Friday, 29 June 2012

Going O out for Otley at the Bunch

Award-winning Otley Brewery are featuring a weekend of their beers at their pub, the Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd.
Above: Nick Otley at a previous Otley Festival in the Bunch

A showcase of the award winning Otley Brewing Company with a wide selection of Beers, all on handpull

What’s On -
Friday 29th June
Night: Live New Orleans style music from ‘The Occasional Brass Ensemble’

Saturday 30th June
Day: BBQ
Night: Rock and Blues Guitar Duo ‘Rustie Nutz’

Sunday 1st July
Soak up the rest of the beers with our epic Sunday Lunch

O1 – 4.0%
Our Flagship Golden Ale

CroesO 4.2%
Light, hoppy and delicate with big aromas. This is the Bunch’s house Ale and is hugely drinkable, as our regulars will attest to!

Thai-bO – 4.6%
Infused with lemongrass, lime leaf galangal and lime zest.  Fabulous with food, equally refreshing on its own!

O4 Columbo – 4.0%
In your face hop refreshment. Gold Medal in the Golden Ale category at the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival 2011

O-Garden – 4.7%
Clear wheat beer flavoured with roasted Orange peel, coriander and cloves

Oxymoron – 5.5%
Our Black IPA, brewed to look dark and taste light. Dry hopped with five different varieties – the result is both complex and satisfying.

O7 Weissen – 5.0%
Usually found in the Bunch in kegged form, for this weekend we have it Cask Conditioned. A lighter wheat beer with banana aromas and lemony aftertaste.

O3 Boss – 4.4%
A traditional, chestnut red coloured bitter with American hops for flavour and aroma

O5 Gold – 5.0%
American hops and lager malt. Quaffable refreshment.

Stonegate – 4.0%

O6 Porter – 6.6%
An old style porter with a deep and full flavour.  Truly satisfying with smooth mouth feel

Not So – 5.5%
A modern take on the ‘Old Ale’ style. U.S., New Zealand and British hops unite!

O–Roger – 5.4%
A classic Burton Ale brewed with Roger Protz in the summer of 2011, with a slightly higher level of hops! Will you ever see this Beer again?

Saison Obscura – 5.5%
A continental dark Saison.  Flavoured with Grains of Paradise, Curacoa and orange peel.

O-Ho-Ho [vintage cask] – 5.0%
Our Christmas ale, blueberry infused.  Bitter with a delicate rose hue.

O-Mai – 4.3%
Our seasonal beer for May, pale and summery with fresh raspberries added late to the brew

O-Rosie 4.3%
Single hopped and infused with rosemary

Blacksmiths Beer Festival

The Blacksmiths Arms in Llanmaes, near Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan will be holding their annual beer festival this weekend as part of the Llanmaes Festival.

Real ales, cider, BBQ, Bouncy castle, Ice cream van, Stalls, Face painting, Village fair.

Beers available:
Summer Lightning,  Old Thumper, Black sheep, Navvy,  Trelawny,Farmers blond, Ball relief, Bellringer, Taiphoon, Butcombe bitter, Doombar, Ram Tam, Silver Stallion, Summer Daze
 Gwynt Y Ddraig-Two trees perry, Happy daze,Farmhouse scrumpy,. Cornish orchard pear, Broadoak Moonshine More ciders available in bottles

Have previously covered the pub here.
Blacksmiths Arms, Llanmaes, Vale of Glamorgan, CF61 2XR
Follow on Twitter for updates

Thursday, 28 June 2012

July Pub Auction

Another pub auction coming up at the Celtic Manor on Tuesday 10th July. In the last auction earlier this year most of the pubs were sold before the auction so it will be interesting to see what happens at this one.
Full details are on the Sidney Phillips website. NB Information below may be out-of-date in the run up to the auction so check their site not this one! Last update 09.07.12
Auction catalogues can be downloaded from the Sidney Phillips site here (pdf)

Buck, Abersychan, Pontypool, Torfaen, GP £85,000
Main, bar, games room and a trade garden, this pub seems to have everything going for it. On a main road as well. There is a lot of local competition from nearby pubs though.

