Wednesday 29 February 2012

Beer & Pizzas at Kingstone Brewery this Saturday

 Above: The Kingstone Brewery brewshed
11am-2030 hrs

 Kingstone Brewery of Monmouthshire will be holding one of their regular open days this Saturday with beers and stonebaked pizzas on the menu. The brewery is situated just off the A466 Chepstow/Monmouth Road or alternatively there is a bus service.

Kingstone Brewery
Meadow Farm
NP16 7NX

 Traveline Information:

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Monday 27 February 2012

Meet the Brewer at the City Arms

 Above: An old photo of Buster, taken in Cardiff City Hall during the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival in 2008

The best pub in Cardiff, the City Arms, will be holding a 'Meet the Brewer Night' from 7pm on Tuesday 28th February with Justin 'Buster' Grant from the Brecon Brewing Company. Should be a good night, then again every night is a good night in the City Arms. The pub does not smell of fish either.

Wenvoe Arms, Wenvoe

Wenvoe Arms, Old Port Road, Wenvoe, Vale of Glamorgan, CF5 6AN,
Open all day.

The village of Wenvoe now has a by-pass but the Wenvoe Arms is situated on the old main road through this historic village. The pub consists of two separate buildings with the public bar being in the oldest part and the lounge being in the newer part, although dating back to the eighteenth century with a nineteenth century extension, it is hardly a 'new build'.

The public bar is entered from a patio area next to the rough-hewn village war memorial carved out of the local limestone rock. This room features a long bar with its mahogany-coloured wood-panelling stretching around the room, old leather bound settles are provided for seating and a large real fire is provided at one end of the building. A large flat-screen television shows sporting events and there is a dartboard together with the sporting trophies won over the years at this pub. Four gleaming chrome handpumps feature on this bar, there are another three in the lounge. Being a Brain's pub the beers are Bitter, SA, the Brains Seasonal beer, which at the moment is 'Bread of Heaven' and a guest beer, the most recent being from London brewer Fuller's with their Front Row rugby-themed ale. Behind the bar are displayed the pump-clips from previous real ales that have been served here and the Wenvoe Arms has recently gained Cask Marque accreditation for the quality of its beers. Gwynt y Ddraig Welsh cider and Budvar are available in bottles. The Wenvoe will be featuring its first beer festival soon, with 15 real ales, starting on St David's Day and continuing over the weekend.

A 1920s style wooden door in one wall of the bar leads through to the lounge/dining area which features exposed stone walls, black wooden beams and more seating. There is another real fire on one side of the pub, down a couple of steps from main part of the lounge. This is the dining area/lounge and each table has the extensive menu as well as an empty wine bottle with the history of the area in it which doubles as the table number, a good idea to educate the customers about the history of the village of Wenvoe. There is a function room upstairs

The Wenvoe Arms has three outside areas, including a large patio area to one side. Quiz nights are on Monday nights and live music and comedy nights are a regular feature.
Food is served all day from an extensive menu and there is a chalkboard giving further options. Local ingredients are sourced wherever possible and there is a take-away menu available as well that features curries and pizzas. Curry nights are Wednesdays.

Google Map:

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Traveline Information:
The pub is short walk from bus stops on the number 96 Cardiff Bus Cardiff/Barry service

Sunday 26 February 2012

Chavwatch at the Greyhound

Chavwatch - an occasional series devoted to Newport and the surrounding areas.
I took the photo below a few years ago and posted it here, well 3 years later and has the Greyhound pub in High Street improved at all?
Not according to Gwent Police who are looking for a visitor to this establishment.

Gwent Police is appealing for information on an assault that took place in the Greyhound pub in Newport city centre in the early hours of New Year's Day.
It took place inside the pub at around 2am. Two women in their early 30s, from the Newport area, were assaulted by another woman. Both suffered facial injuries, with one requiring hospital treatment.
Officers are appealing for any members of the public who saw the incident to come forward. They are particularly keen to speak to a woman, pictured, who was in the pub at the time and could hold vital information which could help officers with their investigation.
If you witnessed the incident, or have any other information, please call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Well, I'll forgive the local Rozzers their grammar error - surely Gwent Police is plural not singular? Gwent Police ARE appealing not IS! Still its taken them almost 2 months to publish this information so don't expect the doughnut-munching rozzers of Newport to catch the chavette who did this. In the meantime here are some fantastic CCTV shots of  "A woman who may have information".

