Thursday 31 July 2008

Considerate Parking Award

Pictured in Newport, by the railway station is this great example of parking by a Welsh brewery dray. Unable to park outside the John Wallace Linton pub, the genius here decided to park on the pedestrianised part of the crossing! Great, what a genius the drayman is, causing difficulty to anyone trying to access the train station. And it was not a quick drop off - the dray was there for around 20 minutes before our very own gendarmerie, ie Blunketts Bobbies, PCSOs finally got him to move a few feet into a loading area. Now, you may ask whose dray this is - turns out it's owner is Evan Evans Brewery who have no connection with the website below:

Wednesday 30 July 2008

German courts support German pubs!

No suprise here then that the top constitutional court in Germany has forced a reversal of the smoking ban in that country.
The court said a ban on smoking in small one-room bars in two states – Berlin and Baden-Wuttermberg – was discriminatory as similar pubs that had extra rooms were legally allowed to offer one for smokers.
The situation differs to that in the UK where a total smoking ban covers all public places, meaning a level playing field for all businesses.
Smokers should also be permitted to light up in one-room venues, the court said.
The ruling is likely to set a precedent for other German states.
In an emailed statement, the court said: “Lawmakers could totally ban smoking in all bars and restaurants. But if they decide to allow exceptions for some barkeepers, then these exceptions must also apply to small pubs which are most hit by the ban.''
The ruling upheld a complaint lodged by the owners of two small bars in Berlin and a disco operator in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, who argued the ban had cut their revenues by more than 30 per cent.
Hans-Juergen Papier, the court's president, said the law would need to be redrawn by the end of next year.
He said until then, smoking should be permitted in bars and restaurants of less than 75 square metres that lack a separate smokers' area.
About one third of Germans smoke, which is one of the highest rates in Europe.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Gossip from the Welsh Brewers

News from the Association of Welsh Independent Brewers (AWIB) is that one of their members has been drummed out for alleging certain things in an obnoxious and potentially libelous email. Now I'm not going to name that person here but all I'm saying at the moment is that the person concerned has no conection with the website below:

Bid now for a chance to Brew at the Budvar Brewery

For the first time: a chance in a lifetime to brew at the famous Budweiser Budvar Brewery

Ceske Budejovice (Budweis in German), in the Czech Republic, has a long reputation in brewing dating back to the 13th century when the town received its brewing rights. Since 1895 it has been the home of the world renowned Budweiser Budvar Brewery. And now you have the chance to go there, brew there and, of course, try one or two their beers.

The Brewery is offering two friends a trip of a lifetime. It will consist of flights to and from Britain to Prague. The lucky duo will be met on arrival at Prague airport and then transferred to Ceske Budejovice to stay 2 nights at the “Little Brewery” which has been converted to a hotel. Dinner will be hosted by one of Budvar's senior managers.

Up early next morning to brew, maybe one of the beers not available in Britain, such as Pardal, which is more bitter than the better known Budvar. Breakfast will be with Josef Tolar, the Brewmaster since 1985. Josef was responsible for leading the management buyout from the Czech Government at a time when it could have fallen to foreign hands. Although he is an innovative brewer, Josef has always insisted that any technical advance must enhance and preserve tradition. An example of this is the brewery's 100 day brewing cycle; the same as it was in 1895. During the day there will plenty of opportunity to hear about the history of the brewery.

Lunch will be in the brewery tap followed by a free afternoon with the opportunity to visit the Brewery's visitors' centre or to look around the city. Founded in 1265, Ceske Budejovice has plenty to see including the splendid Premyl Otakar II Square with its Baroque burgher houses.

Dinner will be in Cesky Krumlov. Dominated by its castle (which is the second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic), the town is a Unesco World Heritage Site with 300 protected buildings.

Next day, will be a return to Prague for a full free day and overnight in a Prague Hotel with transfer to the airport and home the following day and a rest!


