Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Second Rodney Parade Beer Festival Friday & Saturday

After the sell-out success of the first Rodney Parade Beer Festival last year, run by Friends of Newport Rugby, the two-day beer festival is set to return to the home of Newport Rugby this Friday 3rd Aug 3-11pm  & Saturday 4th Aug 12-11pm.

Friday - music in the evening will be provided by local band ‘Skin Flint.’ Free entry.

On Saturday 4th August Newport RFC and The Dragons are also hosting a ‘Fun Day’ with lots of entertainment for the kids. In the afternoon The Dragons will play a Premiership Select XV made up of players from Newport RFC, Cross Keys RFC and Bedwas RFC. Entry on this day for all attractions, the beer festival and the game is only £3. Live musical entertainment after the game will be provided by ‘Got it Covered’.

Beer List:

Sharps Doom Bar (4%)
Worthington Summer Shield (4%)
Worthington Cask (3.6%)
Castle Rock Harvest Pale (3.6%)

Cross Bay Sunset (4.2%)
Clarks Classic Blond (3.9%)
Thwaites Nutty Black (3.3%)
Hook Norton Old Hooky (4.6%)
Thornbridge Jaipur (5.9%)

Skinners Cornish Knocker (4.5%)
Hook Norton Cotswold Lion (4%)
Titanic Anchor (4.1%)
Admans Broadside (4.7%)
Thwaites Lancaster Bomber ( 4.4%)
Otley O1 (4%)

Otley O4 Colombo (4%)
Otley Croeso (4.2%)
Otley O3 Boss (4.4%)
Otley O5 Gold (5%)
Tiny Rebel FUBAR (4.4%)
Tiny Rebel The Full Nelson (4.8%)
Tiny Rebel Urban IPA (5.5%)
Apples & Pears:
Westons Country Perry (4.5%)
Thatchers Heritage Cider (4.9%)
Westons Traditional Scrumpy (6%)
Westons Old Rosie Cider (7.3%)

Rodney Parade is situated a short walk over the river from the City Centre
Photos taken at the 2011 event.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Red Cow launches a Hop Rocket!

The award-winning Red Cow in Llwydcoed, situated on the outskirts of Aberdare and home to the Grey Trees Brewery will be launching their Diggers Gold beer through a hop rocket this Thursday, 2nd August. A hop rocket is an ingenious device which clamps to the bar and allows beer to be forced through a cyclinder of hops - the first hop rocket in Wales was recently shown at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival where Tiny Rebel Brewery of Newport used it on their already hop-packed beers.
The first 'Hop-rocket night' at the Red Cow will fetaure American Cascade hops being featured in the hop rocket and Diggers Gold beer receiving the treatment. One for the tickers there I'm sure!

Red Cow, 6 Merthyr Road, Llwydcoed, Aberdare, CF44 0YE,

Friday, 27 July 2012

Brains Triumphant with new craft brew

Beer writer Tim Hampson has created his ‘ultimate IPA’ in Brains'craft brewery, and the result is Triumphant IPA.

The 5.4% ABV ale is a modern take on a traditional English IPA. Combining Endeavour with Sovereign hops, Triumphant has a fresh, citrus character with tangerine and lime notes.

Tim, who lives in Oxford, was inspired by Morse’s creator Colin Dexter, who once told him that IPA was his favourite beer style. Morse’s first name was Endeavour, and Brains' Head Brewer was able to source the new Endeavour hops for Tim to include in his recipe.

Bill Dobson, Head Brewer at Brains, said: "The craft brewery has given us the opportunity to bring in guest brewers – which we have never before been able to do. It’s great to be able to draw on their knowledge and creativity to come up with a one-off beer."

Triumphant is part of an India Pale Ale series, which sees beer writers and bloggers develop and brew their ‘ultimate’ IPA. Guest brewers include Simon Martin, Martyn Cornell, Melissa Cole, Marverine Cole, and Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham. The IPAs will be independently judged at the end of the year and the winning beer will become part of Brains’ beer festival programme.

