Thursday 11 December 2014

Buckley still acting as company director despite ban

Above is a screen shot taken from the Evan Evans website today which appears to show the MD is Simon Buckley, who since October has been banned from any directorships.
We all realise that  Simon's grasp of the law is similar to his grasp on reality but under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986

"where a person acts contrary to a disqualification order, undertaking or automatic disqualification without the leave of the court, he is guilty of an offence, and is subject on indictment to a sentence of up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine, or on summary conviction to a sentence of 6 months and/or a fine at the statutory maximum."

Hope you enjoy prison Simon, should bring back memories of your gay nightclub days!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Simon Buckley disqualified as a company director director for 3 years

Well, well, well, former gay nightclub boss and brewer of indifferent beer, Simon Buckley, has been banned from acting as a company director for 3 years. 

Case details for SIMON BUCKLEY
Name: Welsh Estates Limited
Date of Birth: 1957-09-02 00:00:00.000
Date Order Starts: 2014-10-20 00:00:00.000
Disqualification Length: 3 Years 0 Month(s)
CRO Number: 05219412
Last Known Address: 2 Abbey Terrace, , , , Llandeilo, SA19 6BD
Conduct: (i) Mr Simon Buckley failed to ensure that Welsh Estates Limited (“Welsh Estates”) complied with its statutory obligations to HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) to file timely returns and make payments from at least 01 November 2007 to the date of liquidation on 26 January 2011. HMRC’s final Value Added Tax (“VAT”) claim at liquidation was £590,522. In particular: 

• VAT returns totalling £147,115 for 13 monthly periods from September 2007 to January 2008, March 2008 to August 2008 and November and December 2008, were not submitted until 2 and 3 April 2009. The oldest outstanding return for the period September 2007 was therefore filed 17 months late, with the earliest outstanding return for the period December 2008 filed 2 months late. HMRC were unaware of these liabilities until those dates, previously considered them to total £40,764 in central assessments.

 • According to HMRC's records no returns were submitted for the months January and February 2009, December 2009 and February 2010 to October 2010 leading to assessments of £325,810. • HMRC raised surcharges totalling £90,078 in respect of the late and non-filed returns of which £67,740 remains unpaid. • From 15 February 2008 to 07 October 2009 HMRC received payments from Welsh Estates totalling £115,750 in respect of VAT. Nothing was paid after 07 October 2009, although the company continued trading until October 2010, leading to estimated arrears before surcharges at liquidation of at least £354,162.

 • If all payments are set against the earliest VAT debt there is still £14,325 due for August 2008, payable in full by 30 September 2008.
 (ii) He caused Welsh Estates Limited (“Welsh Estates”) to trade to the detriment of HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) from at least 01 January 2010 until cessation of trade on or around 31 October 2010 in respect of Value Added Tax (“VAT”) estimated at £156,031.

In particular:
 • On 31 December 2009 Welsh Estates had VAT arrears of £126,756. It subsequently incurred additional VAT liabilities of £156,031. The last payment made by Welsh Estates in respect of VAT was received on 07 October 2009. 

• Bank payments were made between 01 January 2010 and 31 October 2010 of £1,740,796 of which nothing was paid to HMRC in respect of VAT. • Company records show that trade creditors decreased by £256,171 from 01 January 2010 to 31 October 2010 whilst the outstanding VAT increased by £156,031 in the same period. 
This information is correct as at 2014-10-13 00:00:00.000

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Old Arcade has rugby makeover

One of Cardiff's most famous pubs has been given a makeover by owners Brains. The Old Arcade in the city centre, which dates from 1844, is now even more rugby themed with jerseys, photographs and other memorabilia adorning the walls. Have previously written about the pub here.
 As Brains Brewery says
Celebrating Wales’ national sport, walls will be adorned with match day programmes, exclusive signed and framed shirts, memorable newspaper front covers, and a feature WRU timeline.

RugbyBeers_SMLWayne Jones from Brains said: "There are few pubs in Cardiff with more sporting heritage than the Old Arcade. It has long been a favourite with sports fans but these changes mean it will become a true shrine to rugby. It’s the perfect place for rugby diehards and aficionados to gather, get their fix and be inspired by great rugby deeds of the past and present."

