Thursday 30 June 2011

Beers at the Blacksmiths this weekend!

Just outside of Llantwit Major, in the quiet hamlet of Llanmaes, the Blacksmith's Arms pub will be hosting a beer and cider festival this weekend.

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Beer range, subject to availability etc:
Box Steam - Tunnel Vision 4.2%
Breconshire - Red Dragon 4.7%
Buffy's - Mucky Duck 4.5%
Cairngorm - Sheepshaggers Gold 4.5%
Caythorpe - One Swallow 3.6%
Cheddar Ales - Gorge Best 4.0%
Dorset Piddle - Jimmy Riddle 3.7%
Fuzzy Duck - Pheasant Plucker 4.2%
Jarrow - Swinging Jibbet 4.1%
Potton - Village Bike 4.3%
Stonehenge - Pigswill 4.0%
Vale of Glamorgan - Highly Strung
                           - Light Headed 4.0%
                           - Grog Y Vog 4.3%
                           - Summer Daze 4.0%

Ciders available:

Broadoak Perry 7.5%
Broadoak Medium 5.0%
Broadoak Moonshine 7.5%
Westons Old Rosie 7.3%

There's a family day on the Saturday with a bouncy castle, BBQ and face painting, and the village hold their annual fete on the green. 
There's live music in the pub all weekend.

Blacksmiths Arms, Llanmaes, Llantwit Major, South Glamorgan CF61 2XR
01446 795996
Journey Planner:
Llanmaes is a short distance from Llantwit Major - plenty of trains from Bridgend and Cardiff and is served by an infrequent bus service.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Llanharan has a beer festival!

The Tuberville pub in Llanharan, Mid-Glamorgan will be playing host to a charity beer festival this weekend; from the 1st to 3rd of July, with the proceeds from the festival going to Cancer Research Wales. This is the first time this Dragon Inns pub has run a beer festival and we all hope it is a success for them. Dragon Inns also run the former Gwent CAMRA Pub of the Year, the Commercial in Risca.

At least 14 real ales and 7 ciders will be available from both local producers and those from further afield. Food will be available during the festival and entertainment will be provided on Saturday  by 'Daiversion' and on Sunday  by 'Boogiemen'.

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Turberville, Chapel Road, Llanharan, Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan CF72 9QA 01443 222143 
Llanharan railway station is opposite the pub and there is a bus stop nearby as well.
Journey Planner:

Brecon Beer Festival This Weekend!

 It's the Brecon Beer Festival this weekend, held in the Boar's Head in the town centre.

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Opens at 5pm on Friday 1st July, and all day Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd July, until the beer runs out!
Live Music and hot and cold food will be on offer.

Acorn Columbus IPA 5.0

Brakspear Buzz 4.2

Camerons Strongarm 4.0

Celt Experience Dr Price's Super Hop 4.5

Cerddin Baby Bear 5.0

Great Orme Cambria 3.8

Heart of Wales 4.5

Hobson's Mild 3.4

Breconshire Brecon County Ale 3.7

Hop Back Crop Circle 4.2

Breconshire The Mayor's Inspiration 4.4

Kelham Island Quadrophenia 3.7

Breconshire Red Dragon 4.7

Monty's Sunshine 4.2

Breconshire Ysbrid y Ddraig 6.5

Otley O-xymoron 6.0

Otley Saison Obscura 5.5

Rotters Grounds for Divorce 4.7

Rudgate Valhalla 4.0

Salopian Golden Thread 5.0

Teme Valley This 3.7

Waen Tidy Pint 4.0

Williams Bros Scottish Joker IPA 5.0

Wye Valley HPA 4.0

Otley O4 4.0

Castle Rock Harvest Pale 4.0

Gwynt y Ddraig:
Black Dragon 7.2
Two Trees Perry 4.5
Dog Dancer 6.5
Farmhouse Vintage 6.5
Kingstone Black 7.2
Farmhouse Sweet 5.5
Firey Fox 6.5
Pyder 6.0
Happy Daze 4.5

Journey Planner:

Boars Head, Watergate, Brecon, Powys LD3 9AL 01874 622856
Facebook page here

The Red Cow, Pontiscill

Red Cow, Pontsticill, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 2UN

Open all day

The Red Cow is situated a few miles north of Merthyr Tydfil, in a quiet village, close to a reservoir and the Brecon Mountain Railway. The pub is a two-story building built out of the local limestone with a slate roof. The pub was originally called the Pant-y-dwr, or Water Hollow, the house next door has now taken on this name. The Red Cow was originally two separate houses and the pub expanded into the neighbouring property, which is why there are two porches on the outside. The pub has a large outside seating area and a car park.

