Friday 30 December 2011

Celebrate New Year's Eve at the Bunch

One of Wales' best pubs, the Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd, will be celebrating the New Year with their annual New Year's Eve Beer Festival tomorrow (Sat).
 Photo courtesy of Dave RATS

No beer list (yet!) but the beers featured will be the favourites of the landlord from throughout the year so expect some great beers from breweries across the UK as well as a few specials from the Otley Brewery lads.
Last year the festival featured beers from Thornbridge, Brewdog and Saltaire breweries to name just a few and the only downside was having to leave at 7pm to catch the train home! Its New Year's Eve so the trains will be stopping early.
Google Map:

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Journey Planner:

Thursday 29 December 2011

The Coal Hole Inn, Gellihaf

Coal Hole Inn, Bryn Road, Gellihaf, NP12 2QE
Open 12-3, 6-11 Monday-Thursday, 12-11 Friday & Saturday, 12-11 Sunday

The Coal Hole Inn is an impressive stone-built nineteenth-century pub that overlooks the Hengoed Viaduct in the Rhymney Valley. The pub is built on the hillside and is set back from the main road with a large car park at the front. The pub sign features a miner and the pit-head winding gear in the background, a reminder of the industry that once dominated this region.
Originally a farmhouse, this building became a pub in the latter part of the nineteenth-century when this area became industrialised. The pub has been extended over the years from the original building with a small extension to the right-hand side. The front porch leads to a dining area on the left and the bar on the right. The bar is a bit of a throwback to the 1960s and features a tiled roof and brass footrail along the base. Three handpumps feature on the bar with real ales from Green King Brewery taking up two of them, Abbot and Old Speckled Hen, the third pump is reserved for a changing guest beer, the pumpclips of previous ales are displayed to the side of the bar. Wells & Youngs Banana Beer is also available in bottles and there is an excellent selection of single malts.

The bar area contains copper-topped tables and the attractive stonework of the walls is left bare, apart from a couple of mirrors, one being an old Hancock's Brewery Allbright mirror with a picture of the brewery on it and words 'The most popular pint in Wales' written on it. An old pendulum clock mounted on the wall keeps the time in this friendly valleys' local. A television set is mounted in one corner of the bar and there is a larger pull-down screen for major sporting events.
Outside there is a large garden to the side of the car park with tables and chairs and an excellent view of the Rhymney Valley and the Hengoed Viaduct.
Above: The Hengoed Viaduct over the Rhymney Valley

The Coal Hole has a good reputation for food and there are set menus as well as daily chalkboard specials and hand-written notices on the bar informing customers of the specials such as Yellowfin Sole fillet or Red Chinese Curry. The menu is very extensive, featuring a wide-range of curries and grills and the chalkboards extend around the corner of the bar.

 Google Map:

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Thursday 22 December 2011

Russians take Brains

It wouldn’t be Ru-si- without SA!

Welsh Brewer SA Brain and Co Ltd has grown its export sales thanks to a 72,000 pint order from Russia.

Last month Brains shipped its first order of SA, SA Gold and Brains Black, meaning Wales’ best loved beer is now available throughout the country.

Just weeks after Brains arrived, one famous Welshman was spotted drinking it. Tom Jones, who was in the country for his ‘Praise and Blame’ tour, enjoyed Brains Black stout in the Dickens pub in St Petersburg.

Other export highlights include New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, France, Finland and Ireland.

Richard Davies, Sales and Marketing Director at Brains, said: “It’s early days for our export channel, but encouragingly sales keep rising, and our Russian distributor has already placed a second order. Within the UK we continue to grow sales of our beers in supermarkets through national listings in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose.”

Monday 19 December 2011

Last chance to try Newport's Vintage Cider

The Pen & Wig, Stow Hill, Newport, has secured the last of the 2010 Vintage of St Cecilia Cyder, made by local cidermaker Phil Palmer of Bassaleg.

The St Cecilia apple is a rare Welsh eating apple propagated in the early 1900s by John Basham & Sons, fruit growers of Bassaleg, a surburb of Newport. It has been blended with a small amount of bittersweets to give it some body. Cecilia was the name of Bashams' wife and is the patron St of music. Legend has it that the apple is best picked on St Cecilias day - Nov 22.
ABV 6.5%

The next time this rare cider will be available will be in May 2012.

