Monday 28 February 2011

Otley brew Croes-o for March

Otley announces new seasonal beer for March

Award-winning Welsh micro-brewery, the Otley Brewing Company, is bringing St David’s day celebrations to life with the launch of its March seasonal beer.

Croes-O is a 4.2% ABV golden ale and is a light, hoppy, delicate beer with big aromas and will be available to all trade customers from March 1.

Nick Otley, managing director of Otley, said: “Croes-O was first brewed for the CAMRA annual general meeting held in Cardiff in 2009. As the Welsh word ‘croeso’ translates to ‘welcome’ in English, this was a great way to welcome the CAMRA board members to Wales. Due to the high demand for this ale, we have decided to re-brew it every year since.”

Friday 25 February 2011

Get the beers in Wrexham!

For those of near North Wales this weekend, the Wrexham Beer Festival will be featuring a good selection of real ales from across the UK. Organised by Chester and South Clwyd CAMRA this is the third year the event has been held at the Gresford Colliery Club.
Opening Times:
Friday 25th February - 7pm to 11pm (Admission £3)
Saturday 26th February - 12pm to 4pm (Admission £2)
Saturday 26th February - 7pm to 11pm (Admission £3)

All admission prices include a program and a free half pint for CAMRA members on production of their membership card.

Beer List:
Abbey Grange Welsh Black 5.5
Brimstage Sandpiper 3.6
Conwy Mulberry Dark 3.8
Dunham Massey Little Bollington Bitter 3.7
Facers Landslide 4.9
Frodsham P.S.A 4.0
Gertie Sweet Winter Belle 4.7
Hydes Original 3.8
Jolly Brewer Cwrw Powys Fadog 4.0
Joules Pale Ale 4.1
Joules Slumbering Monk 4.5
Liverpool Organic Johnny Handsome 4.0
Marble 3.9 3.9
Northern Deep Dark Secret 5.2
Offbeat Scrumptious 4.0
Great Orme Cambria 3.8
Ossett Treacle Stout 5.0
Plassey Cwrw Tudno 5.0
Plassey Festival Ale 7.0
Prospect Panned Out 4.0
Purple Moose Canol y Ian 4.1
Salopian Darwin's Origin 4.3
Sandstone Poachers Pale 4.5
Sandstone Postmistress 4.4
Spitting Feathers Farmhouse Bitter 3.6
Stonehouse Station Bitter 3.9
Tatton Yeti 4.5
Weetwood Old Dog 4.5

Wrexham Beer Festival, 25th-26th February
Gresford Colliery Club
Bluebell Lane
LL12 8EE

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Easily reached by Public Transport:

Raking in the Welsh Beers

The best bar in London are holding their annual Welsh Beer Festival next week. The Rake in Borough Market will be featuring a selection of the best beers from Wales and their 3rd Welsh Beer Festival starts at midday on Sunday 27th February with a meet the brewers session from 2pm with Nick and Matt Otley. The Festival continues throughout the week.

The Beer List:
Rhymney : Dark. Former Champion Beer of Wales!

Bullmastiff : Son of a Bitch, Welsh Black & Welsh Pride.

Conwy : Telford Porter.

Monty’s : Manjana, Midnight & Mojo.

Great Orme : Celtica

Otley : O1, O-Garden ,O-Rosie, Croeso & Motley Brew

Waen : Tidy Pint, Janners Pride, Blackberry Stout & Festival Gold.

Heart of Wales : Aur Cymru.

Jolly Brewer : Druids Ale.

Tomos Watkin : 1879 Lager (Keg)

Three Tuns : XXX.

Bryncelyn : Buddy Marvellous.

Bragd’yr Nant : Mwnci Nel.

Vale of Glamorgan : Grog y Vog, Wheats Occuring & Cwrw Dewi.

Breconshire : Ramblers Ruin, Sin Bin & Welsh Pale Ale.

Preseli : Baggywrinkle.