This unique experience will be auctioned at CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival at Earl's Court on Thursday 7th August at 7.30pm. If you can't get there, then postal bids are accepted. Simply e mail (or write to 18 Malden Road, Watford WD17 3EW) with the price you are willing to pay. The highest bidder will get the two places. But even if you aren't successful, Budvar Budweiser is always happy to see people and their visitor's centre gives a great overview of the Brewery and the beers.

Great British Beer Festival
Earls Court, London, 5-9 August 2008
Opening Times:
Tuesday 5th August: 5.00pm to 10.30pm
Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th and Friday 8th: 12noon to 10.30pm
Saturday 9th: 11.00am to 7.00pm

Friday 18 July 2008

Sisters Are Drinking It For Themselves!

CAMRA Offers Free Great British Beer Festival Tours for over 100 Women

If your opinion of beer is that it’s all bitter brown liquid or fizzy tasteless lager then a beer festival might not be your first choice for an evening out but the Campaign for Real Ale, and leading female beer expert Melissa Cole, would like to help change that.

We’ll Drink to That!

This year at the Great British Beer Festival the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is offering 175 women the chance to win A Girl’s Guide to the Great British Beer Festival – which is a walking tour led by beer expert Melissa Cole.

The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) is run by CAMRA every year at Earls Court in London and is a beer lover’s paradise, with a choice of around 400 real ales on offer over the five day period from August 5th – 9th.

The range of brews on show is truly exceptional and all beer styles are covered - including golden ales, milds, bitters, stouts, barley wines and porters - and Melissa’s walks will take you through as many of the different beer styles at the festival as possible, explaining their flavours & attributes, whilst answering any questions you may have and throwing in a little bit of history & trivia along the way.

UK’s Biggest Bar

A multitude of breweries are featured at the GBBF - at the last count there were 272 different breweries from as far south as the Isle of Wight to the north of Scotland - all displaying their finest at Britain’s biggest beer festival.

Louise Ashworth, Head of Marketing at CAMRA said “Our research shows that only 16% of women have ever tried real ale, and we think that’s a real shame because it means a huge section of society is missing out on the pleasure of the world’s favourite drink.

“But I also understand that even if you want to try beer the GBBF presents a daunting array breweries and beer styles and, if I’m honest, it can be a bit overwhelming - especially if you don’t know your Arkell’s from your Elgood’s!

“And although we look to provide very straightforward tasting notes, using the easy-to-recognise Cyclops system, we understand that to the newcomer, or the beer novice, it can be a little confusing – which is why we’re pleased that Melissa has agreed to help us educate more women about the beauty of beer."

Glass Third Full

Melissa adds: “Having written, and talked about, beer for about nine years, I’ve met hundreds of women who say they don’t like beer and I’ve nearly always managed to change their minds.

“The GBBF is a particularly good place to start trying beer, not only because of the vast array of drinks on offer but, because CAMRA has so sensibly introduced third of pint glasses, which allow you to sample small amounts of beer without holding a big, unfeminine, glass.

“I’m really looking forward to helping women who want to try beer, but who may lack the confidence to do so.”

Competition Time

CAMRA is inviting women who haven’t tried real ale before or are inexperienced real ale drinkers to contact us if they would like to come on this beer voyage at the Great British Beer Festival.

CAMRA will be supplying free entry tickets and beer tokens to 25 women per tour. If you are interested in attending please email and tell me why you would like to come, your preference as to when you would like to come, and what your favourite tipple currently is.

The walks are scheduled for:

Tuesday 5th August 6.30pm
Wednesday 6th August 6.30pm and 7.45pm
Thursday 7th August 6.30pm and 7.45pm
Friday 8th August 6.30pm and 7.45pm
A Girl’s Guide to the GBBF information sheet will also be available at the Information Stand at the festival.