Christmas Beers

A quick round-up of a few Christmas beers from breweries in South Wales.

First up is FirKing Good from Brains, brewed with Aromatic Malt and containing spicy hop flavours, this is a deep amber-coloured ale with a warming finish.

Next to Jay at Neath Ales with his Winter Star - a chestnut coloured ale which goes down easy and puts a festive smile on faces. 4.6% very low bittering hops but loads of spicy/earthy late hop flavour from buckets full of traditional hop varieties.

Vale of Glamorgan Brewery have brewed a couple of Christmas specials this year, the first one being Sleigh Belle. a tawny best bitter with pleasant bitterness and gentle hoppiness from cascade whole hops.

Their second seasonal brew is Holly Daze 5.4% ABV and is described by the brewery as 'Our Christmas brew, watch don't get in too much of a daze drinking this smooth, full bodied ale that has a hint of chocolate undertone'.

Celt Experience/Newmans Brewery also have a couple of beers out this Christmas:

Winter Hog Ale 4.6% 
Winter Hog is strong winters ale with a powerful bitterness that explodes into a delicious mixture of fruit flavours and aromas. Amber brown in colour this premium ale is complemented by a good sweet bitterness and a blend of aroma hops lending to its grapefruit and slightly citrus flavour.

Hoppy Gristmas 5.0%
A strong winter speciality ale, Hoppy Gristmas is a deep ruby beer with a delicate fruity aroma and a good hop presence. The lovely taste is distinguished by the sutbly sharp and full bodied flavour.

Best name for any Welsh Christmas Beer has to be from Purple Moose Brewery with X-Moose!

Meanwhile Gwynt Y Ddraig Cider have launched their seasonal cider, Sleigh Ride

Saturday 17 December 2011

Old brewery monogram in Merthyr

Above: The Belle Vue, Merthyr Tydfil

Travelling through Merthyr Tydfil over the summer I came across this monogram on the pub wall of the Belle Vue pub on Glebeland Street, 

WWN did not ring any bells at first but I recently found this old photograph of the Belle Vue Hotel

and the name over the top is:
WW Nell & Co
Celebrated Ales Wines & Spirits

Okay so its clearly not the same building but the footprint is the same and the monogram on the rebuilt pub appears to refer to William Nell's brewery of Cardiff. It's rare enough to find any old surviving brewery insignia on pubs these days, let alone one that dates to before 1926, the year that Nell's were purchased by Crosswell's Brewery. Crosswell's ended up in the Rhymney Brewery and finally the Whitbread Brewery empires.

Nell's Brewery were based in Cardiff, next door to what is now the Owain Glyndwr pub but was previously known as The Buccaneer, The Tennis Courts Hotel, The Green Dragon, The Kemeys-Tynte Arms and the Mabley Arms in 1731. William Nell was originally from Ancoats, Manchester where he may have worked in a brewery. In 1846 he founded the Eagle Brewery, St Thomas' Square, Cardiff.

Above: the present-day Owain Glyndwr pub, the brewery was sited on the left hand side of the pub

In 1871 William Nell died and his son William Walter Nell took over, the WWN referred to in the photograph and monogram. In 1890 the business was registered as a limited company and was valued at £65,000.  
In 1898 the Abergarw Brewery at Aberamen, near Aberdare was taken over.
The 1920s were a difficult time for Nell's and in 1926 two of their directors died and they made a profit of only £1,361 from their 5 freehold and 7 leasehold pubs, hence the sale to Crosswells.

Friday 16 December 2011

The Castle, Barry

Castle, 44 Jewel Street, Barry, CF63 3NQ

The Castle is a large, imposing street-corner pub set in a residential area of Barry. Built in 1898 out of the local Jurassic limestone blocks with cream-coloured sandstone facings around the doors and windows, the Castle also features original etched glass windows with 'Bar', 'Commercial Room', 'Jug & Bottle' as well as 'Tea' and 'Coffee Room' on them.