The entrance is on the left hand side, via a door with stained glass windows. The bar is open-plan and the counter is made of light wood, this contrasts with the dark-grey flagstone floors and black wrought iron foot rail that surrounds it. Despite being open-plan the Red Cow retains distinctive areas with comfortable wooden settles on the left-hand side and tables and chairs on the right.  The room on the right hand side features a stone fireplace with brass mining figurines on the mantelpiece.

Three real ales are served from the gleaming brass handpumps, with Wye Valley Bitter being permanently on and two guest ales. Recent guest beers have been from Wickwar Brewery in Gloucestershire and Bullmastiff Brewery in Cardiff. Pumpclips from other breweries that have featured here are displayed on the blackened ceiling beams that span the interior of the pub. Elsewhere on the ceiling hang old water jugs, one in the shape of an 'E' was made for the Worthington Brewery.
Around the walls are photographs of the local area and a map of the surrounding area, useful if you wish to walk around the glorious countryside of the Brecon Beacons National Park.  Also on the wall is a framed collection of brass shive hole rims, taken from old wooden beer barrels, each stamped with the name of an old brewery that used to own the barrel. Brass beer taps and clay pipes feature on another wall mount. There are also flat-screen televisions but these are kept turned down during the day to allow conversation to dominate in this friendly pub popular with walkers and their dogs. The Red Cow also sells fishing permits for the nearby reservoir and is popular with a local gun club as they have their names on boards on a wall.
Food is served 12-4 and features traditional pub favourites together with a daily specials board featuring home-made sausages and mash as well as steak and ale pie. There is an extensive ice cream menu from Sidoli's, the local ice cream makers. If the pub gets too busy there is a short flight of stairs to an upper dining area. The pub also offers WiFi. 

The Red Cow is on a bus route from Merthyr Tydfil.
Journey Planner:

Google Map:

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Friday 24 June 2011

O Heaven

The Otley lads have put a beer festival together this weekend, featuring 20 of their best brews, from the 18th month cask-aged O Ho Ho to the new Hedgero brewed with elderflowers and gooseberries. Where to start, where to finish?
If you like hoppy beers then this is the festival for you.
Dark 8 - a blend of Dark O and O8!
O Mai brewed with fresh raspberries
Spoilt for choice at this festival

Thursday 23 June 2011

The pub on death row

Just completed a television interview for the BBC in the Vulcan in Cardiff. Programme is entitled 'Calling Time' and is going out in November.
We shot the piece in the Vulcan which is in its final year as pub. The demolition is set for June next year, with a car park to be built instead of this historic City boozer. It would be a crying shame if this pub goes, other cities preserve their heritage not build extra car parking spaces on them.
The Welsh equivalent of English Heritage, CADW, are unwilling to save the glazed tilled-frontage building and politicians in the Assembly offer their support but refuse to spot list it. In fact, speaking to politicians, a few of them are embarressed by the Vulcan as it shows just how little power they have to save part of Wales' heritage.
So its 12 months and counting before the bulldozers move in and destroy this pub, pop in to support it if you are in Cardiff, it may be your last chance!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Knackers Yard for the Black Horse

Knackers Yard for the Black Horse

The site of the Black Horse, 56 Somerton Road, Newport, NP19 0JE, has finally been given permission to be converted into a Tesco Extra.

The Planning Inspectorate allowed an appeal by Tesco to convert the former pub into an Express store, despite over 500 locals objecting and Newport Council originally refusing planning permission.

According to Anthony Thickett of the Planning Inspectorate under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 the change of use from a public house to a retail shop is a permitted development does not need planning permission.

The pub itself closed about 5 years ago, another success by Admiral Taverns, and has lain empty and subject to vandalism despite being boarded up since then. This will of course effect the condition of the building and it may come as no surprise that the entire building may have to be demolished as Tesco may consider it to be unsafe.