Notes to editors:

CAMRA campaigns for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights. We are an independent, voluntary organisation with over 90,000 members and have been described as the most successful consumer group in Europe. CAMRA promotes good-quality real ale and pubs, as well as acting as the consumer's champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. We aim to:

Protect and improve consumer rights
Promote quality, choice and value for money
Support the public house as a focus of community life
Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture
Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry

Melissa Cole Biography:

Melissa Cole is an independent beer journalist and member of the British Guild of Beer Writers. She is also a partner in corporate beer tasting and trade training business lovebeer@borough – based above the award-winning Rake bar in the world-famous Borough Market.

She regularly judges events such as the Great British Beer Festival, the World Beer Competition and the International Beer Challenge and contributes to Sainsbury’s magazine, What’s Brewing and Beers of the World, as well as specialist titles such as the Publican and Imbibe. She has also appeared on TV and radio as a beer expert, most recently on Market Kitchen and Something for the Weekend.

For more information:

CAMRA Press Office - 01727 798443
Melissa Cole - 07798 568400

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale
230 Hatfield Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 4LW

Thursday 10 July 2008

Troggi on TV!

One of Brew wales' favourite local cider and perry makers is Mike Penney from Troggi and last year ITV Wales filmed him for their Food Programme.
Click here to view the video

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Great Pubs of Wales

Great Pubs of Wales at
A new series of Great Pubs of Wales begins on Thursday July 17th at 1930 on ITV Wales. The first episode in the series will look at the Old House, Llangynwyd and as usual John Sparks and the crew will be visiting historical pubs around Wales. For the first time they visit a city centre pub - Ye Olde Murenger House in High Street, Newport.

John Sparks and the crew take a break whilst filming.

Pat gets interviewed about the ghosts of the Murenger House.

Whilst John the Quiff gets interviewed before bursting into song with the rest of the choir.

For more history on the Murenger House check out a previous blog entry

Beer on the Wye IV

It was a wet but enjoyable excursion for Brew Wales as we headed for Beer on the Wye IV the other day - the Hereford Beer Festival run by the local branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. Along with 3200 others a very wet day in more ways than one was spent sampling the real ales on offer as well as one cider - the excellent Black Pig Cider made just outside of Hereford by the caterer for the event.

One of the first beers to sell out was Purple Moose Cwrw Snowdonia but there were plenty of other Welsh Breweries there - Otley and Breconshire to name but two, all washed down with an excellent hog roast.

Could not resist putting this photo up of West Wales CAMRA stalwart Eric Evans doing his best NOT to do a Mary Poppins impression.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Cherry Tree Closed!

The only Welsh pub that has appeared in all editions of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide has closed. The owners of Cherry Tree in Tintern, Monmouthshire have moved to another Tintern pub. As well as a local pub, the post office and shop have also closed. The local council, Monmouthshire CC are also partly to blame for this closure due to their insistence that an old Hancocks Toastmaster sign that pointed the way to the pub for over 40 years be removed from the main road. Well done that jobsworth in the council for aiding the Temperance Movement in the Wye Valley! The Gwent Branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale have written to Monmouthshire County Council seeking clarification of their policy towards pub direction signs, but have not had a reply yet.

Beer Festival in Chepstow

Coach and Horses Beer and Cider Festival 4 -6 July 2008
Welsh Street, Chepstow, Monmouthshire. NP16 5LN
Confirmed Beers:

Fullers London Pride
Greene King IPA
Everards Tiger
Highgate Fox's Nob
St Austell Tribute
Wells Bombardier
Freeminer Tormentor
Adnams Explorer
Adnams Regatta
Batemans Summer Swallow
Wadworths 6X
RCH Pitchfork
Hydes Jekylls Gold
Everards Sunchaser
Dartmoor Best
Caledonian XPA
Rhymney Bevans Bitter
Breconshire Sarn Elunid (Wheat Beer)
Plus all the usual selection of Brains Beers

Confirmed Ciders and Perries:

Westons Scrumpy
Old Rosie
Hereford Country Perry
Blakeney Red Perry
Gwynt-y-Ddraig Orchard Gold Scrumpy
Gwynt-y-Ddraig Fiery Fox
Gwynt-y-Ddraig Barnstormer

Plus more expected.

