Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fagins' Beer festival

The multi-award-winning alehouse Fagins' in Taffs Well will be holding a beer festival this weekend:
  Beers available, subject to availability etc:




Easily reached by bus from either Cardiff or Pontypridd, Fagins has had a deserved reputation for good food and real ale for many years. This roadside terraced inn offers a traditional pub environment with wooden beams on the ceiling and barrels as tables as well as a separate restaurant to the rear. The wooden beams feature bilingual graffiti which add to the convivial atmosphere of having a pint of real ale in this pub.
The beer range is the best for miles with real ales from across the UK regularly available alongside more local brews from award-winning breweries such as Otley and Vale of Glamorgan. Beers are either served via the traditional beer engine on the bar or straight from the barrel in the temperature-controlled stillage behind the bar. Fagins is one of the few pubs in South Wales to use this gravity-method of dispensing real ale. The constantly changing beer range is one of the reasons this pub is very popular and the beer list is updated to the pub website on a weekly basis. Recent guest beers have included Sarah Hughes dark Ruby Mild and Hobsons Town Crier, both unusual beers to find here in South Wales away from their West Midlands and Shropshire homelands.

Two beer festivals are also held every year
Fagins also hosts live music every Thursday and occasional Fridays and Saturdays – the pub website gives full details of the bands booked to appear.
Both bar meals and restaurant meals are available, check out the chalkboard in the pub for what the daily specials are. Wherever possible the food is locally sourced Welsh produce and can include home-made Steak & Kidney Pie with handmade chips or home-cooked ham or locally-made sausages. Food is served 12-2 and 6-9 every day apart from Mondays and Sunday nights and the pub does not smell of fish as a certain Cardiff pub on Cathedral Road does.
Local cider is also available from Gwynt Y Ddraig, an award-winning cidermaker based just a few miles away in Llantwit Fardre. At the moment two ciders are available on draught from Gwynt, their Farmhouse Scrumpy and Hazy Daze.
Fagins Ale & Chop House has won awards over the years; the most recent was the Mid-Glamorgan Branch of CAMRA Pub of the Year 2008. The motto of Fagins is “Real Ale, Real Food, Real Fire, Real People” and who can argue with that for a great pub. This pub is well worth stopping in, either for a quick pint or two or for a meal.

Fagins Ale & Chop House
8 Cardiff Road
Taffs Well
CF15 7QD
029 20 811800

Google Map:

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Journey Planner:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Cardiff Publican grows beard for charity!

Award-winning Cardiff publican Chris Rowlands of the Goat Major is growing a beard for charity and will be dying it blonde in March as he dresses as a Viking for a month. All for a Motor Neurone disease charity and to support the beard liberation front, sponsorship forms will be available behind the bar from next week during the week-long beer festival run by the pub.The beard has been growing since July so we all look forward to a long and happy growth for Chris!
According to Chris, "What started as a drunken lark has now resulted in a long term project that I'm committed to, who knows I may dye it grey for Christmas!"
If enough money is raised next year, the beard may come off, though Keith Flett of the Beard Liberation Front may have something to say about that idea!

Was playing with the headline "No Goatee for Chris" but thought it would be too obscure for my readership!

Goat does beer festival

Cardiff's best ale & pie house, the Goat Major will be holding a week long beer festival from the first of October. All the beers will be served via handpump from the cellar, with the exception of Brains SA which is served from temperature-controlled gravity stillage. 
Beer list, all subject to availability etc:
Bramley Bitter
Splendid Tackle
White Boar
Highgate IPA
Lone Wolf
Betty Stoggs
Doom Bar 
Naylor's Autumn
Pirate's Gold
Old Hooky
Stout Mary
& Black Rat Cider

Gwynt Y Ddraig Orchard gold is available in bottles. 

Have previously covered the award-winning Goat Major here, a pub that does great food without any pretensions and does not smell of fish as certain Cathedral Road 'Gastro' pubs do. 

Bar Naked in Cardiff this Saturday

Artisan Brewery of Cardiff will be holding one of their regular beer festivals this weekend, more details from Simon below:
Hot food. Cold Pints of BARE NAKED BEER. Smoking BBQ. And a brand new brewery backdrop (hopefully up and running!). Bring your mates down to our brewery quarter. Doors Open 12 till 9.