Kingstone : Humpty’s Fuddle.

Purple Moose : Dark Side of the Moose & Glaslyn.

In addition cider from World Champion Cider makers Gwynt Y Ddraig will also be available.

14 Winchester Walk
Borough Market

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Tuesday 22 February 2011

Duke of Wellington, Cowbridge

Duke of Wellington, 48 High Street, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7AG
Open all day 

The market-town of Cowbridge was once home to many old pubs and coaching inns and the Duke of Wellington is a rare survivor from those days. This two-story whitewashed building looks small from the outside but this is deceptive as the pub stretches back from the road quite a way.
The pub was not always called the Duke of Wellington and had acquired this name by at least 1844, in honour of the Iron Duke who used to stay here whilst on his way to visit the family of General Picton in Pembrokshire. The first mention of this building as an inn with stables and brewhouse was in 1662, although the building is not named, by 1760 it was called the Half Moon and a few years later may have become the Cowbridge Arms before being renamed again in 1829 as the Black Horse and by 1831 another name change occurred, this time to the Coach & Horses. The Duke of Wellington pub was sold to SA Brain in 1919 and the company still own this historic pub today.
The main entrance to the pub is from the High Street with a short corridor leading to the bar on the right and the dining area to the rear, there is also another room to the left, these rooms are perhaps the remnants of the medieval floor plan of the original building on this site. The bar area is spacious with plenty of seating, exposed stonework and blackened beams. The real ales, served from gleaming brass handpumps are Brains Dark, SA, SA Gold and Bitter or there are bottles of Gwynt Y Ddraig Welsh cider also available. There is also an outdoor area towards the rear with comfortable seating, a real sun trap in the hot weather.
The dining area to the rear was once an open courtyard in the days when this pub was a coaching inn and one of the features from those times is a well which now is now a focal point of the room, although claims of its Roman origins are a bit far fetched.
There is an extensive menu available at the Duke with chalkboards offering interesting additions to the usual pub fayre. Sausages made with SA Gold are one of the specialities and there is even a Reverend James chutney to match the Welsh cheeses on the menu. The pub is open all day and food is served 12-9pm Monday to Saturday and 12-5pm on Sundays.
One of the more unusual features of this pub is the function room at the very rear of the building. Built on the site of the old stables around about the time of the First World War, this is a mock-medieval art deco construction that has to be seen to be believed with its huge fireplace and even a minstrels gallery. During Cowbridge Food Festival in October the pub is the venue of a cider festival with around 30 different ciders and perries on sale.  

Thursday 17 February 2011

The righteous get together

In a match made in hell, a joint conference will be held this year by Fake Charities ASH Wales and Alcohol Concern Cymru. The neo-prohibitionists of the smoking and drinking world getting together for what must be a fun-filled couple of days of bansturbation fills me absolute delight.

The topics to be discussed include:
"How do we shift public perceptions and norms?"
"Should we consider managing the retail environment and product marketing as ways of combating tobacco and/or alcohol use?"

So do we expect fair and balanced views from these Government-funded Fake Charities? No, not really as submissions of abstracts from Tobacco or Alcohol Industries or their subsidiaries will not be accepted. Ah so the righteous will be one-sided with their talk of banning advertising and brewery-sponsored sports events. As has been said elsewhere the denormalisation of smoking became eveident before the ban was introduced. We are now seeing the same being done to the drinks industry despite the amount of money it generates for this country.
It's time the Government ceased to fund these Fake Charities who waste our money on schemes to demonise the smoker and drinker. All they wish to do is to attack on our personal liberties and choices for their own benefit not for ours.

First they banned the smokers
And I did not speak out because I was not a smoker
Next they came for the drinkers...........

On another point, National No Smoking Day 2011 is coming up on Wednesday 9th March. Now this is the one day of the year that I choose to smoke, in protest at the nanny state we have imposed on us. This year I have some King Edward Imperials, well the US economy could do with the trade, and also something rather large from Nicaragua. now it's just trying to find the right pub to have a smoke outside, last year the protest was at the Vulcan in Cardiff, still undecided on the venue for this year.