Triumphant IPA will be available in 30 Brains outlets from June 27th. For a full list of stockists here.

Tiny Rebel Billabong Summer Ale

A lunchtime visit to the Pen & Wig in Newport where I found this brew from Newport's very own Tiny Rebel Brewery.
Australian hops are used in this pale 4.6% beer.
Aroma: Citrus fruits, a lot of them! Plus pineapple and mango. A medly of fruits from the Pacific in a pint.
Taste: Sweet mango flavours lead to an increasing bitterness.
Aftertaste: A rich lingering bitter aftertaste.
Verdict: Want more! With cheese!

Beer Festival in Caerphilly

A bit of advance notice here for this event which is on Friday 17th & Saturday 18th August at Caerphilly Rugby Club
The Festival will feature a range of real ales from local breweries and also a competition for the best Welsh Pale Ale, a new category of beer based on the historical beer style of the mid-nineteenth century. profits from the Festival will be shared between Macmillan Cancer and the Association of Welsh Independent Brewers, AWIB.

Easy to find, the club is situated off Pontygwindy Road, to the North of the town centre and castle and near the Green Lady pub. Plenty of buses go up that way.
Virginia Park

Virginia Close
CF83 3JA

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Otley in top 50 of British Food and Drink

Otley beer makes official top 50 British food and drink list

O-Garden, a clear wheat beer spiced with roasted orange peel, coriander and cloves, crafted by the Otley Brewing Company in Pontypridd, has been named among the best-tasting food and drink products in Britain.
Named Champion Beer of Wales at the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival in 2010, the 4.8% beer was chosen from 123 entries awarded a coveted three-star gold from 8,807 products judged in the 2012 Great Taste scheme run by the Guild of Fine Food.
Ranging from beers to brownies, saffron to smoked rack of bacon and mincemeat to marmalade, many reflect the return to more traditional foods but given a modern twist.
Judges this year included Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge, Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and over 300 food buyers from leading food halls, delicatessens and farm shops including Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
According to Guild of Fine Food chairman, Bob Farrand, each of these food and drink products was rigorously scrutinised. He said: “To achieve a 3-star grading involves at least 25 experts unanimously agreeing that the product tastes divine.

“But to be included in the Top 50 Foods in Britain meant each one had to satisfy the discerning palates of a further 25 dedicated foodies. These products all deliver the most extraordinary taste.”

Nick Otley, managing director of the Otley Brewing Company, said: “To reach the top 50 Great Taste List is brilliant news and a real testament to the quality of our beers.

“O-Garden has always been a firm favourite in our portfolio since it was first brewed in 2009. Since then it’s received critical acclaim from top beer judges such as Melissa Cole who described it as exciting, refreshing and complex.

“We have only been brewing since 2005 and the company has grown so much since then. It’s an exciting time for the craft beer industry right now and many people are seeking out new flavours and fusions. We’re always thinking of new ways with beer by cooking with it and matching beers to different foods.
“To be part of Great Taste is a fantastic industry stamp of recognition and we’re pleased to have been ranked alongside some other top Welsh and UK food and drink products.”
Above: Nick Otley inspects his bottled beers

Great Taste is the biggest independent benchmarking scheme for local, regional and speciality foods in Britain. Over 350 professional foodies are brought together each year to take part in 45 days of judging, deciding which foods deserve one-star, two-star or the ultimate three-star awards.
The scheme has become known for launching little-known artisan producers into the big time of the fine food world, while occasionally discovering the odd mainstream surprise. Speciality foods in this year’s Top 50 also include a North African Berber cake made in Gloucestershire, a pear juice from a college in Warwickshire, a sourdough miches from Cumbria, a corned pork from Northern Ireland and a Lithuanian Scalded Rye Bread from Essex.

The annual programme culminates with the ‘Golden Fork’ Awards in London in September and the naming of the Great Taste Supreme Champion, a title won last year by a corned beef from traditional Northern Ireland butcher, McCartney’s of Moira which has been nominated again in 2012.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Gwatkin Cider Music Festival!