Beer styles on the day:
Octoberfest 5.3%
Bavarian Wheat 5.3%
Chocolate Wheat 5%

 We'll have some tasty organic cider, fine wine and a range of soft drinks for those non-beer drinking folk.

 The sun is forecast to shine 23 degrees, so grab a perch in our courtyard and camp-down for an afternoon.

Entry is still free.

Google Map:

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Friday, 23 September 2011

German Beer Festival in Cardiff

Good to see the City arms in Cardiff getting into the Octoberfest season and doing some German beers. Unlike the world's most overated beer festival in Hitler's favourite city, the Cardiff-based City Arms has beers from over 20 different German breweries on draught and in bottle. Blondes, Kölsh, Weisses, Bocks and even a wheat doppelbock at 8.2% are on, with German music, though no Kraftwerk. Barmaids in durdls as well.

CAMRA, Cardiff, Cheese, Cider and beer

The fantastic surroundings of Cardiff Castle will be playing host to the Great British Cheese Festival this weekend and the Campaign for Real Ale will once again be running the Cardiff Arms Bar, situated in the shadow of the Norman Keep.

This will be the fourth year the festival has been held in Cardiff and once again more beer and cider has been ordered than before to slake the thirsts of those attending.

Beer List:
(All subject to availability etc)

Brains Dark
Brains SA
Brains SA Gold
Box Steam Funnel Blower
Butcombe Bitter
Fullers Chiswick
Holdens XB
Oakham Bishops Farewell
Oakham Citra
Otley O1
Otley Oxymoron
RCH Steam Harvest
Rhymney Dark
Rhymney Export
Rudgate Ruby Mild
St Austell Tribute
Saltaire Blackberry Cascade
Sambrooks Pale
Sambrooks Wandle
Skinners Ginger Tosser
Thornbridge Sequoia
Timothy Taylors Landlord
Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf
Tring Brookmans
Vale of Glamorgan Cwrw Dewi
Vale of Glamorgan Grog y Vog
Vale of Glamorgan Light Headed
Vale of Glamorgan Rourke's Draught
Zero Degrees Mango
Zero Degrees Pilsner

Cider & Perry List:

Blaengawney Blindfold
Blaengawney National Treasure
Border Orchard
Crossman Sweet 6%
Gillow Kingstone Black
Gwatkin Norman 7.5%
Gwatkin Perry 6.0%
Gwatkin Foxwhelp 7.5%
Gwatkin Squeal Pig 4.5%
Gwatkin Silly Ewe 4.5%
Gwatkin No Bull 4.5%
Gwynt Y Ddraig Golden Cider
Gwynt Y Ddraig Black Dragon
Gwynt Y Ddraig Fiery Fox
Gwynt Y Ddraig Two Trees Perry
Gwynt Y Ddraig Malvern Hills Perry
Heck's Medium 6%
Orchard's Medium 6.6%
Orchard's Perry
Palmer's Bingo Bongo 6.5%
Palmer's St Celia 6.0%
Rich's Legbender 6%
Rosie's Triple D Wasp 7.2%
Rosie's Triple D Ram 7.2%
Ross-on-Wye Perry 6%
Ross-on-Wye Cider 6.5%
Seidr O Sir Maer Edwy 6.8%
Severnside Perry
Severnside Dry Cider
Swallowfield Redstreak Cider 5.6%
Swallowfield Turner's Perry 5.5%
Troggi Perry

Festival is open 1000-1700 Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th
More details on their website here 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Cask Sale Nights in Cardiff

Having a look on the excellent Brains website I came across this special offer currently running in a few Cardiff pubs:
All casks ales just £1.99 from 5pm
This offer is valid at the following pubs on the following nights;

Admiral Napier, Cardiff: Monday & Tuesday
Birchgrove, Cardiff: Monday & Tuesday
Hollybush, Cardiff: Monday
Pontygwindy, Caerphilly: Monday

A good chance to down the excellent Brains Legends beer at a very good price.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Thursday, 15 September 2011

CAMRA celebrates 44 Welsh breweries in Good Beer Guide

It's that time of year when the CAMRA Good Beer Guide is published:

Good Beer Guide 2012 launched by CAMRA – Britain’s best 4,500 pubs
-Wales now boasts 44 breweries
-3 breweries opened over past 12 months
-66 new Good Beer Guide pub entries in Wales
-CAMRA local branches announce Ancient Briton, Pen-y-Cae as best pub in South and Mid Wales

The 39th edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide has today been launched (Thursday September 15th) with the news that the real ale scene in Wales is thriving.
While nationally there are now 840 breweries operational, with 99 starting life over the past 12 months, in Wales there are now 44 breweries, with 3 coming on stream during the same period. These new breweries are Cerddin, Maesteg (Mid Glamorgan), Brecon, Brecon (Powys) and Kite, Gorslas (Carmathenshire).
Today’s research from Britain’s best selling beer and pub guide comes at a time when the number of drinkers around the nation having tried real ale has risen by 40% in just 5 years*.

66 new CAMRA Good Beer Guide pub entries from Wales
As CAMRA’s flagship title, the Guide features over 4,500 urban and rural pubs, giving details of the real ales, food, opening hours, beer gardens, accommodation, transport links, disabled access and family facilities.
The Guide is completely independent, and there is no charge for entry. The Guide is compiled by CAMRA’s 130,000 members, who exhaustively update and revise the Guide each year.
Only pubs serving the best real ale are considered for entry, and this year, 66 new pub entries from Wales have made it into the 39th edition.

According to Ian Hill, CAMRA Wales Director,With so many fantastic community pubs in Wales, it is becoming harder every year for CAMRA branches to select their choice of local pubs to feature in the Guide. Only pubs serving a consistently high standard of real ale are considered for inclusion, and it’s been a busy year for CAMRA members surveying their locals. In CAMRA’s 40th year, we hope readers find the Guide as useful as ever in tracking down the perfect pint of real ale.’

CAMRA Regional Pub of the Year 2011
To coincide with the launch of the 39th edition of the Guide, CAMRA has today also announced its 16 Regional Pubs of the Year. These pubs have been hailed by CAMRA’s membership as the very best real ale pubs in the country, and will now go forward in the competition, with the overall National winner to be announced in February 2012.

Wales Regional Pub of the Year 2011-
Ancient Briton
Brecon Road, Pen-y-Cae, SA9 1YY,
A summary of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide description for the Ancient Briton reads-
‘Excellent country inn within the Fforest Fawr Geopark, close to Dan-yr-Ogof Caves and Henrhyd Waterfall, frequently used by walkers, cavers and cyclists. Thirteen handpumps regularly dispense up to six real ales and two real ciders, and an annual beer festival is held in September. Winner of local CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year on three occasions and runner up for South and Mid Wales in 2010.’
Meanwhile, in the Merseyside , Cheshire and North Wales region, another Welsh pub, the Bridge End Inn, Ruabon, Wrexham (LL14 6DA) was crowned winner and will now, like the Ancient Briton go forward in the competition.

Over 5000 beers produced in UK

The 2012 CAMRA Good Beer Guide is launched later today and research from it shows:

-Just under 5,500 beers are now in regular production across Britain
-Boom time for British brewing means drinking ‘a beer a day’ would take just under 15 years!
-Yorkshire brewers top the charts with over 600 beers regularly produced in region

CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2012 – out today (September 15th) – has released staggering new findings showing there are just fewer than 5,500 beers now in regular production across Britain. Such a marked growth comes at a time when 99 new breweries have opened in the past 12 months, taking the national total to 840.
Based on the findings of Britain’s best selling beer and pub guide, its editor, Roger Protz, has proposed that if a real ale fan were to drink every beer now regularly produced in Britain at a rate of one a day (to stay within responsible drinking guidelines), it would take him/her just short of 15 years to try them all! This does not even take into consideration the few thousand extra seasonal and one off brews that British brewers churn out during the course of a calendar year.
Roger Protz, CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide editor, said:
"The choice and diversity of beer in Britain is literally staggering, and in reality, if one hardy soul was to attempt the challenge of sampling every beer produced in Britain, including seasonal offerings, you’re going to be looking at an estimated 25 year stretch!
‘Such a range is exactly what discerning beer drinkers expect in the current climate, and in spite of economic difficulties and pub closures, Britain’s pioneering brewers are more than rising to the challenge. Never will anyone alive today have seen 5,500 regular beers produced on these shores at any one time."
Premier League of brewing- Yorkshire brewers go ‘hopping mad’
To show this huge growth in the number of beers now regularly produced around Britain, CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide has produced a league table of the most prolific brewing counties.
While Yorkshire as a whole sweeps away all competition with over 600 regular beers brewed in total, West Yorkshire comes up trumps as a single area with a whopping 276 beers permanently produced by the county’s 43 brewers.

