Friday 26 April 2013

A couple of beer festivals this weekend

Sorry for the lack of blog updates recently but as some of my readers already know I'm currently on crutches due to knee and ankle injuries. If that as not bad enough my right arm is now in a sling so typing is a bit difficult!

First beer festival is at the Pen & Wig, Newport, where Jacko is hosting one last festival before he leaves the pub. A range of beers on including a selection from Portobelo Brewery in London and one from Liverpool Organic. Festival starts today (Friday) at 5pm and is open all day Saturday when there will be live music on.

The other festival is at the Mid-Glamorgan CAMRA Pub of the Year, the Boars Head, Tyla Garw, Pontyclun. The pub is only a short walk from Pontyclun railway station and is well-worth visiting.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Golden Beers to feature at the Bunch

The award-winning Bunch of Grapes pub in Pontypridd will be holding a Golden Ale Festival this Friday and Saturday with beers from Dark Star, Burton Bridge, Bristol Beer Factory, Monty’s, Red Squirrel, Hopback, Cerddin and of course, Otley Brewing Company.

LIVE MUSIC Friday 12th – 8.30pm

The Garth Mountain Boys
A 5/6 piece band consisting of a typical Bluegrass set up of guitar, banjo, mandolin and double bass with the addition of harmonica and dobro.
The music they play is an eclectic mix of traditional bluegrass songs and instrumentals, old and new Country, self – penned new songs and a selection of pop favourites – all arranged in a ‘Bluegrass’ style.
LIVE MUSIC Saturday 13th April – 8.30pm
Bethan Louise Horton
South Wales solo singer/songwriter playing Country and Pop Covers in her own style. Extremely talented young artist playing a relaxed, acoustic set in the bar

Monday 8 April 2013

Now and Then - Former Salutation, Newport

The Salutation was at 200 Commercial Road, Newport and was first mentioned in 1812. Owned by Hancock's Brewery, the roof of which can be seen in the old picture, to the right of the building.
Have previously covered the former Hancock's Brewery, Newport here.
The Salutation was demolished in 1963 to create the traffic island known as 'Gilligan's Island' that we see today. This was needed as part of the interchange for George Street Bridge.
There were plenty of other pubs nearby - immediately behind the photographer was the King William IV and the Prince of Wales is to the photographer's right with the Alma on the left of the photo and a couple of others Golden Hart and General Picton also nearby.

Friday 5 April 2013

Weekend beer festivals

For those of you not heading down to Swansea Bay Beer & Cider Festival, first, why ever not? Its the second biggest beer and cider festival in Wales and the beer and cider list are online, added to that the grandeur of the Brangwyn Hall is well worth seeing.
There are a few other festivals around South Wales this weekend:

First up, the Hollybush in Draethen near Machen is holding a festival starting today (Friday) at 5pm and continuing on until Sunday. More details on their Facebook event page here. The pub is situated between Newport and Machen and the Number 50 Newport-Caerphilly-Bargoed bus stops in Lower Machen, at the top of the lane to the hamlet.
The Hollybush

Lower Machen
Newport,  NP10 8GB

Google Map:

View Larger Map

Next up in Cardiff
Artisan Brewery are back to holding their monthly open days at their brewery in Pontcanna.
According to Simon the brewer the following will be available:
*Bohemian Pilsner

*Bavarian Wheat
*Smoked Lager
*Midnight IPA

(we'll also have our house blended vintage cider, wine and soft-drinks for the non-beer drinkers).

We'll have some hot food - for cold fingers.

Upping the anti on last months mysterious Jaffle Sadwitches, we're going back for some toasted focaccia/panini style hot grub - all gourmet - as we do, with vegetarians considered also.

Our new - non ‘BARE NAKED’ brand is out there. We're a tad behind on the website and other bits and bobs (bare with us). But, we're sure you'll recognise the beer and the new PIPES brand in and around Cardiff as being the same tasty - all natural pint you've been enjoying these past 4 years.

As usual our BAR OPEN event is FREE to all.

Further East in Tintern, Meadow Farm, the home of Kingstone Brewery will be playing host to live music from 1830 hrs with band Western Skyline.
Meadow Farm

NP16 7NX

And a bit of advanced notice if you fancy some beer and sausages on Wednesday 10th April in Cardiff, Gwdihw, that unusual little venue at the rear of Motorpoint Arena is holding a Beer & Sausage-Fest in association with the Bottle Shop from Roath. Should be an interesting evening!
Gwdihŵ Café Bar

6 Guildford Crescent
Off Churchill Way
CF10 2HJ
Try a selection of artisan beers including Brewers & Union Beast of the Deep, Goose Island IPA, Purple Moose Glaslyn and more, alongside a specially selected flavour-complementary sausage.

Chinese Take-away for Swansea Brewery!

Swansea-based Tomos Watkin Brewery - are shipping their bottles to China and their beers will soon be available in Shanghai.