Closed pub reopens

In what is a bit of surprise in the City-Centre of Newport, the former Trout Vaults in Market Street, or CanCans as it became known at one time, has reopened as a well erm 'cabaret bar' whatever that means. According to a well-placed source on Newport pubs, well Rob in the Murenger "A regular from the Murray popped in on Friday night, had to pay three quid to get in and left after he had his arse pinched while at the bar". Ah so the Trout has been renamed the Birdcage and has become a gay cabaret bar, oh well it could have been worse.

Pubs add a billion pounds to the Welsh Economy every year

 A new report commissioned by the British Beer & Pub Association has revealed that 51,000 people are dependent on jobs in the beer and pub industries in Wales with £600 million in wages being dependent on the trade which adds £1 billion to the Welsh economy every year.

The full report, written by Oxford Economics is available here (pdf)

The UK figures are equally impressive:

• 980,000 people in the UK depend on beer and pubs for work
• The beer and pub trade adds over £21 billion to the UK economy every year
• £13.4 billion in UK wages are dependent on the trade, each year

With pubs so important to the economy in Wales, is it not time the Welsh Assembly Government started to support them? Instead the WAG seem intent on supporting the neo-prohibitionists such as Fake Charity Alcohol Concern Wales who rely on Government funding of £250,000/pa to produce negative and incorrect reports such as this one?

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival

This year will see the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival return to the Cardiff International Arena for the fourth year in succession and the festival this year is set to be bigger and better than ever. The video above is a compilation of photographs taken by me over the last 3 years of the festival, hope you enjoy them, sit back and look forward to the festival this year.

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2011
16th-18th June
CIA, Cardiff International Arena
Mary Ann Street
CF10 2EQ

Vale of Glamorgan Brewery rugby offering

The new beer from Vale of Glamorgan Brewery has a rugby themed beer as every Welsh brewery does at the moment. Tried this beer in the Pen & Wig in Newport. The verdict, well this is a mid-brown beer with a sweet, malty aroma. Sweetness and some fruit in the taste as well followed by finally some bitterness and astringency in aftertaste. A sweet, malty bitter or to put it another way another sweet malty bitter along the lines of SA. Great need some hops, time to find an Otley beer!

Benefits of Beer

Now I don't normally watch or read Fox News but came across this interesting piece. In fact it was linked to this good bit of pro-beer propaganda on their site (copied below)

Report: Beer Great for Heart Health

When most people think of heart-healthy beverages, they think of red wine. But new evidence from the American Dietetic Association (ADA) shows that beer has a great deal of nutrition and heart benefits as well, according to an article published in ADA Times.
“Red wine enjoys a reputation for sophistication and health benefits, but as interest in artisan brewing gains momentum and emerging research reveals unique nutrition properties, beer is finding redemption not only as a classy libation with deep roots in many cultures, but as a beverage with benefits,” said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Andrea Giancoli in a news release.
The article comes out just in time for American Heart Month, which raises awareness of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. One in three adults has some form of heart disease, and many can be prevented by healthier food choices.
Giancoli said that moderate consumption of beer has shown to increase HDL cholesterol (good), lower LDL cholesterol (bad), and reduce the risk of blood clots. It also lowers the risk of gallstones and type 2 diabetes
“Beer specifically has been associated with additional health outcomes, including lowering the risk of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages, possibly due to its high water content and diuretic effect,” Giancoli said. “Compounds in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones. Additionally, beer drinkers seem to have a more protective effect towards greater bone mineral density due to the high content of silicone in beer.”
Wine and beer are both fat-free, but only beer contains a small amount of protein in its total calories. The lower alcohol content of beer also plays a role.
“Wines are between 12 percent and 14 percent ABV. Because the average beer has a lower ABV and more than two and half times as much water, it contributes to fluid intake more so than wine,” she said.
Recent studies show that most lagers contain close to 2 grams of soluble fiber per liter, and dark beers can contain over 3 grams.
But the ADA still recommends moderation when it comes to alcohol.
“Whether you’re exploring the cultural roots of an ancient beverage, expanding your culinary prowess, supporting a local brewer or just enjoying a cold one,” Giancoli said. “Remember that moderate consumption means one 12-ounce beer per day for women and two for men.”
Click here to read the ADA Times article.