Golden Lion, Aberkenfig, Bridgend, GP £185,000
Public bar, lounge, function room, trade patio for the smoking solution, 7-bed accommodation, another pub that seems to have everything going for it.

Pant Cad Ifor, Pant, Merthyr Tydfil, GP £195,000
Bar area and restaurant, car park, outside area for smokers. Another gem of this sale, don't be put off by the Merthyr address, this pub has had a reputation for good food and beer in the past. In fact its in an almost rural location with the remains of Morlais castle nearby.

White Hart, Bedwas, Caerphilly, GP £175,000
Punch Taverns
Open plan but with trade gardens, this is an attractive looking stone-built pub. The pub was forced to close earlier this year by a court order because of disorder at the premises which included underage drinkers using the beer garden and noise. Or 'a popular community local' as its often described as.

Railway Tavern, Tonna, Neath, GP £125,000
Substantial pub with open-plan bar with car park and large garden.

Four Bells, St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan GP £225,000
Two bars and a lounge/restaurant, car parking and large gardens. One of only two pubs in the village, this place has potential, although with the downsizing of RAF St Athan there may be an effect on trade. Still there is potential there.

New Inn, Mardy, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, GP £150,000
Two bars, roadside location, car park, outdoor drinking/smoking area. Another pub with a lot of potential – its situated on the outskirts of Abergavenny and there are plans to build another 300 houses nearby. Seem to remember it has been opening on restricted hours for the last few years – its been closed the last few times I've been past it anyway.

Aberdare Hotel, Mountain Ash, GP £80,000
Third time in in a year this pub has been to auction. Guide price for this pub was £170,000 in the August '11 auction and £110,000 in the March '12 one. Bar/lounge and function room as well as an outside area. Net sales of what where claimed to be £200kpa have been knocked down to £160kpa. An attractive frontage to the pub, though the pub was described to me by one visitor as being 'rough as fuck'.

Dylans, Cwmavon, Port Talbot, GP £110,000
Lounge bar/restaurant, function room, family room, trade garden. Seems to have everything going from it, apart from the fact it looks like it was built as a WWII bunker.

New Inn, Mountain Ash, GP £95,000
Currently closed. Open-plan bar, kitchen, trade garden. Former Whitbread pub. Mountain Ash could really do with a decent pub.

Dunraven, Bryncethin, Ogmore Vale, GP £125,000
Public bar, games room, function room, lounge/restaurant, car park and gardens. Another pub that seems to have everything going for it.

Tredegar Arms Hotel, High Street, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, GP £165,000
Situated on the main road, the Tredegar Arms features a bar and restaurant as well as  8 en-suite letting rooms and a car park. Always found the place to be a quiet in recent years.

Gwyn Arms, Alltwen, Pontardawe, GP £95,000
Former Rhymney/Whitbread Brewery pub, the pub features a three-section open-plan bar area and a beer patio and garden.

Clydach Vale Workingmens Club, Tonypandy, GP £85,000
0.56 of an acre, the club is currently closed so it looks like a development opportunity here.

Hendre, Trowbridge, Cardiff, GP £235,000
SA Brain
Built around 1971 and looking like it, this estate pub features a lounge, public bars, skittle alley and is being advertised as with 'development potential'.

Imperial Hotel, Plasmarl, Swansea, GP £165,000
Public bar, lounge bar and function room, being advertised with 'development potential'. Looks like there is no smoking solution apart from the street.

Kavanaghs, Llanelli, GP £165,000
GP £160,000 in March '12 auction, was withdrawn from the sale, but it looks as if that fell through and its up for auction again – with an increase in the guide price. 'Circuit bar and live music Sounds like a delightful venue!

Marine Hotel, Barry Island, GP £255,000
SA Brain
Once part of a much larger hotel, this 0.35 of an acre site is being advertised as having 'development potential'.

Sold Prior to Auction:

Star Inn, Wick, Vale of Glamorgan, GP £225,000 UPDATE 09.07.12 Sold prior to auction
Lounge, public bar, trade garden and car parking. An ex-Welsh brewers house, the pub has seen better days but could reopen under new ownership. One of the this pubs in this auction with a lot of potential.

