Friday, 29 May 2009

Messiah Spotted in Head on Beer

Above: the Last Supper can clearly be seen in this head

Following on from the story where a couple from the Rhondda saw an image of Charles Manson Jesus Christ in a Marmite jar, reports have been coming in from pubs across South Wales that the Chosen One has been appearing in the heads on pints of beer. The tight, creamy heads on pints of Brains, HB and Felinfoel are said to be an ideal medium on which the features of the Messiah can materialise.

Above: Is that Jordan appearing over the brim?

Reports of appearances of mystical figures have been heard from the Tundra of Merthyr Tydfil to the low lands of the Gwent levels and one explanation for these events, according to a newspaper editor, is that there is “Bugger all real news apart from MP expenses so spotting Jesus in your pint is something we all can hope to see and fill our newspapers with”.Above: Moses makes an appearance in this pint glass

According to Ivor Davies, a customer at the Heroin Addicts' Arms in Aberpobolycwm , “I;ve seen Jesus in nearly every pint. I've also seen Jordan and Barack Hussein Obama in my pint. The more I drink the more images I see and I can't wait to get my next pint in to see which mystic figure chooses to appear in the head of my pint”.

But according to a barmaid in the Addict's Arms, “It's not the Messiah but a very dirty glass”.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, have denied that the appearance of images of the Messiah in pints is a publicity stunt for the forthcoming Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival at the Cardiff International Arena and have also denied that the Second Coming will be held during the Beer Festival with Jesus pouring the first pint of Brains.

Above: Has the prophet Mohammed appeared to beer drinkers in Wales in a beer glass?

UFOs have also been sighted in Cardiff over the past few days and plagues of locusts, serpents appearing and fish falling from the sky are all expected to occur over the next few weeks. Well another series of Torchwood is due to broadcast soon.

The Cynical Dragon also has a take on this, though he claims the Marmite Messiah is in fact Gene Simmons.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Brains Hits the Hit Parade of Bottled Beer

From a SA Brain Press Release:
SA Gold Proves Popular

Within Wales Brains has become much more than a beer. The iconic brand is instantly recognisable within the Principality and for many ‘It wouldn’t be Wales without SA’.

And now Brains is well on its way to becoming a household name in England. In just six months the ‘Made in Wales’ beer has climbed an impressive 28 places in the list of the UK’s top 40 selling bottled ales and now ranks as the 19th biggest selling bottled beer nationally. It is also the only Welsh beer to feature in the list.

SA Gold has scaled the rankings with the help of three major national supermarket listings. The beer is now stocked throughout England and Wales in all Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores. The golden ale is also stocked Wales-wide in Tesco.

Richard Davies, Sales and Marketing Director at Brains said: "To be included in the list of the top 20 bottled beers is a huge achievement for us, especially when you consider SA Gold has been around for less three years. We’re listed alongside some of the heavyweights of the beer world which proves that we can compete with established brands.

"It has been encouraging to see that in declining market demand for our beers outside of Wales is increasing. As well as the success of our bottled range, some of our cask ale brands are achieving double digit growth on last year."

The latest sales data also shows that Brains’ beers remain ever popular within Wales. All of Brains’ 500ml bottled beers feature in the top 40 selling ales in the Wales and West region. SA Gold takes the highest spot at number 7 and ranks above the likes of Spitfire, Bombardier and Tanglefoot.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Daley Dozen - 12 London Pubs

Daley Dozen, part 2. An occasional series devoted to a dozen best things in the beer world.
12 favourite pubs in London:

1. Dove, Hammersmith. Riverside pub, just down the Thames from Fullers Brewery. It seems that nothing has changed here for years and yet this pub is still surprisingly unknown. Brew Wales escorted a couple of American tourists to the pub after a trip around Fullers Brewery last year and they were amazed to find such a place that was not in any guide books. It is in the 1934 edition of “The Old Inns of England! The long pub has separate drinking areas, including the smallest public bar in the world, verified by the Guinness Book of Records. Oh and 'Rule Britannia' was composed upstairs!
Photo above from 1934 book "Old Inns of England"