There’ll be a new menu, with an emphasis on hearty Welsh food, which includes a signature Celtic Pride ‘black and blue burger’ – created with 100 cap legend and lion, Martyn Williams. And when the pub opens you’ll find two limited-edition beers on the bar, brewed in collaboration with former Wales internationals Bob Norster and Rob Jones.

Powerhouse and Swift Half will go head-to-head and customers will get to decide which beer wins by voting in the pub or on Twitter, using the hashtag #BobsBeer and #RobsBeer.

Had a chance to visit the pub on the re-opening night and had to say my favourite beer was Swift Half, the American and New World hops made it for me.

Also ran into Simon Martin at the pub so we did a couple of interviews there with the rugby legends.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Brewdog Cardiff Celt Takeover

Popped into Brewdog in the 'Diff on one of my rare visits to Cardiff nowadays and discovered the Celt Experience Brewery had a bar takeover the night before. Eight Celt beers on, another eight beers from the Brewdog Collabfest and ten beers from Brewdog. oh and the myriad of bottles in the fridge.
Getting back to the Celt beers, Tom at the brewery has been experimenting with wild yeasts, planting traps for them around Wales and brewing beers from the captured organisms. Sounds mad? Yes but thinking outside of the box often works.
Three Saisons were on at the takeover including a dark IPA/Saison crossover The Black Book.
Hallstatt Deity another Saison but my favourite of the night was Home of the Fruit Cakes, a 6% sour but fruity ale.
The Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA, may not agree with the method of dispense in Brewdog pubs but you cannot argue with the quality of the beer served. Surely quality of a product is more important than the way it is dispensed?
There are plenty of poor real ales out there, surely it's time to support good breweries and their beers regardless of their chosen method of dispense?

Thursday 30 October 2014

Do the new Wetherspoons beermats have a connection with the owner of this brewery?

An interesting question to ask, regarding the mad, sad, twisted old drama queen and former gay nightclub boss Simon Buckley. Although, I understand, since his days and nights on the gay nightclub scene he has decided that he prefers moose knuckles to the tradesman's entrance. Allegedly.

How do you like Brains for Halloween?

Brains is to launch a new seasonal ale for Halloween, complete with its first ever motion-effect pump clip.

Open Casket, a rich, deep-red beer with bite, is available across Brains’ pub estate, as well as a number of key wholesalers and retail businesses, throughout October.
The motion-effect pump clip uses lenticular printing – a first for Brains – so when the pint is pulled customers will see a changing – and spooky – face.
Bruce Newman, head of marketing at Brains, explains: “Halloween has become one of the biggest seasonal calendar dates so it’s a great opportunity to bring people together over a pint of Brains. It’s so important to tap into customer mood and maximise that opportunity with a beer that stands out on the bar.
“It’s a real talking point – we believe it to be the first ever Halloween beer to use lenticular printing on the pump clip – and has a great bar call. We think customers will be dying to try it this Halloween.”
Open Casket is deep-red, full-bodied and gives a reviving bite. Cara Red and Cara Hell Malts offer a deep saturated colour and rousing malt aroma. With just a touch of Midnight Wheat, it is rich in flavour, hopped with Bramling Cross for a spicy sensation.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Cider tastings at Monmouthshire Food Festival this weekend

With no Cowbridge Food Festival happening this year, the Food festival scene in South Wales was looking a little empty until the Monmouthshire Food Festival at Caldicot Castle sprung up. The Festival will be on Saturday & Sunday 11th & 10th October.
New Caldicot brewery Castles will be there along with Brecon and Tudor Breweries, or if you prefer cider Gwatkin, Gwynt and Ty Gwyn will also be there, the full list of producers is here.
There will also be beer and cider tastings with Buster from Brecon doing the beers and Arfur from Gwatkin Cider doing the cider tastings.
Entry is £5 with under 12s free

How to find Caldicot Castle.