Newport is the type of City that only the likes of Eric Joyce MP would fully appreciate.

I've been sent this photo of a notice inside the pub

Friday 24 February 2012

England Versus Wales - outnumbered

Council jobworths damage pub trade

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A Welsh pub has lost 90% of its trade after jobsworths from Rhondda Cynon Taff Council removed road signs pointing to the newly re-opened pub, which had been closed for 7 years previously.
From the Morning Advertiser

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which owns the road, banned him from using flyers, on the grounds that he was “fly-posting”.
In September, he began placing an A-board advertising “good food” on the main road three miles away. This month he received warning letters and two £75 fines from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, forbidding the signs.
Bottomley, who has worked as a Whitbread troubleshooter, applied for the pub to be added to a tourist information sign nearby but “did not qualify” because it was for Ystradfellte, operated by Powys Council.
“The pub was closed for seven years,” said Bottomley. “We are trying to rebuild the business but now we can go four days without customers.”
A Rhondda Cynon Taf Council spokesman said: “Officers became aware of posters that were installed illegally and were considered to be flyposting.
“Despite clear guidance and warnings, the signs re-appeared, leading to the a fixed penalty notice.”
Where to start with these idiots in the council? They should be supporting local businesses not hindering them. Pubs are having a bad enough time at the moment without some overpaid public servant deciding that they cannot put signs up just because 'they' consider them illegal. As for not qualifying for addition on a tourist information sign because it is in a different council area, well that is just a stupid border dispute, someone should be knocking heads together between the two councils to get them to support local businesses, especially pubs and especially those that have reopened after 7 years of closure.
I first visited this pub some 20 years ago, back in my student days when a group of us stayed at the nearby Youth Hostel which has now closed, something the local pub used to rely on. Can't remember much about the pub, but the Saturday night visit to Merthyr Tydfil was interesting to say the least!

Expenses-fiddling MP starts fight after cheap booze binge

Late on night Wednesday night the expenses-fiddling MP Eric Joyce was arrested in the Houses of Parliament for what has been described by some as 'a brawl' or by others as a 'fight caused by Eric Joyce MP' (A Tweet by Andrew Stephenson MP for Pendle).

According to a Scotland Yard Rozzer:
“We were called at approximately 10:50 GMT last night to reports of a disturbance at the bar within the House of Commons. A man in his 50s was arrested by officers on suspicion of assault. He remains in custody in a central London police station. Inquiries are continuing”.
Naturally Guido has some more information and a photo of a window allegedly broken during Major Joyce's struggle with the rozzers.

Its not Joyce's first brush with the law as in 2010 he pleaded guilty to failing to provide a breath test. So, in the words of the plod, “He has previous form”.

Conservative MP Stuart Andrew was apparently headbutted and punched by the 'tired and emotional' Labour MP for Falkirk. Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke attempted to restrain Joyce, telling him “You do not do that to an MP in this House!” Tables were knocked over, drinks spilt and glasses were broken as Joyce struggled with others trying to restrain him.

Also in 2010 there was another disturbance in the Houses of Parliament when another Labour MP wrestled with someone during a karaoke evening.

Does anyone see the connection here between the availability of cheap, taxpayer-subsidised alcohol and violent behaviour? Even the neo-prohibitionists in Parliament who wish a minimum price on us, not themselves as Westminster is, of course, a 'Royal Palace' and exempt from Excise Duty, are not calling for increased prices in their own bars and restaurants.

These are the people who make our laws, the people who have caused thousands of pub closures with the smoking ban, the people who believe the drinks industry is a cash cow to be milked indefinitely, so what can be done? Well below are a few ideas, ideas based on the Draconian rules which have been placed on pubs up and down the country in the name of eradicating violent disorder in pubs.