A positive beer story in the media! Whatever next?

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Moose Wins Beer Oscar!

 The Purple Moose Brewery of Porthmadag have scooped another award, this time at the Brewing Industry International Awards held recently in Burtin-upon-Trent.
According to their website, "Purple Moose Brewery is immensely proud to have been awarded the Bronze Medal, Class 2, in the International Dark Beer Competition at the Brewing Industry International Awards 2011. This is the first time the competition has run in six years and, returning to Britain, it was hosted at the National Brewery Centre in Burton-on-Trent.
This is the most prestigious worldwide beer competition and it receives entries from breweries large and small. The beers are judged by a panel of highly respected, experienced fellow brewers from around the globe. Run since 1886, this event is often dubbed ‘the Oscars of the brewing industry’ – and with good reason. An award is recognition by fellow professional brewers that a beer is an outstanding commercial example of its style.

Brewery owner Lawrence Washington attended the awards announcement in Burton, on Friday afternoon. Having only been brewing for five and a half years this was the first time that Purple Moose Brewery has been able to enter this competition. Lawrence commented, "We have been rewarded with a number of accolades for our beer in the relatively short time we have been brewing, but to be awarded a medal at these competitions is something very special. I am extremely proud of what my colleagues and I have achieved here in Porthmadog. Ultimately it serves as great assurance for our customers that our beers are among the very best in the country, even the world."
The full list of winners is available here.

Above: Lawrence Washington celebrates an earlier win a few years back

Elsewhere in the competition, Wales' largest cask ale producer, SA Brain, also won a Bronze in the International Cask Ale Competition Class 3 for Cask Ale 4.4% - 4.8% ABV for SA Gold

Some unknown pubs- please help!

A few years ago Dave from the RATS bought a collection of images of pubs, all from the former Rhymney Brewery empire. The brewery and the pubs were taken over by Whitbread in 1966. The problem is that not all the photographs were labelled with the locoation of the pubs and we have been trying to identify the location of the pubs for years. That's why I decided to put them on the internet. We have identified most of the pubs but below there are a few we are stuck on.
Most of the photographs in the collection date to before 1966 and feature the Rhymney Hobby Horse branding, however a few are taken later and the pubs have the Whitbread logo on them.
Yes we have tried Google Street view but with only limited success, the pubs featured below may or may not have been converted, renamed or demolished by now.

Builders Arms
Situated on the corner of Exchange Road, the bill poster on the front of the pub is advertising a company based on Station Road, Port Talbot, so the inference is that this pub was probably in or around the Neath/Port Talbot area.
I do like the fag machine on the wall outside the pub though – can imagine how long such a machine would last nowadays!
UPDATE. Thanks to Jay from Neath Ales who identified this former pub on the corner of Dan-y-
Craig Road

 Building today according to Google Maps:

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Commercial Inn
Quite a substantial roadside pub this one on what appears to be a main road or town centre, there is a branch of the Halifax Building Society to the right of the pub. UPDATE: Thanks to Sam who identified it as the Commercial Inn, Killay, Swansea. A pub I have been past on my way to the Railway in Killay!
Gwyn ArmsAn end of terrace pub with the pub sign featuring the statue of Howell Gwyn 1806-88, MP for Neath.