Bank, Station Street, Port Talbot, GP £125,000 SOLD PRIOR TO AUCTION 03.07.12

Town centre circuit pub, open-plan bar areas, extensive accommodation. Currently closed. Only smoking area appears to be the street. Looks like a residential conversation to flats may be on the cards here
Maesycwmmer Inn, Hengoed, GP £125,000 UPDATE 09.07.12 Sold prior to auction
Large, two-bar roadside pub with car park and outdoor areas. Being sold as 'prominently located...suit development'

Dunraven Arms Hotel, Bridgend GP £295,000
Very large Victorian hotel near the train station. Interesting to see who has bought this and what will happen to it?

Fox & Hounds, Blackmill, Bridgend GP £175,000

Cilfynydd Inn, Cilfynydd, Pontypridd GP £95,000
GP £145,000 in August '11,  £130,000 in March '12

Away from the auction circuit I notice that Le Pub in Newport is up for sale. One of the few live music venues left in the City after the closure of TJ's, Le Pub has suffered due to it being an upstairs bar with no smoking access apart from the street.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Tiny Rebel Doc Brown

The blogger who does not do video reviews....does a video review!
Is it a mild?
Tiny Rebel Doc Brown

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tiny Rebel take on London!

Hot on the heels of their success at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival the other week, the Tiny Rebel Brewery of Newport will be featuring their beers at the Rake in Borough market this Sunday (24th June)

On Cask:
The Full Nelson

On Keg:
Dirty Stop Out – But not as you know it

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

New website for Brains Craft Brewery

Wales' largest real ale brewer, SA Brain, have launched a new website to promote their new Craft Brewery.
Following the launch of the beers All at Sea and Barry Island IPA, the website also reveals that forthcoming brews on the plant will be brewed in collaboration with beer writers Martyn Cornell, Tim Hampson and Maverine Cole and will all be takes on the IPA theme.

The website also reveals the Brains pubs where these limited edition brews will be available:

The Albany, Roath, Cardiff

Birchgrove Hotel, Cardiff

Butchers Arms, Canton, Cardiff

City Arms, Cardiff

Duke of Wellington, Cardiff

Fox and Hounds, Whitchurch, Cardiff

Goat Major, Cardiff

Halfway, Pontcanna, Cardiff

Heath Hotel, Cardiff

Kings Arms, Pentyrch, Cardiff

Maltsters, Llandaf, Cardiff

Ty Mawr, Lisvane, Cardiff

The Plough, Whitchurch, Cardiff

Windsor, Barry

Jolly Sailor, Porthcawl

Kings Head, Llantwit Major

Red Lion, Bonvilston

Wenvoe, Vale of Glamorgan

Hanbury Ale House, Caerleon

Vivian, Sketty, Swansea

Crown Inn, Tenby

Waterman’s Arms, Pembroke

Penhelig Arms Hotel, Aberdyfi

Scholars, Aberystwyth,

Bowl Inn, Bristol

Old Station, Hallatrow, Bristol

Boathouse, Bath

Ty-Risha, Bridgend

Rose and Crown, Nottage

Bell Inn, Glangrwyney, Nr Crickhowell

Coach & Horses, Chepstow

Monday, 18 June 2012

Waen Blackberry Stout review with Mrs Real Ale Guide

Simon Martin's other half, Mrs Real Ale Guide joined me for a tasting of the Waen Brewery Blackberry Stout at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival the other week.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