More info from the Coach & Horses website

Tuesday 1 July 2008

LocAle at Abergavenny Food Festival

The Gwent branch of CAMRA will be launching their LocAle promotion during Wales’ largest food fayre – the Abergavenny Food Festival, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September. Having run a fringe event at the Kings Arms brewpub last year, Gwent CAMRA have been welcomed back into the Food Festival, all be it at a different venue from 2 years ago when the real ale and cider bar was in the castle grounds. This year the CAMRA real ale and cider bar will be on the site of the former Facey’s Brewery, to the rear of the market hall in the Lower Brewery Yard.
According to James “Arfur” Daley, bar manager, “It’s great to be back in the Food Festival after a year off. It’s one of the biggest food events in the country and Gwent CAMRA have decided to showcase the best of our breweries by having real ales and ciders from within 30 miles of Abergavenny. That includes current Champion Beer of Wales winner Otley Brewery as well as Breconshire Brewery, Tudor Brewery from Abergavenny and Kingstone Brewery of Tintern. Ciders and perries will be supplied by Gwynt Y Ddraig”.
The Abergavenny Food Festival attracts more than 30,000 visitors annually and was described in the Observer Food Monthly as 'The Glastonbury of Food Festivals'.

More information:
Abergavenny Food Festival

Europe signs up to a Constitution

Europe signs up to a Constitution

European beer drinkers have reached agreement where national governments have failed. The national beer consumer groups from 13 countries will meet on 24th June to sign the European Beer Consumers Union's (EBCU) first constitution.

The chairs of the current 13 national member organisations will sign the Constitution of EBCU which encapsulates the aims and objectives of the federation which represents over 130,000 beer drinkers across Europe at the Brewers of Europe House, in Brussels.

The European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) will also be celebrating 18 years of existence having been founded in Bruges in 1990.

Whilst consolidation amongst the world's brewers continues, and global beer brands dominate the market; Europe's beer consumers are working hard to ensure that there will still be a wide choice of craft brewed beers available for future generations.

“In a climate where the big brewers continue to get bigger and bigger and lose all contact with their original routes, axing local beer brands and closing breweries it is essential that the beer drinkers of Europe stand up for local quality beer and fight to protect and promote Europe's beer heritage. The latest proposed mega-merger, between InBev and Anheuser-Busch will, if it succeeds, create a brewer with almost 25% share of the world beer market. How many more local beer brands will be lost whilst this new brewing giant concentrates on promoting its global beer brands?” said Terry Lock, chairman of EBCU.

“It is essential that Europe's Beer drinkers come together to fight the threats posed by globalisation in beer market. The member organisations of EBCU have shown that beer drinkers can reach agreement to enable the consumer's voice to be heard more clearly in the corridors of Brussels and Strasbourg. Perhaps a pint or two of quality craft produced beer could aid national governments to come to a similar accord” continued Lock.

Working together the 13 national beer consumer organisations lobby strongly on issues that concern the beer drinker and pub goer.

EBCU's objectives are:

The promotion of Europe's beer culture
The promotion of traditional beer styles
The promotion of diversity and consumer choice
To enhance the image of beer
To represent the interests of consumers

EBCU's priorities are

Competition and Choice in the European Beer Market
Empowering the Consumer

In the years since EBCU was founded there has been a renaissance of brewing in many countries of Europe, samples from some of these will be available to toast EBCU's 18th Birthday at the Brewers of Europe House on 24th June.

Notes for Editors:

EBCU is a federation of national beer consumer organisations from the following countries Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

The European Beer consumers Union was founded on 26th May 1990 in Bruges by CAMRA from the United Kingdom, PINT from the Netherlands and Objectieve Bierproevers from Belgium.
Press Enquiries:

Iain R Loe +44(0) 01727 798449 +44(0)7801 706607
Jonathan Mail +44 (0) 1727 798448 or +44(0)7720 724733


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