Award-winning cider and perry producer Denis Gwatkin will be holding his 'Down on the Farm' music festival this Saturday, starting from midday and lasting until midnight.
More details on the Facebook site here
The full range of Gwatkin ciders and perries will be available as well as a barbecue and real ales.

Bands on include:
Crowsaw, Lyny Wood Cole and Denis' and his sidekick Fluff''s very own band Abysmal.

Tickets £5 available from the Gwatkin Farm Shop

Camping available on request to book call 01981 550258
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South Wales pub news roundup


The recent auction of pubs at the Celtic Manor saw quite a few lots failing to reach their reserve. Pre-auction details here.
 Pubs still for sale with Sidney Phillips include:
Gwyn Arms, Alltwen £95,000,
White Hart, Bedwas £175,000,
Buck Inn, Abersychan £85,000,
Four Bells, St Athen £225,000,
Hendre, Trowbridge £155,000,
Imperial Hotel, Plasmarl £165,000,
New Inn, Mardy £150,000,
New Inn, Mountain Ash £95,000,
Aberdare Hotel, Mountain Ash £80,000,
Clydach Vale WMC, Tonypandy £85,000,
Golden Lion, Aberkenfig £185,000,
Kavanaghs, Llanelli £125,000
Tredegar Arms, Dowlais £165,000
More details via Sidney Phillips

Shirenewton pub sold

The Tan House in Shirenewton, Monmouthshire has been sold after owners Pubfolio went into adminstration. More details from the South Wales Argus here.

Caerleon set to lose its Angel

Planning permission has been granted for the Angel in Caerleon to be converted into a Sainsbury's. Another great decision by Newport Council! More details from the South Wales Argus here. 1700 signatures and 128 letters of objection were ignored by the council.
The councilors who voted for the this development were Ron Jones, Paul Hannon, Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, Christine Jenkins, Malcolm Linton, Jane Mudd and Richard White, all Labour apart from the last one who is Tory, whatever that means nowadays? Wonder how mnay Nectar points have been awarded for this decision?

Newport pub reopens

The Ivy Bush in Clarence Place, Newport has reopened after a refurbishment.

Machen pub closes

The Ffrwm Ishta pub in Machen has closed after the landlord running it packed it in after only a few months. No surprise it is an Enterprise Inns pub and planning permission was applied for earlier this year to convert it into a school. More details in the South Wales Argus.

Dylan Thomas' bar reopens

Brown's Hotel in Laugharne has finally reopened after being closed for years and after having an extensive refurbishment. Not too sure if they are selling “Warm, Wet, Welsh, Bitter, Beer” but a Greene King IPA pumpclip was spotted when the Welsh media covered the launch! The sound of the famous bard turning in his grave was edited out from the coverage!

Barry to lose its Castle

The CAMRA National Inventory-listed Castle Hotel in Barry is set to close later this year with a likely conversion into flats on the cards. The large former hotel was built in 1898 and most of the building has lain unused in recent years, although the local council insist on full business rates payable on the whole of the building, not just the parts which are used today. Have previously covered the pub here.

Historic Aberdare pub reopens

The New Market Tavern in Aberdare, which dates back to 1853, has reopened after 2 years of closure and a £73,000 refurbishment, £50,000 being made available via the Aberdare Townscape Enhancement Programme run by Rhondda Cynon Taff Council. The landmark pub, built the same time as the adjacent market hall has hopefully not been as 'improved' as the interior of the market hall was when the council refurbished it some years back.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Rhymney Brewery expands into Cardiff

Above: The future Andrew Buchan pub on Albany Road

The award-winning Rhymney Brewery of Blaenavon have announced plans of their expansion into Cardiff with a former video shop on Albany Road being converted into the Andrew Buchan public house, named after the founder of the original brewery. The new pub will bring to the number of Rhymney pubs to 4 with the others being in Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare and Pontypridd.
The building, on the corner with Arabella Street, has stood empty for 5 years and the previous attempts by the brewery to open the pub were thwarted by Cardiff Council who prefer to see derelict buildings than thriving community pubs.