Church Road, Caldicot NP26 4HU
By car
From M4 take junction 23a onto B4245 to Caldicot.
From M48 take junction 2 for Chepstow. Follow the A48 towards Newport and B4245 to Caldicot.
Free car parking is available at Mitel car park a short walk from Caldicot Castle. Follow the signs for Monmouthshire Food Festival.
Disabled parking is available at Caldicot Castle. Follow the signs for Monmouthshire Food Festival Event parking and then Disabled and Exhibitor parking into the Castle. Please have your badge ready.
This car park is only available for disabled parking.
By train
Caldicot Halt is served by mainline services between Cardiff and Gloucester. If travelling from Bristol change at Severn Tunnel Junction. The castle is about a twenty minute walk from the station.
By bus
Bus services run to Caldicot from Bristol, Newport and Chepstow. From the Cross the castle is a five minute walk along Church Road

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Cider pressing at Gwatkin Cider

The first apples of the season have arrived at Gwatkin Cider in Abbeydore
Just under 30 tons of apples!

Picking up the apples and placing them carefully in the hopper with the tractor

Denis Gwatkin and Bernard look on as the mill fires up
The apples are fed down the hopper, washed and then chopped to create a pulp which is then pressed between belts via rollers.

Mickey shovels the dry pulp away
                               The dry pulp at the end is fed to Hereford cattle on the farm

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Brains bikes beer to Bala

Brains team cycle cask of beer 150 miles

A team of 13 from Welsh brewer and pub operator S.A Brain and Co Ltd are celebrating after cycling a cask of their current seasonal ale, Le Peloton, 150 miles from Cardiff to Bala.

The team, who cycled relay style, set off from the Cardiff Brewery at 1pm on Thursday 3rd July and finished 14 hours later on Friday 4th July (the day before the Tour de France) at the White Lion Royal Hotel in Bala – having carried the cask in the specially adapted baker’s-bike-turned-brewer’s-bike. 

Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains and part of the cycling team, said: “We’re all keen cyclists but cycling 150 miles through some pretty hilly parts of Wales, weighed down with a cask of our seasonal beer – Le Peloton - was tough.

Le Peloton was developed to celebrate the summer of cycling, which this year started in Yorkshire. The beer is available now in pubs throughout the UK, as well as Tesco stores throughout Wales.

The Le Peloton bike ride also raised more than £1,000 for Wooden Spoon, a charity supporting disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The charity organises fundraising initiatives, spending money raised where it is most needed.

Gloucester Food Festival Beerex

This weekend the Gloucester Food Festival is on in the Quays and as well as Gwatkin Cider being there, the local Gloucester Brewery will be holding a beer festival at their premises. The Food Festival is on for 3 days and looks a good one to attend.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Now and Then: Tredegar Arms, Pill, Newport

The Tredegar Arms used to stand on Church Street in Pill, Newport and was demolished around 1999, the large pub, formerly owned by Ansells Brewery had closed some years previously. A large section of the surrounding Victorian houses were also demolished to be replaced by modern flats and houses.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

New pub for Newport

Last month a new pub opened in Newport, on the old town dock, the Blaina Wharf is on the corner of Usk Way and the Southern Distributor Road. Owned by Marston's Brewery the Blaina Wharf is not there first pub in the City as the brewers have sat on the empty and derelict Westgate Hotel for years, however, this new build is a welcome development in an area of the town where a lot of the old pubs have closed.
This modern pub features three real ales from the extensive Marston's stable, a beer from Jennings Brewery of Cumbria was one of the ones on tap on my visit as well as a carvery and full pub menu. Situated in what is becoming a new residential area, this pub is sure to be a goldmine for Marston's, the junction on two main roads and a large car park are also helpful!

In the right-hand side of the photograph above the burnt-out remains of the former maltings of the Phillips Brewery can be seen. The pub was quite busy when visited and it's good to see a Newport pub thriving when so many others in the City are not.
The Google Map supplied on the Marston's website is slightly inaccurate and the Streetview just shows an undeveloped plot of land.
View Larger Map

Thursday 5 June 2014

Former pub unearthed in Newport

Above: Scene from the Musuem, looking North
As the centre of Newport undergoes demolition and rebuilding, the footings of the medieval Austin (Augustinian) Friars have been uncovered after being buried underneath the bus station for years. So, you may ask, what has this got to do with this blog?
Above: Looking East, the foundations of the priory can be seen in the lower part of the photo

Well by 1801 William Coxe describes the buildings as a cider mill and in 1809 it was known as the Old Red Cow and also brewed its own beer. There is also mention of a cider press in the buildings.
Being situated close to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal (the address of the pub is given as Canal Parade in 1835), this seems to be prime territory for a pub, although it was described as 'Notorious'!