Roger continued, "Areas such as Yorkshire are recording startling brewery growth, with over 6 times more brewers in the region than when the first Good Beer Guide was compiled in the 1970’s. Not only are there an exploding number of breweries operating in Britain, but also the quality of real ale has never been better. Speciality brewers are using the finest raw materials - malt and hops –to make their ales. Britain is a great place to be drinking good beer."


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What's Occuring in Barry?

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The West End Club in Barry will be hosting a beer festival this weekend, for those of you not in Abergavenny
Beers available:
Purple Moose, Madog
Heart of Wales, Welsh Black
Tudor, Sugar Loaf
Brycellyn, Buddy Marvellous
Otley, 07
Otley, 08
Otley, Oxymoron
Rhymney, Export
Waen, Festival Gold
Jacobi ( Not sure which one yet)
Swansea, 3 cliffs Gold
Pwlldu, 4X
Rotters, Ground for Divorce
Kingstone, 1503
Monty's Desert Rat

8 Welsh Ciders

Friday Night "Strickly Acoustic"
Saturday Night "Andy Johnson and guests"
and "Desert Divas Belly Dancing troop"
Free entry to Beer Festival
Saint Nicholas Road, Barry, South Glamorgan CF62 6QY

Traveline Information:

Monday, 12 September 2011

Abergavenny Food Festival CAMRA Bar - beerlist

 Above: Abergavenny Rugby Club

We will be having the first of Buster's new brews from the brand new Brecon Brewing Co as well as a rare cask of Triple S Milk Stout from Untapped Brewery. Looking forward to trying those as well as the Oxymoron from Otley Brewery, a Black IPA which has become my favourite beer of the year so far.
Beer and cider list below, all subject to availability/delivery/ etc:

Brecon Gold    4.20%  Golden Ale      Deep golden al brewed with Progress & Sovereign hops
Brecon Genesis            4.30%  Best Bitter       The first brew – a chestnut-coloured best bitter

Celt Experience           Dark    4.00%  Mild    A new brew for this year
Celt Experience           Native Storm   4.40%  Best Bitter       A robust mid-brown ale full of spicy and biscuit flavours
Celt Experience           Red Stag         3.60%  Bitter   An amber coloured ale with a floral aroma and fruity flavours
Celt Experience           Autumn Valley Flower            4.40%  Best Bitter       A light-brown beer, brewed with Boadicia and First Gold hops

Hereford         Light Ale         4.00%  Golden Ale      A crisp, light refreshing beer
Hereford         Celtic Gold     4.50%  Golden Ale      A crisp golden beer with a well-rounded malt/hop bitterness.
Hereford         Mutts Nuts      5.00%  Old Ale           A dark, strong ale, full bodied with a hint of chocolate in the aftertaste
Hereford   Gamekeepers   4.2% Bitter A rich chestnut-coloured ale with fruit notes and a hint of coffee

Kingstone        Classic 4.50%              A well-balanced hoppy, dry ale.
Kingstone        Gold    3.80%  Golden Ale      A rich, golden-coloured hoppy ale.

Neath  Eazy Peazy      3.70%  Golden Ale      Very pale, easy, quaffable ale with inviting amarillo hop aroma
Neath  Witch Hunter  4.20%  Best Bitter       Ruby ale with fruity hop aroma and flavour and a smooth malt presence.
Neath  Platinum          5.50%  Lager   Extensively lagered before release, this rare cask lager has smooth grassy/earthy hop notes from the single variety NZ hallertauer variety. 

