenting apple juice into cider well into the future.”

Denis Gwatkin produces over thirty different ciders and perries throughout the year at his farm and these are often seen at CAMRA beer festivals nationwide as well as in local pubs and off-licenses.

Gwatkin Cider is also sold from the farm shop at Moorhampton Park Farm in Abbey Dore, as well as at around one hundred shows around the country throughout the year. The family-run farm also plays host to a three-day music festival at the end of July.
Denis and his team - Mickey, Fluff and Adam

Friday, 7 February 2014

Catch Rye Beer from Brain this February at Craft Beer Rising

Some news from late last year that I forgot to publish!

Rye Catcher named Brains’ Continental Beer Challenge Winner 

Rye Catcher – an American rye beer – by Glenn Payne has been named the winner of Brains’ Continental Beer Challenge, after a judging panel deemed his brew to be the best of seven continental beers.

Last year the Welsh brewer invited beer writers and journalists to collaborate with them to develop and brew their ultimate continental beer in Brains’ craft brewery. Alongside Glenn, guest brewers were Des de Moor, Adrian Tierney-Jones, Pete Brown, Sophie Atherton, and Robyn Black. While Brains handed guest brewers a continental brief, they were free to come up with their own interpretation. As well as the winning American Rye Beer, other styles included a schwarzbier, marzen and saison. Seven beers, including Achilles Heel from Brains’ head brewer, were independently blind judged. The copper coloured beer came top with the judges, who identified a “beer with lots of appeal” with “lemon and lime on the tastebuds”. Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains, said: “Following the success of last year’s IPA challenge, we chose to make the collaboration brew challenge an annual event. The guest brewers are incredible knowledgeable and passionate about beer. They’ve produced a fantastic range of beers and Rye Catcher is a very worthy winner".

Rye Catcher will become part of Brains’ beer festival programme, the first being Craft Beer Rising in London in February.

TASTING NOTES Rye Catcher is an American rye beer. Rye and Rye Crystal malts provide a spicy malt base and a vibrant copper colour to this beer which is powerfully hopped with Apollo, Columbus, Amarillo and Citra hops from the USA, producing an assertive bitterness with robust flavours of citrus and grapefruit.

Other beers in the challenge: · Brabo (Belgian pale ale) by Des de Moor · Dissolution (dubbel) by Pete Brown) · Blackbird (schwarzbier) by Robyn Black · Three C-Son (saison) by Adrian Tierney-Jones · The Ides of Märzen (märzen) by Sophie Atherton · Achilles Heel (helles) from Brains


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