The pub lost its licence in 1842, Monmouthshire Building Society later used the buildings before they were demolished in 1860 by Newport Corporation. The foundations were only visible for a few weeks until they were covered up again, with the new Friars Walk shopping centre being built over the site.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Farewell to the King


After lying derelict for a number of years, the King on Somerton Road, Newport has finally been demolished. First mentioned in 1872 as the King of Prussia, it was renamed as the King of Russia during the First World War but went by just the name of the King by 1923.

The pub sign in the 1990s still showed Frederick William III of Prussia on it though! The pub was owned by local brewers Phillips in 1905 and later Courage Brewery. The pub was once the headquarters of Newport AFC, no doubt due to it's proximity to the former home ground of Newport County, Somerton Park. The former football ground is now a housing estate and housing is no doubt what will be built on this site.

Friday 30 May 2014

Hornblower closes again

Once again, the Hornblower pub in Newport has shut. This time around it managed to stay open for about 10 months, something of a record given the recent history of the pub. The last owners failed to get things right from the very start with poor quality beer and indifferent staff who were more interested in stuffing their faces with crisps behind the bar than in making sure customers had decent pints of beer to drink. The pub was also competing with a nearby Wetherspoons and the Talisman pub, the latter has successfully cornered the market for the pond-life of the 'Port who are not catered for elsewhere.
So what's the future for the Hornblower? Not a good one as I doubt anyone would be stupid enough to take this once-popular bikers pub on. It's heyday was in the early 1990s when it boasted 5 real ales and was the spiritual home of Reckless Eric's Brewery. Although after that the pub went down hill with a succession of bad tenants including one alcoholic and one who had an interest in photography which raised the interest of the local rozzers. Hardly the type of people to attract customers to the pub?
The building to the right of the pub is also empty but this being Newport it is doubtful if any store will move in, especially with the new shopping centre under construction elsewhere in the city centre. So more dereliction for Newport.

Friday 23 May 2014

Cider Festival at the Clytha Arms this weekend!

The place to go this weekend is the Clytha Arms in Monmouthshire as they hold their annual cider Festival!

Cider List

Llanblethian Orchards
Kingston Black Medium
Stoke Red Medium
Biglis Farm Sweet
Orchard Blend Medium Sweet
Mayday Sweet
Hendre Huffcap Perry

Raglan Cider Mill
Boris’ Brainbender Medium
Hanky Panky Spirit cask Medium K
ingston Black Dry
Eaters & Cookers Medium Dry
RCM Medium
Barn Owl Perry Dry
Snowy Owl Perry Medium

Three Saints
Bit of Rough Dry cider
Blush Sweet Perry
Divine Medium Perry
Nice Boys Dry Perry
Laughing Juice Perry
Sweet Burgundy Perry

CJs Cider
Wench Medium
Surprise Sweet
Rosie’s Triple D
Dry Scrumpy
Triple D medium
Wicked Wasp medium
Black Bart sweet

Skyborry Cider
Medium Dry

Ty Bryn
Twisted Oak Dry
Vintage Oak Dry
Sunset Medium sweet
Blakeney Red Perry Sweet

Ty Gwyn
Naughty Horsey medium
Very Naughty Horsey, medium dry

Williams Brothers Cider
Dry Cider
Medium Cider
Sweet Cider

Bartestree Cider
Fox Snout
Frome Valley
Harley Gum Perry Hellen's Early Perry
Oldfield Perry
Painted Lady Perry

Gwatkins Cider
Silly Ewe, Dry
Yarlington Mill,
Medium Norman,
Medium Rum Cask,
Medium Game Cock,
Sweet Stoke Red,
Squeal Pig Perry
Farmhouse Perry, Medium

Olivers Cider & Perry
Medium Making Hay,
Traditional Perry,
Dry Classic Perry,
Medium Classic Perry,

Monday 19 May 2014

The Not So Tiny Rebel Beer Festival

The Tiny Rebel Brewery Tap, the Urban Tap House in Cardiff, will be playing host to their biggest ever beer festival from Thursday 5th to Sunday 6th June 2014 with over 240 beers and over 60 ciders available at Cardiff's Best Pub.
There will be special one-off brews available, including some that have been matured in wooden casks for a year and were not wanted at the bigger festival opposite!

