Thursday 31 January 2013

BBPA Beer Duty Escalator film

The British Beer & Pub Association have produced a film on the Beer Duty Escalator - well worth watching

Cardiff Pub of the Year 2013

Members of Cardiff Branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) have judged that their 2013 Pub of the Year award goes to the Gwaelod Y Garth Inn situated on the northern outskirts of the City. The pub was voted for by the hundreds of volunteer members who go to make up the Cardiff Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.
Located at the 'foot of the mountain' (translated to Gwaelod-y-Garth), the Gwaelod Inn was originally part of the Marquess of Bute's estate and the village and mountain were the inspiration for the book and film “The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain”. The hillside pub features an excellent selection of ales and a great menu as well as being the hub of village life.
An on-site brewery has recently been installed; the Violet Cottage Brewery, located in the cottage at the rear of the pub and the real ales produced are going down well with visitors and locals alike.
Barbara, wife of licensee and brewer Richard Angell, said, “It’s an honour to once again be recognised by CAMRA. We must be doing something right”.

Branch secretary Brian Francis said, “This is not the first time that the inn has won a CAMRA award and the new brewery has helped them offer an even greater choice of ales reflecting local tastes. In our opinion it has done a tremendous amount to further CAMRA’s cause. Although the pub is situated on the outskirts of the city it is well worth the visit for the excellent ale and atmosphere on offer”.

CAMRA are also pleased to announce their runners up 'highly commended pubs' are the Deri in Rhiwbina and the City Arms in Quay Street, which won last year.
The presentation of the award will be on Friday 1 February at 7.30p.m and all are welcome to join in the celebration.

Gwaelod Y Garth Inn
Main Road,
CF15 9HH
029 20810408

Google Map:

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Tuesday 29 January 2013

Lyceum Tavern, Newport

Lyceum Tavern, 110 Malpas Road, Newport, NP20 5PL

Open all day
The Lyceum Tavern is situated close to the M4 and opposite to where the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal now starts. Unusually for the area, the Lyceum Tavern features a highly decorative limestone frontage on what is an end of terrace brick-built building.

The building in the 1950's

The building dates back to 1889 and has always been known as 'The Lyceum' even though it was only an off-licence for years and only became a pub when granted an on-licence in 1951, despite the owners requesting the change way back in 1926. In 1899 the off-licence was owned by a Mr Broadribb, who also owned a nearby bakery and sold beers from breweries such as Bass, Murphy's, Worthington's and Fuller's, in cask as well as bottles. The off-licence was purchased by local brewers Phillips in 1905, who were taken over by Simonds in 1948 and the pub became a Courage pub in 1960. Faded painted lettering on the side of the building, now barely readable, features the words 'Phillips' and 'Stout' on the brickwork.

An advert from 1899

The pub sign features another Lyceum – a Victorian theatre in Newport that was built in the style of a Greek temple and was demolished in the 1960s.

The double doors on the right-hand side of the pub lead to a central island bar, made out of dark wood. Two gleaming chrome handpumps serve Courage Best, now much improved since being brewed in Bedford and Hancock's HB, brewed by Brains, and the beers are served in branded glassware. Occasional guest beers also make an appearance from time to time. The Lyceum Tavern is surprisingly large given its outside appearance and stretches back quite a way. There is also a restaurant/function room upstairs and a pool room at the rear.

The inside features gleaming copper-topped tables and an odd collection of old musical instruments are piled on a high shelf around the walls. Old advertising posters are on the walls and there is a sign from 'Vile Bros', a nineteenth-century soft drink manufacturer from Newport. In one section of the pub there is a charity bookcase and a raised area towards the front provides a small stage area. The Lyceum Tavern hosts regular live music, a quiz night and a folk club meets here every week.

Food is served 12-2, 5.30-9 Monday-Saturday with booking advisable for Sunday lunch, 12-3. There are printed menus as well as a large chalkboard showing specials.

Monday 28 January 2013

Minimum Pricing will put people off the pub

New poll shows minimum pricing will undermine the great British pub

SABMiller has today released new poll results from YouGov which show that, contrary to the Government’s claims of a boost to the industry, a 45p minimum price for alcohol will turn people away from pubs.

YouGov polled 1261 people who had had an alcoholic drink in the last week1 to find out whether a minimum price would make them more or less likely to go to the pub. The results show that at a minimum price of 45p:

■Less than 1%(0.36)% say they will drink less at home and more in the pub

■39% will drink less in the pub

■45% will continue to drink the same as they did before, both at home and in the pub

■Pubs in some regions will be more affected than others, with 54% of people surveyed in the West Midlands saying they’ll drink less in the pub compared to 28% in Scotland

■People who are constantly struggling to keep up with their outgoings are the most likely to drink less in the pub (56%)

The report also shows that some people will cut back on other things in order to cover the increased cost of what they drink at home.