You Tube Beer Reviewer Brews with Brains

Above: Simon Martin with Brains head Brewer Bill Dobson

Beer enthusiast Simon Martin, known to many as You Tube beer reviewer ‘Real Ale Guide’, has created a beer with Wales’ best loved brewer.
Simon, more used to reviewing beers, turned brewer after Brains invited the Barry resident to brew a collaboration beer in their new craft brewery. After deciding on an American style IPA, and having chosen malts and American hops Summit, Zeus and Cascade, Simon clocked in at 6am one morning to start brewing with head brewer Bill Dobson.
The result is Barry Island IPA, a pale coloured ale bursting with citrus aromas. It was unveiled at the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival in Cardiff on Saturday 9th June and sold out before the day was over. It will now be sold for a limited time only in 30 Brains pubs from June 18th.
Over the past three years Simon has become Europe’s largest craft beer reviewer on YouTube, having reviewed hundreds of beers from all over the world.  He added: “I’m a huge Brains fan and was honoured to have been asked. It was a fantastic day and one I’ll never forget. My grandfather, who has been drinking Brains for 62 years, can’t wait to sample it at our local, the Tynewydd in Barry.”
Barry Island IPA will be on at the Tynewydd Inn Barry, 5pm on the 19th June, and Simon will take customers through a taste tour of his beer.
Barry Island IPA was only the third beer to have been brewed in the new 10 – 15 barrel craft brewery, which launched last month. The new 10-15 barrel craft brewery runs alongside the existing plant but means Brains – famous for the award winning SA Gold and the legendary Dark – can now also brew a diverse range of craft, cask, keg and bottled beers.
Head brewer Bill Dobson explains: “The beer market is always changing and there’s a growing interest in more diverse beers and different beer styles. Brewing on a much smaller scale means we can respond to demand by experimenting with limited editions and one-offs.”
To see Simon’s reviews, visit You Tube. You can also find Simon on Facebook (Real Ale Guide) and Twitter @RealAleToday

Created by Simon Martin, aka Mr Real Ale Guide, this India Pale Ale was inspired by the ‘IPA revolution’ across the pond. The boy from Barry has used a trio of hops from the US in this pale coloured ale, which is bursting with citrus aromas. A unique smooth malt taste upfront is finished off by a vigorous bitterness and a ‘tidy’ clout of citrus and berry hop flavours.

Photo : Jonas Photography

Friday, 15 June 2012

Plough & Harrow Charity Beer Festival

As if anyone needs an excuse to visit one of the best pubs in the Vale of Glamorgan then why not head down to the Plough & Harrow in Monknash for their beer festival?

£5 entrance, all in aid of Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society (COMBAT STRESS) via Gerald McCarthy  and his 9 Peaks Kilamanjaro Challenge. Starts at 1800 tonight (Friday) and continues throughout the weekend until Sunday. Live music, good food, beer & cider, all in a marquee in the grounds of the pub.

Beer list
St Austell's Tribute
Skinners Cornish Knocker & Keel over
Crouch Vale Galena & Amerillo (Possibly Golden Duck if we can get hold of any)
Church End's What the fox hat
RCH Pitchfork & Firebox
Brewster's Decadence
Titanic's Lifeboat
Purple Moose Dark sde of the moose & Snowdonia
Celt Experience Silures
Otley O5 & Thaibo
Untapped Sundown
Wickwar Long John Silver
Neath Ales Firebrick
Brecon Twilight Beacons

There are also regulars Bass, HPA, HB, etc.

There will be another possible dozen ales to add to this list once confirmed.

Ciders i.e.
Black Dragon
Happy Daze
Farmhouse Sweet and Dry
Two Trees Perry and the new stronger Pyder
Trying to get hold of some Cornish Rattler and Black rat
Plus some others, again to be confirmed.

More details on their Facebook event site here
Have previously blogged about the pub here so the Google Map and Traveline Bus information is on there.

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2012 - Storify

Trying to embed Storify - its not looking too good on the preview but I'll give it a go anyway. Alternatively have a look at the link here

Grape vs Grain at the Bunch of Grapes

GRAPE VS GRAIN: The two greats go head to head at an award-winning Welsh pub

Tuesday, June 19 at 7pm at the Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
Flagship pub of the Otley Brewing Company, the Bunch of Grapes, in Pontypridd, is inviting people from across south Wales to an evening of fine dining with a twist. This evening will allow diners to judge which tipple tastes best with fine food- real ale or wine.

Diners will be served both ale and wine alongside each of the five courses and will be asked to judge which compliments each dish best. This evening has not been designed for real ale or wine experts but is an evening for everyone to learn more about the wonderful worlds of finely brewed ale and quality wine.

