Thursday 23 May 2013

Clytha Arms Cider Festival this weekend!

One of my favourite pubs, the Clytha Arms in Monmouthshire will be holding their annual cider festival at the pub this weekend. So if you are looking for the best cider and perry in Wales and the borders then head to Monmouthshire and the Clytha Arms!

Cider list, subject to availablity etc:

CJs Cider,
Usk, Monmouthshire

Gwatkins Cider
Abbey Dore, Herefordshire
Yarlington Mill
Stoke Red  
Farmhouse Perry

Llanblethian Orchards
Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan
Orchard Blend
Yarlington Mill
Wild Orchard

Orchards Cider
Yewgreen farm
Brockweir Chepstow
Medium Cider
Blakeney Red

Out of the Orchard
The Orchard Centre Hartpury, Glos
Medium Cider
Medium Perry

Raglan Cider Mill
Boris’ Brainbender
Rum  Tiddly Um Tum
Hanky Panky 
RCM Medium 
Tawny owl 
Snowy owl

Rosie’s Triple D
Llandegla, Wrexham
Triple D
Wicked Wasp
Black Bart

Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry
Peterstow, Hereford
Medium Blakeney

Llangovan, Monmouthshire
Red Dragon
Old Barn

Three Saints
Usk, Monmouthshire
Bit of Rough
Laughing Juice

Tre-rhew Cider
Great Tre-rhew farm
Llanvetherine, Abergavenny
Snout Like it
Snout Like it again

Ty Bryn
Grosmont, Monmouthshire
Vintage Oak
Blakeney Red
Lazy Days

Ty Gwyn
Newcastle, Monmouthshire
Naughty Horsey
Very Naughty Horsey

Williams Bros
62 Garden St
Llanbradach, Caerphilly

Monday 20 May 2013

Goat stocks crafty Brains

The award-winning Cardiff City-centre pub, the Goat Major, has extended its beer range as it now stocks a range of bottled beers from Brains Craft Brewery. The bottles compliment the cask and craft keg beers already on the bar and are a perfect to go with one of the pies this pub specialises  in.
Pictured above is Chris Rowlands, manager, pie-master general and beard wrangler of the Goat Major with a couple of bottles of some of the craft beers from the range.

Friday 17 May 2013

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival - Beer list

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2013 is only a few weeks away, held in the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. Full details from the Festival website here