Thursday 15 May 2014

Don of Brains Brewery retires

Brains’ Rev James creator to retire
One of Brains’ longest serving master brewers retires today after more than 40 years in the brewing industry - 26 of which have been spent with Brains. Don Jeffrey was recently presented with a special award by Cardiff CAMRA in the City Arms, he is pictured above together with Cardiff CAMRA Chair Rick Zaple.
Don’s brewing career began at Heriot Watt University in 1971, where he completed his brewing degree. His first job took him to Courage as a production trainee, moving across various sites including John Smith’s, Tadcaster and Simonds Brewery. He gained his master brewer qualification while working at the Courage bottling plant, London Bridge. In 1979 he joined Guinness, Park Royal, producing both Harp and Guinness, before relocating to the Isle of Man to become head brewer at Castletown Brewery, which later became Okell’s.
In 1988 Don took on a head brewer role at Buckley’s in Llanelli, which was later acquired by Brains. While there he created a new premium ale, The Rev. James, which was named after one of the brewery’s early owners, Methodist minister James Buckley, and has since become one of Brains’ most popular cask ales. Don’s last move was to Brains’ Crawshay Street site in 1999, becoming packaging manager.
Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains, said: “Don has been a pivotal member of our production team for the last 15 years, supporting the growth of Brains brands, and more recently was part of the team to establish Brains Craft Brewery.”
Don added: “There have been many changes during my years in the industry – often challenging and demanding, but always stimulating. I’ll miss the day to day contact with my colleagues but I’m now looking to put a bit back by offering my skills as a brewing consultant and trainer, for both brewing apprentice programmes and formal qualifications for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.”
To mark his retirement, Don has brewed his own Alt style beer in Brains’ craft brewery, with a name that plays on his other passion – magic. Don is a long-time member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. Old Tricks uses Munich and Crystal malts, Hallertau and Saaz hops and Dusseldorf Alt yeast, resulting in a combination of sweet malt, caramel and rich raisin flavours, and a classic floral, spicy aroma from the noble hops.
Old Tricks will be available in 30 Brains pubs from May 14th. For more details visit

Wednesday 14 May 2014

CAMRA says tied pubcos must be disarmed

Campaigners say the tied pubco model is a ticking time bomb the Government must disarm

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today mounted renewed pressure on the Government to act now to save Britain’s struggling pubs, with a petition delivered to Business Secretary Vince Cable calling for vital large pub company (pubco) reform. The petition gained over 30,000 signatures in just 5 days and surpassed the 42,000 mark ahead of it being delivered to Vince Cable today. As well as the delivery of the petition, over 100 campaigners, pub-goers and licensees gathered outside Parliament to rally behind Vince Cable’s pledge to end the Great British Pub Scandal.

CAMRA says it is essential that Vince Cable sticks to his guns and makes an announcement in the next few weeks, to allow action before the upcoming General Election.

“It is absolutely vital that the Government disarms the ticking time bomb threatening the nation’s pubs. CAMRA is demanding the introduction of a Pubs Watchdog to rule on disputes between licensees and pubcos, plus a guest beer right and a market rent only option for tied licensees. These measures are essential in order to create a level playing field for licensees, ensuring those tied to the large pubcos are no worse off than those that are free of tie.” Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman.

It is now well over 12 months since the Government launched its consultation and despite several assurances of action, including a recent letter to CAMRA from Vince Cable stating that “We intend very soon to publish the Government response to our pubs consultation and to announce the next steps”, the Government has so far failed to make an announcement.