It’s another first for the Swansea based Hurns Brewing Company which now exports its award winning range of beers, lager and cider to Australia, USA, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

This latest deal was clinched after exhibiting on the Welsh Government stand at the Food and Hotel China 2012 trade show in Shanghai last November when the Tomos Watkin range went down a treat.

CEO Connie Parry said:"There was a huge amount of interest at the event and I am confident this is the start of a great relationship with our importers in China and the first of many orders. We are also following up leads from other interested parties we met out there. China was one of our target markets and has great potential so we are delighted to have secured our first order so soon after the trade mission. The exhibitions are proving to be invaluable for us and have literally opened doors to enable us to trade with countries from around the world. Without that support we simply would not have won this business".

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said, "The Welsh Government is supporting an extensive programme of trade missions and exhibitions worldwide to help and support businesses in Wales access new markets. I am delighted to hear of businesses like the Hurns Brewing Company benefiting from these events and winning orders and exporting to new countries. A consignment of Llanllyr SOURCE, a premium quality bottled water that comes from sources beneath certified organic fields near Lampeter, is also en route to Shanghai following a recommendation from Connie. Our new trading partners asked me to recommend a high quality supplier and as I have been on trade missions with Llanllyr Water I know the integrity of their products and had no hesitation in recommending them".

Thursday 4 April 2013

Best pubs in Wales 2013

It's Community Pubs Month and as such CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, have released a list of the top pubs in Wales, selected by local branches and based on customer service, value for money, decor, customer mix, atmosphere and, of course, the quality of the beer!

Albion Ale House, Conwy, LL32 8FA.
Abercolwyn Branch
Druid Inn, Goginan, SY23 3NT
Bae Ceredigion

The Star, Talybont on Usk, LD3 7YX
Brecknockshire Branch

Gwaelod Y Garth Inn, South Glamorgan, CF15 9HH
Cardiff Branch
The Queens Hotel, Carmarthen, SA31 1JR
Carmarthenshire Branch

Coach and Horses, Chepstow, NP16 LN (Urban)
Gwent Branch
Star Inn, LLanfihangel Tor-y Mynydd, NP15 1DT (Rural)
Gwent Branch

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub, Waunfawr, LL55 4AQ
Gwynedd A Mon Branch

Boar's Head, Tyla Garw, Pontyclun, CF72 9EZ
Mid Glamorgan Branch

The Sportsman, Newtown, SY16 2AQ
Montgomeryshire Branch

Taberna Inn, Herbrandston, SA73 3TD
Pembroke Branch
The Fox, Ysceifiog, CH8 8NJ
Vale of Clwyd Branch

The Cross Inn, Cwmfelin, CF349LB
Vale of Glamorgan, Branch

The majority of these winning pubs will now move forward to CAMRA’s Regional Pub of the Year competition (announced in September) with the winner of that award standing a chance of winning CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year (announced in February 2014).
“Community Pubs Month is a month long celebration of the Great British Pub and its importance to the surrounding community. These winning pubs have been voted the best in their local areas by the local CAMRA members and are examples of the kind of well run and valued community pubs we hope to see more of throughout the UK.” Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive.
Community Pubs Month encourages pubs to organise events that will encourage more of the community to use them throughout April. The national campaign also encourages pubs to try different marketing ideas that they may have not tried before. CAMRA hopes the positive outcomes will help pubs in the future.
6,000 pubs across the UK have been sent a promotional packs and are involved in Community Pubs Month. A list of events that have been fed back to CAMRA and happening across Britain can be found here.

Continental Beer Challenge launched by Brains

After the success of the IPA series of beers last year, Wales' biggest real ale brewer SA Brain, launch their 2013 challenge for 2013 with Continental beers.
The Challenge will see esteemed figures from the brewing industry come to the Brains Craft Brewery to brew their favourite continental style kegged beer.
The first in the series was brewed with the author Pete Brown. Pete came to the Brains Craft Brewery last week to brew a Belgian dubbel, a style of beer traditionally brewed by Trappist monks.
Other collaborators in the Continental Keg Challenge are Sophie Atherton, journalist and beer sommelier; Adrian Tierney-Jones, beer writer and journalist; Robyn Black, drinks editor of the Publican Morning Advertiser; Des de Moor, author of the CAMRA Guide to London’s Best Beer, Pubs & Bars and Glenn Payne, brewing maven.

The Continental Keg Challenge beers will be independently judged at the end of the year and the winning beer will become part of Brains’ beer festival programme.
Each limited edition beer will be available in Brains outlets. A full list of stockists is available here.
The first Annual Challenge held in 2012 was the Ultimate IPA which was won by Boilermaker. Boilermaker was brewed by Ben and Tom from Thinking Drinkers and will soon be available nationwide in Morrisons.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

New brews at the Bottle Shop

Okay not a very good picture but still trying to get used to my new Android phone!

Visited the Bottle Shop in Roath the other day, my first visit since August as Foursquare told me! Good to see there is now another cabinet for Welsh/Scottish beers including the full range of beers from Brains Craft Brewery, so if you missed any of the IPA series this is where to stock up. Only three bottles left of Tiny Rebel Chocoholic as well! Celt Silures was there along with Purple Moose and Untapped beers.
There was also an excellent selection of American beers, including my favourite US brewery, Flying Dog, not had a bad beer from them yet and they love their hops so always a brewery to seek out and try.