The Black Horse was first mentioned as a pub in 1872, although it was rebuilt in 1913. Owned by local brewery Lloyd & Yorath, who were later taken over by Ansells Brewery, the pub later fell into the hands of Punch Taverns and Admiral Taverns. The Black Horse is situated in a large residential area -Tesco would not put an Express store anywhere else - so it was always a bit confusing why in later years this pub failed. I understand there were 'landlord problems' with the previous tenant but I can remember this pub as a thriving Ansells local, serving Tetley, Worthington and a guest beer, together with good value meals. Of course this all changed with Admiral – the beer range altered, the food went by the wayside, takings dropped, no money was spent on the upkeep of the building etc. Similar problems can be witnessed with a lot of closed Pubco pubs around the area. The nearby King (ex-Courage) is awaiting demolition after having part of the roof removed a few years ago, no doubt after the original planning permission for demolition was refused, the owners decided to slight the roof and damage the building so that it becomes unsafe and has to be demolished. The Corporation (ex-Welsh Brewers) has been converted into flats and the Victoria is only open weekends. If the owner of the Victoria on Nash Road wishes to increase his trade then there are a few simple things to do – get rid of the grubby net curtains from the windows and clean the chalkboard outside the pub – it still says the pub does meals and accommodation despite not doing anything for years.
Things are not all bad in Lliswerry/Somerton though – the Ferns has become a pub after years as a private members club and is thriving with drinkers spreading out in the garden during the summer and a growing reputation for good food. The Man of Steel pub also appears to be successful with their cut-price menu. The Black Horse may be going to the knackers yard but things are looking up for the few pubs that are left.

Google Map:

Jacko is back!

Legendary Newport publican Richard Jackson has returned to being the behind the bar for the first time in 12 years, having taken on the free-of-tie lease of the Pen & Wig, Stow Hill. Richard previously ran the Red Lion further up on Stow Hill where he won many awards, including Gwent CAMRA Pub of the Year. He first took over the lease of that pub under Marr Taverns and quickly established a name for the pub with the quality of the real ale. The Red Lion was later bought by Ushers Brewery of Trowbridge, Ushers would not have other brewers beers in their pubs but the ever enterprising Richard realised his customers preferred more interesting, hand-crafted beers than those high-gravity and rather bland beers produced by that brewery which has since been moved to North Korea to produce beers that go well with spaniels.
The answer was the so-called 'Ann Frank Cellar' – basically you went down the stairs to the cellar and instead of turning left into the beer or lager parts of the cellar, you turned right into what looked like a storeroom for old pub furniture and moved some of it out of the way, slid back a board to reveal a secret door, undid the padlock on the door and stepped into a small room, slightly bigger than a wardrobe and stillaged with a beery Narnia world from independent brewers beers from the likes of Bullmastiff and Freeminer. A line led from this cellar to the main beer python and up onto the main bar and the handpumps on there. Naturally no pumpclips could be used on the bar, so customers were told by the bar staff what the 'Special' was for the day. Of course this pub went onto win awards from CAMRA, much to the bemusement of Ushers brewery who could not understand why one of their pubs had won so many awardswhilst the rest of their estate was pretty piss poor to say the least, with the other exception being the Old Swan in Abercarn.
Before the Red Lion, Richard did a brief stint managing the Pen & Wig and before that ran the Tavistock in Cardiff a Brains pub at which he won the 'Manager of the Year Award'.
Richard Jackson first came to the attention of real ale drinkers in Newport by running the famous Orange Tree in Pill, a once legendary boozer, now sadly demolished and housing built in its place. In the Orange Tree, Richard sourced beers from across the UK and customers would travel miles to drink a decent and different pint there.
Above:The Pen & Wig
But let us return to the Pen & Wig, Richard has already brought in the changes since taking over a little over a week ago. Already the pub is noticeably cleaner with the beer flies that have plagued the pub for years being eradicated together with the smokers of exotic tobaccos who used to hang around the back door, stinking the place out with skunk. Since taking over only 10 days ago, already 14 people have been banned from the pub! No doubt they have crawled back to Chaverspoons who will no doubt be happy to serve them!