Otley   O1       4.00%  Golden Ale      A straw-coloured hoppy ale
Otley   Croeso 4.20%  Golden Ale      A light coloured ale bursting with hop aromas
Otley   O-Garden        5.00%  Speciality        O-Garden contains coriander, cloves and orange peel. This pale amber, cloudy wheat beer has a rich aroma of coriander with a slight aroma of citrus. The coriander flavour continues into the taste and is a matched by a sharp bitterness caused by the hops used to brew this award-winning beer. This results in a pleasant dryness in the mouth and the aftertaste is of hops and coriander.
Otley   Oxymoron       5.50%  Black IPA      Dehusked chocolate malt from Germany is used to brew this beer - the de-husking takes away the sometimes too harsh bitterness normally associated when using chocolate malt. A rich dark chocolate melting in your mouth flavour with a lasting aftertaste: rich chocolate and hop flavours linger pleasantly on the palette for a good few moments afterwards. A truly stunning beer rand a dangerously drinkable dark ale.

Rhymney Hobby Horse   3.80%  Bitter   Hobby Horse is a mid to light-brown coloured beer and has a slight biscuity aroma due to the Marris Otter malt used. Other malts used are Crystal and Caramalt. Hops are also present in the nose with Styrian and Fuggles varities providing the bitterness as well. Hobby Horse has a bitter-sweet taste followed by the distinctive biscuit flavour of the malt and some lasting bitterness and astringency in the aftertaste. A lot of flavour for a low-strength beer.
Rhymney  Dark    4.00%  Mild    A dark coloured beer with a deep reddish hue and pours with a beige head. A complex aroma of sweet and roast malts and blackberries leads to a bittersweet chocolate flavour and a slightly astringent finish with some vanilla overtones. A good mild beer, not too strong and easy to drink. Champion Beer of Wales 2011
Rhymney  Kings   4.70%  Best Bitter       Mid-Brown beer with a rich flavour
Rhymney  Export 5.00%  Strong Ale       Mid-brown in colour with a fruity, malty nose with subtle hop aromas from the cascade hops used. The beer is made from a blend of  six different types of malt, including Pearl Optic Barley, Crystal and Chocolate which contribute to the colour and fruity flavour of this beer.

Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf       4.20%  Golden Ale      The taste is of rich fruit with some sultana notes followed by a bittersweet taste, which leads to a  smooth, warming aftertaste, with the cascade and target hops adding to final bitterness. At 5%, Rhymney Export is hardly a session beer but it is a good strong, multi-award winning beer packed with plenty of  flavour.
Tomos Watkin Premier            4.30%  Bitter   A new brew to celebrate Swansea City's football success
Tomos Watkin OSB    4.50%  Best Bitter       A rich red premium cask ale with a fruity aroma and distinctive bitter flavour.

Untapped  Triple S            4.90%  Milk Stout       Triple S or Simply Superb Stout is a beer with an intense black colour and pours with a rich, off-white foamy head. This beer is brewed with lactose, beers containing this were called Milk Stouts until 1946 when the name was banned by the Government. Triple S has rich aroma of roast malt and caramelised sugars together with a subtle hop aroma. The flavour is quite sweet, the lactose does not ferment out and provides some sweetness to this beer. There is some dryness in the finish, together with very slight astringency. 

Wye Valley   HPA    4.00%  Golden Ale      One of the greatest beers in the world. A pale ale with a citrus hop aroma, just the right amount of bitterness and a dry finish.
Wye Valley  Butty Bach      4.50%  Best Bitter       A copper-yellow, malty and fruity ale.
Wye Valley  Golden            4.20%  Golden Ale      A golden-yellow ale with citurs aromas and an aromatic flavour
Gwatkin          4.5% Silly Ewe                     Dry     
Gwatkin         4.5% Squeal Pig                   Medium Perry
Gwatkin        4.5%  No Bull                       Medium          
Gwatkin         4.5%  Game Cock                 Sweet 
Gwynt Black Dragon                         
Gwynt Malvern Hills Perry                            
Gwynt Two Trees Perry                                 
Gwynt Fiery Fox                                
Gwynt         one other, not known at moment                     

Friday 16th September 1700-2300
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th September 1100-2300
The Clubhouse
Bailey Park
Free entry to the Rugby Club and Beer Festival!


Friday, 9 September 2011

Treherbert, the home of Welsh Vodka?