2.Cittie of York, Holborn. The interior of this Sam Smith's pub is fantastic with an oak-beamed roof, old spirit casks and a triangular fireplace. Forget the front bar, always head to the rear of this pub, for a truly unique drinking experience. One of the Capitol's more unusual pubs, it was rebuilt in 1924 on the site of an older building and there is also a cellar bar dating from an earlier building
3. Old Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street. Another favoured haunt owned by Sam Smith's brewery, this pub was rebuilt after the Great Fire and some of the wood panelling in the pub is believed to be original. An odd collection of different rooms on different levels, this surely must be one of London's greatest pubs?
4. Sanctuary House, Westminster. A short walk from the Palace of Westminster, the Sanctuary House was the closest Fullers pub to Parliament until their recent purchase of the Red Lion. Handy for a bite to eat at a reasonable price and a good place to read the Evening Standard, the Sanctuary House is also an hotel.
5. Mad Bishop & Bear, Paddington. The old station bar at Paddington was never much good and Brew Wales only ever used it whilst awaiting the (often last) train to South Wales. However, when the station and the Great Western Hotel were redeveloped, Fullers Brewery put a pub on the first floor of the food court. Handy for breakfast from the early trains or the last pint whilst awaiting the last train, the Mad Bishop & Bear stocks the full range of Fullers beers as well as guests from other breweries. Also useful to stock up on a few bottles of Fullers ales for the train journey back to Wales, but not too many 1845 as might miss the stop!
6. Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, Holborn. Difficult to find, no make that really difficult to find, the Mitre is surrounded by buildings on all sides and is accessed via a narrow passageway. Very popular pub lunchtimes but the rush does ease off after 2. The Mitre is wood-panelled throughout and offers excellent real ales as well as toasted sandwiches in an atmosphere unparalleled anywhere in the Capitol. Recently bought by Fullers, we do not expect any big changes here!
7. Red Lion, Westminster, back in since Fullers have bought it! The Red Lion was always one of Brew Wales' favoured haunts back in the days of living in the smoke. Great enjoyment is still to be had when the Parliamentary Division bell rings in the pub and the tourists run out thinking its the fire alarm! Now Fullers closest pub to Parliament, Brew Wales will no doubt be using it a lot more.
8. Princess Louise, Holborn. 20 years ago this pub was owned by Vaux Brewery of Sunderland and was a large building with an open-plan island bar. Then a few years ago Sam Smith's Brewery bought it and did what can only be described as a “derefurbishment” in which new partitions were put into the slots left when the pub was converted to open-plan in the 1960s. What resulted was an authentic restoration of a Victorian pub, so good that it looks like it has always been like this.
9. Founders Arms, Bankside. One of the few proper outside drinking areas in London, the Founders is a Wells and Youngs pub on the south side of the Thames. A moden pub, it was built to take full advantage of the the setting and the views of the river and of London are great here on a sunny afternoon and yes you can see St Pauls Cathedral from the pub.
10. White Horse, Parsons Green. Now the 'Sloaney Pony' offers an unprecedented range of beers, both foreign and from the UK. A very popular pub, the Green outside often becomes an extended drinking area in the summer. A few beer festivals are held throughout the year, including a 'Winter ales festival' at which the author of this blog was photographed in the Hammersmith Gazette some 18 years ago!
11. Victoria, Paddington. Unusual 'Gin Palace' survivor that has its own theatre bar. A short walk from Paddington station, this small, street-corner pub is well-worth visiting. Used to be the Brew Wales regular stop off before the refurbishment of Paddington Station.
12. St Stevens' Tavern, Westminster. Closest pub to Parliament, the St Stevens' Tavern is next door to Westminster Tube station and across the road from Big Ben. It was closed for 20 years, hence Brew Wales never went there whilst living in London and it came as a nice surprise when someone told us about the pub. Owned by Hall & Woodhouse (Badger) the St James' is a nice mixture of Victoriania and modern pub design. As long as there are no protesters in Parliament Square.

A lot of Fullers pubs in that list, but then again, Brew Wales is partial to a pint or two of their beers. Just a personal choice, I know there are pubs with better beers in London, but for some reason or another, these are the pubs that Brew Wales has frequented regularly over the last 20 years and still returns to them.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Welsh Cider and Perry Competion 2009 - Full Results

Welsh Cider & Perry Competition 2009
Held at the Clytha Arms, Monmouthshire 23rd May
The full results:

Dry Perry Category
Gold – Troggi, Troggi Broom
Silver – Raglan Cider Mill, Teat Owl
Bronze – Ty Bryn Cider. Blakeney Red Dry

Medium Perry Category
Gold – Troggi, Troggi Earlswood
Silver – Ty- Bryn Cider, Blakeney Red Medium Sweet
Bronze – Seidr Dai Helen's Early

Sweet Perry Category
Gold - Bragdy Brodyr, Silver Lady
Silver – Seidr Dai, Painted Lady
Bronze, Gwynt y Ddraig, Two Trees

