Saturday 24 November 2007

Association of Welsh Independent Brewers

Breconshire brewer Buster Grant has a pint to celebrate the launch of the Association of Welsh Independent Brewers at the Great Welsh. As of November 2007 the members are:

Black Mountain






Dobbins and Jacksons

Evan Evans


Ffos Y Ffin

Flock Inn

Great Orme


Jolly Brewer


Heart of Wales


Pen-Lon Cottage


Purple Moose



Tomos Watkin

Vale Of Glamorgan

Great Welsh

Friday was the day of judgment for the brewers of Wales, as a team of experts tasted and tested the best real ales in the country. Festival organiser Kath Gammon samples a real ale in a bottle above whilst Wetherspoons Manager Ryan West tastes the cask-conditioned beers.

Friday 23 November 2007

Champion Beer of Wales


The Champion Beer of Wales competition has been won by Rhymney Brewery of Merthyr Tydfil with their classic beer, Dark. The competition, run by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, was held at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival at Cardiff City Hall today. The beer was judged by a panel of beer experts from a selection of more than 200 real ales that are brewed every year in Wales. The judges looked at the aroma, appearance, taste and aftertaste of the top beers of Wales and came to the unanimous decision that Rhymney Dark was the best beer brewed in Wales this year. The beer is 3.9% ABV.

Rhymney Brewery was set up 3 years in Merthyr Tydfil ago by father and son team Steve and Marc Evans. Said Steve Evans, “This award is something that we've been aiming for since we started the brewery. It's a dream come to true to win Champion Beer of Wales and have the recognition from CAMRA”.

Traditionally dark beers were the most popular style of beer in the valleys but they gradually gave way to more lighter coloured beers. Recently there has been a resurgence in the style and Rhymney Dark is now the best selling beer in the sole tied house owned by the brewery, the Winchester in Merthyr Tydfil.

According to Gerald Stevenson, sales manager for Rhymney Brewery, “This is like winning the Olympics of the beer world for us. I'm overjoyed at getting this accolade from CAMRA”.

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival is open until 11 pm on Saturday and emergency orders of beer have been delivered to make sure the Festival does not run dry. James “Arfur” Daley, CAMRA Press officer said, “It's been a great festival and this award is true recognition for the hard work that Steve and Marc have put in over the years. Rhymney Dark is a fantastic beer with roast malt flavours and an edgy bitterness which makes it an award-winning and highly distinctive real ale. It's our last year here at City Hall but the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival will return in June at its new home, Cardiff International Arena.

Champion Beer of Wales Results:
1st Rhymney Brewery Dark
2nd Bryncelyn Holly Hops
3rd Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous

Festival Facts:
· Over 19, 000 pints of real ale, cider and perry will be sold at the festival.
· That’s over 10 tons of beer, cider and perry!
· Over 4000 customers will be attending the 3-day festival.
· 170 different real ales will be available at the Festival.
· The total length of the bars is over 140 foot
· An average of 9 pints every minute will be sold when the Festival is open.
· Around 50 ciders and perries (pear ciders), many from Welsh producers, will also be available to complement the real ales.
· Over 100 staff, all CAMRA volunteers, will be staffing the Festival.
· A range of beers from Germany will also be on sale at the upstairs bar.
· Pub games, stalls and food will be available at the Festival.

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival
Cardiff City Hall
Open Thursday 22nd November 12-11,
Friday and Saturday 23rd-24th November 11-11
Admission £3 (£5 after 5pm Friday) includes souvenir glass and programme


Further Information:
James ‘Arfur’ Daley, CAMRA Publicity, 0794 185 9902
Steve Evans, Rhymney Brewery, 01685 722253

Thursday 22 November 2007

Dr Gareth John, author of a famous book about beer as well as the "Glimpses of Gwent" series enjoys a half with Les Chittleburgh both from ISCA Morris Men.

The first day of the festival draws to a close and the customers filled the city hall. It just goes to show that Central Cardiff is short of a freehouse to support our National breweries.