Provisional Beer list below:
Artisan Alt 5.0

Big Bog Swampy 4.7

Big Hand

Brains Dark 3.5

Brains SA Gold 4.7

Brains Rev James 4.5

Brains Craft Brewery Bragging Rights 5.0

Brains Craft Brewery Touch paws Engage

Brains Craft Brewery Terry's

Brains Craft Brewery Stars and Stripes

Brains Craft Brewery Low-Hanging Fruit

Brains Craft Brewery Farmer Walloon 4.5

Brains Craft Brewery Simon’s 1000th Beer

Brecon Three Beacons 3.0

Brecon Welsh Beacons 3.7

Brecon Red Beacons 5.0

Brecon Gold Beacons 4.2

Brecon Twilight Brecon 4.0

Brecon Orange Beacons 4.1

Brecon Prophet's Porter 5.6

Brecon Imperious Beacons 7.5

Breconshire Ramblers Ruin 5.0

Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous 4.0

Bryncelyn Oh Boy 4.5

Bryncelyn Holly Hop 3.9

Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch 6.0

Bullmastiff Welsh Black 4.8

Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale 3.8

Celt Experience Bleddyn 5.6

Celt Experience Dark Age 4.0

Celt Experience Golden 4.2

Celt Experience Native Storm 4.4

Celt Experience Danish Monster 6.2

Celt Experience Cat Scratched Celt 5.8

Celt Experience Silures 4.6

Cerddin Solar 4.1

Cerddin Cascade 4.8

Coniston Bluebird Bitter 3.6

Conwy Mulberry Mild 3.8

Conwy Shipwreaked 5.0

Cwrw Cader Red Bandit 4.1

Cwrw llyn Cochyn 4.5

Dark Star APA 4.7

Denbigh Black Denbeer 4.1

Evan Evans Warrior 4.6

Facer's Dave's Hoppy Beer 4.3

Facer's North Star 4.0

Gower Best Bitter 3.8

Gower Gold 4.5

Great Orme Celtica 4.5

Great Orme Welsh Black 4.0

Grey Trees Rechabites Bitter 4.0

Gwaun Valley Bitter Ale 4.0

Hafod Moel Famau 4.1

Hapax Ruby 4.2

Harveys Sussex Bitter 4.0

Heart of Wales High as a Kite 10.5

Heart of Wales Welsh Black 4.4


Hobsons Mild 3.2

Hobsons Town Crier 4.5

Hopback Entire Stout 4.5

Jacobi Light Ale 3.8

Jacobi Red Squirrel 4.0

Kingstone 1503 4.8

Kingstone Stout 4.4

Kite Cwrw Haf 4.1

Kite Gold Wing 4.2

Kite Gorslas 4.0

Kite Thunderbird 4.5

Llangollen Llangollen Bitter 4.2

Llangollen Welsh Black Bitter 5.5

McGivern Porter 4.5


Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild 3.7

Monty's Midnight Stout 4.0

Monty's Mischief 5.0

Monty's Sunshine 4.2

Mumbles Gold 4.0

Nant Mwnci Nell 5.5

Neath Black 5.5

Neath Gold 5.0

Nethergate Umbel Magna 5.0

New Plassey Porter 4.5

Oakham JHB 3.8

Otley Croeso 4.2

Otley Motley Brew 7.5

Otley O9 4.8

Otley O1 4.0

Otley O3 Boss 4.4

Otley O4 Columbo 4.1

Otley Hop Angeles 4.8

Otley O6 Porter 6.6

Otley Odessa Stout 7.4

Otley O7 Weissen 5.0

Otley A.P.A.

Otley Oxymoron Black IPA 5.5

Otley Thai Bo 4.6

Pixie Spring Deliverance APA 4.5

Pixie Spring Black Army Stout 4.3

Pixie Spring Golden Pixie 3.8

Pixie Spring Special/Seaonsal

Pixie Spring Special/Seaonsal

Pixie Spring Prince of Bengal IPA 5.5

Preseli Baggywrinkle 4.5

Preseli Rocky Bottom 4.5

Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose 4.6

Purple Moose Glaslyn 4.2

Purple Moose Snowdonia 3.6

Purple Moose Cwrw Madog 3.7

Radnorshire Whimble Gold 3.8

RCH Pitchfork 4.3

Red Stone

Rhymney Dark 4.0

Rhymney Export 5.0

Rotters Whipping Tree 3.6

Sandstone Onyx 4.0

Sandstone Edge 3.8

Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby 6.0

Skinners Betty Stogs Bitter 4.0

Snowdonia Carmen Sutra 4.4

St Austell Proper Job 4.5

Swansea Deep Slade Dark 4.0

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA 5.9

Tiny Rebel Cwtch 4.6

Tiny Rebel Dirty Stop Out 5.0

Tiny Rebel Fubar 4.4

Tiny Rebel Full Nelson 4.8

Tiny Rebel Billabong 4.6

Tiny Rebel Hadouken IPA 7.4

Tiny Rebel Urban IPA 5.5

Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf 4.2

Tomos Watkin Cwrw Braf 4.2

Tudor Blorenge Pale Ale 3.8

Untapped Tripple S Milk Stout 4.9

Untapped Crystal 6.0

Violet Cottage Shine On 4.0

Violet Cottage Zigzag 5.0

VoG Cwrw Dewi 5.0

VoG Summer Daze 4.2

Waen Blackberry Stout 3.8

Waen Chilli Plum Porter 6.1

Waen Festival Gold 4.2

Wickwar Station Porter 6.1

York Centurion's Ghost 5.4

Zero Degrees Wheat 4.2


Vote for the best pub in Wales

Wales Online, publishers of the Western Mail and Echo have launched a compettion to find the best pub pub in Wales. You can vote for your favourite pub here or you can leave a comment below the article to add a pub to the list. It's a long list and I have been to most of the pubs over the years! All Welsh CAMRA branch pubs of the year for 2013 have been included in the list, together with a few old favourites so get voting!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