Bottled Perry
Gold – Seidr Dai, Painted Lady
Silver – Troggi, Troggi Newydd
Bronze – Clytha Perry

Champion Perry of Wales 2009
Gold – Bragdy Brodyr, Silver Lady
Silver – Seidr Dai, Painted lady
Bronze – Troggi, Earlswood

Best Newcomer – Palmer's Upland Cider


Dry Draught Cider Category
Gold – Old Monty Dry
Silver – Springfield Sledgehammer
Bronze – Gwynt Y Ddraig Barnstormer

Medium Draught Cider
Gold - Rosie's Triple D Medium
Silver - Bent Bike Ciderhouse, Stabiliser
Bronze – Gwynt Y Ddraig Haymaker

Sweet Draught Cider
Gold – Blaengawney Farm, National Treasure
Silver – Palmer's Upland Cider, Top Box Cyder
Bronze – Gwynt Y Ddraig, Farmhouse Sweet

Spirit Cask Cider
Gold – CJ's Cider, Oak Barrel (whiskey)
Silver – Rosie's Triple D, Rosie's Rampant Ram
Bronze – Blaengawney Farm, Full Fat

Bottled Cider
Gold – Ty- Bryn Cider, Medium Sweet
Silver – Gwynt Y Ddraig, Vintage 06
Bronze – Gwynt Y Ddraig, Dabinett Single Variety

Champion Cider of Wales 2009
Gold – Rosie's Triple D, Medium
Silver – Blaengawney Farm, National Treasure
Bronze – Old Monty Dry Cider

Well done to the Welsh Perry & Cider Society and all at the Clytha Arms for such a fantastic event. For once the weather was with us and a long hot Saturday was enjoyed by all in the grounds of the Clytha.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Welsh Cider and Perry competition 2009

Champion Cider of Wales: 1. Rosie's Triple D 2. Blaengawaney farm National Treasure 3. old monty dry

Cider Festival at the Clytha

Its on! The Welsh Cider and Perry Festival is now on at the Clytha Arms, near Raglan, Monmouthshire. Judging for the Champion Cider of Wales will shortly be underway here, with the winner to be announced around 3. Will be blogging the winners.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Former Brains Brewer bows out with Swansong Beer

Photo above: Iain Turnbull inspecting hops at a Herefordshire Farm a few years ago

Iain Turnbull, who has brewed at Welsh breweries such as Brains and Reckless Eric's, has decided, in his own words, “To leave a lasting legacy to beer drinkers all over the country”, by commissioning a special beer entitled Brewer's Swansong to celebrate his life in the brewing industry. Iain was sadly diagnosed with cancer recently and proceeds from the sale of Brewer's Swansong will go to the Macmillan Cancer Charity.
Iain is a graduate of Heriot-Watt University and in his 41 years in the brewing industry has spent time with Courage Western in Bristol, Newport and Devonport, Courage Central in Reading, S A Brain in Cardiff, Reckless Eric's in Pontypridd (well Cilfynydd), Restalrigg and Fisherrow in Edinburgh, a lager brewery in Nigeria and the Fowlers Ales Brewery in the Gothenberg, Prestonpans. Iain has even tried to recreate an authentic Welsh Ale, known as Bragote, which was available to taste at a beer festival in the White Hart, Machen, a few years back. This ale was brewed without hops and used spices and a wild yeast to produce a beer which was described as 'interesting to say the least”. The spices flavoured the beer a bit too much, but after the brew had aged for around 18 months, the spices became more subtle and quite a pleasant flavour was produced. There are records of Bragote being aged for many years and in Medieval times it was in high demand and often exported to England.
Iain, who has created over 200 different beers in his lifetime, wishes to celebrate his career in brewing with Brewer's Swansong, a dark, malty and hoppy beer, with a toffee apple flavour from the high quantity of Crystal Malt used. With an original gravity of 1118 and a predicted final gravity of 11.5%, this will certainly be a beer to remember him by! As well as being available in pubs, a proportion of the brew will be matured in a whisky cask, to be drunk at his funeral wake, “Toast me as I toast”, as Iain has said.
Iain now lives in Stornaway on the island of Lewis in the Hebrides said, “ I am terminally ill and there will come a point in the future when I will need the help of Macmillan nurses so I thought it would be an innovative and enjoyable way of raising money for them as a thank-you in advance for the future care I am likely to need and to do this whilst I am still fit enough. That is where I perceived the idea of brewer's Swansong. It's strong – about 11.5% and the proportion put into a whiskey cask will be bottled to be laid down to be drunk when they throw me into a fire. All attendees at my demise will get a bottle. It will be a beer to remember as it is the last beer I will brew”.
Brewer's Swansong will be brewed at the Tryst Brewery in Larbert, Near Falkirk, and available via Waverley TBS and Flying Firkin. Iain has requested that the orders go through him and he can be contacted on 07826 566687. First batch is available now, at 6.9% ABV, so if you wish to help support Macmillan Cancer Support and celebrate Iain's 41 years in brewing ask your pub to get in touch with him.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Morris Men to play Cardiff International Arena!