Well this story from the BBC has certainly put Treherbert on the map. Someone who invented paper from sheep shit has blown his house up attempting to distil alcohol.
 Packed full of inaccurate reporting from the start, the hapless BBC reporter and Police spokesperson both seem a little confused as to what caused the explosion and the legalities involved.
NB - if the inventor was making vodka he was more than likely to be distilling alcohol, rather than just brewing it.
Brewing is relatively safe - the danger arises when you concentrate the alcohol by distillation - which is illegal, even if it is for personal consumption. The law is more concerned with avoidance of alcohol duty than the safety of distilling. And there is the problem which the BBC have overlooked - why was someone distilling alcohol in their home? Was it anything to do with the high rates of duty we have in the United Kingdom? Governments forcing up prices will not stop people from drinking, it will however drive them to underground methods such as using stills to get their fix. Something that the taxpayer-funded fake charity Alcohol Concern and their boss Dong Shaker fail to see in their calls to Government for more tax on alcohol.
Daily Mail have the story here  and the reporter is intelligent enough to know the difference between distilling and brewing.
Leg-iron also has his take on the story
The inventor should have stuck to making paper from sheep shit. Let's hope he wasn't making his vodka from the same stuff!

Moose celebrates 200 years of causeway

Some news from Purple Moose Brewery:
September 2011 marks the bi-centenary of 'Y Cob/The Cob', the mile long causeway which links Porthmadog with the opposite peninsula, across the Glaslyn estuary. Built by William Maddocks The Cob was officially opened on 17th September 1811.

Purple Moose has brewed a special beer to mark the event and this will be available in several pubs in and around Porthmadog during the course of the 200th anniversary celebrations, as well as further afield.

Cob 200 is a rich amber coloured bitter with hints of orange and caramel. It will be launched at Spooner's Bar, Harbour Station, Ffestiniog Railway at 4pm on Friday 9th September.

On Saturday 10th September there will be an all day event in Tremadog square. The Union Inn will be hosting a mini beer festival, with several Purple Moose beers, including Cob 200.

The celebrations culminate on Saturday 17th September with events in Porthmadog, finishing with a grand firework display on The Cob itself.

For further details of the events visit the event website here.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Fake charity Alcohol Concern passes blame yet again

 Reposted from Down with that sort of thing

Spotted in the tax avoided Grauniad!

The more off-licences a town boasts, the greater the number of under-age drinkers who are likely to end up in hospital as a result of harmful drinking, according to new research.

A study commissioned by the lobby group and taxpayer funded ban the booze wallahs Alcohol Concern suggests that for every two off-licences per 100,000 population, one under-18 year-old was admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning or intoxication between 2006 and 2009.
Ok a biased report by a Taliban ban the booze fake charity funed by the state, run by puritans who want booze banned. Gosh then it has to be all right?...Never mind the harsh penalties that the law will impose on sellers of booze to unage folk which involve large fines and the possibility of jail and removal of their license.
The numbers could be higher, say researchers from the University of the West of England, because the cause of a teenage drinker's hospital admission is not always clear. The research also excludes young people who are admitted as a result of an injury – whether a fight, a fall or a car accident – which is drink-related.

Alcohol Concern argues that off-licences have proliferated too widely and rapidly as people have taken to drinking cheaply at home rather in the pub, where prices are higher and consumption tends to be lower.
So after bashing pubs as evil for years, now its the off trade who are in their evil sights.Don't let this fool you, even if no young folk ever managed to get a sip of the demon drink past their lips till the age of 18, Don Shenker and his joyless bunch will still call for tighter and tighter controls they want a total ban on all drinking.
Teenagers under the age of 18 who can't bluff their way into buying it directly obtain alcohol either from their parents who have it at home or resort to "shoulder tapping" – asking friends, relatives or even strangers to buy it from them at an off-licence.

"It is a sobering thought that the numbers of off-licences in any one area has an impact on under-18s drinking and ending up in hospital," said Don Shenker, chief undpant sniffing executive of fake charity funded by the taxpayer Alcohol Concern. "It is a failing of the current system that so many licences are being granted without due consideration to young people's health."
Lets not forget that hospital figures and the way they are collected changed to ask about alcohol use on admisson a few years back, suddenly the alcohol admission figures soared strange that?
Alcohol-related hospital admissions of under-18s rose by 32% between 2002 and 2007(see above). More than 19,000 children and young people under 18 were admitted to hospital with alcohol-specific conditions in England, excluding London, between 2006 and 2009.