Update: its still open and in Alltwen, SA8 3AJ
Google Street View:

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Ship Inn
Luckily we have two views of this pub, the rear view shows what appears to be a power station or steelworks steam cooling tower in the distance.
An anonymous contributor has identified this pub as the former Ship Inn, Giant's Grave, Briton Ferry.
The former pub is close to the canal and is today on an industrial site.

 Present Day Image from Google Streetview:

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White Lion
Again this looks like a typical street corner from the South Wales valleys, on the main street of the town and on the corner of Hill Street (hardly helpful considering the geography of Wales!) This photo dates from the 1970s by the look of the cars.
Update: Again thanks to Jay from Neath Ales - this pub is on the corner of Neath Road, Briton Ferry, now painted green and called the 'Earl of Jersey'.
Google Street view today:

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Monday 14 February 2011

Meet the brewers at the Blue Bell

For those of you around North Wales on Wednesday night, the award-winning Blue Bell in Halkyn will be playing host to a 'Meet the Brewer' night from 5pm on Wednesday 16th February with members of the Association of Welsh Independent Brewers, AWIB, popping along.
Brewers attending so far: Breconshire, Conwy, Facers, Jacobi, Jolly Brewer, Montys, Purple Moose, Sandstone, Otley, and Waen, with a few others likely to turn up as well it looks like we will have to invent a collective known for a group of Welsh brewers - a bevy of brewers? Or a cwtch of Welsh brewers?
More details can be found on the Facebook group here.

Blue Bell website and directions to find the pub here

Blue Bell
Rhosesmor Road 
Google Map:

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Friday 11 February 2011

Molson Coors selling less beer

News from Yahoo that Molson Coors is selling less beer.

Molson Coors 4Q profit falls as it sells less beer
Thu Feb 10, 6:31 pm ET
DENVER – Molson Coors Brewing Co.'s fourth-quarter net income fell by more than half as it sold less beer in the U.S. and U.K. and dealt with rising taxes and higher costs for ingredients and fuel.

The results missed analysts' average expectations, according to FactSet, and Molson's shares fell more than 4 percent Thursday.

The Denver company raised prices in the downturn to protect its profit margins, and it sold less beer as a result. Before the fourth quarter, cost-cutting was helping its profit rise.

Molson Coors reported Thursday that it earned $109.8 million, or 58 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 25. That's down 51 percent from $222.1 million, or $1.19 per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings amounted to 66 cents a share.

Last year's quarter was boosted by an unusually low tax rate, the company said.

Revenue excluding excise taxes rose 1.7 percent to $835.1 million because of higher prices.

The results fell short of analysts' forecasts. Analysts were looking for earnings of 69 cents per share on revenue of $837.4 million.

"In the U.S., unemployment amongst our core consumer base remains high, and U.S. beer industry volumes continue to be weak," said Peter Swinburn, president and CEO of Molson Coors.

The company offset that by raising prices and cutting costs, he said. Net income for Molson's U.S. joint venture with SABMiller, Miller Coors, rose 41 percent to $144.2 million.

But that too was short of what analysts expected, said Barclays Capital analyst Erica Chase.

The lower-than-expected profit growth in the U.S. overpowered better Canadian results and U.K. results that were in line with expectations, she said in a note to investors.

Molson Coors says it sold 1.9 percent less beer globally. The United Kingdom was particularly weak. Sales there fell 4.9 percent.

To offset weakness in more established markets, the company is trying to expand in emerging markets such as China and woo new drinkers to its Coors Light brand. Volume in the unit that includes sales outside the U.S., Canada and Britain rose 55 percent, but the unit remains a tiny portion of Molson Coors' business.

Swinburn said in 2011 the company will continue cutting costs and expanding its product offerings. For example, in January, it introduced Molson Canadian 67 in Quebec.

In the U.S. it will focus on higher-priced light beer, craft beer and imports. The company plans to introduce Miller Genuine Draft lemonade in the summer and promote seasonal versions of its Blue Moon brand.