The Beer Range
Well the Pen & Wig has 5 handpumps but Richard is being sensible and is slowly building up the trade rather than put 5 different ones on all at once. Flowers IPA, brewed under license by SA Brian is sold at the very competitive price of £2.05/pint and alongside that is Bass, Newport used to have a good following for Bass with legendary beer holes such as Conti's, the Lord Raglan and the Tudor Bar of the Queen's Hotel all famed Bass drinking holes and all now converted into retail premises. Yes I include the Queens, now a Chaverspoons as a 'retail premises'. The guest beer at the moment is Cribyn from Breconshire Brewery and will be followed by beers from the current Champion Brewers of Wales Rhymney Brewery and past winners Otley Brewery. Expect all 5 handpumps to be in use shortly and Mein Host wants to put in a draught cider as well.
The Polish Lager Tyskie is available in bottles alongside Tsingtao and Staropramen. “A celebration of the cultural diversity of of the City of Newport”, according to Richard Jackson. The cultural diversity even applies to the music, with an umpah band booked for the 23rd July.

Pub Food
Traditional pub grub such as faggots n' peas and doorstep sandwiches are served lunchtimes, whilst at night, in a first for Newport, a traditional Thai menu is served with specialities such as Choo Chee Goong (King Prawns in red curry paste and coconut milk) and Kai Gaeng Kus Suppoarad (Chicken Curry with Pineapple). And yes, before you ask, Otley Thai-Bo is on order as a guest beer.

Pub History
The Pen & Wig only became a pub in 1995, before that it was a restaurant called The Georgian. The building has had a number of previous uses including as the registry office and a wedding gown shop, a useful combination. There has been a building on this site since at least 1610 as one is clearly marked on the John Speed map of 1610. Situated just outside of the medieval Westgate, there has probably been a building on this site for over 600 years, whether or not it was pub or not is another story!
The pub still has a Shove Ha'penny table and a team as well! 

Pen & Wig
22-24 Stow Hill
NP20 1JD
Open all day

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Tuesday 21 June 2011

Brewer faces payout over gay jibes

From the Daily Post, click image to enlarge.
I think the article says it all.
Buckley was unavailable for comment as, according to a source at Evans-Evans Brewery, "He is on holiday in the South of France". Nice for some, being able to afford that, unlike his former employees who will be lucky to get a fraction of what they were awarded as the company has since gone into liquidation.
Odd that the person who made these comments is a former public schoolboy who later ran a gay nightclub - he doth protest too much methinks! Its also not the first time the old crook has cast such mistruths - I have been a victim of his attacks as well - check out this site - the photos are used illegally as well, still copyright theft is just another of the long list of crimes that can be added to his charge sheet.

Wonder how long the Carmarthen Journal will wish to associate itself with a columnist who holds such views as this?

It appears that Buckley has ordered his 'partner' to remove the offending post, however here it is available as found on the Google cache:"
"This is Google's cache of It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 23 Apr 2011 21:35:13 GMT. The current page could have changed in the meantime.

These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: http walesbrew blogspot com 2010 02 james daley voice from closet html "

 One doth protest too much methinks Mr Buckley!

Yes I am familiar with such language as having studied both Greek and Latin and attending University I would be converse with such terms. Come on Simon, if you disappear any further into the closet you will be in Narnia. Time to step out into the real world for once?

Update 2:
It seems the Daily Mail have picked up on the story as has the Pink News - comments are worth reading on the latter.

Great Welsh - Festival Roundup

Well thank you everyone who attended the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival this year and made it the outstanding success that it was. This gives us a firm base to build on for next year and make the Festival bigger and better with more real ales and ciders in 2012.
Apologies for those who turned up on the Saturday night, despite emergency reorders of beer coming in that morning, we still sold out and finally closed at 2030hrs, although we shut to admissions a few hours earlier. This is the first time the Festival has ever run out of beer and last year a lot of beer was poured away on the Sunday morning so it is a difficult balence to get right. All the organisers can say is that next year we will make the Festival better with a bigger range on.
This year over 6000 thirsty customers drank their way through over 20,000 pints of real ale and over 5000 pints of cider and perry.
Highlights of the Festival for me were beer wise:
  • The fantastic Oxymoron from Otley Brewery - a dark IPA - a contradiction in terms and on the tongue but one that actually works very well.
  • Brains Strong Ale, although I found it a little too sweet for my tastes. I was very impressed by their British Summer beer though, dry hopped with Styrian Goldings imparted a good citrusy flavour to it.
  • Tomos Watkin bar - we don't get to see the full range of their beers usually so it was a good chance to try them, my favourite was Chware Teg - another light-coloured ale.
  • Red Kite Brewery, only tried one of their beers but it was the excellent Cwrw Haf - hope to see more of their ales around in future.
  • Fullers, one of my all time favourite breweries and we had both their Chiswick and ESB here. The Chiswick was a perfect session beer on Friday night after stepping out of my busy office backstage. 
  • Neath Ales Green Bullet - yes I know I rave about this beer but it is a great beer and I enjoyed it on the Saturday afternoon. 
I did not get a chance to try the Champion Beer of Wales, Rhymney Dark at the Festival, but I did review it a few weeks previously in my South Wales Echo column.
    The problem with being the organiser of the event was that I did not have chance to try as many beers as I would have if I had been a customer! As for the ciders and perries - well I tried a few when I was judging but hardly had the chance to try them all - although a gallon of perry from Llanblethian Orchards did find its way into my office during setup and was shared amongst staff and press if they happened to be in there!