■16% of respondents said they would be very or fairly likely to cut back on other areas of spending; of those struggling or falling behind with their outgoings this rose to 24%

■17% of those who thought they would end up spending more on alcohol said they would cut down on leisure activities, for example going to the cinema, and 16% said they would cut back on clothing

■13% of those struggling or falling behind with payments said they would cut back on food, compared to 8% of the general population. 18% of 18-24-year-olds said this was also something that they would do.

Commenting, SABMiller’s Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs, Mike Short said:

“This shows that people don’t behave in the way computer models predict. If the Government really wants to cut anti-social binge drinking it needs to tackle that culture with better education for parents and in schools, targeted local schemes and proper enforcement of the existing licensing laws.”

Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s Chairman, said:
“The fact that less than 1% of people said they would drink in the pub more often and less at home puts paid to the Government’s claim that minimum pricing will help the UK pub industry.”

Newport Pub Closures

There is an article in Vice about Newport and the pub closures so I'd thought I'd update the list of Newport pub closures as I've not updated it for a while. There are a few in the Vice article that I'm not 100% sure of so have not included them in the list.

Starting point was Alan Roderick's Pubs of Newport, published in 1997

Newport Pub Closures since 1997:

1. Simpsons, High St, Closed – empty building

2. Chartist Arms, High St – closed – premises converted into a restaurant

3. Carpenters Arms, High Street – closed – freehold for sale

4. Lloyds, Cambrian Rd, became Jarcals, then Tesco Extra. Beer quality has improved!

5. Newport Brewhouse, Market St, now a nightclub

6. Trout, Market St, became Can-Cans, closed, building derelict

7. Ale House, ex-Sovereign, John Frost Square, closed and demolished

8. Welsh Prince, Commercial St, closed – premises converted into a Thai restaurant.

9. Langtons, Charles St, closed – premises auctioned 11.08

10. King William IV, Commercial St, closed – derelict building

11. Scrum Half, Commercial St, closed, retail premises

12. Westgate Hotel, Commercial St, closed, part retail premises

13. Royal Exchange, became Harveys in Pill, Commercial Rd. Closed, building derelict

14. Mariners Hotel, Commercial Rd, closed

15. Welcome Home, Commercial Rd, closed, residential accommodation

16. Black Horse, formerly Celtic Bar/Falcon, Commercial Rd

17. Cumberland house, Courtybella Tce, - closed -residential

18. Orange Tree, St Michael St, - closed and demolished

19. White Hart, Tredegar St, closed, business unit

20. Old Rising Sun, Malpas Rd, closed, building derelict

21. Pentwyn House, Bettws – closed

22. Chaplins, Caerleon, demolished, residential development

23. Cotton Club, Cambrian rd

24. Three Salmons, Rogerstone, now an Indian Restaurant

25. Jolly Roger, Rogerstone, now an Indian restaurant

26. Old Globe, Rogerstone , now an Indian/Chinese restaurant

27. Dolphin, Dolphin St, Pill, closed residential

28. Victoria, Corporation Rd, closed – converted into restaurant

29. Crown Inn, Albert Avenue, closed

30. Seven Styles, was Lliswerry Hotel, closed and demolished, residential development

31. King, Somerton, closed, awaiting demolition, residential development

32. Black Horse, Somerton, closed, awaiting demolition, Tesco Extra

33. Pullmans, Spytty, demolished, KFC on site

34. New Inn, Bishton, now residential

35. King's Arms Belmont Hill, Enterprise Inns, conversion to Indian restuarant

36. Waterloo, Pill, converted to restaurant and hotel

37. O'Reilleys, Baneswell, became Ryans Bar, then Xit, closed

38. Gladiator, Malpas, closed

39. Merry Miller, Bettws, closed

40. Church House Inn, St Bride's, Wentloog

Pubs closed since original list published (July 2010)