When built, as the Castle Hotel, the building had 38 bedrooms, though these are unused nowadays. The original entrance to the bar on the corner is blocked up, today the entrance is from the Jewel Street side, via a large wooden black-painted door and an internal porch with the Brains' dragon on the glass, this leads into the former 'Commercial Room' or what today is known as the lounge.  

The lounge features a large white marble fireplace to one side and has ample seating with red-velvet style coverings together with old photographs of Barry and CAMRA Good Beer Guide posters on the walls, the latter celebrating the fact that the Castle has featured in the annual publication for 5 years. There are also plenty of books around the lounge, the Castle is a community pub and customers are able to borrow books from the collection. The lounge bar counter is made of dark wood and although not original, it probably dates back to a refurbishment in the 1960s. The bar back features a collection of drinking mugs hanging from the dark wooden gantry.

The ceiling features ornate plasterwork and cornices and in one corner there is a wooden staircase leading to an upstairs function room.
To the rear of the lounge is a smaller room, used for Sunday lunches that contains a cast-iron cooking range, this was probably the original kitchen of the Castle Hotel. A nearby corridor, ornately decorated with Victorian floor tiles leads to the snooker room and an outside walled courtyard which features a smoking shelter.
To the side of the ornate fireplace in the lounge is a small corridor that leads through the former 'Jug & Bottle' off-sales department to the public bar with its impressive wooden bar back, pool table and stairs down to the skittle alley.

The Castle is owned by Wales' largest cask ale brewery, SA Brain and the beer range is Bitter and SA together with a Brain's seasonal such as IPA. In addition there are three handpumps used for serving guest beers from breweries such as Brakspears, Shepherd Neame and Celt Experience. Cider from Weston's is also available.
Food is available on Sundays between 12-3, although booking is advisable.
The Castle is a former local CAMRA Pub of the Year and also features in the Real Heritage Pubs of Wales book for its relatively unspoilt interior.

Google Map:

Wheatsheaf does IPA Festival for Xmas

The Wheatsheaf in Llantrisant, Mid-Glamorgan is holding an IPA Festival this weekend, starting today (Friday). Over 20 real ales will be available in this pub which I previously wrote about here (map and public transport information is also on the linked page)
Following on from the success of their Cornish Beer Festival, the Wheatsheaf is definitely one pub well worth a visit.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

North Wales pub in final of competition

 A pub run by a North Wales micro-brewery is in the running for the UK national Pub of the Year, competition. The Bridge End Inn in Ruabon, Wrexham, run by McGivern Ales, is one of four finalist selected by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale in their annual competition.

Bridge End Inn, 5 Bridge Street, Ruabon, Wrexham, LL14 6DA
Tel. 01978 810881,
'This former coaching inn close to the station has been completely revitalised since it was taken over by the McGivern family in 2009. It has proved so popular with locals and real ale aficionados from further afield that it was voted CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year in 2010.'
Peter McGivern, Bridge End Inn licensee, said: ‘We are genuinely chuffed to be in the final, being a small family business having only taken over the pub two and a half years ago. Our bar staff here are dedicated to knowing about their beer, and how to look after it, and we have an ever changing range, with over 100 different microbrewers on show on our pumps each year.’

Other contenders for Pub of the Year are:

Engineers Arms, 68 High Street, Henlow, Bedfordshire, SG16 6AA
Tel. 01462 812284,
'This lively two-bar pub in the centre of the village is a must for real ale fans, with 10 handpumps featuring a wide range and style of beers. There are also five ciders and a perry on offer, typically from Westons. The bar room walls are covered in pictures dedicated to local history, sports stars and brewery memorabilia.'
Kevin Machin, Engineers Arms licensee, said: ‘We are elated to have reached the final four, and it’s a great honour. Everyone’s so excited around here that we’ve reached this stage of the competition. We were delighted just to have won the title of best pub in East Anglia.’