The application for the alcohol license states that the bar’s “target audience is the over 50s, no alcopops, no pool table, just good beer and good conversation, basically recreating a good old fashioned ‘local’”.

Can't fault that a bit and I bet it the pub won't smell of fish either!
So expect to see the full range of Rhymney's award-winning beers on a bar in Cardiff sometime soon.

Andrew Buchan pub, 29 Albany Road, Roath, Cardiff
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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Ciderhouse opens at Gwatkin Cider!

Award-winning cidermaker Denis Gwatkin of Herefordshire has decided to celebrate 20 years of commercial cidermaking at his farm by opening a ciderhouse, one of only a handful in the country. The bar, has built at the rear of the farm shop that also sells local meats and cheeses as well as his full range of ciders and perries.
The ciderhouse was officially opened by Denis' father, Ivor Gwatkin who cut the ribbon to open the ciderhouse.

According to Denis, whose accolades include International Cider of the Year and countless CAMRA awards, "We wanted to do something special to celebrate our 20 years of making cider and winning awards so opening up the ciderhouse in an old barn was a natural step for us".

The ciderhouse is available for functions and private hire and will of course be open for the forthcoming music and cider festival on the 28th July at the farm.

Above: Ivor Gwatkin enjoying the ciderhouse
Above: The farm shop with the ciderhouse to the rear

Denis Gwatkin in his new ciderhouse

The full range of both draught and bottled cider are available at the farm 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Pretentious Arts Centre to hold Cider Festival

Chapter Arts Centre, the pretentious and over-priced Arts Centre with the uncomfortable chairs is holding a Cider Festival this weekend, only its described as a 'Palooza' by the bunch of Guardian-reading tofu-munchers who actually run this place.
Full details on their site here

Fri 13 July: 5pm-12.30am
Sat 14 July: 1pm-12am

A selection of the following will be available from the Festival Bar throughout the weekend.

Gwynt Y Ddraig
Black Dragon
Fiery Fox
Two Trees Perry
Farmhouse Scrumpy

Blind Granny  
National Treasure
Hallets Draught
Limited Edition

Gethin’s Cider 

Williams Bros  
Black Island

Palmer’s Upland Cyder 
Rubber Chicken
Cheeky Jackdaw

Sweet Perry
Medium Perry
Dry Perry

IPA and curry pie

Thursday lunchtime saw myself and some Brains staff meet up with beer writer Martyn Cornell who had brewed his Colonel Williams IPA on their new Craft Brewery. The beer is named after a Colonel Williams who commanded the Welch Regiment in the 1830s, Martyn has the whole story on his blog here. What better pub to launch the new beer in than the historic Goat Major? Named after the Regimental Mascot.
This was Martyn's first chance to try his beer and the chef was asked to come up with something that matched an Indian Pale Ale, well the team at the Goat came up trumps with a curried lamb pie. Finely diced marinated pieces of lamb in a rich gravy with shallots and spinach. matched well with the 6% hoppy IPA. The curry was not too hot, although my suggesting of serving it with the traditional South Wales accompaniment of 'half 'n' half' drew a blank look from Martyn, who was not aware of the popularity of rice and chips in Welsh curry shops!
As for the beer, after the pie we tried it both with and without a sparkler, it made quite a difference without, the aftertaste lasted longer, was not sure which version I preferred so had another one to make sure just in case! A very enjoyable afternoon in one of Cardiff's best pubs that also does excellent food.
The pub does not smell of fish either!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Blast from the past

My old uni mate Tony has finally started beer blogging at the Alternative Tipple and the other day on Facebook he finally digitised this cut-out from the (Hammersmith?) Gazette  from 1991. Taken outside the Sloany Pony at their winter ales festival.
The jumper was a Christmas present if I remember!

Colonel Williams East India Pale Ale

Above: Brains Head Brewer Bill Dobson and Martyn Cornell

Award-winning beer writer and historian Martyn Cornell turned craft brewer for a day after Welsh brewer Brains invited him to produce his very own ‘ultimate’ IPA.