41. Corporation, Corporation Road – boarded up, fire damage, now converted to residential

42. Carpenters' Arms, Maindee, closed, boarded up, freehold for sale, now converted to take-away

43. Oddfellows, Baneswell, closed

44. Drover's, Caerleon, closed, boarded up (2010), now a take-away

45. Roman Lodge Hotel, Ponthir Road, - planning permission granted for conversion to residential

46. Griffin, Market St

Pubs closed since 2010

47. Globe, Chepstow Road, Maindee, was Enterprise, currently empty

48. Hornblower, Commercial Street

49. Star, Maindee

50. Newport City Lounge, Commercial Street

51. Engineers Arms, Baneswell, was Admiral Taverns, freehold sold, conversion to residential applied for

52. Golden Hart, Cardiff Rd

53. Prince of Wales, Cardiff Road, was converted to a restaurant but that has now closed

54. Hereford Arms, Maindee, conversion to residential

55. King's Head, High Street

56. Page, High Street, empty building

57. Angel, Caerleon, conversion to Sainsbury's, due to close Jan 2013

New Pub openings since 1997

Dragonfly, Cardiff Rd, M & B

1995 Wetherspoons, became John Wallace Linton, JDW

1999 Godfrey Morgan, Maindee, JDW

2002 Tom Toya Lewis, Commercial St, JDW

Banc, Maindee

2009 Valerie's Bar, Commercial Street


2009 Queen's Hotel as a JDW
Waterloo Inn, Alexander Rd, closed and re-opened as a restaurant and hotel

Angel, Baneswell, closed for 4 years – just reopened in 2013!

Delilah's, former Tredegar Arms/Yate's Wine Lodge/Seven, High Street

Breeze, Cambrian Road

Royal Albert, Maindee, re-opened after being closed for 3 years

Thursday 24 January 2013

Now & Then: Tradesmen's Arms, Newport

Former Tradesmen's Arms, 135 Commercial Street, Newport

On the corner with Hill Street, a pub was on this site in 1835 and it closed in February 1960. For years later the building was home to Morris Cowan Clothing/Baron Suits, the premises are now subdivided into three retail units.
Previous owners Lloyd & Yorath, Ansells breweries.

Thursday 17 January 2013

The Brains Oscars

Brains names their best pubs and people

The Watermans Arms in Pembroke has been named ‘Leased and Tenanted Pub of the Year 2012’ by Welsh pub operator S.A Brain and Co Ltd. Licensees Adam Sammons and Liz Pullen collected the award, plus a £1,500 cheque, at a ceremony held in Cardif.

Above: Adam and Liz with Richard Davies, sales and marketing director, and John Rhys, Chairman.
Adam and Liz took on the pub in 2010 and have since set about transforming the waterside venue. As well as refurbishing the interior and exterior, the couple introduced a new daily food offer, with an emphasis on fresh fish.

Adam explains: “We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far. The Waterman’s is a great pub in a fantastic location and to be recognised by Brains is a huge honour."

Four other awards, plus a cheque for £1,000, were handed out on the night:

· Brains beer pub of the year: Butchers Arms in Canton, Cardiff
The Butchers has long had a reputation as a pub where you can enjoy a range of cask ales in perfect condition, and Chris has carried on this tradition. The pub is one of Brains’ craft beer stockists, serving around two craft beers a month.
· Food pub of the year: Langford Inn in Langford, North Somerset
Philip and Claire at the Langford Inn, just outside Bristol, were the winners of the Food Pub of the Year award. The Langford has built up a reputation for its home cooked food offer. The daily changing menu features locally sourced ingredients and fresh fish. Equally impressive are the seven en-suite bedrooms, housed in two converted 17th century barns, featuring exposed beams and original brickwork.
· Customer experience pub of the year: Old Station in Hallatrow, Bristol
Debra and Neville at the Old Station in Hallatrow, Somerset, picked up the Customer Experience Pub of the Year award. The couple have been running the character pub since 2008, which also features a carriage – modelled on the Royal Scotsman’s dining car – as its restaurant. They’ve created a welcoming environment, serve quality food, and deliver outstanding customer experiences.

· Most improved pub of the year and best kept cellar: Ivor Arms in Pontyclun
Ian and Margaret, who also run the Romilly in Canton, took on the Ivor Arms in 2011. Since then they have significantly grown the business, which is testament to the hard work they have put in. And as their best kept cellar award shows, they maintain high standards.

Richard Davies, Sales and Marketing Director at Brains, said: "The awards ceremony gives us a chance to celebrate the variety of pubs that we have within our estate, and recognise and reward our best tenants.

“Last year was an excellent one for Adam and Liz, who have turned the Watermans Arms into a popular and profitable pub. They, like the rest of the winners, have shown that if you’re willing to put in the hard work and effort, the rewards are there.”

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Otley launches beers in keg


Leading, micro-brewery, the Otley Brewing Company kicks off the New Year as it means to go on with two exciting additions to its already extensive beer portfolio.