The bars in the Houses of Parliament should:
  • Install a CCTV system
  • Have SIA registered doormen on all the doors at all times, they can be recruited from Newport as recommended in the recent Channel 4 documentary 'Bouncers'.
  • Raise prices – the current irresponsible prices encourage binge drinking and should be brought in line with prices in the surrounding area of London
  • Use polycarbonate glasses. With a history of violence and the ease of access to the stone-flagged terrace there is a danger of 'tired and emotional' Members of Parliament having accidents and breaking glass
  • Change their opening hours to 12-2 and 7-10.30
  • Give police 5 days notice of private bookings
  • Have at least one licensee to be on site at all times
  • Have these conditions reviewed by the Metropolitan Police every 3 months

MPs have suggested the above proposals such as restricting opening hours and pubs throughout the country have had conditions such as these piled on them in what are already tough economic times, surely it is only fair that the great and the good who lord over us should have similar conditions passed on their unruly bars, after all, “We are all in this together”.

A few weeks ago the beer Top Totty was banned from the Strangers Bar by a MP who admits to not even frequenting the bar but heard the beer was being served there and was offended. A Twitterstorm followed and there was much ridiculing of the MP whilst sales of Top Totty went through the roof. Can we now expect the MPs to self-regulate and clean up their own bars? Somehow I have my doubts.
Still I don't think we can see Headshunt Stout from Bridgehouse Brewery making an appearance on bar at Strangers for a while.

Update: Major Joyce MP has been charged with three counts of assault and is up before the bench on March 7th, almost 2 years to the day that his former colleagues were up before the bench at the same magistrates court.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Welsh Beers to showcase at the Rake

The fantastic Rake pub in Borough Market, London will be once again showcasing the very best of Welsh beer this year with 26 casks from 14 different breweries.
Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th March!

The Otley Brewing Company have once again been sourcing the best beers from across Wales to bring to the thirsty denizens of London:

Bragdy’r Nant – Mwnci Nel, 5.5%

Brecon Brewery – Pale Beacons, 3.9%

Brecon Brewery – Wandering Beacons, 5%

Brecon Brewery – Bright Beacons, 4.5%

Bullmastiff – Son of a Bitch, 6%

Conway – St Davids Ale, 4.2%

Conway – Scrumdown, 4%

Great Orme – Cambrian, 3.8%

Heart of Wales – Welsh Black, 4.4%

Kite Brewery – Gorslas, 4%

Montys Brewery – Manjana, 3.9%

Montys Brewery – Mojo, 3.8%

Neath Brewery – 6 Hop Nations, abv tbc

Otley Brewing Co – O4 ColumbO, 4%

Otley Brewing Co – O6 Porter, 6.6%

Otley Brewing Co – Oxymoron, 5.5%

Otley Brewing Co – mOtley Brew, 7.5%

Otley Brewing Co – O-Garden, 4.8%

Purple Moose – Glaslyn, 4.2%

Purple Moose – Snowdonia, 3.6%

Sandstone – Edge, 3.8%

Sandstone – Post Mistress, 4.4%

Sandstone – Obsidian, 5%

Tiny Rebel – Fubar, 4.4%

Tiny Rebel – Urban IPA, 5.5%

Waen – Blackberry Stout, 3.8%

Google Map:

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Tuesday 21 February 2012

Tiny Rebel Brewery Launches

Tiny Rebel takes Wales’s beer scene by storm

Tiny Rebel Brewery Limited, Newport’s only micro brewery, has begun brewing in the Maesglas area of the City.