Each course will be carefully prepared by critically acclaimed head chef of the Bunch of Grapes, Sebastien Vanoni where he will use locally sourced produce to produce some of the Bunch of Grapes’ most memorable, signature dishes. MD of the pub and of the Otley Brewing Company, Nick Otley, will head up the real ale team with bar manager Gareth Hutt and they will go head to head with wine connoisseur Max Lloyd of Bibendum Wines and Manager of the Bunch of Grapes, Nina Richards.
With over 27 million* Britons being classed as wine drinkers compared with only 7.8 million** real ale drinkers, the Otley Brewing Company is campaigning to change this by highlighting the diversity of real ale and how it is just as satisfying as a cold glass of high quality white wine.
Nick Otley, said: “It’s a known fact that a good wine can make a great dish taste even better but we want to get people thinking about the wonders of real ale too and how its flavours can really enhance certain dishes.
“We’ve used the ale we brew in meals at the Bunch for quite some time now and our customers can’t get enough of our Otley beer ice cream, O6 porter reduction and Oxymoron jus. If they enjoy the ale so much in their meals then we can guarantee that they will enjoy them as accompaniments too.
“It’s also great having Max on board, he’s so passionate about quality wine which means he’s a great match for Gareth and I when we take centre stage in convincing diners which drink works best with each course. We’re sure that the evening will be a memorable one and I’m sure that both teams will work as hard as possible to ensure their tipple reigns supreme.”
The ultimate battle between ale and wine will begin at 7pm on Tuesday, June 19 at the Bunch of Grapes. The evening costs just £40 per head (or £140 for four) which includes the five course meal, ales and wines. Places are limited so it is advised that those wanting to attend book their places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Please book your place by contacting the Bunch of Grapes on 01443 402934.
Five course meal to include:

On arrival
Live Colchester oyster

1st course
Nightingale bush nettle soup
Peppered crème fraiche
Sourdough bread

2nd course
Seared Carpaccio of welsh beef fillet,
Pickled girolle mushroom, watercress
3rd course
Filo papillotte of Anglesey farmed seabass, ginger, chilli and coriander
Wild and red Camargue rice

4th course
Confit leg of free-range Wye valley chicken
Pea, broad beans and Swiss chard
Mustard jus

5th course
British Raspberry crème brûlée
Lavender shortbread

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Otley and Brains join forces to run rural pub

King’s Arms given new lease of life

View Larger Map
A pub on the outskirts of Cardiff at Pentyrch, the King’s Arms, is celebrating its official opening this weekend (15-17 June) by hosting a beer festival with live bands, entertainment and a bbq.
Owned by Brains and run by the Otley Brewing Company, the Grade II listed building has undergone an extensive renovation including an exterior facelift and refurbishment of the bar and restaurant area.

Many of the original features have been retained including a mid-nineteenth century bar, flagstone flooring, oak beams and fireplace in the snug bar area.

The pub will serve a range of premium bottled and draught beers including an award-winning range of Brains and Otley ales. The pub’s menu has been designed to celebrate the best of Welsh produce with dishes including sautéed Welsh mussels mariniére style, home-made bread, slow braised lamb shank in Otley ale, laverbread and lemon with Jersey royal potatoes and Welsh gold home-made ice cream.
Throughout the weekend, visitors can dine from a special barbeque will serve a range of meats prepared by head chef, Ken Bell, as well as a salad bar and vegetable dishes.

Nick Otley: “The King’s Arms is a traditional Welsh longhouse pub and the renovation work we’ve carried out celebrates its history as it retains many of its original features while breathing a new lease of life into the building. The pub dates back to the 1700s and we are pleased to have brought it up to date with a fresh look and feel while still in keeping with its original style.

“We’re fortunate in Wales to have some of the best food and drink producers and we’re looking to celebrate this produce through our menu and the drinks we put behind the bar. Our ethos is centred on sourcing sustainably and locally, much like our sister pub, The Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming people from the village and surrounding area to come and see the new King’s Arms this weekend to enjoy live entertainment and some delicious food and drink.”

Owned by Brains Brewery, the pub was taken over in March 2012 by Nick Otley from family-run, local micro-brewery, the Otley Brewing Company. The brewery, based in Cilfynydd, produces award-winning portfolio and seasonal beers which will be showcased at The King’s Arms.