Tomorrow we have the Champion Beer of Wales Competition so lots more tasty beers to try.

Great Welsh Opens!

And the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival finally opens its doors to the public today. This is the first time the festval has opened on a Thursday daytime and thirsty Cardiff customers were already queing at 1145 this morning.

Some of the thousands of thirsty customers who will be descending on Cardiff City Hall this weekend.

And the one of the missing Customs and Inland Revenue disc has turned up - being used as a beermat at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Owen Cider at the Festival

Award-winning cidermaker Ralph and Owen and his son James enjoy a quick chat at the cider bar at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Cardiff City Hall. Ralph Owen has been cidermaking for well-over 60 years and is respected as one of the Greats of the UK Cider industry. Ralph always makes sure his ciders arive at the Great Welsh by delivering them personally, driving down from Mid-Wales on his tractor.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Festival Fever!

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival is currently being setup by volunteers from CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. All the deliveries are in and the beers are on the cooling system. Photo above taken Monday showing some of the thousands of pints of beer that will be supped this week. The Festival opens its doors on Thursday at 12 and continues on until Saturday.

Wednesday 14 November 2007


A late edition to the cider list is Swan Cider from Llantrisant's biggest cider producer. I've been reliably informed that NO Swans were hurt or used in the fermentation and that the cider is actually made on Swan Street!

Great Welsh Beer And Cider Festival Cider List

And the cider list is now up - again subject to availability - will post an up to date list when all delivered to City Hall next week.

Alan Sharleys Last
Berriew Cider
Butford Organics Cider
Butford Organics Perry
CJ's Cider Number 2
CJ's Cider Number 3
Dan Y Graig Cider
Gwatkins various
Gwynt Y Ddraig various
HecksVintage Sweet Cider
J Edward And Sons Reputed Green Styre Cider
Lewis Cider
Newton Court Medium Cider
Olivers Whiskey town oak aged perry
Wye Valley Cider
Ralphs various
Richards Leg Bender Sweet Cider
Rosie's Triple D Wicked Wasp Cider
Rosie's Triple D Cider
Ross On Wye Perry
Seidr Dai various
Seidr O Sir
Maes Ebwy Sych Cider
Seidr O Sir
Côr Wye Cewri
Severn Cider
Bowmre 2000 Single Malt Cask Finish
Treggagl Perry
Samsay Perry
Ty Gwyn
Uren Ashton Bitter & Strawberry norman
W. M. Watkins And Sons Whiskey Barrel
W. M. Watkins And SonsRum Barrel
W. M. Watkins And SonsOak Cask
Wilkins Medium Sweet

TBC Old Monty Cider
TBC Old Monty Cider
TBC Swan Cider
TBC Swan Cider
TBC Swan Cider

GWBCF Bottled Cider List 2007
Berriew Cider
Argoed, Berriew
Berriew is a craft cider maker that specialises in a range of spirit-cask conditioned ciders made to
traditional techniques.
500ml Assorted Spirit-Cask conditioned ciders
Seidr Dai
Cardiff, South Wales

This craft cider company was started in the autumn of 2000. The ciders are made only from Welsh
fruit, hand-picked in traditional, unsprayed and unfertilised orchards. No water, sugar or yeast are
added to the juice. Wherever possible, Seidr Dai uses rare and endangered Welsh varieties of cider
apple and perry pear.
75cl 'Sparkling 'Champagne Style' Perry
Springfield Cider
Llangovan, Monmouth

Springfield Cider orchards are set in approximately 110 acres of beautiful, rolling Monmouthshire
countryside and encompass Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Scientific Interest.
The orchards comprise 28,000 trees, planted in two phases during 1998/99 and incorporating an
extensive drainage system designed to ensure that ground conditions remain suitable throughout the
year, whatever the weather.
500ml Assorted Ciders
Wernddu Wine
Wernddu Farm, Pen-Y-Clawdd, Monmouth

Wernddu Wine - is a new vineyard venture based in the beautiful South Wales countryside, just a
short drive from the historic town of Monmouth. Wernddu farm, situated in the small community of
Pen-y-clawd, has been the home of the Strawford family since 1999..
500ml Assorted Perries and Ciders
There is also organic welsh apple juice available in 25cl bottles from both the
cider bar and bottle bar upstairs produced by John and Margaret Morris
from Cickhowell (01873 810275)

Tuesday 13 November 2007

German Beers at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival will also be featuring a range of German beers in the upstairs bar - a case of Deustsland uber Ales!

