Thursday, 4 June 2015

Seven Years for Zerodegrees Cardiff

Hic, been celebrating at Zerodegrees in Cardiff for their seven years at their Westgate Street Brewpub. Lots of beer flowing, including an India Pale Lager, a thyme Saison and a Strawberry Berliner Weiss. As well as the Mango beer and a few others. Pizza, cooked in their open kitchen helped soak up the beers!
Zerodegrees in Cardiff was the first craft beer pub to open in the City, nowadays Brewdog Cardiff is just a few yards south of here and heading North one encounters Tiny Rebel Urban Tap House and the City Arms. Added to that the plastic paddy palace that was Kitty Flynn's is now the Cambrian Tap, things are looking good for the beer drinker in the 'Diff,with more of a selection than ever before.
Nearly forgot to me mention the Gravity Station run by Waen Brewery, Craft is King it appears in Cardiff.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Big Apple Cider and Perry winners

It was the Big Apple Cider and Perry Championships in Putley, Herefordshire, yesterday and the results are below

Saturday, 2 May 2015

CAMRA Cider and Perry of the Year

CAMRA names the UK’s best Ciders and Perries

GOLD (joint) – White Jersey, Orgasmic Cider Company
GOLD (joint) – Janet’s Jungle Juice, West Croft
BRONZE – Medium, Three Cats

GOLD – Two Trees Perry, Gwynt y Ddraig
SILVER – Snowy Owl, Raglan Cider Mill
BRONZE – Perry, Snails Bank

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today announced the winners of its National Cider and Perry Championships.

The joint winners of the Cider Gold medal are White Jersey by Orgasmic and Janet’s Jungle Juice by West Croft. White Jersey was described by judges as being ‘fruity’ and ‘easy drinking’, with ‘a slight sweetness balanced by an excellent tang’, and having ‘balance without too much acidity’. Janet’s Jungle Juice was described as having a ‘mature and woody aroma’ with ‘an initial sweetness and a smooth finish’, and a ‘full mouthfeel with a resinous aroma’.

The winner of the Perry Gold medal is Two Trees Perry by Gwynt y Ddraig (meaning ‘dragon’s breath’ in Welsh) which the judges described as being ‘initially sweet with a refreshing, dry aftertaste’, ‘complex yet well balanced with a poached pear flavour and aroma’ with a ‘slowly developing finish’.

The final round of judging for CAMRA’s National Cider and Perry Championships 2015 took place at the popular Reading Beer and Cider festival today. The competition featured ciders and perries from across the UK, with each cider and perry judged on its individual taste, aroma, flavour, after-taste and overall appeal. The top awards were selected by a specially chosen panel of experienced judges, drinks writers and CAMRA members.

Steve Layton of Orgasmic Cider Company, had this to say on hearing his cider had taken the top spot,

“We’re very proud of this single blend [variety] cider - we grow the apples, we produce the cider, we do everything - so to me this is a great achievement, as it lets me know our cider is enjoyable to drink by everybody on this top judging panel. We're very proud to win and this is a massive achievement.

Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and Perry Committee Chairman, had this to say on the quality and diversity of entries:

“The quality and variety of real cider and perry is increasing year-on-year, making our job as judges increasingly difficult. With a set of truly excellent drinks available this year at the festival, and a competition which was very tight right until the final judging we are confident these ciders and perries can truly be known as the best in Britain.”

Reading CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival serves over 550 beers available, plus 150 ciders and perries (from over 100 producers), plus a selection of foreign beers, English wines and mead.

Over the four days festival around 13,000 attendees will drink over 35,000 pints of beer and 11,000 pints of cider.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ale and Cider Fair for Merthyr

The historic town of Merthyr Tydfil plays host to an ale and cider fair this Saturday in the Redhouse, the former council offices which were recently refurbished and reopened to the public after years of lying derelict. Looking at their website it does seem like this place is trying to establish itself as the Chapter Arts Centre of the Valleys, which , of course, is a welcome development.
Expect beers from Grey Trees, Pipes and Tudor Breweries together with ciders from Brecon Beacons Cidery and Halletts, hopefully without their mouse infection this time!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

There's a Beer Revolution in Hay!

Popped into Hay-on-Wye the other morning, not somewhere I visit often, the last time I was there was June last year, according to Swarm. A lot has changed since then with a new manager in Kilverts who is eager to bring in the changes with different ales and local cider hitting the pumps shortly.

The biggest surprise was the new off-licence, Beer Revolution, based on the cobbled yard of the castle, a bit difficult to find at first but well worth the effort. This shop is packed with beers from the best breweries from Wales and beyond, Waen, Tiny Rebel, Celt Experience, Mad Dog to name just a few. A couple of surprises were two new Welsh breweries Radnorshire Ales from New Radnor and the Lucky 7 Beer Co who are based in Hay-on-Wye,
Local ciders and perries from Gwatkins are also available
A welcome outlet for good and unusual beers in this part of the world!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mumbles Ale House

Whilst down the Mumbles the other day, we popped into the Mumbles Ale House, the newest addition to the Mumbles Mile and just a short walk off the main road. The pub opened last year in what was an art studio.

 Certainly it's one of the smallest micro-pubs I've been into but size does not matter here when you look at the range of real ales and ciders they have on sale.