Currently tied licensees must purchase their beer and other products from the pub company at an inflated rate, which is often at least 50% more expensive than the market rate. As a result 57% of tied licensees earn less than £10k a year.

“The reforms CAMRA are seeking will enable publicans tied to the large pub companies to make a decent living and invest in their business, protecting thousands of valued pubs and creating a thriving industry. The current model is weighted far too heavily in the favour of the pub company at the expense of the licensee and it is essential the Government acts now to redress the balance, before thousands more people lose their livelihood.” Colin Valentine added.

Monday 5 May 2014

Big Apple Cider & Perry Results

The Big Apple Cider & Perry competition was held at Putley in Herefordshire over the weekend and the results are below.

Saturday 3 May 2014

CAMRA Champion Cider and Perry

CAMRA names the UK’s
best Ciders and Perries
GOLD – Sheppy’s, Medium
SILVER – Dove Syke, Ribble Valley Gold
BRONZE – Wilce’s, Cider
GOLD – Oliver’s, Perry
SILVER – Kent Cider Company, Perry
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 Champion Cider of Britain is Sheppy’s Medium, described by judges as having “A rich apple aroma, dry yet well-
balanced flavour and a clean, refreshing, moreish
The winner of the Champion Perry of Britain is Oliver’s Perry which the judges described as “Initially sweet with a dry aftertaste – a very balanced perry with great body .
The final round of judging for CAMRA’s National
Cider and Perry Championships 2014 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 aroma, flavour, after-taste and
personal enjoyment. The winners were selected
by a specially chosen panel of judges including
cider experts, drinks writers and CAMRA members.
Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Perry, had this to say
“That’s fantastic, we’re really pleased, especially
on the back of the Pomona award last year –
fantastic for us to win for our perry. We’re very
Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and Perry
Committee Chair, had this to say on the quality
and diversity of entries:
“Real Cider and Perry continues to grow in
popularity and by the quality of this year’s
entrants it is easy to see why. With such a
fantastic range of quality ciders and perries now
being produced all over the UK, the standard of
this year’s competition was higher than ever –
the overall winners should be extremely proud of
their achievement as picking a Champion from
such an accomplished field proved very difficult.”

Wednesday 9 April 2014

The Gravity Station comes to Cardiff

The Gravity Station

 Cardiff''s first micro-pub opened the other week, situated in Barrack Lane.


Yes, I had to look it up as well, Barrack Lane runs parallel to Charles Street on the Eastern end of the St David's 2 redevelopment. Not too sure when the Barracks were ever here though but it must have been before 1855 as the Barracks marked on a map of that date are on Roath Road, later Newport Road and the Cardiff Royal Infirmary site. The lane is marked on the 1831 map but there are only a couple of buildings marked on it. More recently, before the St David's 2 development, there was an open-air market on the site.

 How to find The Gravity Station?

Exit St David's 2 via the Food Court and turn left, the Gravity Station is on the left-hand-side, halfway along the lane.

Google Map:

View Larger Map
/>,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=14&iwloc=A&cid=1543232312660098535&ll=51.480283,-3.173695&source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map

The Gravity Station is an unique, at least for Cardiff, combination of pub and off-license. Owned by the Waen Brewery of Llanidloes, Powys, this compact bar sells a range of beers from cask, keg and bottle, to drink in or take-away,

The Gravity Station is a fusion of bar and off-licence, with this extensive range of bottled beers available to drink-in or take-away.

The keg beers are served from the bar whilst from the rear cabinet, real ales are served via gravity from pins, 4.5 gallon casks, which makes sure no beers are kept hanging around for too long.

Oh and this pub does not smell of fish.

Star to host beer festival this weekend

The award-winning Star Inn, Talybont-on-Usk will be holding a beer festival over this weekend.
The Champion Beers of Britain - beer festival on
April 11 and 12 will feature the winners of CAMRA's Champion Beers of Britain from 1998-2013:
13 Real ales - all CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain winners. There will also be live music in the marquee
Friday 9pm: The Bleedin Noses
Saturday 1pm: The Mansel Davies Duo
Saturday 8.30pm: SoulD and more!