The brand new brewery which covers almost 3000 square foot, operates out of the Maesglas Industrial Estate in Newport, was originally established by brothers-in-law Gareth Williams and Bradley Cummings in 2011 in a garage with no more than a few barrels and some hops. What started as a hobby is now a start up company ready to launch its bespoke brews for the first time.
Specialising in producing retro beers with a modern twist, the company will initially be launching two beers, FUBAR and Urban IPA, available in both cask and bottles to the market this month. It is hoping to expand to producing an additional six beers by the end of 2012. The company’s new premises will allow for a 10 brewers barrel plant, enabling a brewing capacity of 1640 litres per brew which while create an output of 80 casks per week.
Mechanical and electrical engineers by trade, Bradley and Gareth decided to turn their passion for brewing into a viable business and new way of life. On speaking about launching the brewery, Gareth said: “We are extremely proud to be the only micro brewery in Newport and we hope the local community are as excited as we are to be here.
“Brewing is our passion and we experiment and innovate with a purpose. We let our imaginations run wild and we are always excited to see the results.
“Cask ale has seen a resurgence over recent years with many people switching back to beer from lagers. We hope that our new mix will continue this trend and see even more people making the switch to craft beer.
“Wales has such a great range of home grown beers and we hope that ours will add to the offering and really put Wales on the map as a brewing nation.”
The new brewery is currently fronted by Bradley and Gareth and they have future ambitions of supporting the local community by employing a further 100 over the next three years with the opening of further pubs and craft beer bars. It has already successfully collaborated with two pubs the Navigation Abercynon and the Commercial Inn Pontymister in making these their tap houses.
Bradley added: “Newport is our home town and we wanted to give something back to the community. The continuing regeneration of the area makes it an ideal location for us with great investment and recruitment opportunities and we hope, in years to come, that we will be a recognised employer in the area.”
Tiny Rebel beers are available in the Commercial Inn at Pontymister and the soon-to-reopen Navigation at Abercynon, Beerd Bar Bristol and other cask beer pubs in and around Newport. 
The brewery currently produces two beers FUBAR  and Urban IPA
FUBAR – 4.4% Pale Ale
A unique schizophrenic beer where you’ll face off against floral hoppy flavours up front, leading into a fry spicy bitterness on the back. Need something a little different to wake up your taste buds? It’s time to get a FUBAR!
Urban IPA – 5.5% Indian Pale Ale
A carefully crafted intercontinental blend of hops helps us take traditional IPA’s to the next level in our Urban IPA. If you’re bored with soulless IPA’s drank by farmers in wellies, it’s time to go URBAN.

Thursday 16 February 2012

What brewers actually do

Prince of Wales, Kenfig

Prince of Wales, Maudlam, Kenfig, Bridgend, CF33 4PS

Open All Day

The Prince of Wales stands as an isolated stone-built building overlooking the shifting sands of the Kenfig Burrows. This building was originally the town hall of the ancient Borough of Kenfig, not the modern conurbation that now bares the name. 

Above: the view from the pub to across the sands

The rest of the old borough has been enveloped by the sands over the centuries but the town hall hall still stands, defiantly overlooking the sands and the Bristol Channel, after 500 years. The town hall part of the pub is on the first floor, accessible only from the exterior of the building. Believed to date from around 1600, this Tudor structure was thought to be originally built on pillars , later stone walls were built on the ground floor to create a pub, 'The New House Tavern' or 'Ty Newydd' and later called 'The Corporation', which was again altered in 1808 and renamed the Prince of Wales after the Prince Regent who later became George IV.  The pub and the village of Kenfig are due to feature in a forthcoming (11.03.12) episode of Time Team.

Set in its own grounds with an extensive car park and outside drinking area, the pub is entered via an off-centre door and corridor which leads to the bar. To the left of the corridor is a small room with a number 2 above the door, a reminder of the times when each room in a licensed premises had to, by law, be identified. The law altered in the 1960s but that number is just a small reminder of how little has changed in this pub over the years. This small room contains tables and settles and is decorated with sea charts and photographs of
shipwrecks from the nearby coast. Due to the historic interior of the Prince of Wales it features in the CAMRA book the 'Real Heritage Pubs of Wales (see below).
The bar features no handpumps, the real ales are served straight from the barrel from another room and include Bass, Sharp's Doombar as well as a guest beer.

The larger room, to the right of the corridor is decorated with photographs of locals and has a full list of all the Portreeves or wardens appointed by the Borough of Kenfig since their charter was signed in medieval times. The pub features snippets of local history on most of the walls, but the end wall is taken up by a large stone fire-place and chimney, the wooden logs for which are stored in ancient burnished copper cauldrons either side of the welcoming fire. Old wooden doors and thick stone walls that defy mobile phone signals
make the Prince of Wales a quiet and welcoming pub, there is a flat-screen television but this is only used for major sporting events and in this pub that means rugby not football.