Andechser Famous brewery in the hills south of Munich, owned by the Andechs Monastery. Bock Hell (6.9%), not a curse but a strong, malty, light-coloured beer, Doppelbock Dunkel, (7.0%), a strong, rich, dark beer, Dunkel Weissbier (5.0%), a dark, cloudy wheat beer and Weissbier Hell (5.5%), a more traditional light cloudy, and wheat beer.

Augustiner Munich’s oldest brewery, founded in 1328. Edelstoff (5.7%), a full-flavoured light-coloured beer, Hell (5.2%), the brewery’s standard light beer, and Oktoberfest (6.0%), a sweet, malty beer brewed annually for the Munich Oktoberfest.

Greif A medium sized brewery in Forchheim, between Nűrnberg and Bamberg in northern Bavaria. Festbier (5.5%), a blond, slightly sweetish premium festival beer, Pils (4.9%), a blond, hoppy beer and Weisse (5.5%), an unfiltered wheat beer.

Hacker-Pschorr The combined Paulaner / Hacker-Pscorr brewery is Munich’s largest. Oktoberfest (6.0%), another beer brewed for the Munich Oktoberfest.

Karg A brewery south west of Munich that only brews wheat beer. Dunkles Weissbier (5.0%), dark wheat and Weisse Hell (5.0%), a light-coloured wheat beer.

Lőwenbräu Not the famous “Lion Brewery” of Munich but its smaller namesake from Buttenheim between Nűrnberg and Bamberg. Kellerbier (4.7%), a light amber, low carbonated beer.

Mahr’s From Bamberg, a historical city in northern Bavaria, famous for its number of breweries. Hell (4.9%), a blond, slightly sweet beer, Pilsner, (4.9%) blond and drier, Ungespundet (5.2%), a light brown, unfiltered, full-flavoured beer and Weissbier (4.9%), a wheat beer.

Neder Another small brewery in Forchheim. Export (5.1%), light-coloured and spicy.

Spaten Munich’s second largest brewery. Oktoberfest (6.0%), a sweetish beer providing Spaten’s contribution to Munich’s autumnal festivities.

Trunk A small brewery with monatic connections at Vierzehnheiligen, near Lichtenfels in the far north of Bavaria. Export Dunkel (5.2%), a dark, almost stout like beer.

Unertl Wheat beer brewery in Műhldorf, east of Munich. Weissbier (5.2%).

Bottled Beers

Andechser See above. Dunkel Weissbier (5.0%), a dark, cloudy wheat beer and Weissbier Hell (5.5%), a more traditional light cloudy, and wheat beer..

Augustiner See above. Oktoberfest (6.0%).

Beck Not the giant brewery in Bremen, North Germany, but the tiny brewery in Lisberg-Trabelsdorf near Bamberg. Dunkel (5.0%), a darkish beer, Kellerbier, unfiltered, Lagerbier (4.9%), and Weissbier (5.2%).

Früh Famous brewery in Cologne. Kölsch (4.8%) Traditional Cologne beer, more British in style than many German beers.

Hacker-Pschorr See above. Oktoberfest (6.0%).

Hirschbräu 350-year brewery at Sonthofen, in the foothills of the Alps. Holzar Vollbier, a cloudy, traditional beer.

Karg See above. Dunkles Weissbier (5.0%), dark wheat with loads of yeast and Weisse Hell (5.0%), a light-coloured wheat beer.

Kneitinger From Regensburg, on the River Danube (or Donau as it is known in Germany), a brewery founded in 1530. Bock Dunkel (6.5%), a strong, dark beer.