The Pear Tree, Roath

The Pear Tree, Wellfield Road, Cardiff, CF24 3PE, Roath

Open all day from 0830

The Pear Tree is an unusual modern polygonal building on the corner of Albany and Wellfield Roads. The pub has gone under other names previously, once it was Bar Billabong – an Australian-themed pub and before that it was 42nd Street as this was the last film shown in the Globe Cinema which used to occupy part of the site that now forms the Pear Tree. The pub has been extensively refurbished both outside and inside since it’s incarnation as an Australian theme pub, today the Pear Tree Café Bar is much more like a traditional pub with bare wooden floors and stripped pine tables, wooden settles and couches. The dark red-brick of the old Bar Billabong has been rendered in an off-white covering to give it a lighter, more pleasant appearance.

A central feature is the spiral staircase that leads up to the first-floor level with views across to the road to the Victorian church opposite. The spiral staircase also leads down to the basement toilets or, alternatively there are disabled toilets on the ground floor. There is plenty of wood panelling and shelving in the pub which are used for books for customers to enjoy. Daily papers are also available for customers to read. Old and somewhat eccentric photographs are on the walls and there is free WiFi for customers to use throughout the pub.

The dark wooden bar is on the left-hand side of the pub features two gleaming chrome handpumps with Brains Bitter and a house beer ‘Grumpy Landlord’. Wales largest cask ale brewery SA Brain also use the Pear Tree to put their keg craft beers on so that the wheat beer Weiss Weiss Baby and the American IPA Barry Island IPA have been on tap here. SA and SA Gold are also available in bottles along with some of their bottled craft ales. All the beers are served in the new branded glassware from Brains Brewery. Alternatively there is an extensive wine list as well as a full range of coffee.

Food is served all day from 0830 to 2200 with extensive chalkboard menus with breakfasts, tapas and flat bread or sour dough sandwiches and burgers available.

The Pear Tree regularly hosts live music and is also home to the Pear Tree Bake Off – a charity competition to find the best home baker in Roath. The Pear Tree markets itself as a café bar but appeals to a wide range of clientele as customers of all ages enjoy this pub.

Street view has the pub as it looked when Aussified:

View Larger Map

Monday 13 May 2013

Brains brew ale for Marks & Sparks

The latest addition to Marks & Spencer’s beer range ‘Welsh Golden Ale’ has been brewed exclusively by Brains Brewery in Cardiff.
‘Welsh Golden Ale’ (£2.26, Alc 4.6% Vol) is now available in over 250 Marks & Spencer’s stores nationwide.

This hoppy, refreshing ale is brewed with Challenger hops to create a bitter beer balanced by a vibrant citrus from late-hopped Cascade and Styrian Goldings.

The design of ‘Welsh Golden Ale’ is in keeping with the Marks & Spencer range, and draws on the heritage of Brains, Cardiff’s most famous brewery, with the emblem of the sea horse which graces Cardiff’s coat of arms.
Paul Harvey, Head of Multiple Retail Groups said; “This is our first private label beer and we’re proud to be part of the Marks & Spencer range. In creating ‘Welsh Golden Ale’ we were able to use our 15 barrel craft brewery to conduct trial brews. This demonstrates the craft brewery’s importance in enabling us to trial new beers, which further highlights our brewing credentials and drives our awareness across the U.K.”
Jenny Rea, Marks & Spencer’s Beer Product Developer said: “We are delighted to add this new Welsh Golden Ale from Brains Brewery into our regional beer range”.
This hoppy, refreshing ale is made with Challenger hops to create a satisfying bitterness that’s perfectly balanced by vibrant citrus aromas and a delicious complexity from the late-hopping Cascade and Styrian Goldings varieties. Enjoy this golden ale with light dishes like white fish or a chicken salad. It also works really well with cheese.