Food is served 12-3 and 6-9 and the menu features Welsh specialities such as locally made faggots and Welsh lamb as well as traditional pub fayre such as lasagne and grills as well as more unusual specials such as Bengali Cod or Cajun Beef in a Stilton sauce.

The Prince of Wales has a large car park outside or there is a bus from Bridgend/Porthcawl (63B) every couple of hours during the day.

Traveline Cymru Information:

Google Map:

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The Prince of Wales features in the CAMRA book 'Real Heritage Pubs of Wales'.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Tiny Rebel Brewery Launches tomorrow!

Newport's newest (and only!) brewery will be launched on Thursday evening in the Commercial pub in Pontymister, Risca, with Tiny Rebel Brewing Company launching their beers in the former Gwent CAMRA Pub of the Year, run by local independent pub company Dragon Inns.

Two beers are set to be launched,  FUBAR, a 4.4% pale ale which should annoy the Portman Group with its name and Urban IPA a 5.5% IPA.

Above: the Commercial Inn

North Wales Brewery Expands

From the Welsh Government news service
North Wales company brewing up a storm

An award-winning micro brewery on the Llŷn peninsula is going from strength to strength thanks to support from the Rural Development Plan for Wales (RDP), which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Members of the Cwrw Llŷn cooperative brewing the beer

Above: Members of the Cwrw Llŷn cooperative brewing the beer

The Cwrw Llŷn co-operative group, made up of 12 friends, who started brewing beer on a commercial scale in a converted cowshed last May, recently moved production to a larger unit at Nefyn, with assistance from the RDP. The group also hopes to open a brewing heritage centre to tell the story of what is thought to be the first Welsh beer, brewed in nearby Porth Neigwl during the Bronze Age.
The move has enabled Cwrw Llŷn to treble its production to 30 barrels of beer a week to meet a growing demand from local pubs and hotels. However this is just a stop-gap as the friends have major expansion plans which include opening the tourist attraction and growing their own barley to make a truly local pint. The group, which includes three farmers, currently source their malt barley from a company in Nottingham, but one of the farmers, who grows barley for animal feed, has had his crops tested and assessed as perfect for beer production.
One of the group, acclaimed poet Myrddin ap Dafydd, said that archaeologists have discovered that the oldest brewery in Wales was at Porth Neigwl - about 10 miles from his home at Llwyndyrys, where the friends started to make their beer. He said:
"There is a fascinating history to beer making in the area and we want to tell this at a heritage centre we are hoping to build, along with a new micro brewery, a kiln and a visitor centre where people can come and see the beer being made."
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Alun Davies said:
"Cwrw Llŷn is one of many small businesses in rural Wales that are being helped to prosper and grow by the RDP. The group’s plans to combine its brewing activity with a tourist attraction show how food and drink has been intertwined with our identity and culture for hundreds of years. Capitalising on these links to create an extra string to their bow is an excellent example of how we can make the most of our excellent produce to encourage food tourism in Wales. I wish them the very best of luck for the future.”
The first beer, a traditional bitter, made by the co-operative is named Brenin Enlli after Bardsey Island's last-known king. A second, a golden ale, is named Seithenyn, after one of the Three Immortal Drunkards of the Isle of Britain, who according to legend was responsible for the sea-defences of Cantre'r Gwaelod, but neglected them one night because of his drunkenness, allowing the sea to overrun them.

Cwrw Llyn, recent winner of the Group of the Year category in the 2011 Gwynedd Taste & Talent Awards, received funding to develop their Nefyn micro brewery from the RDP’s ‘Llwyddo yng Ngwynedd’ Local Products Scheme which is co-ordinated in Gwynedd by Gwynedd Council on behalf of Gwynedd Economic Partnership.   They also received support from Cywain, another RDP-funded project, set up to add value to agricultural produce.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Pubs of Pill - still open

Part 4
Still Open

After having a look at the closed and demolished pubs of the Pill area of Newport in previous posts I'd thought I'd turn my attention to the pubs that are still open – yes there are some still open! Unfortunately none of them sell real ale nowadays.

