Thursday 20 June 2024

Now & Then, the Uplands Tavern, Swansea

 

The Uplands Hotel, Swansea has expanded into a neighbouring building since this picture was taken in the 1950s when it was a pub owned by Evan Evans Bevan Vale of Neath Brewery. Now renamed the Uplands Tavern and owned by Greene King Brewery, the Tav, as its known as, has a connection to Dylan Thomas who drank there and in most other Swansea pubs.


Previous owners: Whitbread

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Now & Then, former Dulais Rock ph, Aberdulais


 The former Dulais Rock pub, Aberdulais, pictured in the 1950s when owned by Evan Evans Bevan Vale of Neath Brewery. The building apparently dates back to the 17th Century but closed in 2009, Wales Online has some interior photos from 2019 here

Owners after the Vale of Neath Brewery include Whitbread and Punch Taverns.

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Now & Then, former Farmers Arms, Resolven, Neath

 

The former Farmers Arms, Glynneath Road, Resolven, Neath, marked as a "Beer House" on the 1888 Ordnance Survey Map, as opposed to a fully licensed "Public House". Was owned by Evan Evans Bevan Brewery of Neath who sold out to Whitbread in 1967 as the family preferred to live in the Channel Islands as tax exiles. The pub closed in 2019 and has since been converted to housing and is now called "Farmers Lodge". Also known as the Ynysbipan Arms, there was a campaign by locals to save the pub


Other former Evan Evans Bevan Vale of Neath Brewery pubs in Resolven were:

The New Inn, New Inn Place, now the Nisa shop, closed around 2004

The Gored Hotel/Gored Arms, Melincourt, demolished

The Vaughan Arms, the last pub in the village closed in 2020


Sunday 18 June 2023

Visiting the Brewdogs in Berlin

 

At the time of visiting Berlin, there were 3 Brewdogs in the City: Mitte, Friedrichshain and the Dog Tap. Berlin has a wonderful public transport network with underground and overground trains as well as a well-developed tram and bus network. Day tickets can be purchased at stations or via the app

From Alexanderplatz, the heart of Berlin, take the U8 heading Northwards to Gesundbrunnen or any further northward stops, alight at U Rosenthaler Platz and, if you wish a small diversion on this trip, head eastwards to Mikkeller Berlin although it doesn't open until 1500hrs on weekends and 1700hrs weekdays. Alternatively head out of Rosenthaler Platz and carry on up Brunnenstrasse until the crossroads with Invalidenstrasse becomes visible, we need to turn left here and then second right into Ackerstasse and Brewdog Berlin Mitte is on the right.

Google Streetview from 2009 shows what still appears to be  a cleared bombsite, cannot embed the picture, but it is available clicking here

Today, a modern building stands on the site with Brewdog occupying the ground floor


It was whilst sat here I thought about visiting the other Brewdogs in Berlin, how difficult would it be? Well I knew the Dog Tap was out on a limb down South somewhere so with the help from Google and after a few jars in Mitte I headed outside and waited at Pappelplatz tram stop, in vain for a tram heading West, no luck after a quarter of an hour (they are supposed to run every 10 minutes on this line), so I walked the 7 or so minutes to Berlin Nordbahnhof on the S-Bahn

Here we need a southbound S2 service to Lichtenrade, alighting at Attilastrasse, trains run on average about every 10 ninutes. The journey is about 20 minutes on the S-Bahn. Exit Attlilastrasse to the east, cross the road and head south east on Ringstrasse, the journey walking takes about 20 minutes. Keep heading south-east, over the bridge (canal or river, not sure?). Turn right into the industrial estate for Rewe , you are now on Alt Gaswerk Mariendorf, keep straight on this road until you see the signposts for Dogtap on your right.
The former water tower? Part of the old gassworks where Dogtap Berlin is located

NB there appears to be an alternative footpath on the map that takes you to the front of Dogtap, parallel to the S0Bahn line, due to construction work at the time I could not locate this but it may appear on Google maps later.

Finally, we arrive at this:
Impressive isn't it? I've travelled across Berlin to visit a shed!