Front, Custom House Quay, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3JT
Tel. 01326 212168
'Tucked away in a corner of the picturesque Custom House Quay, this small cellar-style pub with low-vaulted ceiling lies below Trago Mills store. A popular student haunt, a whole range of live entertainment is on offer during the evenings- folk, shanty singers, open mike and more. Guest beers constantly vary to provide a year-round beer festival. There's no food, but you may bring your own from various nearby outlets.'
Matt Reay, Front general manager, said: ‘It’s a quite unbelievable achievement for us bearing in mind we are only a little bar on the waterfront. We put so much work into serving our beer in tip top condition, and we are dedicated to giving good service to our customers, and providing a great atmosphere.’

Swan with Two Necks, Main Street, Pendleton, Lancashire, BB7 1PT
Tel. 01200 423112,
'A true local in every sense, with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and traditional, home-cooked food with ingredients from local suppliers. The licensees are both CAMRA members and are celebrating their 25th anniversary running the pub. Four handpumps regularly feature beers from George Wright and Phoenix, and sometimes also from one of the local micro-breweries. Westons cider is a standard here. Rosie the cat is a local legend, as is the vast collection of teapots.'
Christine Dilworth, Swan with Two Necks proprietor, said: ‘We have never been recognised like this before, so to reach these final stages is fantastic. We are a village establishment, and there is a real buzz around the community, with new people from across Britain coming to visit the pub in light of our success. Being the national winner would cap a great 25 years running the pub!’
Julian Hough, CAMRA Pubs Director, said:
‘It’s great to see four finalists which haven’t featured at this stage of the competition over the last decade, as this shows just how many exemplary community pubs remain across Britain.’
The winner of CAMRA's National Pub of the Year 2011 is to be officially announced mid-February 2012.

Monday 12 December 2011

Artisan Brewery Xmas Party

 Some news from Simon at Artisan Brewery:
Grab your Bare Naked 'Bag-For-Life' (£2 at all good brew stores) and trundle those pins down to our Artisan Brewery on the 17th December for the ‘OFFICIAL’ release of our Baltic Porter Espresso 5.8%ABV.
We know some of you have tried it already... well, now's your chance to lug a few bottles home to impress your old man (or lady) over the Xmas table, post-turkey... 

On the day, we will be serving beer by the pint for you to stop, sample, and basically get into the Xmas Party feel of things...

Bottle Sales 12-8pm (10% Discount by the Dozen)

The range: Helles Lager 5.4% / Bavarian Wheat 5.3% / Smoked Lager 5.4% / ALTbeer 5% / Baltic Porter Espresso 5.8%

To mark this momentous Xmas occasion we've teamed up with fellow crafty folk of Kings Rd Arts Studios to hold a day-time market in the ‘Artisan Alley’...
Loosely, the market will run from 10am till 4pm and offer a range of nick-knacks from hand-made jewellery and art, through to pre-loved clothes and bric-a-brac.

We’ll likely have the wood stoves out again for your heating pleasure... so, hope for snow and not for rain. Bring your mates and get geared for our Xmas Brewery Bash

Entry is still free. 
Artisan Brewery
183A Kings Rd
CF11 9DF 

Friday 9 December 2011

Rhymney Brewery moving on

The current Champion Brewers of Wales, Rhymney Brewery, will be moving to their new home in the historic World Heritage town of Blaenavon early next year. Building has been going on throughout the year at this new building and visitor centre.
The visitor centre will feature interactive displays as well as the famous Hobby Horse trademark to ride on as Rhymney Head Brewer Marc Evans has discovered!

 And of course a bar!

The brewing equipment is scheduled to be moved in January to its new home.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Model Inn reopens as a restaurant

After being closed for almost a year, one of Cardiff's oldest pubs, the Model Inn on Quay Street has reopened as a restaurant called Greenwood & Brown, named after the wine merchants who used to own this pub.

Originally called the Ship on Launch (this is Quay Street after all), a building on this site is clearly marked on John Speed's map of 1610 and was renamed the Model Inn, according to tradition, after Cromwell's New Model Army were billeted there during the civil war.  In the nineteenth century the Ship on Launch Tavern even brewed its beer in an on site brewery.