    Press Roundup:
    Media Wales and their photo gallery from Your Cardiff:

    There was also a pre-festival interview with Matt Otley of Otley Brewery.
    .....and a little interview with me in the Echo

    BBC Wales
    We were also on BBC Radio Wales on Thursday

    ITV Wales - our man in the white jacket fell victim to the colour balance at the Arena!
    We also made it onto the ITV Wales blog

    Real Ale Guide

    Simon filmed this before tasting some beers with Nick Otley:

    Travels with Beer 

    Visit Cardiff

    Visit Wales Blog

    Southern Wales Tourism

    During the Festival regular updates were posted on Twitter and Facebook, with the hashtag #gwbcf proving very popular. We also have the Flickr page - well done to Jonas for taking all the photos this year!

    A big thank you to our 150 staff who turned up during the Festival and also to our customers and finally to all our supporters, including the breweries and cidermakers who helped make this the biggest and best festival yet!

    Saturday 18 June 2011

    Real Ale Guide visits the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival

    Simon from Real Ale Guide filmed this at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival yesterday

    Friday 17 June 2011

    Rhymney Brews the Best Beer in Wales

    Rhymney Brews the Best

    A brewery from Merthyr Tydfil has today completed a clean sweep of awards at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival. Rhymney Brewery, based in Dowlais, walked off with both the Silver and Gold Medals in the Champion Beer of Wales competition, organised by the South Wales branches of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. The Festival plays hosts to the competition every year and it is open to all 40 or so breweries in Wales, who between them brew over 350 different beers each year. The beers are tasted by CAMRA members throughout the year before an independent panel of beer experts sample the finalists on site at the Festival.

    Rhymney Brewery was founded by father and son team Steve and Marc Evans in 2005 and have previously won Champion beer of Wales with their Dark.

    According to Festival Organiser James “Arfur” Daley, “Congratulations to Rhymney Brewery on their success in the Champion Beer of Wales competition. Well done to Steve and his family for winning both awards, Rhymney Dark is a fantastic beer and it is so good to see an old brewery name resurrected and now being served from beer engines in pubs across the South Wales valleys.

    Champion Beers of Wales 2011

    Gold: Rhymney Dark
    Silver: Rhymney Export
    Bronze: Otley O8

    Tasting Notes for Rhymney Dark, 4%
    Rhymney Dark, is, as its name suggests, is a dark coloured beer with a deep reddish hue and pours with a beige head. A complex aroma of sweet and roast malts and blackberries leads to a bittersweet chocolate flavour and a slightly astringent finish with some vanilla overtones. A good mild beer, not too strong and easy to drink.

    The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival is open until 2300hrs on Friday and 1100-2300hrs on Saturday 18th June.

    Festival Facts:

    • Over 6000 thirsty drinkers are expected at the 3 day event.
    • 24,000 pints of real ale, cider and perry will be consumed during the Great Welsh.
    • Over 10 pints a minute will be served during the festival.
    • Almost 4500 pints of cider and perry will be available.
    • Over 270 different real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers will be available at the Great Welsh.
    • 1000 pints of German beer will be specially imported for the Great Welsh.
    • Over 130 CAMRA members will be volunteering to work at the Festival.
    • The bar is over 70 metres long! Making it the longest bar in Wales.
    • The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2009 is the 11th annual Festival, the 4th at the CIA, the previous 7 having been held at Cardiff City Hall.
    • Pub games, stalls and food will be available at the Festival

    Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (formerly Cardiff International Arena), Mary Ann Street, Cardiff CF10 2EQ

    Open: Thursday 16
    th June, Friday 17th & Saturday 18th June 11-11 all days

    Entrance £6 (£5 for Under 26s and CAMRA members), includes souvenir glass and festival programme.