Well, not quite a shed, this is an iconic piece of industrial architecture which lay derelict until the American founder of Stone Brewing, Greg Koch decided he could turn this into a brewery and venue, This is all in the film, The Beer Jesus from Amerca,, available to watch on Amazon Prime



Unfortunately for Greg Koch, Stone pulled out of Europe, selling the site to Brewdog. Stone later sold to Sapporo for $165 million.


What you can only understand by visiting this place us the actual size of it, it's more like a beer hall such as the Hofbrauhaus in Munich than a Brewdog pub.




Unfortunately on my visit in September 2022, not everything was working, I was shown to a table and told to use the Brewdog app to order, no problem, Apart from the fact the table I was on didn't have any number on it! So I went to the bar to order and find my table number!


Then there were the delays with the beers I had ordered, I ordered a pizza with beer and the pizza arrived only to be followed by the beer 10 minutes later. I realise on that day Dogtap Berlin was receiving a visit from James Watt so they were busy lubricating their tongues rather than dealing with the needs of customers so I would put those problems down to teething troubles BUT a section of the bar reserved just for customers to be able to be served at when the app is playing up would be a bonus. Would I visit again, yes, but others may be put off by that experience. The venue was starting to fill up by early evening.

Onto the next one!
Come out of Dogtap and turn right, following the car park and exit, turn right again on Alt Gaswerk Mariendorf and follow this road until it joins the main road, Lankwitzer Strasse, there is a bus stop, Greinestr across the road and a short walk right. The 181 leaves here about every 10-15 minutes. Alight at Alt-Mariendorf for the U-bahn station of the same name, as this is a terminus station on the U-bahn every train heads north.
Take the U6 North until Unter den Linden change for the U5 for Kaulsdorf-Nord and alight at U Frankfurter Tor, find the correct exit out of the U-Bahn station and Brewdog Friedrichshain is on the South-East corner of the road junction. Mo photos as it was dark by now and the phone was out of battery and so was the emergency charger!

Friedrichshain is a wonderful suburb of Berlin, full of breweries, rather like Shoreditch in the East End of London, now that's a future blog entry........




Sunday 16 April 2023

A visit to Cantillon Brewery

 
A short walk northwards from the architectural monstrosity that is Brussels South/Midi/Zuid station, ignoring the pickpockets, beggars and other North African flotsam that infest the Anderlecht municipality of Brussels, one arrives at the historic Cantillon Brewery and museum which was undergoing an enlargement of the premise on my visit. Luckily it was open for self-guided tours for €8 per person with a booklet and tasting of 3 of their beers




Above and below: the mash tun



Up a floor to the grist mill


Below: the copper


Upstairs again to the coolship, wide flat-bottomed vessels to allow cooling of the wort


Barrels for primary fermentation











The bar at the end of the tour


Cantillon Iris, brewed entirely with Pale Malt (Lambics usually have a percentage of wheat malt, around 35%), aged for two years in barrels and dry-hopped with both fresh and aged Hallertau hops, then cold-hopped with Saaz

Lambics are not to everyone's taste but I enjoy them, far more sour than the kettle-sours of craft breweries. I could have stayed longer at Cantillon but my Deutsche-Bahn train was waiting to take me across the border into Germany


Saturday 15 April 2023

Best Beers in Wales 2023

 Time for the annual run-down of the best beers in Wales, a month late this year due to visiting Bamberg!

Before I start, at a guess Tiny Rebel and Polly's will be in the lead? Let's see, as recorded by various on-line sites

As in traditional, we begin with Ratebeer

1        Polly's Brew Spectrum QIPA IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                 13.0%        

2        Polly's Brew Fallow Plans IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)            8.2% 

3        Tiny Rebel Imperial Puft Porter - Imperial Flavored             9.0% 

4        Loka Polly Souvenirs IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)                6.8% 

5        Polly's Brew Farrago IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)                6.7% 

6        Polly's Brew DDH Rosa IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                10.0%         

7        Polly's Brew DDH Oh My IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)    17      8.5% 

8        Polly's Brew Finding Dark Magic Stout - Extra / Foreign / Tropical                   7.0%           

9        Polly's Brew Lo-Fi IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)     8.0% 

10      Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Imperial Chocolate Porter - Imperial Flavoured              9.0%           