Ship & Pilot, 21 Church Street, corner St Michael Street

First mentioned in 1848 as 'The Ship and Pilot Boat'. Used to be my local when I lived in the area as it was one of the few pubs that sold real ale.
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells, free

Church House, 14 Portland Street

Dating from 1872, this pub has a connection with Newport poet WH Davies whose grandfather ran the pub. WH Davies is pictured on the pub sign. The pub was listed in 1952 as being of 'outstanding historical and architectural interest', although the glazed exterior tiles that once graced the frontage have been replaced with dull brick. Pub was closed 2005-2009.

Owners: Hancocks, Welsh Brewers, Harveys

Alexandra Inn, 89 Commercial Road, corner of Portland Street

First mentioned I 1872, the Alex still has rare etched glass windows with the WH (William Hancock initials)
Owners: Hancocks, Welsh Brewers, free

Top of The Range Club, 134 Commercial Road
First mentioned in 1872 as the Olive Branch pub, closed 1972, reopened as the Italian-Welsh Club and the Top of the Range Club.
Owners: 1905 Ashton Gate Brewery of Bristol, free

Royal Oak, Jeddo Street

First mentioned 1872.
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells, private

Riverview Club

Originating in 1817 as the Union Hotel, also known as the Union Jack Hotel, the Union House and the Richmond Hotel. Was even brewing its own beer in 1836. Closed as a pub in 1967 and reopened as the Riverview Working Men's Club.
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells, private members club

Picton, 14 Commercial Road

First mentioned in 1880. The pub is owned by the same owner as the Irish Club opposite (pictured below).
Owners: Hancocks, Welsh Brewers, free

West of England, 42 Mill Parade

First mentioned 1838
This pub actually has a website, one which has been updated since I fisked it here

Waterloo, 113 Alexandra Road

The jewel in the crown of former Pill pubs. Although not a pub any longer but a hotel and restaurant, the Waterloo was saved from dereliction by its current owners who have preserved this fine Edwardian pub. Rebuilt 1904
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells, private

Beer Festival in Corris!

Yes that's Corris near Machynlleth and they hold a festival every year in the Braich Goch Bunkhouse and Inn, SY20 9RD.
This year the Festival will be starting on Thursday 17th and continuing over the weekend until the 20th February.
and the beers will be sourced from the Peak District, entry is free to the festival.

Situated at Corris on main A487 road, overlooking River Dulas valley. Approximately 6 miles north of Machynlleth and 10 miles south of Dolgellau.
Google Map:

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Monday 13 February 2012

Otley use Brains for New Pub

Otley Brewery opens first pub outside Pontypridd

The award-winning Otley Brewing Company has opened its first pub outside of Pontypridd by taking the keys to the popular King’s Arms in Pentyrch.

The Brains owned pub, which is set in the heart of the village, will see a change in menu, décor and will offer a wider selection of real ales. Otley hopes to recreate the success of its critically-acclaimed flagship pub The Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd, which is famed for its fresh, locally sourced food, award-winning beers and relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.

Nick Otley, the managing director of The Bunch of Grapes, and now The King’s Arms, said: “This is a big step for us as a business. Our brewery and pubs are all based in Pontypridd and this is our first venture outside of the area. The King’s Arms is a terrific pub with a good reputation and bags of character and we want to build on that. It fits in perfectly with our ethos of what makes a great local restaurant and real ale pub. We want to bring a flavour of the Bunch of Grapes to The King’s Arms while still retaining the charm and homeliness that has made the pub so popular with locals and visitors for years.”The King’s Arms is a Grade II listed building that dates back to the 16th Century and features the original flagstone floors, oak beams and a roaring open log fire. It also has a large beer garden.