 In 1956 The Model Inn was purchased by Cardiff brewers SA Brain, from wine merchants Greenwood & Brown, together with 4 other pubs for around £100,000. The other pubs were the York Hotel on Canal Wharf (Still standing but has been closed for 20 years and is awaiting demolition), Vulcan (still open, just), Ship Hotel (closed) and the Cross Inn on Newport Road, Rumney (still open).

It's good to see this building be used again and in this economic climate its good to see a brewery investing in a building as Pub Companies do not seem to want to, or even have the money to do so. There is already an excellent pub a couple of doors away, the City Arms, so there would have been no point in having another excellent pub almost next door.

Press release from Brains follows:
Greenwood & Brown

After major internal and external refurbishment – and a change of name – Greenwood and Brown, on Quay Street in Cardiff city centre, has today (Tuesday 6th December) opened. Formerly known as the Model Inn, the Brains owned venue will operate as a bar and grill, serving simple, great quality food.

The Model Inn has been part of the Brains family for more than half a century. In 1956 the company bought the pub from a local wine merchant, Greenwood and Brown – which provided the inspiration for the name.

Philip Lay, retail director at Brains, explains: “Food is becoming an increasingly important part of our business, and across our managed pub estate now represents 35% of total sales. Greenwood and Brown therefore feels like a natural progression for us. We already have a great pub on Quay Street in the City Arms, which serves 35 different types of beers and ciders. This offers something completely different, and we think it will be a great addition to the area.”

Greenwood and Brown is open Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 12am. The menu, which relies heavily on Welsh suppliers, includes steaks, fish and seafood, and a range of daily changing dishes including risotto, seafood chowder and rack of lamb. And on the bar there’s a mix of premium bottled beers, wines and spirits, as well as classic cocktails.

For more information visit the website or follow on Twitter @greenwoodbrown

Nick Otley on You Tube

I've only just found this on You Tube, its of Nick Otley from Otley Brewery talking about cask ale

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Cider at Chapter this Saturday

View Larger MapChapter Arts Centre in Cardiff wiil be hosting a Festive Food Fayre this Saturday:

Sat 10 Dec
11am – 6pm

Featuring local, organic, and ethically produced food and a selection of family-friendly workshops, our Festive Food Fair is the perfect opportunity to stock up on hamper-fillers, find some inspiration for Christmas treats and get hands on with some food sustainability issues.
Contributors include Mark's Bread; The Parsnipship; Cardiff Herb Co; Tortoise Bakery; Riverford Organic Veg; Hipo Hyfryd; I Want To Bake Free; Hungry Planet; Gwynt Y Ddraig Cider; Gwatkin Cider; Farmhouse Pantry; Llanfaes Dairy Ice Cream; Welsh Brew Tea; The Nut Hut and finally but by no means least, Chapter’s Christmas treats.
Activities include: a hedgerow hamper basket making workshop, gingerbread men decorating workshop, pottery workshop, fruit and veg sculpture, mosaic workshop, a low carbon Christmas cook off, rocket-jet stove workshop, smoothie pedal cafe and much more. We'll also be hosting the next Siop y Bobl - The People's Supermarket Cardiff big meeting - a chance to meet the team and get invloved in this exciting new project.
And the icing on the Christmas cake will be jazz singer Brigida Melly who will be performing some carols under our Christmas tree.

Gwatkin Cider seasonal Champear will be available, along with Santa Cider alongside the usual range of award-winning ciders and perries.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Brains New Craft Brewery

Well after much speculation on Facebook, much of it wrong but it did give the guys at Brains a laugh, I finally tracked down Brains Head Brewer Bill Dobson, to ask him some questions about the new craft ale brewery to be installed at Brains Brewery next year.

 Above: Bill Dobson, Head Brewer at SA Brain

Brains are not the first regional brewer to build an experimental plant both Thwaites and Shepherd Neame have ones.
The new craft brewery will be housed within the existing Victorian tower brewery structure, replacing the space where a mash tun was removed some years ago. Now I don't have a photo on file of this whole area, as being an empty space in a brewery, it's not something of that much interest when visiting, however if you look at the photo below, taken earlier this year, the space the new brewery is going into is on the far left of the picture.