While Brains handed Martyn an IPA brief, he was free to come up with his own interpretation. He first looked for a link between India Pale Ale and Wales, taking inspiration from the 41st Welch (their preferred spelling of Welsh) Regiment of Foot and their commanding officer Lt Colonel Sir Edmund Keynton Williams, who came from Bedwellty. Stationed in Madras, India, the Colonel and his officers would have been drinking Indian Pale Ale – or we’d like to imagine they were.

Martyn Cornell explains: “I’ve no evidence for saying that Colonel Williams and his officers drank India Pale Ale while they were in Madras, but it would be far more surprising to discover that they didn’t drink it.
Martyn has already blogged about his brewing adventure here.

“It would be fun, I decided, to try to imagine for the 21st century the kind of beer the officers and men of the regiment might have been given if, when they were back in South Wales, they had gone along to their local brewer and said: ‘We drank this great beer out in India – can you reproduce it for us?’”
A ‘Welch’ reproduction of a classic IPA, Colonel Williams is a light amber ale brewed with pale malts and Goldings hops. But like the original high gravity IPAs – which had to last months on the way out East – Colonel Williams is 6% ABV.
Bill Dobson, Head Brewer at Brains, said: “The craft brewery has given us the opportunity to bring in guest brewers – which we have never before been able to do. It’s great to be able to draw on their knowledge and creativity to come up with a one-off beer.”
Colonel Williams is part of an Indian Pale Ale series, which sees beer writers and bloggers develop and brew their ‘ultimate’ IPA. The first in the series, Barry Island IPA from Simon Martin, went on sale last month, and beers from Tim Hampson, Melissa Cole, Marverine Cole, and Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham will follow. The IPAs will be independently judged at the end of the year and the winning beer will become part of Brains’ beer festival programme.

The limited edition beer will be available in 30 Brains outlets from July 11th. A full list of stockists is available here.
Tasting Notes
Colonel Williams 6.0% ABV
Created by beer historian Martyn Cornell, this is the sort of IPA that Colonel Williams and his regiment might have drunk when they were stationed in India in the early 1840s. This light amber ale is brewed with Maris Otter malt and Goldings hops for a dry, bitter and refreshing pint.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pub is the Hub hosts workshop in the Vale of Glamorgan

Pub is The Hub appeals to rural pubs

Pub is The Hub, the independent not-for-profit advisory service for rural pubs is appealing to Vale of Glamorgan landlords in rural areas to attend a pub diversification workshop they are running next Wednesday on 18th July at the Three Golden Cups, Southerndown near Bridgend. At the same time they are offering the pubs the opportunity to apply for improvement funding of up to £40,000 in support.

Working in partnership with Creative Rural Communities, the Vale of Glamorgan’s Rural Regeneration initiative, Pub is The Hub wants to encourage rural pub operators to diversify and offer new services for the benefit of their community. Projects could include initiatives such as post offices, shops, libraries, internet services, cash machines, allotments, cinemas and community play areas.
Part of a national co-operation project for Wales the initiative is funded through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which, in turn, is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Pub is The Hub and Creative Rural Communities will support the administration, funding applications and national advisory service provided for each pub project.

Initiated through Pub is The Hub across eight counties in Wales with support provided by The Prince's Countryside Fund, the project aims to engage with over 90 pubs, with financial support for around 60 that choose to diversify into new services for their communities across eight rural counties; Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire. The funding is available until the end of 2013 and Pub is The Hub and Cadwyn Clwyd will be working with the Local Action Groups (LAGs) in each area to draw down the capital project funding for schemes approved in their areas.

Speaking at a launch event earlier this year in Betws y Coed in North Wales Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes announced a £1.3m package of support for local services in rural pubs in Wales through a joint co-operation initiative between Pub is The Hub and Cadwyn Clwyd (the Regional Development Agency for Denbighshire and Flintshire). He said: “I know how successful the Pub is The Hub initiative has been in bringing many important social, economic and environmental benefits to rural communities.
“Pubs, like many small rural businesses can struggle to trade profitably through providing only the pub functions. The training, advice and guidance being offered to pubs and communities through this project will, I am sure, inspire actions to create new income streams to help sustain pubs for the future. These pubs in turn will benefit their local communities by providing essential basic services.”