Friday 4 April 2014

Polar Beer for Pubs

The latest beer to come out of Brains Craft Brewery is a 5% single hopped brew, Polar Beer, a sunshine yellow blonde ale, brewed
with Polaris, a new-generation German hop. Polaris being another name for Pole or North Star. Ale and lager malts combine to create a smooth, crisp malty base with a sweet nose, followed by refreshingly light and distinctive herbal flavours from the Polaris hop.
Polar Beer will be available in keg and delivered to selected Brains pubs from Thursday 3rd of April.

Thursday 3 April 2014

CAMRA's Best Pubs in Wales 2014

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has announced their list of over 200 Local Pubs of the Year to help launch April’s Community Pubs Month and none of them smell of fish!
CAMRA’s branches, which consist of thousands of volunteers, judge all of the pubs in their area to find their Branch’s Local Pub of the Year. Pubs are judged on their decor, value for money, customer service, that they appeal to all different demographics and of course, the quality of its real ale. The local branch winners then go forward to battle it out in the regional heats in their quest to become National Pub of the Year, announced in early 2015. Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman said, “I would like to thank all of the volunteers that have judged pubs up and down the country. This can take a lot of dedication to find the best real ale pubs in the area. We like to announce the winners in Community Pubs Month to highlight the best pubs Britain has to offer to help raise the profile of pub-going.
New research shows 28 pubs close every week across Britain and 38% of British adults no longer visit pubs. Community Pubs Month has been launched to help raise the profile of the British pub and pub-going. Thousands of pubs across the Britain will be participating in this campaign by organising events and trying new marketing initiatives to attract more trade during April.
Mr Valentine continued, “There are literally thousands of wonderful pubs that need our support at this moment in time and I would urge everyone to visit their local pub in April and discuss with the licensee ways he or she could encourage you to visit more regularly.” Local winners in Wales are:
Wales Branches Pubs of the Year
Abercolwyn Albion Ale House Conwy
Chester & South Clwyd Bridge End Ruabon
Gwynedd a Mon Snowdonia Park Waenfawr
Vale of Clwyd Halcyon Quest Prestatyn
Brecknockshire Star Inn Talybont
Cardiff Landsdowne Canton, Cardiff
Gwent (Country) Clytha Arms Clytha, Raglan
Gwent (Town) Coach & Horses Chepstow
Mid Glamorgan Fagin's Ale & Chop House Glan-y-Lynn, Taffs Well
Neath-Port Talbot Pontadawe Inn Pontadawe
Swansea Pilot Mumbles
Vale of Glamorgan & Bridgend Red Fox Penllwyn

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Brains to open new pub under Cardiff Bay

Brains – Wales largest brewer and pub operator
– is set to open the UK’s first underwater pub in
Cardiff Bay.
Aqua Nova will be situated five metres below the
surface and accessed via a jetty, located a short
water taxi ride from its sister pub, the Brains-
owned Terra Nova. With panoramic views of the
Bay, the aquarium style venue will offer
customers a once in a lifetime experience.
Bruce Newman, head of marketing at Brains,
said: “Customers are always looking for
something new and different. Aqua Nova won’t
disappoint. As well as a great range of beers,
such as Brains’ All at Sea IPA, customers can
also look forward to a fresh seafood menu,
including Cardiff Bay fish of the day.”
Head of UK Naval Technologies, Captain Burt
Sye, has been working closely with Brains,
supervising the development. He added: “This is
a complex but revolutionary project and one that
is sure to be popular with the British pub goers.”
Work is due to start next month and it is
expected that the bar will be open in the summer
of 2015.
In the meantime, Brains is looking for volunteers
to be the first to test its beers underwater to
ensure they’re unaffected by changes in
pressure. Volunteers will wear specially adapted
dive suits, allowing them to sip a pint below sea
level. For more details, and to sign up, call
Brains on 029 2040 2060, quoting ‘Aqua Nova’.

