Monday 9 December 2013

Gwatkin Cider Christmas Fayre

Fancy some Christmas shopping this Sunday together with a bite to eat and some award-winning ciders? Then pop along to Morehampton Park Farm, Abbeydore in Herefordshire, the home of the multi-award winning Gwatkin Cider who will be hosting their second annual Christmas Fayre. More details on their Facebook site.
Available at the farm will be:
Mulled Cider and Mince Pies
Hot Pork and Turkey Rolls
Craft Stalls
Gwatkin Cider Hampers
Christmas Puddings
Holly and Mistletoe and more 
                                             Santa and his reindeer will also be there!
It's amazing that an Ifor Williams sheep trailer can be made into Santa's Ghetto!

Pictured below is Santa at the Fayre last year, who bears a strange resemblance to the editor of this blog!
"Just remember, there ain't no sanity clause!"


Only 15 minutes from Hereford.From Hereford take the A465 towards Abergavenny, after approximately 10 minutes turn right on the B4348 towards Peterchurch (just after Locks Garage).After approximately 5 minutes, turn left on to the B4347 for Abbey Dore. We are just over a mile on the right hand side.
From Abergavenny take the A465 towards Hereford, ignore the first sign for Abbey Dore. Carry straight on until you see the sigh for Peterchurch (at Locks garage) and turn left on the B4348.After approximately 5 minutes, turn left on to the B4347 for Abbey Dore. We are just over a mile on the right hand side

Gwatkin Cider

Moorhampton Park Farm 

Abbey Dore 



View Gwatkin Cider in a larger map

Saturday 30 November 2013

Sip Santa's Beard this Christmas

Press release from Brain's Brewery regarding their latest bottled beer.

Santa’s Beard, a Christmas ale brewed by Brains Brewery, will be exclusively available in Tesco supermarkets nationwide over the festive period.

Santa’s Beard will be available in over 250 Tesco supermarkets nationwide in a 500ml amber bottle.

Santa’s Beard is a milk stout brewed with five different malts – pale ale, Munich, crystal, brown and chocolate malts – roasted barley and lactose sugar to create a dark beer with flavours of caramel, burnt toffee and roast coffee.

The recipe was perfected in the Brains Craft Brewery, before being up-scaled to the main Brewery for bottling.

Paul Harvey, Head of Sales, says “We’re delighted to be part of Tesco’s Christmas range with Santa’s Beard, a milk stout. Two years ago we introduced Brains Original Stout into Tesco’s stout range and we hope Santa’s Beard will be just as popular.”

“Christmas is a key period for the Premium Bottled Ale sector, and we think Santa’s Beard is the perfect beer to enjoy over the festive period or to give as a gift.”
Tesco currently stock the Brains range of bottles and cans including Organ Morgan and Jack Black from their Dylan Thomas range and Barry Island IPA and Boilermaker from the Brains Craft Brewery.
Santa's Beard joins three other Christmas ales from Brains - Fir King Good, Secret Santa and I Sea Santa. Fir King Good is the December seasonal available nationwide, Secret Santa will be a small scale beer brewed in the Craft Brewery with treacle and molasses and I Sea Santa has been brewed for Nicholson's by Brains in collaboration with beer writer Melissa Cole and the Nicholson's Cask Masters. I Sea Santa will be available exclusively in Nicholson’s pubs.

Santa’s Beard blends five malts – Pale Ale, Munich, Crystal, Brown and Chocolate malts – with roasted barley to create a dark beer with a rich depth of malty wonderment. With flavours of caramel, burnt toffee and roast coffee balanced by a sweetness from lactose sugars, this is a luxuriously sumptuous sweet milk stout, perfect for Christmas. A great accompaniment to aged cheese or rich, chocolate puddings.

Some tasting notes below of mine which appeared in the South Wales Echo on Friday 29.11.13. Yes my column has moved to a Friday!
Brain's Brewery Santa's Beard, 4.5% ABV, £1.99/500ml bottle available at Tesco.

Since the introduction of their Craft Brewery last year, Brain's have brewed a wider range of beers than they have in the previous 131 years in the history of their brewery. Santa's Beard is based on another beard-themed brew that came out on the smaller scale Craft Brewery earlier this year, it has now been tweaked and upscaled to the main brewing plant and is exclusively available in Tesco for the Christmas Season.

Santa's Beard is black in colour and pours with a rich-foamy brown head. Aromas of sweet coffee and caramel dominate. Roast flavours come through in the initial taste, closely followed by sweet, dark chocolate flavours. The chocolate flavours continue into the aftertaste, together with the roast coffee sweetness. Brewed from a blend of five malts, Pale Ale, Munich, Crystal, Brown and Chocolate, an added ingredient is lactose which is a non-fermentable sweetener, this was used to brew 'Milk Stouts' many years ago.