Two of the brewery’s best loved ales are now available in keg format as well as cask, opening Otley’s beers up to a new audience in restaurants and bars that do not cater for cask or real ales.

The 07 Weissen, a cloudy yet crisp German style Weissen beer will be available along with the big IPA style beer, Motley Brew.

Each of the beers have been firm favourites of Otley fans over the last five years and these additions play just a small part in the brewery’s larger development plans to make 2013 the most innovative year to date.

MD of the Otley Brewing Company, Nick Otley, said: “2013 is going to be a big year for us and launching our keg portfolio is just the beginning. Our aim has always been to be ahead of the game in terms of creativity and innovation and so we hope to push this even further in 2013. We have a number of exciting new brews up our sleeves and with the new, larger brewery we’re excited to see what we can do with the space.

“The brewing industry is continuously evolving and so expanding our keg portfolio is something that we’re going to be looking at doing. The two additions are fantastic for us as it now means that we have a true variety on offer to our customers.”

The Otley Brewing Company will also see the return of its O-Rosie ale as it becomes February’s seasonal ale. The rosemary-infused 4.3% ABV speciality bitter is copper in colour and will be available for the UK from February 1. 

For more information on the Otley Brewing Company, follow the brewery on Twitter @OtleyBrewingCo or like the company’s facebook page to stay up to date with latest brewery news straight from the mash tun.

Saturday 12 January 2013

King's Head, Llantwit Major

King's Head, East Street, Llantwit Major, CF61 1XY
Open all day

The King's Arms is a rendered stone-built building situated on the main road through the historic town of Llantwit Major. The original pub building is on the right, with the dormer windows, this was extended into the left-hand property in the twentieth-century and the difference in the fenestration is noticeable. Both buildings are set back from the main road and are flanked on the sides by later nineteenth-century buildings which encroach onto the road. The layout of the King's Arms with its central doorway and fireplaces on either side wall is typical of an eighteenth-century building, although it may have much earlier origins as the pub sign depicts Henry VIII who dissolved the monastery in the town in 1539. The two dormer windows of the King's Arms can clearly be seen on a 1877 map of the town.
The doorway leads into a vestibule with the lounge on the right and the bar/pool room on the left, with an old blocked-up former serving hatch for off-sales straight ahead. The lounge is quite narrow but stretches back quite far. On the right-hand wall there is a tilled late Victorian/Edwardian fireplace and another stone-built one at the rear. This long, narrow room features wood panelling and bare stonework, as well as a doorway to the outside area at the rear which is in use during the summer. A fish-tank and a flat-screen television provide the entertainment here, alternatively conversation with the friendly and colourful locals provides some harmless banter in this family-run pub. There are three gleaming chrome handpumps in the lounge and another three in the bar, the beers are from Brains with Dark, Bitter, SA, SA Gold and Rev James  being served along with a guest beer from a brewery such as Fuller's Otley or Titanic. Beers from Brains Craft Brewery are also served with the coconut and cacao flavoured Shy Porter making an appearance last weekend. All the bees are served in the brand new Brains branded glassware. There is also a good selection of single malt whiskies. The King's Head also holds a regular beer festival during the year and is the only pub in the town in the latest edition of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
The bar/pool room on the left of the pub also features a dartboard and the stone-walls are exposed to reveal the structure of the building. Black cast-iron pillars support a beam where the dividing wall was between the two original properties The far side wall of the building features a stone-built fireplace with a wood-burning stove in it.
Food is only served on Sunday lunchtimes.
Free WiFi

Monday 7 January 2013

Brains brew White IPA

Well we've had Black IPAs so why not a White IPA? Belgian White and American IPA styles fused together at Brains Craft Brewery to produce this interesting brew:
According to Brains, "Atlantic White blends the tradition of Belgian ‘Wit’ beers and the hop-character of American IPAs to produce a ‘White IPA’. Brewed with wheat malt and Belgian wit yeast the addition of freshly crushed coriander seeds, Curacao orange and US hops gives a light refreshing beer with a zesty and spicy finish".

A bit of a fusion beer but as last year saw the IPA series being brewed on the Craft Brewery, 2013 will see a range of European-inspired brews coming out of the brewery.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Gwent Rozzers wasting money again

 Yes, once again over Christmas and the New Year, Gwent Police Farce produced their own range of beermats. Only saw these 2 doing the rounds so not sure if there were any more. Good to see with all the supposed cuts happening in the public service the local rozzers are able to supply pubs with these.
Their previous attempts are here, as are the ones from a neighbouring farce.
As befits everything produced by the public sector in Wales the beermats are bilingual.