Photo from Isca Morris Dancers Website
Saturday afternoon at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival will see local Morris Dancers, the Isca Morris Men, perform at the biggest pub in Wales.
This year, the Isca Morrismen are being sponsored by local breweries including Otley, Tomos Watkin, Cwmbran and WARCOP. Of course real ales from all these breweries will be available at the bar of the Festival.

Full details of other entertainment at the Festival can be found here.

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Cardiff International Arena, CIA, Mary Ann Street, Cardiff CF10 2EQ

Open: Thursday 11th June 11-11, Friday 12th & Saturday 13th June 11-11

Entrance £5 (£4 for Under 26s and CAMRA members), includes souvenir glass and festival programme. For more information log onto:, tel:07807 609712

Dare go to Newport Farmers Market

Newport Farmers Market

It is a welcome return to see a Farmers Market return to John Frost Square in Newport. Although it does mean that the redevelopment of the City Centre Square has been cancelled along with the redevelopment of the bus station. In fact the bus station has just been given a new coat of paint! Does not seem we have demolition anytime soon. Anyway back to the farmers market, held on the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month, it was a nice surprise to see Richard Hall from Dare Brewery set up his stall there. Dare Brewery is based at the CAMRA Good Beer Guide pub, the Falcon at Cwmaman, near Aberdare and brews a range of cask and bottle-conditioned beers. Prices are good as well, with bottles at £2.20 each or £20 for a case of 12. Presentation packs are also available.

The beer range:

Spring Ahead 4%

Dat Dare 4.1%

ESB 4.8%

Falcon Flyer 5.2%

Old Daredevil 7.9%

Seasonal specialities will complement the range throughout the year

If you cannot make it to Newport Farmers Market on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month then Dare Brewery are also at Riverside (Sunday) and Roath Farmers Markets (1st & 3rd Saturday each month) in Cardiff.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

New Newmans Beer

Enjoyable pint of Newmans Spring Cottage Biscuit, 4.2% ABV, in the Pen & Wig, Newport. Good to see our local brewers supported, the Newmans Brewery is also known as Celt Experiance and is brewed in Caerphilly. Anyway, back to the beer, Spring Cottage Biscuit is a pale amber ale with plenty of hops and fruit in the aroma, a bitter taste and a firm bitter aftertaste. Makes you want another pint! Excellent!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival Beer List