In the first six weeks of this year, the company's sales to retailers in Canada fell by a percentage in the mid-single digits from the same period a year earlier, Swinburn said during a conference call with investors. The figure rose in the U.K. at a low single-digit rate. In the U.S., it fell in the fell by a percentage in the low single digits.

For the full year, Molson Coors earned $707.7 million, or $3.78 per share, compared with $720.4 million, or $3.87 per share, in fiscal 2009. Its annual revenue rose to $4.703 billion from $4.427 billion.

Molson shares fell $2.09, or 4.4 percent, to close at $45.48 Thursday. The stock has traded between $38.44 and $51.11 during the past year.

Cask ale is currently a growth sector in the UK market and Molson Coors recent £20 million pound acquisition of Sharps or more correctly, their acquisition of the Doom Bar Brand could now be seen in a different light. Perhaps Molson Coors and their Welsh CEO Peter Swinburn, who, incidentally started at Welsh Brewers, have seen that one reason for their 4.9% drop in sales has been the apparent lack of any cask ale brands?

The Morning Advertiser is reporting an 11% increase in UK & Ireland sales, not the 4.9% fall as reported in the Molson Coors US press release. Odd.

South Wales Pub Auction

The beginning of March will see the first big pub auction of the year as failing pub companies Admiral and Enterprise attempt to dispose of some of their pubs. The freehold of 29 pubs will be sold at auction at the Celtic Manor, Newport, by Sidney Phillips on Wednesday 2nd March.
Many of these pubs have suffered from lack of investment over the years from the pub companies and some have suffered periods of closure.
 Having checked the Sidney Phillips auction site today I see a number of the pubs in the original auction have been withdrawn from sale or had their guide price reduced.
A few of the pubs are known to me so lets have a look at what is up for auction:

Hornblower, 126 Commercial Street, Newport (pictured right, behind the fire engine!)
A famous bikers pub that has had problems with alcoholic staff and gang warfare in the past as well as being shut for months on end. The new tenants have improved the place by cleaning it, always a good start! The location of the pub is not helped by the fact that it is between two derelict buildings and that the cellar is prone to flooding due to the fact that it is below the main sewer!  
Built in 1872 as the Ram Inn, it was later named the Exchange before becoming the 'Blower. Previous owners have been Lloyds & Yorath Brewery, Ansells Brewery, Punch Taverns and Admiral Taverns. The pub used to be a regular in the Good Beer Guide. Smoking solution – the street.
Guide Price £160,000 - Now reduced to £130,000!

Talisman, 59 Commercial Street, Newport. Dating from at least 1860 when it was the Isca Brewery Tavern, this pub was owned by Phillips Brewery and then Courage. In latter years the pub has been a bit of dump, popular with the section of society who are too lazy to climb nearby Hill Street to the Salvation Army building. Smoking solution – the street.
Guide Price £195,000

Engineers Arms, 3 Albert Terrace, Baneswell, Newport. A corner pub in a residential area of the City, the Engineers has suffered periods of closure over the last few years. Recent tenants have even had problems getting regular beer deliveries as current owners Admiral Taverns have been experiencing credit problems with breweries. I have visited a couple of times in the last few years but the erratic availability of beer has prevented the Engineers from becoming a regular stopping point. The Engineers dates from at least 1872 and was a freehouse until 1950 when Hancock's Brewery bought it, later it went to Welsh Brewers, Punch Taverns then Admiral Taverns. The Engineers features in the CAMRA publication 'Real Heritage Pubs of Wales'.
As this is a residential area there is a chance that any prospective purchaser would prefer a flat/houses conversion to this corner pub. Smoking solution – the street.
Guide Price £185,000

Carpenter's Arms, High Street. Currently owned by Enterprise but leased to JW Bassett pub company this pub had been shut for a few years until it reopened last year. Not surprisingly JW Bassett have turned around a failing pub into a successful venue. Smoking solution – the street.
Guide Price £225,000