Saturday 11 May 2013

SIBA Wales & West beer competition

The SIBA beer competition was held in Ludlow yesterday and there were some very good results for Welsh breweries, especially Celt Experience of Caerphilly who took both the Gold and the Silver of the overall competition. Full results below:

Overall Champion of the Competition
Gold Celt Experience Celt Golden 4.2

Silver Celt Experience Celt Dark Age 4.0
Bronze Cotswold Spring Brewery OSM 3.9
Standard Mild Ales
Sponsored by Clarke Dove (Insurance Brokers) Ltd
Gold Cotswold Spring Brewery OSM 3.9
Silver Hobsons Brewery Hobsons Mild 3.2
Bronze Prescott Ales Seasons Best Spring 3.8
Standard Bitters
Sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Sons
Gold Stonehouse Brewery Station Bitter 3.9
Silver Rowton Brewery Total Eclipse 3.8
Bronze Salopian Brewery Shropshire Gold 3.8
Best Bitters Sponsored by Charles Faram & Co Ltd
Gold Celt Experience Celt Golden 4.2
Silver Salopian Brewery Oracle 4.0
Bronze Tiny Rebel Brew Co. FUBAR 4.4
Premium Bitters
Sponsored by Warminster Maltings
Gold Tiny Rebel Brew Co. Billabong 4.6
Silver Tiny Rebel Brew Co. Cwtch 4.6
Bronze Cerddin Brewery Cascade 4.8
Strong Bitters
Sponsored by Jigsaw Bag in Box Ltd
Gold Salopian Brewery Golden Thread 5.0
Silver Cotswold Spring Brewery Trooper 5.2
Bronze Hobsons Brewery Hobsons Old Henry 5.2
Premium Strong BeersSponsored by Bush & Associates
Gold Salopian Brewery Automaton 7.0
Silver Otley Brewing Company Motley Brew 7.5
Bronze Cotswold Spring Brewery Walloonatic 8.5

Porters, Stouts, Old Ales and Strong Milds
Sponsored by Brewery Plastics
Gold Celt Experience Celt Dark Age 4.0
Silver Stonehouse Brewery Off The Rails 4.8
Bronze Bespoke Brewing Co Ltd Money for Old Rope 4.8
Speciality Beers
Sponsored by freerbutler graphic design
Gold Salopian Brewery Lemon Dream 4.5
Silver Purple Moose Brewery Ltd Ysgawen 4.0
Bronze The Six Bells Brewery Cloud Nine 4.2
Bottled Beers
Sponsored by Label Apeel
Gold Celt Experience Celt Bleddyn 5.6
Silver Salopian Brewery Oracle 4.0
Bronze Bird’s Brewery Apocalypse 4.8
Bottled Bitter (up to 4.9%)
Sponsored by Murphy & Son Ltd 
Gold Bird’s Brewery Apocalypse 4.8
Silver Cotswold Spring Brewery Codger 4.2
Bronze Bespoke Brewing Co Ltd Saved by the Bell 3.8
Bottled Bitters (over 5%)
Sponsored by Muntons Plc
Gold Celt Experience Celt Bleddyn 5.6
Silver Cotswold Spring Brewery Trooper 5.2
Bronze Celt Experience Celt Ogham Willow Imperial IPA 8.8
Bottled Gold Beers
Sponsored by Croxsons
Gold Salopian Brewery Oracle 4.0
Silver Stonehouse Brewery Sunlander 3.7
Bronze Ludlow Brewing Co Ltd Gold 4.2
Bottled Speciality Beers
Sponsored by VIGO Limited
Gold Purple Moose Brewery Ltd Ysgawen 4.0
Silver Stroud Brewery Teasel 4.2
Bronze The Waen Brewery Chilli Plum Porter 6.1

Bottled Porters, Milds, Old Ales & Stouts
Sponsored by Bollington Insurance Brokers Limited
Gold Gloucester Brewery Dockside Dark 5.4
Silver Cotswold Spring Brewery Guv’nor 4.6
Bronze The Waen Brewery Blackberry Stout 3.8