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival

Welsh beer list 2009

All beers subject to availability when the festival is open

78 Welsh Beers from 29 different Welsh Breweries

Brains Dark, 3.5% ABV, Mild

Brains Bitter, 3.7% ABV, Bitter

Brains SA, 4.2% ABV, Best Bitter

Brains Reverend James. 4.5%ABV, Best Bitter

Brains SA Gold, 4.6% ABV, Golden Ale

Brains seasonal, 4.6% ABV, Best Bitter

Breconshire GVX, 6.00% Strong Bitter

Breconshire Welsh Pale Ale, 3.40% ABV, Mild

Breconshire Golden Valley, 4.2%ABV, Golden Ale

Breconshire Ramblers Ruin, 5% ABV, Strong Bitter

Breconshire Cribyn, 4.5% ABV, Best Bitter

Breconshire Spirit of the Dragon, 6.50% ABV, Barley Wine

Breconshire County, 3.70% ABV, Bitter

Bragdy'r Nant Special, 4.50% ABV, Best Bitter

Bryncelyn Holly Hop, 3.9% ABV, Bitter

Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous, 4% ABV, Mild

Bryncelyn Oh Boy, 4.5% ABV, Best Bitter

Bullmastiff Welsh Gold, 3.8% ABV, Golden Ale

Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch, 6% ABV, Strong Bitter

Bullmastiff Welsh Black, 4.60% ABV, Speciality Ale

Celt Experience Native Storm, 4.4 ABV, Best Bitter

Celt Experience Golden, 4.2%ABV, Golden Ale

Newman's Red Castle Cream , 4.7%ABV, Speciality Ale

Coles Dewi Sant, 4.40%ABV, Best Bitter

Conwy Mulberry Mild, 3.80%ABV, Mild

Conwy Telford Porter, 4.50% ABV, Porter/Stout

Cwmbran Crow Valley Stout, 4.20% ABV, Porter/Stout

Cwmbran Pink Panther, 4.50% ABV . Speciality Ale

Cwmbran Double Hop, 4.00% ABV, Best Bitter

Dare Summer beer, 4.10% ABV, Golden Ale

Dare Falcon Flyer, 5.20% ABV Strong Bitter

Evan Evans Cwrw, 4.20% ABV, Best Bitter

Evan Evans, Best Bitter, 4.20% ABV, Best Bitter

Evan Evans Golden Hop, 4.20% ABV, Golden Ale

Facers Daves Hoppy Beer, 4.3% ABV, Best Bitter

Facers Flintshire Bitter, 3.80%ABV, Bitter

Facers Sunny Bitter, 4.20%ABV, Golden Ale

Ffos Y Ffin, 3 Arches , 4.80%ABV, Strong Bitter

Felinfoel Double Dragon, 4.2%ABV, Best Bitter

Great Orme Celtic Dragon, 4.40% ABV, Best Bitter

Great Orme Welsh Black, 4.50% ABV. Strong Mild

Jacobi Red Squirrel, 4.00% ABV, Bitter

Jacobi Light Ale, 3.80% ABV,

Kingstone Gatehouse, 5.10% ABV, Strong Bitter

Kingstone 3 castles, 3.80% ABV, Bitter

Kingstone Kinsons Gold, 4.00% ABV, Best Bitter

Miws Piws Snowdonia, 3.60% ABV, Golden Ale

Miws Piws Dark Side of the Moose 4.60% ABV, Old Ale

Miws Piws Cwrw Glaslyn 4.2% ABV, Best Bitter

Heart of Wales Aur Cymraeg , 4.10%ABV, Best Bitter

Heart of Wales, Welsh Black, Porter/Stout

Heart of Wales High as a Kite, 9.00% ABV, Barley Wine

Monteys Sunshine, 4.20%ABV, Golden Ale

Otley O1, 4.10% ABV, Golden Ale

Otley O Garden, 4.60% ABV, Speciality Ale

Otley Dark O, 4.10% ABV, Porter/Stout

Otley Porter, 6.00% ABV, Porter/Stout

Otley OG, 5.40% ABV, Strong Bitter

Otley O8, 8% ABV, Barley Wine

Otley New Brew to be confirmed

Plassey Welsh Border , 3.5% ABV, Mild

Plassey Bitter, 4% ABV, Best Bitter

Rhymney Dark, 3.9% ABV, Mild

Rhymney Export, 5% ABV, Strong Bitter

Rhymney Bitter, 4.5% ABV, Best Bitter

Rhymney Hobby Horse, 3.8% ABV, Bitter

Rhymney Lager, 5% ABV, Speciality Ale

Sandstone Postman Prat, 4.2% ABV, Best Bitter

Swansea Deep Slade Dark, 4% ABV, Mild

Swansea 3 Cliffs Gold, 4.7% ABV, Golden Ale

Tomos Watkin Chwarae Teg, 4.2% ABV, Best Bitter

Tomos Watkin Seasonal to be confirmed

Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf, 4.20% ABV, Golden Ale

Vale of Glamorgan Grog y Vog, 4.3% ABV, Best Bitter

Vale of Glamorgan Wheat's Occurring, 5% ABV, Speciality Ale

Vale of Glamorgan Best Bitter, 4.3% ABV, Best Bitter

Warcop to be confirmed

English Beers

Woods Pot o Gold 4.40%ABV, Golden Ale

Wye Valley HPA 4%ABV, Golden Ale

Wye Valley Butty Bach, 4.5% Best Bitter

Wye Valley Summer Stinger, Speciality

Wye Valley Bitter, 4.2%ABV , Golden Ale

Wye Valley Golden Ale, 4.2%ABV, Golden Ale

Spinning Dog Mutts Nuts, 5%ABV, Strong Bitter

Six bells Marathon, 4.5%ABV, Best Bitter

Salopian Lemon Dream, 4.50%ABV Speciality

Sadlers Seasonal, Best Bitter

Kinver Special for Festival, Best Bitter

Sarah Hughes Pale Amber, 4.00%ABV, Best Bitter

Elgoods Black Dog, 3.6%ABV, Mild

Elgoods Cambridge, 3.80%ABV, Bitter

Batemans Salem Porter, 4.7%ABV, Porter/Stout

Batemans Valiant, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Dark Tribe Galleon, 4.7%ABV, Strong Bitter