Friday 29 November 2013

Rye and Belgian beers in continental Brains clash!

 Some news from Brains Craft Brewery on their final collaborations of the year:
The final two collaborators in the Brains Craft Brewery’s Continental Beer Challenge have been to the Cardiff Brewery to brew their beers.

Glenn Payne, brewing maven, and Des de Moor, beer writer, were in Cardiff earlier in November attempting to steal the crown in the Continental Beer Challenge.

 Glenn brewed an American rye beer while Des chose to brew a spèciale Belge.

Rye Catcher is an American rye beer. Rye and Rye Crystal malts provide a spicy malt base and a vibrant copper colour to this beer which is powerfully hopped with Apollo, Columbus, Amarillo and Citra hops from the USA, producing an assertive bitterness with robust flavours of citrus and grapefruit.
Brabo, a classic, easy drinking Belgian pale ale made with authentic Belgian yeast has a rich amber colour from Munich and Cara malt and a restrained floral, lightly spicy hop character from Czech Saaz and East Kent Goldings hops. It evokes the Grote Markt square in Antwerp with its imposing statue of Brabo, the mythical Roman soldier who slew the giant Druon Antigoon and threw his hand into the river Schelde.

 Both Rye Catcher and Brabo will be contenders in the Brains Craft Brewery’s Continental Beer Challenge. Joining them will be Dissolution (dubbel - Pete Brown), Blackbird (schwarzbier – Robyn Black), Three C-Son (saison – Adrian Tierney-Jones) The Ides of Märzen (märzen - Sophie Atherton) and Brains’ contender Achilles Heel (helles).

The judging will take place on the 5th of December, ahead of the British Guild of Beer Writers dinner. Last year’s winners were Thinking Drinkers. Their Boilermaker was crowned the winner of the Ultimate IPA Challenge, and is stocked in Tesco and Morrisons.

Rye Catcher will be available in cask and Brabo will be available in keg in Brains pubs in December. Rye Catcher will also be available at The Rake, Borough Market and The Bull, Highgate while Brabo will be available in cask at the Dog and Bell, Deptford.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

The pubs of Baneswell

Following on from the 'Pubs of Pill' articles a while back I've decided to look at another area of Newport.

Baneswell is a residential part of Newport, situated on a hillside close to the City Centre, bounded by the railway line to the West and the Cathedral to the South. Although the area was first mentioned as early as 1444 (Paynesgate) and later as Beanswell in 1750 there does not appear to have been much development of the area until the nineteenth century. A feature labelled 'Ancient Remains' is visible on the 1833 map but within a few years this disapeared under the rows of terraced housing that now dominate the area.

Unlike the Pill area of Newport, there appears to have been very little heavy industry in Baneswell, although the Victoria Brewery (1868-1903) was situated on the Northern boundary of the area,  16-17 Bridge Street, behind the former Engineers Arms pub.

What surprised me when researching this is that most of the buildings that were pubs are still standing, albeit converted to residential use.

The pubs and former pubs:

Angel, 39 West Street
First mentioned in 1872, owned by Phillips Brewery in 1905, later Courage. Had been closed for a number of years but reopened in 2013.

Bailey's, formerely London Inn/Tavern, 13 Bailey Street
Still open
First mentioned 1870, in 1905 it was owned by Lloyd & Yorath Brewery. Still open

Black Horse, 1 Blewitt Street/corner of East Street, now Knight's Estate Agents
First mentioned 1848, 1905 Hancock's Brewery, closed 1907.

Brittania Beerhouse, 55 Blewitt Street (listed as 53 Blewitt St in 1877 directory)
First mentioned 1872, closed 1922, demolished early 1970s. Modern housing on site now

Clifton Tavern, 48 Jones Street
First mentioned 1872, 1905 owned by Buchan & Co, Rhymney, closed 1913. The building is noticiably taller than other buildings in the same street, also there is a modern development, Clifton Place, immediately behind the building.

Engineers Arms, 3 Albert Terrace/1 Prospect Place
Closed 2012, converted to residential.
First mentioned 1872
A beerhouse is recorded at 1 Albert Terrace in 1877

Lamb, 6 Bridge Street/5 Baneswell Road (Street name and numbering changed in the nineteenth century)
1872 was owned by Lord Tredegar, 1905 Simonds Brewery of Bristol, later Courage and now Admiral Taverns.
Still open

Le Pub, Caxton Place
Still open. The passageway leads to the rear of the Queen's Hotel.

New Inn, 1 Jones Street
First mentioned 1872, 1905 owned by Phillips Brewery, closed 1909.

Oddfellows & Foresters Arms, 39 St Mary Street
First mentioned 1872, owned by Phillips Brewery in 1905. Later owners were Courage Brewery and Ushers Brewery.
Closed around 2011.