    For more information:
    Steve Evans, Rhymney Brewery, 01685 722253

    Festival Organiser:
    Arfur Daley 0794 185 9902

    Wednesday 15 June 2011

    Brains to launch Strong Ale at the Great Welsh

    Brains Strong Ale

    Brains’ original Strong Ale returns to market tomorrow at the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival (GWBCF)

    The original SA, at 6.5% ABV, has been brewed to an historic recipe from Brains’ brewing archives, using the finest pale ale malt and Brains’ unique yeast, and differs from today’s 4.2% Brains SA.

    The beer is available exclusively at next week’s Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival in Cardiff (16th - 18th of June) alongside seven other Brains brands, and will make a second appearance at Great British Beer Festival in London (2nd - 6th of August).

    Strong Ale is a 6.5% ABV beer brewed with the finest pale ale malt and Brains’ unique yeast. Crystal malt provides a distinctive caramel flavour with a slightly nutty after palate and late addition of Fuggles and Goldings hops give a balanced bitterness and hoppy aroma.

    Old Brains advertising on Bute Street Bridge, Cardiff

    Mary Ann Street, Cardiff, CF10 2EQ

    Opening hours Thursday June 16th 11am - 11pm
    Friday June 17th 11am - 11pm
    Saturday June 18th 11am - 11pm

    Admission price
    Admission costs £6 per person, which includes your limited edition glass and souvenir programme. CAMRA members and those under 26 will receive an allowance of beer tokens. There is no need to book tickets in advance, although you may be interested in our bulk ticket scheme.

    Other information
    Hot and cold food is provided by the Motorpoint Arena and is available all sessions.
    We are pleased to present live music on Friday afternoon & evening and Saturday afternoon. Thursday is reserved as a quiet day.

    Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival - final beer list

    Well all the beer has arrived on site at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival which opens on Thursday.
    A few changes to the original beer list due to breweries not delivering etc but here is the final list:

    Brewery Beer ABV

    Banktop Mild 4.0
    Brains Bitter 3.7
    Brains British Sumer 4.0
    Brains Dark 3.5
    Brains IPA 3.4
    Brains Rev James 4.5
    Brains SA 4.2
    Brains SA Gold 4.6
    Brains Strong Ale 5.5
    Breconshire Brecon County Ale 3.7
    Breconshire Cribyn 4.5
    Breconshire Golden Valley 4.2
    Breconshire Ramblers Ruin 5
    Breconshire Welsh Pale Ale 3.7
    Breconshire The Mayor's Inspiration 4.4
    Breconshire Ysbrid y Ddraig 6.5
    Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous 4.0
    Bryncelyn Holly Hop 3.9
    Bryncelyn Oh Boy 4.5
    Butcombe Bitter 4.0
    Caledonian Deuchars IPA 3.8
    Castle Rock Harvest Pale 3.8
    Celt Experience Native Storm 4.4
    Newmans Castle cream 4.7
    Celt Experience Golden 4.2
    Cerddin Cascade 4.8
    Conwy Cwrw Mel 4.5
    Conwy Beechcomber Blonde 4.2
    Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold 4.0
    Dark Star American Pale Ale 4.7
    Elgood's Cambridge Bitter 3.8
    Elgood's Black Dog 3.6
    Evan Evans Cwrw 4.2
    Evan Evans Golden Hop 4.3
    Evan Evans SPA 4.2
    Fullers Chiswick 3.6
    Fullers ESB 5.5
    Great Orme Celtica 4.5
    Great Orme Welsh Black 4.0
    Gwaun Light Ale 4.0
    Harvey's Sussex best bitter 4.0
    Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted 3.8
    Heart of Wales Aur Cymru 3.8
    Heart of Wales High as a Kite 10.5
    Heart of Wales Irfon Valley 3.6
    Heart of Wales Welsh Black 4.4
    Hobsons Mild 3.5
    Hopback Entire Stout 4.5
    Hopback Summer Lighting 5.0
    Jacobi Light Ale 3.8
    Jacobi Red Squirrel 4.0
    Jarrow Rivet Catcher 4.0
    Jolly Brewer Taid's Garden 4.0
    Kelham Island Pale Rider 5.2
    Kingstone 1503 4.8
    Kingstone Stout 4.4
    Llangollen Grange No1 3.2
    Loddon Ferryman's Gold 4.4
    Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild 3.7
    Monty's Midnight Stout 4.0
    Monty's Mojo 3.8
    Monty's Sunshine 4.2
    Moor Revival 3.8
    Nant Mwnci Nell 5.5
    Neath Black 5.5
    Neath Green Bullet 6.0
    Newmans Summerberry 4.2
    Oakham JHB 3.8
    Oakleaf Hole Hearted 4.7
    Orkney Raven 3.8
    Otley Colombo 4.0
    Otley Dark O 4.1
    Otley O Garden 4.8
    Otley O1 4.0
    Otley O2 4.2
    Otley O6 6.6
    Otley O8 8.0
    Otley THAI BO 4.6
    Otley MOTLEY BREW 7.5
    Otley OXYMORON BLK IPA 5.5
    Otley SAISON OBSCURA 5.5
    Otley CROESO 4.2
    Otley DUO (NEW) 5.4
    Plassey Border Mild 3.6
    Plassey Cwrw Tudno 5.0
    Plassey Owain Glyndwr 4.3
    Preseli Baggywrinkle 4.5
    Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose 4.6
    Purple Moose Glaslyn 4.2
    Purple Moose IPA 4.0
    Purple Moose Snowdonia 3.6
    RCH East St Cream 5.0
    RCH PG Steam 3.9
    RCH Pitchfork 4.2
    Red Kite Cwrw Haf 4.1
    Red Kite Gold Wing 4.2
    Red Kite Thunderbird 4.5
    Rhymney Bevan's Bitter 4.2
    Rhymney Dark 4.0
    Rhymney Export 5.0
    Rhymney Hobby Horse 3.8
    Rotters Utter Rotter 3.9
    Rotters Whipping Tree 3.6
    Rudgate Ruby Mild 4.4
    Sandstone Edge 3.8
    Sandstone Postmistress 4.4
    Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby 6.0
    Skinner's Betty Stoggs 4.0
    Skinner's Cornish Knocker 4.5
    St Austell Proper Job 5.5
    Swansea 3 Cliffs 4.7
    Swansea Bishopswood 4.3
    Swansea Deep Slade Dark 4.0
    Thornbridge Jaipur IPA 5.9
    Thornbridge Seqoua 4.5
    Timothy Taylor Landlord 4.3
    Tomos Watkin Brewery Bitter 4.0
    Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf 4.2
    Tomos Watkin Chwarae Teg 4.1
    Tomos Watkin OSB 4.5
    Tomos Watkin Lion's Pride 4.3
    Triple F Alton's Pride 3.8
    VoG Chocs Away 4.5
    VoG Grog y VOG 4.3
    VoG Wheats Occurrin 5.0
    VoG No 1
    Waen Landmark 5.5
    Woodforde's Wherry 3.8
    Wye Valley Butty Bach 4.5
    Wye Valley DG Golden Ale 4.2
    Wye Valley DG Stout 4.2
    Wye Valley Ginger Pride 4.3
    Wye Valley HPA 4.0
    York Centurion's Ghost 5.4
    Zero Degrees Mango 4.5
    Zero Degrees Pilsner 4.8

    In June 2011 the Campaign for Real Ale will be transforming the Motorpoint Arena, formerely the Cardiff International Arena, into the biggest pub in Wales.

    The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival is the premier real ale event in Wales and includes the Champion Beer of Wales competition which is held on the Friday. There are now around 35 real ale breweries in Wales and we hope to present beers from them all, as well as real ale from across the UK.

    Altogether the festival will feature over 150 different real ales and more than 40 ciders as well as an unbeatable selection of foreign beers.

    Opening hoursThursday June 16th 11am - 11pm
    Friday June 17th 11am - 11pm
    Saturday June 18th 11am - 11pm

    Admission price
    Admission costs £6 per person, which includes your limited edition glass and souvenir programme. CAMRA members and those under 26 will receive an allowance of beer tokens. There is no need to book tickets in advance, although you may be interested in our bulk ticket scheme.

    Other information
    Hot and cold food is provided by the Motorpoint Arena and is available all sessions.
    We are pleased to present live music on Friday afternoon & evening and Saturday afternoon. Thursday is reserved as a quiet day.