The Otley family opened The Otley Brewery in Pontypridd in 2005 and soon took on three pubs in the area. Its range of beers and real ales quickly became the drink of choice for beer and ale drinkers looking for new flavours and styles. The unique branding and clever seasonal offerings from Otley have seen them become stocked in bars and restaurants right across Wales.

Nick continued: “We will permanently run our popular 01 golden ale at the King’s Arms bar as well as a second ale on rotation to give people the chance to sample other flavours. These ales will complement the excellent range of beers that Brains supplies.

“Ken Bell - one of our fantastic chefs from The Bunch of Grapes - is our new head chef at The King’s Arms and he will be showcasing the best seasonal, local produce and some fantastic homemade specials. We also have one of our best managers taking over the day-to-day running of the pub – Joanne Davies. We are really looking forward to meeting everyone in the village and hope they will call in soon to say hello to Ken, Joanne and the rest of the team and enjoy a pint.”

Richard Davies, sales and marketing director at Brains, added: “Nick has built a very strong business in Pontypridd and the Bunch of Grapes is a truly excellent offer. We are delighted that Nick has taken on the King’s Arms as a tenant and we look forward to working with him to maximise the potential of the pub.”

The new menu will launch at The King’s Arms on February 10 and the official opening will be held in April.

Google Map:

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Sunday 12 February 2012

Saturday 11 February 2012

Pubs of Pill, part 3

The demolished pubs.
Following on from the previous two posts, here and here, on the closed Pill pubs that are still standing, here is a list of the demolished pubs of the area. Unfortunately I don't have photos of every pub.

Orange Tree, 25 St Michael Street

First mentioned 1848, closed 1998, demolished 1999, housing now on the site.
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells, private

Tredegar Arms, 4 Church Street.

First mentioned 1830, rebuilt 1901, closed 1994, demolished 1998. Housing on site now.
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells

Hastings, 93 Commercial Road
First mentioned 1872, closed 1986 and converted to offices. Demolished 1999. Housing on site now.
Owners: Lloyds & Yorath, Ansells

Ruperra Arms, 18 Commercial Road, on corner with Ruperra Street
First mentioned 1848, demolished 1979, housing now on site.
Owners: 1926 Georges Bristol Brewery, Courage

Royal George, 1 Potters Parade
First mentioned 1872, demolished 1979
Owners: 1933 Ashton Gate Brewery of Bristol, 1943 Hancocks

Alexandra Dock Hotel, 35 Watchhouse Parade
Built 1876, damaged by Luftwaffe 1940, demolished by Newport Council 1974 for road widening.
Owners: Lord Tredegar, 1905 Hancocks

Commercial Hotel, 1 Commercial Wharf/Town Dock
First mentioned 1845, closed 1971, Black Clawson Club built on site, now that has been demolished for housing.
Owners: 1905 Phillips, 1933 GWR

Neptune, 37 Dock Street
First mentioned 1848, closed and demolished 1965
Owners: Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells

Star Hotel, 103 Dock Street

Phillips Brewery tap, closed 1946 but used as offices. Demolished and Asda car park now on site.
Owners: 1872 Thomas Lloyd Lewis, 1874 Phillips, Simonds

Friday 10 February 2012

6 Nations beers from Wales

It's that time of year again when men with oddly-shaped balls chuck them around the field to the cheers of shouting fans. I don't mean the Superbowl either where heavily-padded Americans stop every few seconds and Madonna comes on at half time. Yes it's the 6 Nations and the brewers of Wales have been coming up with some beers to go with the rugby as everyone knows rugby and beer go together well.

First up is Hop Head Jay at Neath Ales with his 6% 6 Hop Nations IPA. Now his Green Bullet is one of my favourite beers but for this one-off Jay has sourced hops from 6 Nations for this beer, unfortunately he could not get the hops from the Nations participating in the cup as Scotland and Italy are not favoured climates for growing the 'pernicious weed', however he does have this to say about his beer:
  " I decided on some subtle hops which lead to a really complex flavour rather than one which smash you in the nose: the ones which are evident in the taste are lots and lots of Northdown, lots of Hallertauer, and a seasoning of Pacific Gem".