11      Loka Polly Rosa IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)        62      8.5%  3.76  

12      Polly's Brew DDH Pines IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                10.0%                   

13      Polly's Brew This Never Happened IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                 13.0%                  

14      Polly's Brew Livewire IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)               6.7% 

15      Tiny Rebel / Siren Dark Cherry & Chocolate Barley Wine Barley Wine / Wheat Wine / Rye Wine              11.0%        

16      Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Imperial Praline Porter - Imperial Flavored            9.0% 

17      Polly’s Brew Every Piece Matters IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)               6.7%           

18      Polly's Brew Fickle IPA 6.8%           

19      Loka Polly Double IPA Mosaic Simcoe IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double IPA                  8.2%           

20      Polly's Brew Rock The Bit IPA        6.4% 

21      Polly's Brew Ghost Voices IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)           8.2%           

22      Polly's Brew What Did You Feel IPA IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)           6.8%           

23      Polly's Brew Avery IPA - Black / Brown / Cascadian Dark              7.2%           

24      Polly's Brew B-Side: Rosa IPA - Black / Brown / Cascadian Dark            8.5% 

25      Polly's Brew Double IPA Azacca Mosaic IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                    7.8% 

26      Polly's Brew Mylar IPA           6.3%           

27      Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Imperial Irish Cream Porter - Imperial Flavored              9.0%           

28      Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Imperial Espresso Martini Porter - Imperial Flavored               9.0%           

29      Loka Polly Spur IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)              7.2%           

30      Tiny Rebel Stay Out Porter - Imperial Flavored           18.0%                  

31      Tiny Rebel Dooms Night Stout - Imperial           11.5%                  

32      Polly's Brew Nada IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)              8.0% 

33      Polly's Brew Naive Melody IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)           8.2%           

34      Tiny Rebel Wood Aged Belgian Birthday Cake Belgian Ale - Strong Dark                  11.0%                  

35      Polly's Brew Wave Mix IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                 7.8% 

36      Polly's Brew Discount Jazz Hour IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)           8.0% 

37      Polly's Brew Cahb IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double IPA            8.0% 

38      Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Imperial Salted Caramel Porter - Imperial Flavored                 9.0%           

39      Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Amplified Imperial Porter - Imperial Flavoured               12.8%         

40      Tiny Rebel 10 For 10 Porter - Flavored               10.0%                  

41      Tiny Rebel Double 99 Stout - Imperial Flavored / Pastry      9.9% 

42      Polly's Brew India Pale Ale Simcoe Mosaic IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)                  6.5%           

43      Tiny Rebel / Deya NEIPA IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)                   6.8%           

44      Polly's Brew India Pale Ale El Dorado Deluxe Edition IPA             7.0%           

45      Loka Polly Petal IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)    7.0%           

46      Polly's Brew DDH Spur IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double Hazy (NEIPA)                 10.0%                   

47      Polly's Brew Surface Edition IPA              7.0% 

48      Tiny Rebel Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive and Dulce Stout - Imperial Flavored / Pastry                11.0%                  

49      Polly's Brew An Original Mix IPA - Hazy / New England (NEIPA)             6.4%           

50      Polly's Brew DDH Patternist IIPA DIPA - Imperial / Double IPA               10.0%


Top places to buy or drink beer in Wales according to Ratebeer are:

  1. Tiny Rebel Cardiff (91)
  2. BrewDog Cardiff (87)
  3. City Arms (Brains) (84)
  4. Tiny Rebel Newport (83)
  5. Fire & Ice (81)
  6. Clytha Arms (80)
  7. Stori Beer & Wine (79)
  8. Albion Ale House (79)
  9. Vinomondo (79)
  10. Discount Supermarket (77)     

Over to my favourite beer app, Untappd

NB, a beer must have 150 ratings or more to appear on this list:

  1. Polly's Brew Co. DDH Spur IPA - Triple New England / Hazy 10% ABV
  2. Polly's Brew Co. DDH Pines IPA - Triple New England / Hazy
  3. Polly's Brew Co. DDH Patternist IPA - Triple New England / Hazy 10% ABV
  4. Polly's Brew Co. Birthday Beer IPA - Quadruple 13% ABV
  5. Polly's Brew Co. Five Years IPA - Quadruple 13.2% ABV
  6. Polly's Brew Co. DDH Every Piece Matters IPA - Triple 10% ABV
  7. Polly's Brew Co. Positively Unattached I PA - Triple New England / Hazy
  8. Polly's Brew Co. DDH Rosa IPA - Triple 10% ABV
  9. Polly's Brew Co. Deep Fake IPA - Triple New England / Hazy 10% ABV
  10. Polly's Brew Co. 58 BPM 8% ABV
  11. Polly's Brew Co. Spectrum QIPA IPA - Quadruple 13% ABV
  12. Tiny Rebel Brewing Co Super Hero Landing Stout - Imperial / Double Milk 13% ABV
  13. Polly's Brew Co. This Never Happened IPA - Quadruple 13% ABV
  14. Polly's Brew Co. DDH Oh My… IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8.5% ABV
  15. Tiny Rebel Brewing Co Imperial Salted Caramel Stay Puft Porter - Imperial / Double 9% ABV
  16. Polly's Brew Co. Nada IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8% ABV
  17. Polly's Brew Co. Everything We Dream Of IPA - Imperial / Double 8.7% ABV
  18. Polly's Brew Co. Quinquennium Stout - Imperial / Double. Whisky Sherry Cask Imperial Stout 13.2%
  19. Polly's Brew Co. Good Nature IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 7.8% ABV
  20. Polly's Brew Co. Acapella IPA - Imperial / Double 8% ABV
  21. Polly's Brew Co. Fallow Plans IPA - Imperial / Double 8.2% ABV
  22. Polly's Brew Co. Keeler IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8.5%
  23. Polly's Brew Co. A Fleeting Sound IPA - Triple New England / Hazy 11%
  24. Polly's Brew Co. Ghost Voices 8.2% ABV
  25. Polly's Brew Co. Controversy Between Deep IPA - Triple 10% ABV
  26. Polly's Brew Co. Cahb IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8% ABV
  27. Polly's Brew Co. Lo-Fi IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8% ABV
  28. Polly's Brew Co. The New Renassaince IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8% ABV
  29. Polly's Brew Co. Spur IPA - New England / Hazy  7.2% ABV
  30. Polly's Brew Co. Chameleon IPA - Imperial / Double 8% ABV
  31. Tiny Rebel Brewing Co Imperial Chocolate Stay Puft Porter - Imperial / Double 9% ABV
  32. Polly's Brew Co. Amateur Dance IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8.1% ABV
  33. Polly's Brew Co. Floating Through the Surface IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8.3% ABV
  34. Polly's Brew Co. Wallow IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8%
  35. Polly's Brew Co. Does It Matter How Far? IPA - New England / Hazy 7.2%
  36. Polly's Brew Co. Spectrum TIPA IPA - Triple New England / Hazy 10% ABV
  37. Polly's Brew Co. Rosa IPA - Imperial / Double 8.5% ABV
  38. Polly's Brew Co. Circadian Rhythm IPA - Imperial / Double 8% ABV
  39. Polly's Brew Co. The Feels Vol. 3 IPA - Milkshake 6.2%
  40. Polly's Brew Co. Every Piece Matters IPA - New England / Hazy 6.7% ABV
  41. Polly's Brew Co. Retrorenegade IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8.9% ABV
  42. Tiny Rebel Brewing Co Amplified Imperial Stay Puft Porter - Imperial / Double 12.8% ABV
  43. Polly's Brew Co. Farrago IPA - American 6.7% ABV
  44. Polly's Brew Co. Hi, Everything’s Great IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8% ABV
  45. Polly's Brew Co. Mylar IPA - New England / Hazy 6.3% ABV
  46. Polly's Brew Co. Naive Melody IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8.2% ABV
  47. Polly's Brew Co. Dream Like Sequence IPA - Imperial / Double 8% ABV
  48. Polly's Brew Co. Brand New Only IPA - American 7.2% ABV
  49. Polly's Brew Co. Chinook Mosaic Double IPA IPA - Imperial / Double 8.6%
  50. Polly's Brew Co. Jennasea IPA - Imperial / Double New England / Hazy 8%

      

Well, that's a resounding success for Polly's from Mold in Flintshire   

The Untappd list of Top-Rated Breweries in Wales is:

  1.  Polly's Brew Co. Mold, Flintshire
  2. Black Cloak Brewing, Colwyn Bay, Conwy
  3. Dog's Window Brewery, Nant-yr-adar, Bridgend
  4. The Coach Brewing Co, Bridgend,
  5.  Lucky 7 Beer Co, Hay on Wye, Powys
  6. Wild Horse Brewing Co, Llandudno, Conwy
  7. BeerRiff, Swansea,
  8. Bragdy Mona Gaerwen, Isle of Anglesey
  9. Wilderness Brewery, Newtown, Powys
  10. Tenby Brewing Co, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
  11. Flowerhorn Cardiff,
  12. Tiny Rebel Brewing Co, Newport
  13. Brew Monster, Caerphilly,
  14. PIPES™Cardiff,
  15. Grey Trees Brewery, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff
  16. Lines Brew Co., Usk, Monmouthshire
  17. Geipel BrewingLlangwm, Conwy
  18.  Anglesey Brewhouse, Isle of Anglesey
  19. Gwynt y Ddraig, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  20. Otley, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  21. Purple Moose Brewery (Bragdy Mŵs Piws) Porthmadog, Gwynedd
  22.  Cwrw Cader Dolgellau, Gwynedd
  23. Wye Valley Meadery Caldicot, Monmouthshire
  24. Tinworks Brewing Co.Llanelli, Carmarthenshire
  25. Mantle Cardigan, Ceredigion
  26. Mad Dog Brewery Co, Cardiff,
  27. Well Drawn Brewing Company, Caerphilly,
  28. Cwrw Llŷn, Ffordd Dewi Sant, Gwynedd
  29. Gower Brewery, Swansea
  30. Tenby Harbwr Brewery, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
  31. Glamorgan Brewing Co, Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taf,
  32. Bragdy Twt Lol / The Trefforest Brewery, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  33. Cwrw Iâl Community Brewing Company, Eryrys, Denbighshire
  34. Big Hand Brewing, Wrexham,
  35. Hafod Brewing Company, Mold, Flintshire
  36. Snowdon Craft Beer, Colwyn Bay, Conwy
  37. Hallets, Mynedd Maen, Newbridge, Caerphilly
  38. Magic Dragon Brewing, Wrexham,
  39. Bragdy Lleu, Penygroes, Gwynedd
  40. Lithic Brewing, Brynmenyn, Bridgend
  41. Kingstone Brewery, Tintern, Monmouthshire
  42. VOG Brewery, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan
  43. Mumbles Brewery, Swansea,
  44. Coles Family Brewers, Llanddarog, Carmarthenshire
  45. Conwy Brewery, Llysfaen, Conwy
  46.  Tomos & Lilford, Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan
  47. Cold Black Label, Bridgend,
  48. Gwaun Valley Brewery, Pontfaen, Pembrokeshire

 Over to Beer Advocate where the Welsh list is somewhat different to the others:

 

1        Hadouken Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. Imperial IPA | 7.40%     

2        Stay Puft Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. American Porter | 5.20%

3        Cali Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. American Pale Ale | 5.60%               

4        Dark Side Of The Moose (Ochr Tywyll Y Mws) Purple Moose Brewery English Bitter | 4.60%        

5        Dutty Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.

American Pale Ale | 4.20%    

6        Dirty Stop Out Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.

Oatmeal Stout | 5.00% 

7        Clwb Tropica Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.

New England IPA | 5.50%      

8        Brains Dark English Dark Mild Ale | 3.50%        

9        Cwtch, Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. American Amber / Red Ale | 4.60%      

10      Brains Bitter English Bitter | 3.70%         

11      The Full Nelson, Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. American Pale Ale | 4.80%    

12      FUBAR, Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. American Pale Ale | 4.40%        

13      Snowdonia Ale (Cwrw Eryri) Purple Moose Brewery English Pale Mild Ale | 3.60% 

14      Brains Craft Brewery Boilermaker English IPA | 6.50%                

15      Brains The Rev. James English Bitter | 4.50%            

16      Brains SA English Bitter | 4.20%    

17      Brains Black English Stout | 4.10%

18      Brains SA Gold English Pale Ale | 4.30%           

19      Brains Craft Brewery Barry Island IPAAmerican IPA | 6.00%       

20      Double Dragon Felinfoel Brewery Co.


The Untappd app copy, Pint Please, does not list best beers by country

No CAMRA awards for real ales brewed in Wales

Once again, beers from the Llandeilo Village Idiot failed to get a mention in any of the lists


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