Highwood Best Bitter , 3.5%ABV, Bitter

Newby Wyke White Squall, 4.8%ABV, Strong Bitter

Oldershaw Grantham Stout, 4.3%ABV, Porter/Stout

Poachers Pride, 4%ABV, Best Bitter

Belvoir Peacock Glory, 4.7%ABV, Strong Bitter

Everards Tiger, 4.2%ABV, Best Bitter

Everards Seasonal

Grainstore Rutland Panther, 3.4%ABV, Mild

Grainstore Silly Billy, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Shardlow Golden Hop, 4.1%ABV, Golden Ale

Potbelly Crazy Daze, 5.5%ABV, Strong Bitter

Thornbridge Jaipur, 5.9%ABV, Strong Bitter

Thornbridge Blackthorn, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Weetwood Oast House Gold, 5%ABV, Golden Ale

Oakham Bishops Farewell, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Oakham JHB, 3.8%ABV, Golden Ale

Townes Speedwell Bitter, 3.9 %ABV, Bitter

Howard Town Dinting Arches, 4.5%ABV, Best Bitter

Derventio Nero, 3.9%ABV, Bitter

Castle Rock Hemlock , 4%ABV, Best Bitter

Castle Rock Harvest Pale, 3.8%ABV, Golden Ale

Frog Island Fire Bellied Toad, Strong Bitter

Milestone Loxley Ale, 4.2%ABV, Best Bitter

Brewsters Hophead, 3.6%ABV, Bitter

Alcazar Vixens Vice, 5.2%ABV, Strong Bitter

Blue Bell Old Honesty, Best Bitter

Cathedral Red Imp, 4.2%ABV, Best Bitter

Fugulestou Fulstow Common, 3.8%ABV, Bitter

Hopshackle Hop Shackle Gold, 5.2%ABV, Strong Bitter

Riverside Old Diabolical, 4.4%ABV, Strong Bitter

Swaton Kiss Goodnight, 4.5%ABV, Best Bitter

Willys Old Groyne, 6%ABV, Strong Bitter

Digfield Fools Nook, 3.8%ABV, Golden Ale

Cherwell Valley Lark Rise, 4%ABV, Best Bitter

Great Oakley Wot's Occurring, 3.9%ABV, Bitter

Hoggleys Northampton Bitter, 4%ABV, Best Bitter

Nobbys Wild West, 4.6%ABV, Best Bitter

Caythorpe One Swallow, 3.6%ABV, Bitter

Full mash Séance, 4%ABV, Best Bitter

Grafton Lady Julia, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Holland Blonde Belter, 4.5%ABV, Golden Ale

Magpie Thieving Rogue, 4.5%ABV, Best Bitter

Mallard Duckling, 4.2%ABV, Best Bitter

Maypole Maybe, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Whim Seasonal

Leatherbritches Hairy helmet , 4.7%ABV, Strong Bitter

Ashover Rainbows End, Best Bitter

Brampton Wasp Nest, 5%ABV, Strong Bitter

Brunswick Black Sabbath, Porter/Stout

Falstaff Seasonal

Globe Comet, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Headless First Bloom, 4.3%ABV, Best Bitter

Leadmill Ginger Spice 5%ABV, Speciality

Son of Sid Re session , 3.8%ABV, Bitter

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Cardiff International Arena, CIA, Mary Ann Street, Cardiff CF10 2EQ

Open: Thursday 11th June 11-11, Friday 12th & Saturday 13th June 11-11

Entrance £5 (£4 for Under 26s and CAMRA members), includes souvenir glass and festival programme. For more information log onto:, tel:07807 609712

Hobby Horse Rides Again!

Merthyr Tydfil- based Rhymney Brewery have won an award for the "Commemorative Label of the Year", issued by the Labologists Society, for their Hobby Horse logo. Okay the competition was in 2008 but this has only just come to the attention of Brew Wales after spotting the award certificate in the Winchester in Merthyr. The certificate takes pride of place between a couple of certificates from CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, awarded to Rhymney Brewery for winning beer of the festival at a couple of local beer festivals.