The study finds a relationship between the density of off-licences and under-18 alcohol-related hospital admissions across England excluding London, where there was no statistical link.
So no link in London, yet we are supposed to buy the report by a quasi qango of underpant sniffing puranical anti booze zealots?
"This anomaly is likely to be because young people in London consistently consume less alcohol than the average in England and with a lower frequency," writes Dr Nikki Coghill, senior research fellow at the University of West of England, author of the report. It is suggested this could be a result of the particular ethnic mix.

Her study draws on data for about 73% of England – the 214 out of 293 areas where the licensing and health authority boundaries match. But, says Dr Coghill, "this is a figure sufficiently robust to draw strong conclusions." It assumes a consistent average of young people per 100,000 population across England and is not adjusted for areas where there may be fewer or more.

The average off-licence density in England is almost 63 per 100,000 population, which drops to a low of nearly 27 in the Malvern Hills and reaches a high of more than 135 in Salford. In the two years between 2006-7 and 2008-9, Malvern Hills had 82 alcohol-specific admissions among under-18s, while Salford had 117. The average for England was 79.

"In general, as the density of off-licences in an area increases, so do alcohol specific [hospital] admissions," says the study.
What here comes the ban it bit, you know with these fuckers there is always a ban. Make up some dubious stats and then call for a ban.
Cue the ban call from Don Shenker is calling for local authorities to have more powers to block off-licences from setting up. "Local licensing committees are currently operating with one arm tied behind their backs. Current licensing legislation does not give licensing committees enough power to restrict the high density of licensed premises," he said. "A new health objective should be included in the Licensing Act to enable local authorities to refuse new licences in order to reduce alcohol-related harm and protect young people.
The next step will be to make booze illegal, go on Shenker say it, we all know its what you want.
"We also need more research to understand the relationship between off-licence density and alcohol harms, and better collection of alcohol harm data to feed into licensing decision-making."

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK and special advisor on alcohol to the Royal College of Physicians, said: "This research further underlines the need for a comprehensive alcohol strategy from the government, which tackles the affordability, promotion and the availability of alcohol."
That would be the same Sir Ian Gilmore who like Shenker thinks anyone who disagrees with him is wrong and needs him to advise, nanny and run their lives.

High time the forehead of doom Cameron slashed Alcohol Concerns funding and sent them their P45's.

Gren Bière

Came across a bottle of this the other day in the Winchester in Merthyr Tydfil.
Gren Bière, 4.5% ABV/330ml bottle

Brewed by the current Champion Beer of Wales brewers, Rhymney Brewery of Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Gren Bière is named after the famous South Wales Echo cartoonist Gren Jones who died in 2007. The bottle label features a typical valley scene and, of course, Nev the Sheep in his sunglasses.

Gren Bière is pale straw-coloured beer with citrus hints of pineapple and other fruits in the nose, caused by the New Zealand Pacifica and Green Bullet hops used to brew this beer. There are some biscuity sweet flavours from the pale malt in the taste, followed by a slighty dry, crisp and astringent aftertaste. A very refreshing beer that would go well with a wide-range of foods.

Whilst on the subject of New Zealand hops - I tried the Brains Legends beer for the first time last night, brewed with Motueka and Pacifica hops and I really enjoyed it in the Cottage in Cardiff. Brains have been brewing some interesting beers recently, from the Strong Ale to the excellent British Summer, dry hopped with Styrian Goldings. Good to see the biggest real ale brewery in Wales experimenting a bit and brewery interesting beers.

Pub closures and the smoking ban

There's a great piece over at Velvet Glove Iron Fist as the puritans get together to swap notes on how to denormalise drinking now that smokers have been banned from pubs.

According to Linda Bauld, the smoking ban had "no clear adverse impact on the hospitality industry". And above, using pub closure figures from the British Beer and Pub Association, we can see what "no clear adverse impact" looks like.

Also a good bit about the smoking ban and the rate of heart attacks in Britain.