Twitter: @KingsArmsWales

Kings Arms

Church Road
CF15 9QF

Champion Beers of Wales - full results

Yes this should have gone out last Friday but the Internet went down in the office and I only just checked it did not go online. Needed a few days off after Festival business all last week!

Supreme Champion Beer of Wales

Gold: Heart of Wales High as a Kite
Silver: Heart of Wales Welsh Black Stout
Bronze: Rhymney Hobby Horse

Category Winners:
Mild Category:

Winner: Great Orme Welsh Black
Runner up: Brains Dark

Bitter Category:
Winner: Rhymney Hobby Horse
Runner up: Purple Moose Snowdonia

Best Bitter
Winner: Bryncelyn Oh Boy
Runner up: Purple Moose Glaslyn

Strong Bitter
Winner Rhymney Export
Runner up: Celt Bleddyn

Golden Ale
Winner: Otley Croeso
Runner up: Otley Columbo

Winner Conwy Cwrw Mel
Runner up: Otley O Garden

Winner: Heart of Wales Welsh Black
Runner up: Monty’s Midnight Stout
Old Ale
Winner: Bragdy’r Nant Mwnci Nel
Runner up: Brecon Wandering Beacon

Barley Wine
Winner: Heart of Wales High as a Kite

Monday, 11 June 2012

Brains British Summer

This was one of my favourite beers from last year,only tried it at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival and was glad to see it at the Festival again this year. Have now found it ina Cardiff pub so can enjoy a pint or two in the Cottage ph in St Mary Street.
Colour: Gold, not deep gold or light gold but brilliant gold as in freshly pressed gold leaf on a velum manuscript.
Aroma: hops, its brewed with a Styrian Golding offshoot and there is also a biscuity sweetness to it.
Taste: smooth, sweet with an increasing bitterness towards the finish. Reminiscent of a Czech lager.
An excellent beer from Brains, a pity its not brewed throughout the year!

Pie and Chips

Whenever anyone asks me for a food recommendation for Cardiff, I always suggest the Goat Major by the castle. Its innovative menu of pies is always worth trying, as well as a set menu there is also the chalkboard specials and today I managed to have the last Lamb & Mint pie, don't expect these pies to be pulled straight from a freezer, the 'specials' are just that, individual creations from the chef that may or may not return to the menu. Steak and Blue Cheese was the other option, or for Veggies there was a Roast Vegetable Pie on the board.
The verdict on the Lamb & Mint pie? Excellent, once the the flaky pastry top had been broken, the pie was found to be packed with tender pieces of lamb in a rich, thick very minty gravy. Excellent, as were the chips with it. Oh and the beer I chose with it was Dark Horse Maypole, a golden ale which matched perfectly with the lamb.
Pie and chips, the perfect pub food.
The Goat Major is a previous winner of 'Pie of the Year'.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Tiny Rebel at the Great Welsh

Been a bit busy the last week with the great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival so enjoy this video from Simon Martin which features me drinking the excellent Tiny Rebel beers at the Festival

Monday, 4 June 2012

What I'm looking forward to at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival this year

Part 1, the beers
By Arfur, Festival Organiser

Although only open to the public for three days, the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival is culmination of months of meetings, emails and phone calls as well as our staff being on site days in advance of the Festival opening. When we open its always a hard choice to choose what to have to drink so this is a personal look at what I'm looking forward to drinking at Wales' biggest pub.

The full list of beers is available here

I've already had a sneak preview at Brains Brewery of the two new beers from their Craft Brewery and I'm well impressed with both of them, pale hoppy IPAs which are sure to go down well with our customers. I'm also glad to see the return of British Summer – this was one of the favourite beers for me at the Festival last year and I was disappointed that it sold out so fast in their pubs as I never had the chance to try any after the Festival! Have waited a whole year for this beer to return!

Next up on my list to try will be beers from the Tiny Rebel Brewery of Newport, having only sampled a few of their beers before it will be good to see the full range on and I can't wait to try the Urban IPA served via their Hop Rocket, a dry hop chamber attached to the handpump that infuses even more hop flavour into the beer.