Also picked up my first couple bottles of Brewers & Union - an unfiltered lager and a wheat beer - the Steph Weiss was one of the best wheat beers I have ever tried - brewed in Bavaria by South African/Portuguese brewers. Must get around to trying the rest of the range.

Follow their blog for more details

The Bottle Shop

4 Pen-Y-Lan Road
CF24 3PF

Goolge Map:

View Larger Map

Swansea Beerex to feature more ciders than ever before this week!

Its Swansea Bay Beer & Cider Festival this weekend and I have previously posted the provisional beer list here and below is the provisional cider and perry list - a lot more ciders and perries than before at this event, hence the name change! The change of date is due to the Brangwyn Hall being closed for a refurbishment this August, the usual time of the festival.

Festival is from Thursday 4th April to Saturday 6th April 2013

Open 1700-2300 Thursday 4th

12-2300 Friday 5th & Saturday 6th
Admission £5 (£3 CAMRA members) includes glass and programme. Please note: due to venue restrictions, imposed by on-going renovation work within the Guildhall buildings, no children can be admitted to the Festival this year. 18+ event only!

The Brothel Creepers - Thursday 4th April 9pm
Afternoon in Paris - Friday 5th April 6pm
LAF - Friday 5th April 9pm
Nomads Duo - Saturday 6th April 4pm
Burghers - Saturday 6th April 7pm.

Provisional cider and perry list below:

Blindgranny Farm Blindfold
Blindgranny Farm Hallets
Blindgranny Farm Heart breaker
Blindgranny Farm National treasure
Bridge Farm perry
Broadoak premium perry
Butford farm perry
Chafford 'Hellishly Strong' cider
Chuclehead cider
Double vision Elderflower perry
Double vision Impeared Vision perry
Gower Heritage Perry
Gwatkins Kingston Black cider
Gwatkins Yarlington Mill cider
Gwynt-y-ddraig Ancient Warrior
Gwynt-y-ddraig Black Dragon
Gwynt-y-ddraig Dog Dancer
Gwynt-y-ddraig Farmers pride
Gwynt-y-ddraig Fiery Fox
Gwynt-y-ddraig Happy Daze
Gwynt-y-ddraig Haymaker
Gwynt-y-ddraig Pyder
Gwynt-y-ddraig Sweet
Gwynt-y-ddraig Two Trees
Hecks Kingston Black cider
Hecks Blakeney Red perry
Middle farm Little Red Rooster

Mr Whitehead Apples and pears
Mr Whitehead Blackberry cider
Mr Whitehead Boxing Dog
Mr Whitehead Devil's Device
Mr Whitehead Katy
Mr Whitehead Legbender
Mr Whitehead Midnight special
Mr Whitehead Rum Cask
Mr Whitehead Russet
Oakwood perry
Polygoon Vineyard cider
Portslade WILD THING
Rich's Farmhouse cider
Rich's Legbender
Rosie's Black Bart's cider
Rosie's Wicked Wasp cider
Sandford Orchard Bumbleberry cider
Sandford Orchard Shaky Bridge cider
Swallowfields Moody Old Cow cider
Swallowfields Wonky Donkey cider
Troggi Troggi cider C 7.1
Troggi Troggi perry
West Croft Janet'sJungleJuice
Wilkins Farmhouse cider
Wiscombe Suicider cider

Brains Boilermaker goes national

Boilermaker, a collaboration brew between Welsh brewer Brains and Thinking Drinkers (aka Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham) will soon be available in Morrisons stores throughout the UK.
Above: Tom Sandham from Thinking Drinkers after winning the Brains IPA Challenge last year

Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers and the brains behind the acclaimed comedic show ‘The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol’, brewed the Penderyn-whisky based India Pale Ale with Brains in 2012 in their small craft brewery plant as part of Brains’ IPA Challenge. Boilermaker was crowned the winner of the Challenge by a panel of independent judges at an event in London in December.

This latest Morrisons deal will see the beer stocked in over 320 stores nationwide.

Boilermaker is the second Brains craft beer to gain national listings. Barry Island IPA, a 6% American-style IPA, is available nationwide in Morrisons and in Tesco.

Paul Harvey, head of retail multiple groups, said; “We are delighted that our major customers can see the opportunity that our craft beer range offers the beer category, and we are looking forward to working together to give new and existing consumers more and more variety underpinning our 130 years of brewing credentials”.

For a full list of stockists visit the Brains Craft Brewery stockists page here

Boilermaker is a copper-coloured IPA brewed with Ben and Tom from Thinking Drinkers. Brewed with Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade and Willamette hops and matured with Penderyn whisky infused oak chips in casks from the distillery, the arts of distillation and brewing combine to create an epic Welsh IPA adorned with a fragrant citrus aroma, a touch of spice with hints of vanilla and a warm whisky finish.


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