On a related note, chef Anthony Worrall Thompson has launched an e-petition to call on the Government to reform the smoking ban. If you want to save the pub get over there and sign it now!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Coach, Bridgend

The Coach, 37 Cowbridge Road, Bridgend, CF31 3DH

The Coach is a two-storey mid-to-late nineteenth century building situated on one of the main roads on the outskirts of Bridgend, only a short walk from the town centre. The building is faced with locally-quarried stone but is built out of brick and features colourful hanging baskets on the façade at this time of year. The Coach has an unique two-sided sign featuring the front and back of a Neath & Cardiff 'Brown Bomber' coach which used to travel past the pub. The pub was originally called the 'Coach & Horses' but the latter part of the name was dropped a number of years ago.

A central doorway leads to an open-plan wooden bar with three gleaming chrome handpumps, two of which are reserved for real ales from independent breweries and the third for cider from Wales' award-winning makers Gwynt-Y-Ddraig, with another cider or perry being served straight from the barrel. The full bottled range of Gwynt ciders are also available. Both above and behind the bar are pumpclips from some of dozens of brews this pub has served over the years since it was purchased in 2010 by two enterprising local customers. Beers from Breconshire, Skinners, Dark Star, Monty's and Vale of Glamorgan Breweries have all been served here, the Coach is a genuine freehouse with firm commitment to quality real ales. There is also a bottled beer range featuring brews such as Tomos Watkin Magic Lagyr as well as Goose Island IPA from the United States and other beers from Mexico and Estonia. A foreign draught 'guest' lager is also on tap, recent lagers have been Staropramen and Budweiser Budvar, both from the Czech Republic.

Despite being open-plan, the Coach manages to retain different areas; to the right of the bar is a pleasant lounge area with a stone fireplace, settles, tables and even a guitar and piano for music nights. The left-hand side features a dartboard, more seating and some contemporary art on the walls. To the rear of the Coach there is an outside section with a small patio area with tables and chairs.
A sell-out beer festival was held in the pub earlier this year and there are plans to hold another one in the future. Regular theme nights are held such as Jamaican or Cuban nights along with a quiz night on Tuesdays and this once neglected pub, purchased at auction by two relatively young locals has once again become the focus for the community.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

CAMRA return to Abergavenny Food Festival!

After a break of a few years, Gwent CAMRA will be returning to the Abergavenny Food Festival next week with a real ale and cider bar in the rugby club in Bailey Park, a short stroll from the main activities in the Market Hall and Brewery Yard.
Above:Abergavenny RFC Clubhouse
This will be the fourth venue Gwent CAMRA have run a beer festival during Abergavenny Food Festival - the Castle, the King's Arms and the back of the Market Hall have all been used in previous years so this will be our first venture with Abergavenny RFC and hopefully we have now found a permanent home for the beerex!

The Abergavenny Food Festival Beer & Cider Bar will be featuring a range of beers and ciders from local breweries such as Otley, Kingstone, Hereford, Wye Valley and Neath; a full list will be posted when all the beers are confirmed. Ciders and perries will be from Gwynt Y Ddraig and Gwatkin. In total we hope to have around 30 different real ales and 8 different ciders and perries.

Friday 16th September 1700-2300
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th September 1100-2300
The Clubhouse
Bailey Park
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Friday, 2 September 2011

Beers at Tintern on Saturday?

Above: Kingstone Brewery. Yes its in a shed. Uncle Wilco will like that

Stuck for something to do this Saturday? Well head out to the Kingstone Brewery in Tintern, Monmouthshire, where they will be having a beer festival together with their wood-fired pizzas. Situated just to the North of Tintern, Meadow Farm is also a farm shop selling local produce and is worth a visit at other times as well.
As they put it themselves

"There will be our diverse range of real ales for available for sampling and enjoying through the day, as well as other refreshments and delicious homemade food.
An enjoyable outing for all the family."

Open Saturday 1130-late
Meadow Farm  
NP16 7NX 

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Beer Festival at the Borough in Neath

Situated only a short walk from Neath town centre, the Borough Arms will be holding a beer festival this weekend (Saturday & Sunday 3rd-4th September. Naturally beers from local brewery Neath Ales will be there, with the 4.2% Firebrick and the 5.5% Platinum cask lager on sale as well as beers from Cerddin Brewery (Maesteg), Otley and Newmans, in total there will be 14 beers on sale at the festival.

Borough Arms
2 New Henry Street
SA11 1PH

The Borough Arms is less than 10 minutes walk away from the train & bus stations, though can be a difficult to find on a first visit.
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