Mahr’s See above. Bock (7.2%), malty, strong and slightly sweet.

Malzmühle Another Cologne brewery producing that city’s traditional beer. Mühlen Kölsch (4.8%)

Pyraser From the village of Thalmässing-Puras in central Bavaria. Weissbier (5.2%).

Schlenkerla Brewed by Heller but commonly known by the name of the brewery tap in Bamberg. Rauch Weizen (5.2%), a smoked wheat beer and Rauchbier Urbock (6.5%), a stronger, seasonal version.

Spaten See above. Oktoberfest (6.0%).

St Georgen Another brewery in Buttenheim between Nűrnberg and Bamberg. Kellerbier (4.9%) and Pilsener (4.9%).

Unertl See above. Bio-Dinkel Weisse (5.2%), an organic wheat beer, Műhldorfer Weisse (5.2%), a darkish beer and Weissbier (5.2%).

Werneker From Werneck in North Western Bavaria. Weissbier (5.2%).

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival Beer List

It's that time of year again for the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival and here is the beer list. All subject to availability when the Festival opens its doors on Thursday 22nd November

Welsh Beers

Black Mountain Black Five 4.50%
Black Mountain Seasonal/Red Kite 4%
Brains Dark 3.5
Brains Bitter 3.7
Brains SA 4.2
Brains Reverend James 4.5
Brains SA Gold 4.6
Brains Top Notch 5
Breconshire County 3.80%
Breconshire Welsh Pale Ale 3.4
Breconshire Golden Valley 4.2
Breconshire Ramblers Ruin 5
Breconshire Winter Beacon 5.3
Breconshire Spirit of the Dragon 6.50%
Bryncelyn Holly Hop 3.9
Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous 4
Bryncelyn Oh Boy 4.5
Bryncelyn That'll be the Sleigh 7.1
Bullmastiff Welsh Gold 3.8
Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch 6
Bullmastiff Welsh Black 4.80%
Coles Roasted Stout 4.40%
Coles Cwrw Llanddarog 4.1
Conwy Cwrw Mel 4.40%
Conwy Cobdens4
Corvedale Seasonal/secret hop 4.5
Cwmbran Blackcurrant Stout4
Cwmbran Crow Valley 4.2
Cwmbran Santa's Tipple 5
Facers This Splendid Ale 4.3
Facers Landslide 4.90%
Ffos Y Ffin Cothi Gold3.80%
Ffos Y Ffin Towy Ale5%
Felinfoel Double Dragon 4.2
Flock Inn Ewe Reeka 4.50%
Great Orme Extravaganza 4.40%
Great Orme 3 feathers 5.00%
Jacobi Light Ale3.80%
Jacobi Original 4.40%
Jolly Brewer Chwerw Cymru 4.50%
Kingstone Classic4.50%
Kingstone 1503 5%?
Miws Piws Stout 5.00%
Miws Piws Snowdonia3.60%
Miws Piws Madog3.80%
Miws Piws Cwrw Glaslyn 4.2
Nags Head Old Emrys 3.8
Neuadd Arms Heart of Wales4.10%
Neuadd Arms Aur Cymru 3.80%
Otley O1 4.10%
Otley O Garden 4.60%
OtleyOG 5%
Otley O8 8%
Paradise Nantwich Ale5.60%
Plassey Border Mild4.5
Plassey Owain Glyndwr 4.3
Plassey Dragon's Breath 6
Rhymney Dark 3.9
Rhymney Export5
Rhymney Rhymney Bitter4.5
Swansea Deep Slade Dark 4%
Swansea 3 Cliffs Gold 4.7
Swansea Original Wood 5.2
Tomos Watkin Merlin's Stout 4.2
Tomos WatkinOSB 4.5
Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf 4.20%
Vale of Glamorgan Grog y Vog 3.3
Vale of Glamorgan No 1 Best Bitter 4.5
Vale of Glamorgan Cefyl Dwr 5
Warcop Pitprop 3.80%

Not so Welsh beers!