Red Cow, Ystalyfera, Swansea. Also featured in the CAMRA publication 'Real Heritage Pubs of Wales', Ystalyfera is a dead-end town at the top of the Tawe Valley, populated by a closed-knit gene pool that makes the residents of Royston Veasey seem normal. Surprisingly there are quite a few other pubs and clubs in this town so competition is fierce.
Guide Price £85,000

Star Inn, Llanfihangel-Tor-Y-Mynydd, Llansoy, Monmouthshire.
A country pub set in rural Monmouthshire, this pub has extensive grounds and the pub company that purchased it only a few years ago paid well over a million for it. Since then it has experienced periods of closure and resulting loss of trade. A pity as when it was family-owned it was successful with a popular restaurant area.
Guide Price £280,000

Ty-Yn-Y-Pwll Inn, Trethomas, Mid-Glamorgan. Situated on the busy Newport-Caerphilly road this two-bar pub has a car park and should be a success. Unfortunately the pub company that has been running it has changed the lagers and beers from the ones that customers had been drinking for years so they went elsewhere. Last time I went past on a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas the pub was closed. Has a garden so more of a smoking solution than the pubs above.
Guide Price £210,000

Cambrian Inn, Blaenavon 
About 15 years this was a cracking family-run locals pub with varied real ales, changes in ownership appear to have pushed it to a Guide Price of £65,000

Well that's it for the pubs I know well, others in the auction include :
Rising Sun, Fochriw (currently closed) GP £75,000
Forest Hotel, Pontypridd (currently closed) GP £140,000
Colliers Inn, Skewen, (currently closed) GP £130,000
Tylerstown Conservative Club (currently closed) GP £87,500
Full Moon, Trecynon, Aberdare (currently closed) GP £95,000
Royal Hotel, Trelaw, Tonypandy (currently closed) GP £150,000
New Beethoven, Maestaeg (currently closed) £190,000

De Winton, Tonypandy, GP £80,000
Wattstown Hotel, Wattstown, Porth, £110,000
Ruperra, New Tredegar, GP £110,000
Copper House, Cwmavon, Port Talbot GP £115,000
Railway Inn, Llangynydd, Maesteg GP £120,000
Puddlers Arms, Rhymney, GP £130,000 Now reduced £100,000!
Smiths Arms, Pengam, Blackwood, GP £130,000
Bowen Arms, Swansea, GP £140,000
Black Prince, Ynysddu GP £175,000
Prince of Wales, Treorchy GP £175,000
Admiral, Cadoxton, Barry, GP £175,000
Mill Tavern, Coed Eva, Cwmbran GP ££225,000
Waterloo Inn, Oakfield, Cwmbran, GP £190,000
Star Inn, Mamhilad, Pontypool GP £180,000
Fox & Hounds, Llanharry, Pontyclun, GP £195,000
Fagins, Thomastown, Rhondda, GP £225,000
Tair Bull, Libanus, Brecon GP £170,00
Cogan Hotel, Penarth GP £225,000 Now reduced £200,000

1430 Wednesday 2nd  March 2011, Celtic Manor, Ringland, Newport, NP18 1HQ

Thursday 10 February 2011

More Cardiff Pub closures

View Larger Map

So its farewell then to the Mitre in Riverside, a Brains pub on the corner of Heath Street/Machen Place in Cardiff. Not that I ever went there or was indeed even aware of its existence until this week. Well not entirely, having seen the photograph on Google Maps I now think that I may have visited there some 10/15 years ago but in those days Riverside had plenty of pubs and now there are hardly any in that area. The street-corner local seems to becoming a thin of the past.
The Cardiffian has more on this, together with some figures on Cardiff pub closures collated by me a couple of years ago. Of course the one thing no one wants to mention as the reason for pub closures is the introduction of the smoking ban. When countries such as Germany, Greece and the Netherlands have reformed the law banning smoking to support their bar industries surely it is time for our law-makers to do something to stimulate the pub industry. The French, as usual, have chosen not to amend the law, but just to ignore it, as they do with most of their laws.
Meanwhile, on another planet, Cooking Lager has revealed what can happen to old pubs. A future use for this Riverside pub perhaps?