The Hobby Horse was the old trademark of the old Rhymney Brewery, closed by Whitebread in the 1970s and was bought by Steve Evans of the new Rhymney Brewery a few years back. Originally the logo came from Pritchard's Brewery of Crumlin and the area where the Rhymney beers were sold was known as "the land where the Hobby Horse roams".

With the new Rhymney Brewery going from strength to strength and about to about to open a second pub, the Patriot in Taff Street, Pontypridd, it looks like the Hobby Horse is once again set to roam the hills and valleys of South Wales.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Welsh Cider Festival 2009

Welsh Cider Festival 2009

The Welsh Cider & Perry Festival takes place this weekend at the Clytha Arms, Monmouthshire, on the 23rd, 24th and 25th May (Sat-Mon). The Festival is also home to the Welsh Cider and Perry competition which means an early start for Brew Wales, being on the judging panel. Don't mind the early start, it's the 8% cider matured in a whiskey cask at 1000 am that is the difficult job! Anyway the 40 or so cidermakers in Wales will be entering their sweet, medium, dry and bottled ciders and perries into the competition. Winners should be announced sometime in the afternoon on Saturday. Brew Wales will attempt some live blogging and Tweeting from the festival but the wilds of Monmouthshire are not the ideal place to get a signal on a mobile phone.

The Welsh Cider & Perry Festival is the highpoint of the cidermaking year for the makers of our oldest drink. The makers themselves will be there serving (and drinking!) their produce and are more than willing to talk to customers about their wares. That's if the queue for the bar is not too long!

The cider bar will be in the old coach house, to the rear of the Clytha pub itself. The Clytha Arms is set in its own grounds so there is plenty of parking as well as spacious gardens to enjoy the best ciders and perries of Wales. Expect some excellent food as well with the Clytha Arms producing their own award-winning fayre as well as burgers on the barbecue. Brew Wales did feel that the Venison burgers last year were a little dear!

The Clytha Arms is situated on the B4598 between Abergavenny and Raglan, OS368089, NP7 9BW. The pub is on the Abergavenny to Monmouth bus route but the bus goes via the back of the pub on certain journeys, involving about ½ mile walk from the stop. Oh and the stop probably is not marked so use a map and ask the driver to be dropped off at Pit Clytha. The 1830 journey to Abergavenny leaves from outside the pub so no worries there!

Welsh Perry & Cider Society Website here

Google Map here:

View Larger Map

Pink Panther takes off with Beer of the Festival!

CAMRA bar at Tredegar House Folk Festival 2009
The CAMRA bar at the Tredegar House Folk Festival was another success this year with the real ales selling out on Sunday afternoon. Luckily some bottled real ales were found with Ffos Y Ffin Brewery quickly selling out before a truckload of Penlon Cottage Brewery beers arrived via Gwynt Y Ddraig Cider, who act as wholesalers for their beers locally. Well done to Bill and all at Gwynt Y Ddraig for helping us out at the Festival.
The only downside to the Festival occurred during the opening ceremony, when the guest of honour, disgraced self-confessed libelist, Paul Flynn MP, failed to turn up on time to open the festival. To the shouts of “Is he doing his expenses?”, his non-appearance at the opening drew the kind of derision and ridicule that is normally only reserved for a British Prime Minister addressing the European Parliament.
The septuagenarian stroke-ridden Castro supporter eventually turned up at a later time, looking somewhat confused that he had missed the opening of the Festival. Ahh, bless him, Newport definitely deserves better.

Beers of the Festival
This year we had a public vote for the best beers of the festival. Unlike some other festivals where the owners of the breweries have to take time off suffering from writer's cramp due to vote rigging and ballot box stuffing, the votes at this festival were conducted by drinkers and staff at the festival.

1st Place. Cwmbran Brewery Pink Panther. Not a personal favourite of Brew Wales, but always popular with the customers, this is made with natural spring water from Mynydd Maen and raspberries!

2nd Place. Rhymney Brewery Dark. Another award for this former Champion Beer of Wales, the beers from Rhymney Brewery get better and and better and the cask-conditioned lager is set to make a return next month!

Joint 3rd Celtic Experience Gold. A relatively new brewery from Caerphilly.
Joint 3rd Wye Valley HPA. An old favourite, the bar sold twice as much HPA as any other beer. Well it is SO good we do order in twice as much as any other beer!