As you might gather from this, I'm someone who does like his hops! I'm not a fan of beers where the brewer believes in the homoeopathic method of brewing by just waving a few cones at the copper! But with all these beers and the various styles to choose from I suppose I'll have to move on from IPAs to a black IPA! Yes the Otley Brewery will be at the Festival again with their stunning beers including the Oxymoron Black IPA – a delicious dark chocolatey hoppy ale.

Okay enough of the IPAs, what about a bitter, light in ABV and yet full-bodied and packed with flavour? The 3.8% Hobby Horse from Rhymney Brewery is one such beer and one I always drink in  one of their pubs.

For something a lot different, one beer I must try is the Chilli Plum Porter from the Waen Brewery, at 6.1% this may be one beer to finish the night on! Another beer which is making a very rare appearance this far South is Mwnci Nell from Conway Brewery, a beer that went down well with the Editor of Croatian Playboy Magazine at the GWBCF a couple of years back!

Every year we choose a region of the UK to source our non-Welsh beers from and this year the beers will be from Yorkshire. One of my favourite breweries will be at the Festival, the Acorn Brewery of Barnsley who, as well as producing one of UK's greatest bitters, Barnsley Bitter, also brew Gorlovka Imperial Stout, a simply stunning stout but at 6.1% another one to try later in the day rather than start off on.

Another stunning Yorkshire beer is Pale Rider from Kelham Island Brewery and we have the old favourite Landlord from Tim Taylor's Brewery as well as a very rare appearance for their Dark Mild.

There are beers there for everyone's taste and if Wales or Yorkshire are not to your liking then why not try our foreign beers from the Czech Republic?

I'll cover the ciders and perries in another post later this week.

Brains Craft Brewery beers to be launched this week

Wales' largest real ale ale brewery, SA Brain, who celebrate their 130th anniversary this year, have just built a smaller 'craft' brewery that can utilise different ingredients than its larger neighbouring brewery. Fresh hop flowers can be used in this new 15 barrel brewery, rather than hop pellets which have to be used in the 1970s plant, originally built by Bass. As certain hop varieties are not available in pelletised form until they can be grown in suitable quantities and there is enough demand for them, this new 'Craft Brewery' is able to brew beers with hops varieties not normally available to larger brewers.
The beers from the Brains Craft Brewery will be launched at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival this week and will be in selected Brains pubs in the coming weeks. These selected pubs will include favourites such as the City Arms, the Goat Major and the Coach & Horses in Chepstow.

Brains Craft Brewery All At Sea 5.2% ABV

All At Sea was the first brew on this new 15 barrel plant and it is a deep golden-coloured IPA or Indian Pale Ale with a fresh blackcurrant and cherry aroma caused by the Bramling Cross hops in this beer. Admiral hops are also used in this beer, together with Pale Ale Malt. There is a smooth, bitter and fruity taste that leads to a dry, slightly astringent aftertaste. A very easy drinking beer, despite the 5.2% ABV.

Barry Island IPA 6%

Brewed by Simon Martin, the real ale reviewer on You Tube, this is a golden IPA with a hefty aroma of citrus flavours, especially grapefruit. Brewed with a trio of American hops – Zeus, Summit and Cascade, an initial smooth flavour leads to the huge citrus flavour of the hops kicking in towards the end, with oranges and a dry finish becoming apparent.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Celebrate Brecknock's Glory

This weekend sees the start of the events leading up to the Royal Welsh Show, where this year, Brecknockshire is the featured county, so Brecon Brewing has proudly produced a beer showcasing the best of Brecknockshire!

Brecknock's Glory is described as a fabulous blend of Brecon Water, malted Marris Otter barley and British-grown Progress and Pioneer hops. A crisp, tawny Best Bitter, with a joyful, refreshing hoppy character – Surely the finest beer in Brecknockshire?

It will be available at the Royal Welsh Advisory Fund’s Lunch at Talgarth on Sunday, hosted by the BBC's Adam Henson, as well as at the Grasslands event at Merthyr Cynog on Friday 8th June.

Brecon Brewing eill be there with their market stand as well, so please come and say hello to Martin and Angus and buy some beer to take home to enjoy!"


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