Sunday 20 December 2015

Cardiff Bay pub gets £1.25M makeover

Some news from SA Brain
Iconic venue to get £1.25M makeover
Terra Nova, the Brains-owned Mermaid Quay pub, has closed ahead of a major four month refurbishment.
After trading for 12 years as Terra Nova, the site closed on Sunday 13th December ahead of a major development program that will see one and a quarter million pounds invested in creating an iconic site.  An extensive period of guest research has informed the development of a modern new venue that is expected to open in late April 2016 and ready for the summer trading period.
Commenting on the development, Bruce Newman, Group Head of Marketing at Brains said, “Terra Nova has been a hugely successful business for Brains over the years, however, our guest research indicated the need for change.  It was very apparent that users of the Bay felt that Terra Nova had become dated and failed to make the most of its stunning waterside location.  We’ve tested a number of different ideas, with guests clamouring for a high quality, premium bar with a strong and unique food offer.  Our plans to meet that need are at an advanced stage and the team are confident that the new business will become a favourite of Bay visitors.”
The transformation will see new glazing to further expose views of Cardiff Bay and flood the internal space with natural light, a stunning new island bar and an internal scheme that will open up the ground and first floor space.  Upon completion, Brains expect to host at least 400 guests for casual dining in addition to those visiting to enjoy a re-launched premium drinks offer.
The venue will also carry a new name, The Dock, acknowledging the heritage and uniqueness of its Cardiff Bay location and the interior design scheme will tell guests the story of Cardiff Bay, with a modern eclectic twist.
Looking ahead to the opening Graham Wheatley, Manager of The Dock commented, “The Dock will without doubt be the go to venue within Cardiff Bay.  A superb range of food and drink and a stunning new interior are already progressed.  Critically, the highly skilled team required to make the guest experience truly exceptional is currently being recruited.  I can’t wait to get the doors open and welcome guests to the business next April.”
Follow progress on The Dock on Twitter @brainsbrewery and Facebook

Saturday 7 November 2015

Champion Beers of Wales 2015

Below is the full list of the Champion Beers of Wales 2015, nothing from the Llandeilo Village Idiot on it so expect another hissy fit from the Old Dear

Thursday 5 November 2015

Barry Brewery brews the best beer in Wales

Barry Brewery brews the best beer in Wales!

A brewery based in Cadoxton near Barry has been judged to brew the best beer in Wales at the Champion Beer of Wales Competition, held at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Dumballs Road, Cardiff.
Dark Matter, a 4.4% porter brewed by the Vale of Glamorgan Brewery was judged against beers from across Wales and was found to be the best in a blind tasting by a panel of judges. Over 800 different ales are now brewed in Wales every year and CAMRA, The Campaign For Real Ale, have run a series of competitions throughout the year, with the final occurring in Cardiff today.
According to CAMRA spokesman, Arfur Daley, "Well done to Vale of Glamorgan Brewery, they faced strong competition this year to win this award, the brewery only changed hands earlier this year, with the previous owners staying on as consultants and to ensure consistency of the beers, so it's well done to both the old and new teams at the brewery".

Tasting Notes
Vale of Glamorgan Brewery Dark Matter is a 4.4% porter, pitch black in colour with a deep-red hue. Rich roast malts and blackcurrants are in the aroma with more blackcurrant and rich fruit in the taste. Bitter aftertaste with Autumn fruits dominating well into the finish.

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival opened today and continues until Saturday.

Further information:
Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Open 12-11 Thurday 5th ,11-11 Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November, The Depot, Dumballs Road, Cardiff, CF10 5FE
Admission £5, to include souvenir glass and Festival Programme
Festival Facts:

4000 thirsty drinkers are expected at the 3 day event
Over 20,000 pints of real ale, cider and perry will be consumed during the Great Welsh
Over 10 pints a minute will be served during the festival
Almost 2500 pints of cider and perry will be available
Over 180 different real ales, ciders, perries will be available at the Great Welsh
Over 140 CAMRA members and brewery staff will be volunteering to work at the festival
The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2013 is the 15th annual festival, the first at the Depot, previous venues have been the Millennium Stadium, Motorpoint Arena and Cardiff City Hall.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival returns to Cardiff next week