"Vale of Glamorgan Brewery return with their Fe Fi Fo Fum, a 4.3%, a copper-coloured Best Bitter with ' subtle malt flavour and hop varieties giving the aroma and taste reminiscent of the hedgerow'. Not too sure what that actually means? Does it smell of badger piss and taste of bird droppings?

The soon-to-be-moving Waen Brewery of Powys have also produced a Best Bitter, this time called 'Scrum and Get it'. I did try try some last week but I found it unbalanced in flavour tasting like not very good home-brew but some others have had positive things to say about it so each to their own!

Finally Brains bring back 'Bread of Heaven' a 4% ABV beer.
Named to embody the spirit and passion of the Welsh Nation, Bread of Heaven is handcrafted to celebrate Brains’ sponsorship of the Welsh National Rugby Team and is the official ale of the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slam.
Its rugby ball-shaped logo features the WRU Official Ale logo and the words ‘Bread of Heaven’ and ‘feed me till I want no more’ from the famous Welsh hymn, ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’.

A traditional cask ale with a distinctive reddish hue and a rich hop aroma, finely balanced by a more-ish fruit finish.

Best pub in Britain is Welsh

For the first time ever a Welsh pub wins CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year!

-Revived village local, Bridge End Inn, Ruabon, scoops CAMRA national title 
-Pubs from Bedfordshire, Cornwall and Lancashire make up other finalists
WINNER: Bridge End Inn, 5 Bridge Street, Ruabon, Wrexham, LL14 6DA, 01978 810881
PRESENTATION (AT THE VENUE): Friday February 10th 2012, 1pm
A small community pub in north Wales transformed by a local family has today been announced as the best pub in Britain by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.
The Bridge End Inn, Ruabon, not only enters CAMRA’s history books as the first ever Welsh pub to win its National Pub of the Year competition, but having only been re-opened by its current owners in March 2009, becomes one of the most remarkable success stories in the competition’s history.
CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year competition recognises all the criteria that make a great pub, including atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix, but most importantly, the quality of the beer.
The Bridge End Inn was taken over and subsequently revitalised by the McGivern family in 2009, with the pub earmarked as the ideal premises for the family microbrewery – McGivern Ales - overseen by son Matthew. Having reopened the pub 5 weeks after taking it on, the McGivern family were praised by CAMRA members for restoring the pub’s interior, and for introducing an extensive real ale and cider range.
Now serving 7 real ales and a selection of local ciders at any one time, the pub has stocked real ales from over 100 breweries since opening, with a particular emphasis on local produce. As well as acting as the brewery tap for McGivern Ales, other breweries from north Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire feature prominently at the bar.
Peter McGivern, Bridge End Inn licensee, said:

‘We are a family business, and the pub has been a real labour of love. What we strived to do was create a pub not focused on food that we would enjoy visiting, putting the product first and offering a wide range of traditional beer styles. As a result we’ve built up a mixed trade of locals and beer lovers from all over Britain.
‘We are delighted with this national award, particularly as we were told when first taking on the pub that there was little demand for real ale in the area. Through a lot of passion and hard work for what we do, we’ve enjoyed great success in a short space of time, which couldn’t have been achieved without the support of family, close friends, staff and customers.’
Hailing the success of the pub, Julian Hough, CAMRA Pubs Director, said:
‘The pub is an unbelievable success story, and is a perfect case study of a local outlet playing a pivotal role at the heart of a small community. By investing time into providing a quality beer range full of choice, the pub in a short space of time has become revered across Britain by many beer lovers. I offer my personal congratulations to the Bridge End Inn for such rapid progression in taking CAMRA’s national pub title.’
The presentation of the National Pub of the Year competition will take place at the Bridge End Inn on Friday February 10th 2012, at 1pm. 
The Bridge End Inn beat 3 other finalists this year to claim the crown. These pubs are-
Engineers Arms, 68 High Street, Henlow, Bedfordshire, SG16 6AA
Tel. 01462 812284, 

Front, Custom House Quay, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3JT
Tel. 01326 212168

Swan with Two Necks, Main Street, Pendleton, Lancashire, BB7 1PT
Tel. 01200 423112, 


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