Wye Valley HPA 4
Wye Valley Butty Bach 4.5
Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout 4.6
Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody's Winter Tipple 4.7
Archers Golden 4.80%
Arkells 2B 3.2
Arkells Moonlight 4.5
Battledown Saxon 3.80%
Battledown Turncoat 4.50%
Butt's Coper 6%
Butt's Barbus Barbus 4.60%
Butt's Jester's Organic 3.50%
Downtown Chimera IPA 6.80%
Flowerpots Bitter3.80%
Hook Norton Old Hooky4.60%
Hook Norton Hooky Dark 3.20%
Lodden Bamboozle 4.80%
Moles Tap 3.50%
Moles Molennium 4.50%
Oakleaf I can't belive its not bitter 4.90%
Pint Size Mild 3.40%
Ringwood Boondoggle 3.90%
Ringwood Old Thumper4.60%
Seven Vale Monumentale 4.60%
Severn Vale Vale Ale 4%
Stonehenge Danish Dynamite 5%
Stonehenge Old Smokey/ Great Bustard 4.80%
Stroud Budding 4.50%
Stroud Five Valleys5%
Triple F Moondance 4.20%
Triple F Comfortably Numb 5.00%
Triple F Pressed Rat & Warthog 3.80%
Uley Old Spot 5%
Uley Pig's Ear5%
Wadworth JCB 4.70%
West Berkshire Old Father Thames 3.40%
West Berkshire Dr Hexter's Healer5%
Wickwar BOB 4%
Wickwar Station Porter 6.10%
Cottage spring Codrington Old Ale 4.80%
Allendale Wolf 5%
Big Lamp Bitter 3.90%
Bull Lane Jacks Flag 4.70%
Camerons Monkey Stout 4%
Camerons Castle Eden 4.20%
Consett Steel Town 3.80%
Darwin Ghost Ale 4.10%
Darwin Hop Drop 5.30%
Durham Bonny Lass 3.80%
Durham White Amarillo 4.10%
Wentworth Best Bitter4.10%
Hadrian Reivers IPA 4.40%
Hexham Old Humbug 5.50%
Hexhan Devil Water4.20%
Hill Island Cathedral Ale 4.20%
Jarrow Bitter 3.80%
Jarrow Joblings swinging Gibbett 4.10%
Mordue 5 Bridges 3.80%
Mordue Workie ticket 4.50%
Northumberland Holy Island 3.80%
Northumberland Newcastle Pride 4.30%
Wear Valley Morning After4.80%
Wentworth Bumble Beer 4.30%
Wylam Bohemia Lager 4.60%
Bathams Bitter4.30%
Copper Dragon Challenger IPA 4.40%
Hop Back GFB 3.50%
Hop Back Entire Stout 4.50%
JohnRoberts Castle steamer 4.30%
Millstone True grit 5%
Moor house Black Cat 3.40%
RCH Old Slug Porter 4.50%
RCH Steaming Santa/Seasonal 4.40%
Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild 5.60%
Six Bells Cloud Nine 4.20%
Spinning Dog Celtic Gold 4.50%
Thornbridge Jaipur 5.50%
Thornbridge Treason 4.60%
Woods Shropshire lass 4.20%
Spitting Feathers Stout 4.50%
Weetwood Cheshire Cat4%
York Guzzler 3.60%
Ascot Ales Alligator 4.60%

Monday 12 November 2007


A new beer brewed at the Rhymney Brewery took the CAMRA Beer Bar at the Abergavenny Food Festival by storm and was voted as “Beer of the Festival” by some of the thousands who descended on the market town in September. In the opinion of the thirsty customers Rhymney Dark was the tastiest beer at the festival, beating brewers from across Wales and the Welsh Marches to win this accolade. The beer, along with other real ales from competitions in Carmarthen and Swansea, will now go forward to the Champion Beer of Wales Competition, to be held on Friday 23rd November at Cardiff City Hall during the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival.