Saturday 4 May 2013

Best ciders and perries 2013

CAMRA names the UK’s
best Ciders and Perries
GOLD – Springfield Wobbly Munk,
SILVER – C.J.’s Surprise, Gwent
BRONZE – West Milton, Dorset
GOLD – Dunkertons, Herefordshire
SILVER – Gwynt Y Ddraig Two Trees,
BRONZE – Raglan Cider Mill Snowy Owl,
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has
today announced the winners of its National
Cider and Perry Championships.
The winner of the Cider Gold medal is
Springfield Wobbly Munk which the judges
described as having ‘fantastic balance with
a pleasantly sharp aftertaste of apple and
bitter lemon’ .
The winner of the Perry Gold medal is
Dunkertons Perry which the judges
described as ‘initially sweet but develops
into a dry, complex, white wine-like
character with a lasting aftertaste’ .
The final round of judging for CAMRA’s
National Cider and Perry Championships
2013 took place at the popular Reading Beer
and Cider festival today. The competition
featured ciders and perries from across the
UK, with each cider and perry judged on its
individual taste, aroma, flavour, after-taste
and overall appeal. The top prizes were
awarded by a specially chosen panel of
judges including publicans, drinks writers
and CAMRA members.
Alan Wordsworth, owner of Springfield Cider,
had this to say on hearing Wobbly Munk
had taken the top spot,
“I’m absolutely delighted, if anything a little
surprised because we thought the Wobbly
Munk we made the previous year was even
better – but it’s gratifying to know it still
pleases people!”
Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and
Perry Committee Chairman, had this to say
on the quality and diversity of entries
“This year it was impressive to see the
sheer range of flavour within what was a
very accomplished field of entries. The
quality of ciders and perries was genuinely
outstanding in 2013, but the diversity is
what really impresses and which makes
these beautiful beverages something we
think everybody should give a try.”

Weekend beer festivals

First off is the Artisan Brewery, Kings Road, Pontcanna who have rebranded as 'Pipes' after a tiff with a well-known soft drinks company.
Open from midday Saturday
*Bohemian Pilsner
*Bavarian Wheat
*Vienna Red Lager
*Smoked Lager
*Chocolate Wheat
(They will also have a very special house cider to introduce, wine and soft-drinks for the non-beer drinkers too-boot).

Next to Rhondda-Cynon-Taff where the Brynfynnon at Llanwonno are holding their annual 3-day Festival

Finally on Sunday, Neath Ales are holding their Festival at Neath Cricket Club, which is located in the centre of town, behind the rugby club.

Neath Cricket Club
Dyfed Road, Neath, West Glamorgan
SA11 3AW
Open 1100-2300

Firebrick 4.2% best bitter
Witchunter 4.2% fruity ruby
Black 5.5% stout porter
The Biz 4.0% pale (topaz)
Warbow 4.5% pale (wilamette)
Hophazard 6.8% pale (chinook)
ABT 4.2 % fruity amber session (goldings)
Dewi Sant 4.8% pale (cluster)
Some guest breweries:
Cerddin (Maesteg)

No Green Bullet beer :-(  but I'm sure Hophazard will make up for it!

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Brains expands craft brewery

Brains invests further in its Craft Brewery
Wales' largest real ale brewer, SA Brain and Co Ltd, announced that it is to invest further in its craft brewery infrastructure to meet the unprecedented demand in the first year of its operation.

The brewer will increase capacity of its craft brewery with the addition of another fermentation vessel and extra cold storage tanks which will enable the business to increase capacity.

Ian Beattie, Brand Manager at Brains, explains: “Since we launched the craft brewery last year we have been struggling to meet demand and have been overwhelmed by the positive consumer reaction for our craft brewery beers. Our brand is connecting with the target consumer and it is fundamental that we remain at the forefront of the emerging craft beer market in the UK. In order to achieve this we need more capacity and the investment will ensure that we are able to meet the increased demand.

Since the craft brewery commenced production we have brewed 22 new beers. Some have sold out in less than 40 minutes and two - Barry Island IPA and Boilermaker - have gained national distribution with Morrisons and Tesco.”

Last year Brains Craft Brewery ran ‘The Ultimate IPA Challenge’ with beer writers and bloggers, which was won by Boilermaker, a collaboration beer with Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland of Thinking Drinkers. This year ‘The Ultimate Continental Beer Challenge’ will see Pete Brown, Robyn Black, Sophie Atherton, Adrian Tierney-Jones, Des De Moor and Glenn Payne battle it out to be crowned the brewer of the ‘Ultimate Continental Beer’ in December 2013.

Bill Dobson, Head Brewer at Brains, added: “Since we opened the craft brewery last year we have concentrated on adding variety to our portfolio and engaging with consumers who are demanding quality beer from a brand they know and trust. Look out for a number of new beers that we will be taking to the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival in June and the Great British Beer Festival in August. ”


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