 Although whether or not if it's the first micropub in Wales is debatable as the Waen-brewery owned Gravity Station opened in Cardiff earlier in the year. First micropub that's a freehouse in Wales to be more exact.

A visit to the Pilot in Mumbles

Popped into the CAMRA award-winning pub The Pilot in the Mumbles the other day to do some filming with Simon Martin

We got to review their Black Storm Stout with Richard the brewer

One of their beers I particularly enjoyed was Revolver which features the same recipe every time it is brewed with the only difference being a change in the hops used.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Best pubs in Wales

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, have announced their list of the best pubs in Wales.

North Wales
Abercolwyn Branch

Chester & South Clwyd  Branch


Gwynedd a Mon  Branch

Vale of Clwyd  Branch

West Wales

Bae Ceredigion


Cresselly Arms 
Cresswell Quay

South Wales



Cardiff (City)

Cardiff (Country)

Gwent (City)


Gwent (Country)


Mid Glamorgan

Neath Port Talbot

No Sign Bar

Vale of Glamorgan & Bridgend


Saturday, 28 March 2015

A visit to the Pilot Brewery in Mumbles

(4K) Pilot Brewery Tour Mumbles Swansea (Brewpub):

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Flemish Sours review

Met up with Simon Martin to review a couple of Flemish sours, Rodenbach Grand Cru and Duchesse de Bourgogne

Rodenbach came out on top!

Monday, 2 March 2015

March Pub Auction

March Pub Auction

First major pub auction of the year will be on Wednesday 11th March 1430hrs at Puckrup Hall Hotel, near Tewkesbury, Gloucs, GL20 6EL, with 10 pubs going under the hammer. Subject to change, check out the Sidney Phillips website for more details.

Let's have a look at what is going under the hammer:

Cross Keys Hotel, Nantgarw, GP £175,000
Open plan bars and restaurant, two-ensuite letting rooms, three-bedroom owners accommodation, gardens.
Often been passed this pub as it's on the bus route from the Otley Arms to Fagin's so there are some good pubs nearby. Always seemed a bit run-down but you expect that with pub-co pubs. Could do well in the right hands, conversion to housing unlikely as it faces a busy main road.

Royal Head Inn, Llanidloes, Powys GP £160,000
16th-century black and white inn with lounge bar and restaurant, public bar and games room, 3 letting rooms and 4 bedroom flat.
Historic pub which has been let down by Enterprise ownership over the years.

Wain Y Clare, Mamhilad, Torfaen GP £150,000
Main road pub and dining venue, open-plan bar areas, four bedroom owners accommodation, gardens and car park.
Situated on the main Pontypool-Abergavenny road this used to be an extremely busy pub, as the large car park used to be quite full. Been shut and boarded up for a while, another pub-co success story.

Riverside, Brewery Lane, Bridgend GP £225,000
Attractive Gerorgian ph, 0.37 acre, 2 bars, 4 bedroom owners accommodation, large car park
Huge pub, just off the town-centre, again has been run-down over the years.
Was once known as 'The Jolly Brewer' and dates to 1795 and was the family residence of the owner of the nearby brewery, the Stiles, it became a pub in the 1920s and was known as the 'Brewery House' until renamed by owners Courage in the 1970s.
A lot of potential here, despite being in Bridgend, although the nearby cinema was demolished a few years ago so the council might look favourably to demolish this historic pub.

Falcon Inn, Hinstock, Market Drayton, Salop GP £250,000
Village inn with 3 interconnecting trade areas, 6 en-suite letting rooms, separate 2-bed owners cottage, set in 0.47 acres
 Another Enterprise Inns disposal

Red Lion, Aston, Oxon GP £245,000
18th century Cotswold pub, 2 interconnecting bars, 3 bedroomed owners accommodation, village green location
Not a pub I know, or want to know after reading this description from 'The Endless British Pub Crawl' blog.

Bay Horse, High Street, Bromyard GP £245,000
Black & white inn with two characterful trading areas, 5-en suite letting bedrooms
Another one I'm not familiar with but the Trip Advisor reviews aren't that good!

Bulls Head, Brecon GP £185,000
Riverside location, 2-section open bar, 8 bedrooms, development potential, currently closed
Once a popular pub and CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular when it was owned by Marlows who also owned Breconshire Brewery. It did go downhill after Evans Evans Brewery purchased it, no surprise there, and has been closed for a number of years.

Prince of Wales, Portland Street, Cheltenham GP £290,000
Regency town-centre property, 2 bars, 5 bed owners accommodation, trade garden, currently closed
Not a pub I know, then I always get lost n Cheltenham!

Rose & Crown, Goodwick, Fishguard GP £95,000
Two bars in a coastal village with 3 bedroom owners accommodation, beer patio and smoking solution
Next door to the Hope & Anchor pub which also appears to be closed.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Beer reviews with Simon Martin

Meet up with Simon Martin from Real Ale Guide recently to do some beer reviews for his You Tube Channel. Finally got around to embedding them here

First up was Fullers Past Masters Old Burton Extra:

We also did Fullers Imperial Stout:

Fuller's have always been one of my favourite breweries so I enjoyed tasting these with Simon, although the Imperial Stout was a bit heavy for lunchtime drinking! Visits to the Lansdowne, Chapter Arts Centre, Butchers Arms, The Cottage, Urban Tap House and Brewdog were made afterwards, luckily there is no footage of that available!

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


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