John Longden, Chief Executive of Pub is The Hub commented: “The closure of a business in a rural community adversely impacts on the viability of many other businesses leading to a domino-like effect on the collapse of further local services and amenities. Often a rural pub is now the only socially significant business still running in many rural communities. Pub is The Hub is not directly about saving pubs but about supporting them and encouraging them to diversify and support local services in this rapidly changing world.”

Anyone interested in undertaking such a scheme should get in touch with the Mari-Wyn Elias-Jones, Senior Rural Regeneration Officer for the Vale of Glamorgan by calling 01446 704637 or emailing enquiries@pubisthehub.org.uk

Brains get crafty with their beers

Brains New Craft Brewery

Wales' largest real ale brewer SA Brain celebrate 130 years of brewing this year and have recently installed a smaller 'craft' brewery in the Victorian tower that houses their main plant. The minimum brew length of the old plant, installed in the Bass/Hancocks days some 40 years ago is 108 barrels, this new plant has a maximum brew length of 15 barrels and so a range of one-off specials can be brewed on this pilot plant, which, if they prove popular, can be brewed on the larger plant.

There was much discussion on Facebook when this new 'Craft' Brewery was revealed, with lots of guesses as to where this new bit of kit was going to fit in in the old Victorian Tower brewery, built in 1889. Only the building is original though, over the years the brewing equipment has been replaced and updated, the last major refurbishment occurring after the Bass/Hancocks takeover and the stainless steel coppers were moved outside, although in the last 10 years Brains did put lids on the 1950s open fermenters.

The new Craft Brewery was fitted into a place where a mash tun used to be, in the photo below, taken last year, the place it was fitted into is on the far left of the photograph.
The view today
Yes that is Simon Martin in the photograph!

The new Craft Brewery has a capacity of between 10-15 barrels and can utilise whole hops, as opposed to hop pellets which can only be used on the bigger plant. The new plant will also be used to brew trial brews, popular beers can then be up-scaled on the larger plant.
Above: SA Brain Head Brewer Bill Dobson explains something to Simon who has already brewed his 'Barry Island IPA' on the plant!
Above: The new Craft Brewery plant on the left, a tenth the size of the mash tun on the right

The new mash tun and copper sit side-by-side, with the fermenters on the ground floor below. The malt comes from the silos on the floor above and the copper is heated via steam, as in the main brewery.
Above: The new 15 barrel copper, the circular outline on the floor is the space where the old mash tun fitted, the new mash tun is on the right of it

Above: The new mash tun with a grist feed from the hopper on the floor above

Above: The new fermenters on the floor below

The beers brewed on this new brewery include:
Details of all the Brains Craft Brewery beers can be found on their website here.

Cross Inn celebrates 2 years of brewing with a beer festival!

The Cross Inn at Garth, near Maesteg will, this weekend, be holding a beer festival to celebrate two years of brewing at the pub. The Festival, from Friday-Sunday 13th-15th July 2012 will feature som
Have previously written about the pub here and the pub is home to the Cerddyn Brewery.

On the Bar:
Solar 4%
Cascade 4.8%
Landlady's Gold 4.7%
Cwmdu Stout 4.1% (their first stout)
Wye Valley's Butty Bach 4.5%

At the Festival Table:
Orange Tri 4.5% a dark beer dry hopped with first gold to give an chocolate orange flavour.
Cwrw Tri 4.5% a very popular dark beer with a rich coffee start with a dark chocolate finish.
Dragons Fire 4.6% a red coloured beer originally brewed for the six nations
Landlady's Challenge 4.2% My second brew. A light coloured beer brewed using challenger hops
Wye Valley Flower Power (July's beer of the month)