Saturday 5 February 2011

Hop Fest at the cricket club

Well the small beerex at Neath Cricket Club is going down a storm. Pride of place at this beer festival are beers from the local brewery, Neath Ales and brewer Jay Thomas is here with the rest of his family who he has roped in to work behind the bar! Now Jay is a man who likes his hops and his 6.2% beer Black Falls Republic is dangerously drinkable, packed full of Armarillo hops this pale ale is almost as good as his Green Bullet beer from last year. As well as that beer his Gold, Firebrick, and Black are also on. Its not just a Neath Ales Festival as Champion Beer of Wales winner Otley O Garden is on as well.
All in all this is a great little festival and acts as a good showcase for locsl breweries. One can just hope it will become a regular event.

Friday 4 February 2011

Kingstone Brewery Beer Festival

Some news from the Kingstone Brewery of Tintern, Monmouthshire:
"We are holding a one-night only beer festival Kingstone Ale Festival on Saturday 5th February 2011 from 1800-2300. You will be a able to try all our ales. We will also have our delicious stone baked pizza available"
Kingstone Brewery
NP16 7NX
Tel: + 44 (0)1291 680111

Thursday 3 February 2011

Number one Welsh Ale?


Brains latest advertisement campaign claiming to be the number one Welsh Ale. Well on capacity alone Brains can brew more than any other brewer in Wales, apart from the In-bev factory at Magor, but since that's made with toilet water from trains flushing in the Severn Tunnel I don't count that. One thing to notice is the brand of ale is not mentioned but 'Smooth' and 'Cold' are? So which Brains brand is the number one in Wales? Could hazard a guess at SA but some figures to back up the claims would be useful.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Wales vs England

Brains Brewery more have ended their sponsorship of the Welsh Rugby Union but some fans are still running with the Positively Welsh campaign. Not sure if this is endorsed by the brewery but its a good start to the rugby which starts on Friday.

Celt Experience Dark

Popped into the Pen & Wig in Newport for a quick pint, it was a nice surprise to see a beer from the Celt Experience Brewery in Caerphilly on the bar alongside the usual Brains SA, Flowers IPA and Bass.
It is the first time I have tried this beer and it does not dissapoint, a black with dark red hues and poured with a tight white head, yes the pub does use swan neck handpumps but there is no problem with this particular beer. A rich dark aroma of treacle and coffee leads to a smooth bittersweet taste and complex aftertaste with some liquorice tones. Chewy, roasted flavours in the finish as well. A surprisingly complex beer but highly enjoyable.
Off to the bar for another I think!

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Bowled over by beers at Neath Cricket Club

This Saturday, 5th February 2011, Neath Cricket Club will be playing host to a small but very interesting beer festival with new brews from their local brewery, Neath Ales, taking pride of place alongside the current Champion Beer of Wales winner, Otley O-Garden, as well as with beers from Rhymney and Hereford breweries. Making its first festival appearance will be a beer from the brewery at the Cross Inn in Maesteg.
Neath Ales will also be launching its new range of limited edition seasonal beers, enticingly called Black Falls, a rare cask version of the first beer will be available at the festival, the rest of the time the Black Falls range will be bottled in 330ml bottles. The first beer will be a heavily hopped 6.2% Pale Ale, in the style of the Green Bullet beer they brewed last year (Brew Wales Beer of the Year 2010!) Other Black Falls beers being brewed during the year include a pils and a black lager.
Beer Festival, Saturday 5th February 2011, Neath Cricket Club, The Gnoll Ground, Neath, SA11 3AW
No admission charge, 
Opening times: 1100 till 2300
Live music from 1930 including acoustic and rock sets.
Food and drink available
Neath Cricket club is situated a short walk from Neath train station.
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