Monday 24 March 2014

Best pubs in Wales

The votes are in and have been counted for Wales Online Best Pub in Wales, top 30 below:
The top 30 in full:
1.Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen
2. Plough and Harrow, Monknash
3. The Coach, Bridgend
4. Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth
5. Kings Head Inn, Llangennith
6. City Arms, Cardiff
7. Y Mochyn Du, Cardiff
8. The Gwaelod-y-Garth Inn, Gwaelod-y-Garth
9. The Star Inn, Treoes
10. Blue Anchor Inn, Aberthaw
11. Urban Tap House, Cardiff
12. Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron
13. Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon
14. The Pelican in her Piety, Ogmore
15. The Star inn, Talybont on Usk
16. The Pentre Arms, Llangrannog
17. The Bush Inn, St Hilary
18. Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
19. Old Swan Inn, Llantwit Major
20. The Sloop, Porthgain
21. The Goat Major, Cardiff
22. Uplands Tavern, Swansea
23. The Pilot, Mumbles
24. The Bear Hotel, Crickhowell
25. The Worms Head Hotel, Rhossili
26. The Lansdowne, Cardiff
27. The Ship Inn, Tresaith
28. The Ship, Llangrannog
29. Rummer Tavern, Cardiff
30. The Queens Hotel, Swansea

Wednesday 19 March 2014

CAMRA Budget response

CAMRA celebrates another brilliant budget for
British beer drinkers
“CAMRA is delighted to see the Chancellor
implementing an unprecedented second
consecutive cut of a penny in beer duty. This is
not only about keeping the price of a pint
affordable in British pubs but helping an
industry which has been in overall decline
continue on its long road to recovery. CAMRA
cares greatly about the future of the Great
British pub and it is clear from this Budget
announcement that the Government do too.
“Keeping the price of a pint affordable is vital
for the long-term health of the pub sector and
CAMRA would hope this latest vote of
confidence in British pubs will go some way to
slowing the rate of closures, by encouraging
more people to make use of their local this
“No doubt many of CAMRA’s 160,000 members
will be raising a glass to the Chancellor this
evening to toast another brilliant Budget for
British beer drinkers.”
Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive

Saturday 15 March 2014

Aberdare to get a beer Festival!

The town of Aberdare is to get a beer festival in May, on the Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May 2014. The Market Tavern Pub are hosting the Main Event with support from Grey Trees Brewery. The Marquee will be situated in the Centre of Aberdare in the Market Tavern Car Park.

Friday 14 March 2014

Brains Brewer gets on his bike to bring beer to boozers!

Brains – the official ale of the WRU – is set to cycle casks of SA through Cardiff city centre tomorrow (15th), ensuring no Brains pub runs dry on match day. Brains has turned a baker’s bike into a brewer’s bike, featuring a specially adapted rack to carry a cask of beer.
The bike embarked on a ‘trial run’ yesterday, but will take to the city centre streets on Saturday, ahead of Wales v Scotland.
Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains, said: “The Six Nations is bigger for us than Christmas and some of our pubs sell a week’s worth of beer in one match day alone. Because a pint of Brains and a visit to a Brains pub have always gone hand in hand with international rugby in Wales, we’d hate to disappoint fans by running short of Wales’ best loved beer. “The Brains SOS bike will be on standby on Saturday for pubs who need an emergency beer order – the perfect match day solution!”
Jon Adams, manager at the Yard, said,“Match day is incredibly busy so it’s great the brewery is putting on these SOS deliveries to keep fans in stock of SA.”
Bill took the Brains SOS bike on the ‘trial run’ yesterday (13th March) and will be on call to make deliveries on Saturday, adding “Fans can track the progress of the bike on Twitter by following the hashtag #BeerSOS”.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Vote for your favourite pub in Wales

Use the link below to pop over to Wales Online and vote for your favourite Welsh pub - the shortlist now stands at 86!
Oh and there's an interview with me in the Bell in Caerleon as well!

Friday 7 March 2014

Now & Then, former Royal Oak, Newport

Former Royal Oak, Newport The Royal Oak on the corner of Chepstow Road and Royal Oak Hill was demolished in 1981 by Welsh Brewers who replaced it with the Toby Carvery that is still on the site today. A building on this site is named Royal Oak on the OS Map of 1830. In recent years the pub has been marketed as 'Toby Carvery at the Coldra', despite being half a mile away from the Coldra!


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