All from Westons
Raspberry Twist
Old Rosie
1st Vintage
Traditional Scrumpy

Sunday - live music from a local band called 'Rainbow Bridge' starting at 4pm

The pub is a short walk uphill from Garth Station, on the Maesteg line, alternatively there is a bus stop nearby.
Cross Inn, Maesteg Road, Garth, CF34 9LB
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Kiwis, Cardiff

Kiwis, 55 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1FE

Open all day

Kiwis moved late last year from their original site at the Mill Lane end of the Grade II Listed Wyndham Arcade to the former Taurus Steak House building at the St Mary Street end of the arcade, which was built in 1887. The building that today houses Kiwis was “The Cardiff Soldiers' Restaurant” in the early twentieth century and has had a variety of names since then. There has been a building on this site since at least 1610 as one is marked on the John Speed map of that time, in the nineteenth century ironmongers operated on the site, followed by a fruit seller. Today the attractive frontage is painted in brown for the wood and cream for the walls – a modern update to the black and white of Brewers' Tudor. The street-facing gable roof is also an unusual feature for a building to have in St Mary Street.

The original Kiwis dates back to 1986 and was converted from a wine bar in the Victorian Arcade and at one time it did have a reputation for serving unusual German and Australian beers, but in later years it was somewhat forgotten apart from the late-night drinking crowd. However, this new building has undergone an internal rebuild to create a light, airy and welcome addition to the Cardiff pub scene. Opened in November 2011, the Kiwi logo is proudly displayed on the pub windows. The glass-fronted pub doors lead into the well-lit bar. The upper front floor of the building has been removed, allowing the Western light to flood in from two levels, a big change from the rather dark arcade-based former premises. The glass-fronted side of the pub that opens onto the arcade also gives the pub a traditional feel to the place.

There is a bar on the right-hand side of the room, the South Island Bar, another one at the rear of the building and another one upstairs on the first floor, the North Island Bar. The latter two are only used during busier periods and the upstairs bar is surprisingly spacious given that part of the floor has been taken out to create extra light in the downstairs bar.

Three real ales are served, Hancocks HB now a rare site on the bars of Cardiff and brewed for Coors by Brains at their nearby brewery, Sharps Doombar from Cornwall and a handpump for guest beers with a recent one being from Wickwar Brewery of Gloucestershire. In keeping with the Antipodean theme, Steinlager from New Zealand is also served as well as a selection of New World wines. The only food served are pub snacks with pies, pasties and toasted sandwiches together with Real Crisps.

The pub is decorated throughout with New Zealand memorabilia including a large map of the islands and photos of the rugby team, a reflection of the heritage of the owner of Kiwis.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Vale of Glamorgan Brewery do Marathon for Olympics

The Vale of Glamorgan Brewery of Barry have announced their seasonal offering for the Olympic Games, Marathon Man, described as a "Tawny best bitter with a kick of gooseberries and blackcurrant from a medley of late hops". This 4.4% ABV best bitter will be available in both cask and bottled form, the latter in a limited edition of only 1000.

If the weather is getting you down?

Tiny Rebel Pen & Wig it!

Tiny Rebel secure bar space at Newport pub

The best real ale pub in Newport, the Pen & Wig on Stow Hill, now features a handpump permanently devoted to real ale from the City's up and coming brewery, Tiny Rebel.

Although as the photo above shows a few more than one of their popular beers may appear on the bar from time to time! The Tiny Rebel beer will join regular beers such as Bass and Kite Gorslas as well as guest ales from around the UK on the bar at this City-Centre pub.

According to Richard Jackson, landlord of the Pen & Wig, “The beers from Tiny Rebel Brewery have proved popular with our customers when we've had them as guests and during our beer festival so having their beers permanently on the bar is a good way for us to support our local brewery”.

This is the first permanent outlet for Tiny Rebel Brewery in their home City and expect to see Fubar, Urban IPA, Hank and their other beers featuring on the bar soon.

The Pen & Wig also serves a range of ciders and perries, served straight from the fridge, with Gwynt Y Ddraig Black Dragon and Two Trees Perry on alongside Palmers Upland Cider at the moment.


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