O'Reilley's/Ryan's Bar/Xif/Brittania, 15 North Street
Mentioned in 1877, owned by Lord Tredegar in 1882, acquired by Lloyd & Yorath Brewery in 1933, later Ansells.
Closed around 2010, reopened 2013 as Dutchy's Jamaican Jerk Shack.

Prince of Wales, 1 St Woolos Road/corner of St Mary Street, opposite Oddfellows & Foresters.
First mentioned 1872, 1905 was owned by Phillips Brewery, closed 1958 and license transferred to the new build Centurian ph, St Julians, Newport.

Queens Hotel, 19 Bridge Street
Built 1863, purchased by Phillips Brewery in 1904. Other owners include Courage, Belhaven Inns, Regent Inns, JD Wetherspoons. Still open.

South Wales Railway Inn, 4 Albert Terrace (opposite Engineers Arms)
First mentioned 1870, 1905 owned by Phillips Brewery, closed 1911.

Talbot, 65 St Mary Street
First mentioned 1872, 1905 was owned by Lloyds & Yorath Brewery, closed 1946. Demolished 1970s/80s, new estate on site. Building was 2 houses away from the former St Woolos School, now the Baneswell Community Centre.

Wellington, 9 St Woolos Road
First mentioned 1872, 1905 owned by Phillips Brewery, closed 1953, license transferred to Lyceum Tavern, Malpas Road which only had off-sales before.

Some pubs mentioned as being in Baneswell in 1848:
Star, 2 Baneswell Road
New Baneswell Inn

Thursday 14 November 2013

Now and Then, former London Hotel Abergavenny

Former London Hotel, 23 Monk Street, Abergavenny

Once known as the London Apprentice Inn, this was first recorded in 1787 and by 1914 it was owned by Rhymney Brewery. The pub was converted into flats in 1978 and is now known as St Mary's Court.

NB This was a particularly difficult building to identify as on the original disk, purchased from ebay, the location of the pub is given as Cardiff, however the photos are definitely of the Abergavenny pub!

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Now and Then: Bute Street Bridge

 A bit of a change this time, with the Bute Street Railway Bridge in Cardiff and Brains advertising on it, looking North towards the Golden Cross pub.  Not sure of the age of the bottom photo but it's probably 1950s. The cables for the Cardiff trolleybuses can be seen in the photo.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Brains launches 'Four National Icons' Campaign

 A few years ago, the only advertising Brains used to do was paint the railway bridges of Cardiff!

S.A Brain & Co. Ltd have launched their ‘Four National Icons’ advertising campaign highlighting their Official Ale status with the Welsh Rugby Union.

The clever ‘Four National Icons’ creative features Welsh rugby legends Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn Jones and Leigh Halfpenny alongside a pint of Brains, the fourth icon. 

The campaign will run across 48 sheets and bus backs in Wales. In addition four of Brains’ city centre pubs in Cardiff have been fronted with large format banners, including The City Arms which is located directly across the stadium.

To back the campaign at an in-outlet level, Brains have created kits to drive footfall over the rugby season. Over 650 kits have been sent out containing fixture posters, magic 8 posters and banners.

Brains have also utilised this key time to drive awareness of two of their biggest cask ale brands with their key consumers. Newspaper adverts for SA Gold and The Rev. James will appear in the sports section of the Telegraph and The Times respectively each weekend during November.

The SA Gold advert will run with the strapline ‘All Beers Have Heads, Only Ours Have Brains’, while The Rev. James advert focuses on the heritage and history of the brand. The Rev. James was the founder of Buckley’s Brewery which was purchased by Brains in the nineties.

Brains and Welsh rugby are indelibly linked. Their sponsorship of the WRU began in 2004 – first as shirt sponsor and more recently as official ale. During their time as shirt sponsor they were the first team to have two separate brands on the home and away shirts with the home shirt branded SA and the away shirt branded SA Gold. 

Wednesday 30 October 2013

New home for Grey Trees Brewery

The Grey Trees Brewery was established in 2011, alongside the award-winning Red Cow pub in Llwydcoed, near Aberdare, by pub landlord Ray Davies. Having been brewing with a one-barrel plant at the pub, Ray has left the Red Cow behind to brew on a larger 10-barrel plant, which was previously used by the Breconshire Brewery.

The new, larger brewery no longer fits into the shipping container that once housed it, so new premises have been sought and the new Grey Trees Brewery is now housed on the Gasworks Road Industrial Estate, Aberaman, a short journey further down the Cynon Valley from it's original home but easier to get to by train, the industrial estate is only a short walk from Cwmbach railway station.

 The siting near a train station is important as Ray wants to open the brewery for tours and have a shop there in the future.

The standard range of beers, these will be suplemented by other brews

Greytrees Brewery
Units 5 & 6
Gasworks Road
CF44 6RC
07966 142582


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