According to Abergavenny Beer Festival Bar Manager James “Arfur” Daley, “This is a well-deserved award to all at the brewery. The customers at our bar at the Kings Arms overwhelmingly voted for this beer and it was a clear winner. Well done to Steve & Marc Evans at Rhymney Brewery for producing an award-winning beer”.

Rhymney Dark is a beer with a 4% ABV and is described as “A carefully crafted beer, hopped with a true stout uppermost in the brewer's mind. Mellow, yet with a bite that will only be fully appreciated on your second pint”.

Presentation of “Beer of the Festival” certificate to Rhymney Brewery will be on Saturday 17th November, 1400 hrs, at the Winchester pub, Castle Street, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8BG

“I'm looking forward to the presentation”, said CAMRA's Mr Daley, “After all the Winchester is named after my namesakes' favourite drinking hole in Minder. Although I do prefer a pint of Rhymney to a large VAT!”

Further Information:
James ‘Arfur’ Daley, CAMRA Publicity, 0794 185 9902
Steve Evans, Rhymney Brewery, Unit A2, Valley Enterprise Centre, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 2SR

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival
Cardiff City Hall
Open Thursday 22nd November 12-11,
Friday and Saturday 23rd-24th November 11-11
Admission £3 (£5 after 5pm Friday) includes souvenir glass and programme

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Murenger House

Pub of the week 05/11/07

Ye Olde Murenger House
“A haven in a superpub Ghetto”

The name Murenger comes from the person responsible for collecting taxes or murages for the upkeep of the town walls. Since the town was destroyed in 1294, 1316, 1321 and 1402 it appears that the walls were not that good. The original Murenger’s House was a stone structure situated elsewhere in High Street and was demolished in the 19th Century.

The first mention of this building was in 1533 when it was the town house of the local landowners: the Herberts of St Julians Manor. The traditional date of the building is 1530 but may be earlier. In the Tudor room upstairs, there are plaster mouldings on the ceiling of intertwined Tudor roses and Spanish pineapples, symbolising the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. The union lasted from 1509 until 1533 but the last eight years were widely known to be a bit shaky to say the least, so a date in the earlier part of the marriage can be attributed to the building.

In 1541 Sir Charles Herbert was the High Sheriff of Monmouthshire and would have stayed and entertained at this large, solidly built Tudor town house. By the 17th Century the building had become a pub, the Fleur-de-Lys, a name which stayed until the 19th Century when it acquired the present title.

In the 1970s the building was in serious danger of total collapse – scaffolding was erected on the street outside and buses diverted in case vibrations brought further damage. Luckily Sam Smith’s brewery stepped in and bought the place in 1980 and conducted an extensive refurbishment, reopening in 1983.

The Murenger underwent another refurbishment in 2003 and reopened with the bar moved and more nooks and corners to drink in. Sam Smiths still own the pub and the Old Brewery Bitter is served from the wooden barrel, one of the last pubs in Wales to do so. For other drinkers there is a range of lagers and even a Yorkshire-brewed wheat beer, comparable to any Bavarian-brewed weiss bier.

In a building this old, as well as the regular customers, it comes as no surprise that there are a few customers who have been there for a lot longer than a few pints. These hauntings include a serving wench, an elderly man and a ghostly figure of a woman who appears in the top upstairs window. However, sightings are rare since the citizens of Newport tend to scare the undead off every weekend!

The Murenger House does look slightly out of place in modern Newport; a Tudor building in a City with architecture from the 19th and 20th Centuries. If you visit the pub then have a look at the photos of old Newport on the walls – this 3-storey building stood out in the 19th Century as one of the tallest buildings in High Street – today it is dwarfed by neighbouring buildings on either side. The Murenger is a remarkable survivor in this City which, unlike other city centres was not destroyed by the Luftwaffe but by the incompetence of the town council in the 1960s and 70s. It's thanks to Sam Smiths Brewery that this pub will be with us for another 500 years.

Ye Olde Murenger House, 53 High Street, Newport, NP20 1GA


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