    Tuesday 14 June 2011

    Buster branches out

     ****** EXCLUSIVE ******

    From Brew Wales

    Award-winning brewer and Chair of the Association of Welsh Independent Breweries, Justin 'Buster' Grant has today announced that he will be parting company with Breconshire Brewery and their owners Marlow's to form his own company, Brecon Brewing Limited. Marlow's has been up for sale for some time and Buster has decided that his future lies with his own company rather than working for someone else.
    Buster, a Herriot-Watt graduate and a former brewer at Brakspears in Henley-upon-Thames, first moved to Wales some 10 years ago to start brewing in Brecon.
    According to Buster, "The time has come to move on and form my own brewery and the opportunity has arisen with the sale of CH Marlow to branch out on my own, with help from a couple of friends".
    Joining Buster in this venture will be former sales manager of Breconshire Brewery, Simon Hall, and the former manager of the Hobgoblin pub in Reading, Duncan Ward (think he also ran the Old Toad in Rochester NY at one time as well).
    The 20 -barrel brewing plant will be up and running in the next few weeks, in time for Brecon Jazz Festival.

    A busy week

     Today is the second day of setup at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, apologies for the lack of blogging but I've been a bit busy at the Festival, hence the lack of blogging, but you can follow my updates on Twitter, @ArfurD as well as on Facebook. We also have a Flickr account so you can see the photos of the festival.
    Was a nice surprise to see Glynn Roberts of the Rake today at Cardiff Railway Station as he headed up north to brew at Otley Brewery today.

    Monday 6 June 2011

    Ciders at the Great Welsh

    Only a week to go before CAMRA volunteers start setting up the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival and the provisional cider list is available, we hope to have 120 different ciders and perries on during the festival so below is just a taster of some of the fantastic cider and perry makers we will be featuring to the public at the biggest pub in Wales:

    Ross On Wye
    Gregg's Pit
    Parson's Choice
    Green Valley
    West Croft
    Mad Hatter
    Seidr O Sir
    WM Watkins
    Old Monty
    Rosie's Triple D
    Welsh Mountain Cider
    Gwynt Y Ddraig
    Palmer's Upland Cyder
    Seidr Dai
    Llanblethian Orchards
    Three Saints
    Raglan Cider Mill
    Rosie's Triple D

    Motorpoint Arena (ex CIA), Cardiff
    Thursday June 16th 11am - 11pm
    Friday June 17th 11am - 11pm
    Saturday June 18th 11am - 11pm

    Admission price
     Admission costs £6 per person, which includes your limited edition glass and souvenir programme. CAMRA members and those under 26 will receive an allowance of beer tokens.

    View Larger Map

    Sunday 5 June 2011

    The night draws to a close

    Another succesful beer festival draws to close. The Tredegar House Folk Festival has had another succesful year,despite the rain. Only a few beers and ciders left, the mellow sounds of Bluegrass are dissapearing into the chilly June night as the last drops of beer are drained from the casks. A big thank you to Rhymney Brewery who have really saved the festival by supplying a new cooler and replacement beers at short notice.

    Friday 3 June 2011


    Wednesday 1 June 2011

    Black Falls Republic

    Was lucky enough to have some samples of Neath Ales sent to me the other day - thanks Jay! Have been a fan of their beers since I first tried their amazing Green Bullet beer last year. Of course we have their beers on the CAMRA bar at Tredegar House this weekend, but not the Republic.

    Neath Ales Black Falls Republic, 330ml bottle, 6.2% ABV

    Black Falls is the name chosen by Neath Ales for their limited edition brews, each of their beers is brewed using one hop variety, in the case of Republic it is the Amarillo hop.
    Republic is golden-orange colour and pours with a lively, white head. The distinctive citrus and floral tones of the Amarillo hop are noticeable in the aroma. An initial biscuity sweetness in the taste is quickly overwhelmed by a huge bitter flavour with a lasting but satisfying dry finish. Very moreish.

    As good as the Green Bullet? Well that has to be decided in a comparison between the two. An excellent USA IPA style of beer, the type of flavoursome ale I would drink all the time if I could find it.
    The only problem I have with the beer is that it comes in a 330ml bottle - after downing the first one I immediately felt like a second! Dangerously drinkable, especially if you like hops like I do!


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