The new plant will be able to brew a maximum of 15 barrels and will allow the use of whole hops, the current brewery can only utilise hop pellets so this will increase the range of hops that can be used as it can take a few years before new hop varieties are available in pellet form. It looks like we can expect to see some interesting beer produced by Brains in the future, as if the seasonal beers produced this year; Strong Ale, Legends (New Zealand hops), British Summertime (dry-hopped with Styrian Goldings), Milkwood (brewed with Naked Golden Oats) and the Stout were not interesting enough.

The new fermenting vessels will be on the ground floor of the brewery and a small bottling line will also be installed. Head Brewer Bill Dobson told me that he hopes to experiment with different hops in the IPAs and have a taste off session comparing the different beers sometime in the future, this would have to be done from bottles due to the time-scales involved with cask beer and its shelf life. The majority of the beer produced on the craft plant will be cask and sold via Brains' pubs, so expect the beer range in the City Arms to get even more interesting next year!

All in all this development at the brewery is good for the beer scene in Cardiff and good for Brains. The current brewery dates mainly to the 1970s, although some fermenters are from the 1950s and the grist mills are even older. The former Bass/Hancocks plant was designed for mass production of beer and utilised high-gravity brewing techniques and hop pellets. Bass once produced a special brew of Hancocks Five-Five for the Cardiff Beer Festival one year and a brewer had to visit a home-brew shop to buy the whole hops as none were used in the Bass Empire! A smaller, craft brewery will allow Brains to test the market and experiment with exciting new ingredients. Roll on 2012, the year of craft brewing in Cardiff!

Monday 5 December 2011

Deri Inn, Cardiff

Deri Inn, Heol-Y-Deri, Rhiwbina, CF14 6UH
Open all day

Pubs are few and far between in this northern suburb of Cardiff as this area was originally owned by the Cory family, supporters of the Temperance Movement who also gave their name to nearby Coryton. The Deri Inn was not built until the 1970s and was originally owned by Welsh Brewers and was once a Toby Carvery, today this pub is run by Ember Inns who are a division of Mitchells & Butlers. The pub was named after the oak trees that gave their name to this road, though today Monkey Puzzle trees grow outside the pub. The pub is a short walk from the railway station at Rhiwbina or alternatively there is a bus stop nearby (No 21 or 23, Cardiff City Centre - Rhiwbina - Whitchurch - Cardiff City Centre).

The Deri Inn is set back from the main road with an extensive car park to the rear, and plenty of outdoor seating, including a wooden-framed heated smoking shelter. The 1970s are not regarded as a classic era for pub design however the interior of the Deri Inn more than makes up for the rather bland exterior. A large and ornate wooden bar features a copper handrail on one side and 5 copper-plated handpumps serving real ales, another 3 handpumps are around the corner of the bar. Brains Bitter is a permanent feature on the bar and the other beers are guest beers from breweries around the UK such as Lancaster, Orkney, and RCH. For the month of November, the Deri Inn ran a beer festival with a range of specially commissioned beers featuring on the bar every week, the final one of these is Project Venus, brewed by a bevy of brewsters or female brewers from across Britain and Ireland. Sue from the Waen Brewery in Powys has had some input into this beer which is described as a Black IPA. Fullers Honey Dew and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are also available in bottles.
During December, Eat Drink and Be Jolly, an East Coast Pale Ale, based on Adnams’ Champion Pale Ale recipe, will be one of the guest beers available.

The Deri Inn has 3 fireplaces which help break up the interior into separate areas – with distinct 'pub' and 'dining' areas, though there is some overspill into the 'pub' area for diners. There is also a discrete area to the side of the bar with glass partitions. The pub serves traditional pub food all day, with specialities on
boards on the bar such as fish in batter made from one of the guest beers on the bar. There is also a chalkboard offering bar snacks such as olives and warsarbi peas.
The Deri features live music on Saturday nights and there are quiz nights on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Google Map:

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Saturday 3 December 2011

Police waste money on beermats

Following on from Gwent Police printing beermats earlier in the year, it turns out the neighbouring South Wales Police Force have managed to find some money for a print run as well. A veritable cornucopia of taxpayer-funded bodies have used our money to produce this advertising gimmick, still with breweries cutting back on point of sale material such as beermats it appears that only the bloated public sector can afford to produce such advertising material.
It is good that the flow of cash from the Welsh Government/European Union/Rhondda Cynon Taff Council has not dried up, with crime levels increasing, pubs closing and becoming derelict squatter camps what we really need in this country are taxpayer-funded beermats to get the message across.
Even children are brought into this campaign with this design on the back of the beermat by Thomas, aged 13. Good to see he has started to demonise cocktail drinkers with his drawing, we all know that cocktail drinkers are the cause of 99% of all alcohol related crime in the United Kingdom. Well, no they are not but the drawing could well have been of a pint glass with real in it.

On another note, South Wales Police announced today that last year over 39,000 innocent motorists were stopped in their annual inconvenience the driver campaign. I'm not advocating drink driving but surely there must be something better than stopping cars at random just to fill in their bloody quotas? Well they could always produce beemats I suppose?

Thursday 1 December 2011

Artisan Brewery Open Day this Saturday

Why not head to Pontcanna in Cardiff this Saturday for one of the regular open days of Artisan Brewery.
Details on the Facebook site here.
As Simon puts it,
"Be our guests Saturday 3rd December, 12-9pm as Artisan Brewing Company rolls out the last official 'Bar Open' event of the year.

We will be showcasing a plethora of fine winter warming lagers and wheat beers. Also you could try some hot soup or a burge...r from the smoking BBQ?

Entry is still free, and this will be the last 'Bar Open' until March 2012.
Bare Naked Beers: Helles Lager 5.4% / ALTbeer 5% / Bavarian Wheat 5% (and a sneak preview of the Baltic Porter Espresso 5.8% - Available in Bottle on the 17th Dec.)

House Blend - Organic Cider 5.1%

Wines – Red and White

Hot food includes – Beef Burgers & Soup w/salad and bread.

We now have wood burners to drive off the cold... please mind your children’s fingers!

As for the rain... bring a brella. And your mates too"

Google Map:

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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Cardiff Pubs in the 1980s

Came across this little booklet, published in 1980, which features a map of Cardiff and the pubs in the City Centre.

A lot has changed in 30 years, for instance the booklet mentions Brains have 103 pubs, they now have 270 and have expanded their empire into England and West Wales. The retail development of the City Centre saw a few pubs demolished as well.

Where the pubs have gone:

NB if the pub does not have a website of their own I have linked to the relevant page on the fantastic Cardiff Pubs site.

A. Albert Hotel, now The Yard
B. Angel Hotel, still there, although the downstairs bar closed some years ago.
C. Bluebell Hotel, still open, renamed The Goat Major.
D. Borough Arms, still open
E. Cambrian Hotel, still open renamed Kitty Flynn's
F. Cardiff Cottage, still open, now just The Cottage
G. Centre Hotel, Gatehouse Tavern, now Callaghans, part of the Holiday Inn
H. City Arms, still open
I. Duke of Wellington, still open
J. Fishguard Arms, demolished, was next door to the Golden Cross
K. Glastonbury, demolished, Radisson Blue Hotel now on site
L. Globe Inn, renamed Dempseys
M. Golden Cross, still open
N. Great Western Hotel, still open, now Lloyds No1 (Wetherspoons)
O. Greyhound Hotel, demolished, St David's 2 shopping centre on the site
P. Horse & Groom, closed, building still there
Q. Model Inn, closed in 2010, due to reopen December 2011 as Greenwood & Brown restaurant
R. New Market Tavern, renamed O'Neils
S. Old Arcade, still open
T. Owain Glyndwr, still open
U. Park Lane Bar, later known as the Park Vaults, now closed and converted into a bookmakers.
V. Philharmonic, closed.
W. Red Dragon Bar, closed now Marks & Spencer Simply Food!
X. Rose & Crown, known as Barfly recently and now Bogiez.
Y. Rummer Tavern, still open
Z. Salutation Hotel, demolished, John Lewis department store on site now
ZZ. York Hotel, closed, awaiting demolition

The pub descriptions are a little sparse to say the least:


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