Roll on 2010 where we will have more beer!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

New Otley Beer

The Otley Brewery of South Wales has a limited edition new beer out. The 4% Otley Columbo is named after the Columbo hop variety and is a golden ale with an intense hoppy aroma and bitter flavour. Hops and fruit on the aftertaste lead to a satisfying bitter finish. This beer may be too hoppy for some but it really hits the mark for Brew Wales. Just been told that the beer is dry hopped, meaning that hops are put in the cask to add to the flavour during conditioning, producing this hugely aromatic and bitter beer.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Jeremy Vine at the Vulcan

BBC presenter Jeremy Vine was in the Cardiff CAMRA pub of year, the Vulcan tonight. The pub threatend with demolition will be featured on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 on tuesday 12th May between 12 and 2pm.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Saturday, 9 May 2009

View of the bar

Its day two of the Gwent CAMRA beer festival at Tredegar House, Newport. Loads of real ales and cider available. Not sure which beer is my favourite at the moment but Wye Valley HPA really hit the mark last night.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Gwent CAMRA Beer Festival

From Brew Wales

The Gwent Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale are once again running a real ale bar at Tredegar House during the Tredegar House Folk Festival. The bar opens at 1900 hrs on Friday 8th of May 2009 and we have some wonderful real ales for the thirsty customers to try:
Celt Experience Golden
Celt Experience Bronze
Celt Experience Native Storm
Cwmbran Golden Wheat
Cwmbran Pink Panther
Cwmbran 4 Seasons
Otley O1
Otley 02
Otley O-garden
Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose
Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale
Rhymney Brewery Bevans bitter
Rhymney Brewery Dark
Spinning Dog Original Bitter
Spinning Dog Celtic Gold
Spinning Dog Mutts Nutts
Wye Valley HPA
All beers are subject to availability
All served on gravity and at cellar temperature.
In addition, a range of ciders and perries from Gwynt Y Ddraig, the Welsh cider and perry company will also be available.
Free Entry to the site.
Bar open
Friday 8th May 1900-2300
Sat 9th May 1200-2300
Sun 10th May 1200-2230.
Tredegar House is easily accesable by bus number 36 from Newport city Centre or from the M4, junction 28.
For information on brewing at Tredegar House check out this previous blog
And there is even a blog devoted to Tredegar House here.

Map of area around Tredegar House below:

View Larger Map

Monday, 4 May 2009

Welsh cider at the North Somerset Agricultural Show

Gwynt y Ddraig, the Welsh Cider and Perry company are today at the North Somerset Agricultural Show just outside of Bristol. With 11 different ciders and perries on sale from Wales at the show, it will be interesting to see what the locals make of excellent Welsh cider. As last year was a sell out it will be interesting to see how well it goes this year.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Ye Olde Murenger House - paintgate update

Further to my previous update - it appears the choice of colours for the outside of the pub was left to the painters themselves, without any reference to listing building status or the local council. Despite Brew Wales best attempts no one from Newport Council was available to comment on this flagrant breach of planning law on Friday afternoon. Hardly suprising as this weekend is a bank holiday and it is well known that council employees regularly have an extra holiday. In fact Brew Wales witnessed a few members of the planning department actually drinking in the Murenger this afternoon. Ok lads, obviously to busy to return my phone calls, along with the so called PR department of the council who are more interested in producing a local rag with positive council stories (Pravda had nothing on it) rather than field inquiries from the press. But then the PR experts employed by councils still regard the MSM as the major organ of communiction to the public and phone calls from mere bloggers are not worth replying to. Afterall with the South Wales Argus now being printed in the Midlands, the local government officials who are responsible for dealing with the press have their new deadlines to deal with according to the copy deadline of US company Gannet. Not suprising no one from Newport Council was available to comment. Note: Newport Council were first contacted 1215 friday and Brew Wales asked for a quote about the vandalism of the Murenger House. The council chose not to reply. Hoons the lot of them.

UPDATE: Newport Council finally got back to me and agreed that the current paint scheme is not in keeping with a Grade II Listed Building. Letters are starting to fly.

Murenger - not glad to be grey

Ye Olde Murenger House is an unmistakable black and white timber-framed Tudor pub in the City Centre of Newport. Or was, owners Sam Smiths of Yorkshire decided to repaint the Grade II listed building in grey-green gloss with an off-white plaster! Now I have always been supportive of Sams in the past, they saved the Murenger from collapse but a colour scheme such as this is not suitable for a building of almost 500 years of age. If the present customers are not happy, then those who haunt the pub will be up to their usual tricks tonight. Have only just looked into this story and cannot find any listed building consent on Newport council website for this makeover and Brew Wales is waiting for a call back from the council over this bodged repainting.


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