Brew Wales Awards 2012

The Brew Wales Awards 2012 think of it as the Golden Pints with added extras

The Brew Wales editorial team, which consists of, well myself, have sat down with a few beers to decide on these awards for 2012.

Pub of the Year (Wales)
City Arms, Cardiff. For the beer range and quality and helping to make Cardiff a City for beer.

Pub of the Year (rest of UK)
Robert Raikes’ House, Gloucester. A stunning pub development by Sam Smiths, completed in 2009 but I only visited it in 2012. Rumoured to have cost upwards of £4.5 million this sympathetic reconstruction is well worth a visit.
Most Improved Pub of the Year
Four Elms, Roath, JD Bassett pub company have transformed this long-neglected pub.
Runner up: Navigation, Abercynon

Food Pub of the Year
Goat Major, Cardiff. Yes, I like pies!
Welsh Brewery of the Year
Brains Craft Brewery – yes I’ve enjoyed searching for the Craft beers around the pubs of Cardiff and the range of beers we have seen in 2012 has been great, looking forward to what 2013 brings.

Runners up: Tiny Rebel, Neath, Otley
Brewery of the Year (Rest of UK)

Fullers. Yes I know they are a regional brewer but I’m still partial to a gallon or two of ESB when I see it on sale. Added to that their bottles beers are fantastic and they really get bottle-conditioning, something a lot of brewers need to understand

Best Newcomer of the Year
Tiny Rebel of Course!

Best Food Pairing
Tiny Rebel Chocoholic and Gruyerre Cheese
Beer of the Year
Tiny Rebel Urban IPA

Runners up: Otley Odessa, Sam Smiths Chocolate, Neath Ales Black Falls Hopjam, Brains Craft Brewery Colonel Williams IPA

Worst Beer of the Year
Hall & Woodhouse Badger Collector’s Edition Ale 2012

How this beer ever came to be made, let alone released by a brewery is a mystery, it tasted like stale Tanglefoot which had been put in a soda stream, a truly dreadful beer, still available at only £58/bottle from the brewery.

Runnners Up: Innis & Gun Melville’s Fruit beer – dreadful alcopop pretending to be beer, definitely one for the kiddies as its so sweet.

Cider of the Year
Ciderfect Vilberie, a new maker on the Servern Estuary.

Runner up: Gwatkin Foxwhelp, Gwynt Black Dragon
Worst Cider of the Year
Blind Granny. Truly dreadful that they are still knocking out their mouse-infected cider to the public. Take the loss and pour it away, you are not doing Welsh cidermakers or your company any favours by selling infected cider. The excuse you gave to customers at Abergavenny Food Festival when they returned your cider that “It must have been a bad batch” is really contemptible, especially as you have been aware of your problems for over a year!

Perry of the Year
Did not drink enough of them!
Off-license of the Year
The Bottle Shop, Cardiff

Runner up: Tesco, yes Tesco may be the big supermarket but they have the best beer range of all the big supermarkets.
Festival of the Year
The CAMRA Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival – well you could hardly expect anything else from me?

Runners up: Swansea Bay Festival (Moves to April in 2013), Gwatkin Cider Down on the Farm

Brewery Website of the Year:
SA Brain
As befitting the largest real ale brewer in Wales, SA Brain have a large and informative website. Easily accessible with quick navigation the site also features an RSS news feed and downloadable SatNav info for their pubs. Links to individual pub websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, where applicable are also on the site.
Runner up: Tiny Rebel
Pub Website of the Year
Blue Bell, Halkyn
An informative site that is updated on a daily basis with the beers and ciders available that day. The pub has also embraced, Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook and uses these social networks to inform customers of what beers are on and of events occurring. Full tasting notes of the beers and ciders on and coming on are on the site as well as

Worst Pub of the Year
Has to be JD Chaverspoons for the Gatekeeper in Cardiff - piss poor beer and indifferent staff!

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Brecon Brewing Sie Deutsch

A bit of an odd beer this, the pumpclip proclaims its 'a dark bock bier' but the colour is red-brown. Ah its been matured for 2 months so its one of Busters' experiments, closer examination of the pumpclip reveals Genesis 2:i, a rather hit 'n' miss series of beers.
Aroma: fruit, old grapes, quite musty, almost Grappa-like
Taste: Sweet, alcoholic, 2 months maturing on a bed of hops should really have imparted more flavour but I guess they added to the
aftertaste: bitter, butterscotch flavour, not to my taste and reminds more of a Belgium style of beer rather than German Bock. Still at 6% it packs a punch for the seasonal drinkers.
Overall score


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