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, run by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, returns to Cardiff next week for a 'Back to Basics' beer festival where the quality of the real ales and ciders will be the most important matter, not the egos of brewers pushing out their beers.
Last year the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival was a financial disaster when it was held at the Millennium Stadium with the venue proving to be unpopular with hundreds of CAMRA members and the public who all complained about it. Well that's what happens when a bouncer is allowed to run a beer festival!
Well CAMRA listened to the complaints and decided that by moving to the Depot on Dumballs Road, about 10-15 minutes walk from Cardiff Central station we could address all of the complaints with a Back to Basics beer festival. So with that in mind, CAMRA will have

  • Souvenir glasses, no plastic at the Depot!
  • Readable signage on the barrels so customers can see what they order!
  • An excellent selection of street food, no overpriced poor quality stadium grub here!
  • An emphasis on the quality of real ale served, with no barrels being rolled out, tapped and served cloudy just because a brewer wants to sell their beer
  • No CAMRA stewards threatening to throw members of the press out when they rightfully complain about poor beer quality   
  • No beer from the Llandeilo Village Idiot who, according to reports supplied sub-standard beer late to the recent Carmarthen Beer Festival, then removed it as it had not settled!

5th-7th November
22 Dumballs Road
CF10 5FE

Google Map:

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Monday 31 August 2015

Swansea gets crafty as Waen Brewery open Gravity Station 2 in the City

The award-winning Waen Brewery of Llanidloes have opened their second pub after the success of their Gravity Station in Cardiff.
The former keg bar the Strand, on, surprisingly the Strand, which runs parallel to Wind Street, has only just opened and offers up to 7 real ales and up to 12 different keg beers as well a wide range of bottled beers to take home or drink onside.
The outside of the pub resembles the usual 1920s redesign of Swansea pubs and this building was originally the site of the Cornish Mount pub way back in the 1870s, before that the river Towy lapped the doorstep of the pub, the river course was deepened and narrowed to allow larger ships access to the copper works upriver.
Expect beers from Waen, Hopcraft etc as well as a real cider.
Entertainment is supplied by a record player!

Monday 24 August 2015

Swansea Bay Beer & Cider Festival Beer List

It's the Swansea Bay Beer & Cider Festival this Thursday to Saturday in the Brangwyn Hall and here is the beer list

Beer List & Tasting Notes


BLUE MONKEY, Giltbrook, Notts, England
 Ape Ale 5.4% PA
Strong, pale ale with American hops to give aromas of resinous pine and citrus. 3.5lbs of whole hops for each barrel, to guarantee intense flavour and aromas.
 Right Turn Clyde 4.3% PA
Made with a mix of Simcoe, Amarillo and Cascade, creating a refreshing fruity hit but finishing with a smooth lingering bitterness.

BOROUGH, Neath, Swansea, Wales
 Pit Head Porter 5.4% PS
Chocolate nutty porter that is rich and full bodied.
 Triple Bleeder 4.3% G
Amber bitter, full bodied with light, hoppy aroma, blended with American and Czech bittering hops.

BRAINS, Cardiff, Wales.
 Barry Island IPA 6.0% PA
Trio of US hops give a pale-coloured ale with citrus aromas. Smooth malt taste up front finished by citrus and berry hop flavours.
 Black Mountain 5.0%       S
Starts with coffee, liquorice and burnt toffee before big hop flavour then chocolate malts and smoky finish. Amarillo, Pacifica, Citra, Summit and Apollo hops.
 Colonel Williams 6.0% PA
Light amber ale brewed with Maris Otter malt and Goldings hops for a dry bitter and refreshing beer.

BRASS CASTLE, Malton, Yorks
 Bad Kitty 5.5% PS
Chewy chocolate-vanilla porter.

BRECON BREWING, Brecon, Powys, Wales
 Dark Beacons 3.8%   M
Traditional Welsh dark with an aroma of toffee and caramel. Full bodied but surprisingly light and refreshing.
 Orange Beacons 4.3% S
Flavours of a continental wheat beer with orange zesty aroma and flavour. Brewed with Belgian Saison yeast.

 Independence 4.6%     B
US Style pale ale. Very distinctive pale ale that has been hopped continuously throughout the boil.
 Milk Stout 4.5% PS
Smooth chocolatey sweetness and balancing coffee bitterness with hints of dark fruits.

BRYNCELYN, Ystradgynlais, Wales
 Holly Hop 3.9% G
Pale amber with a refreshing hoppy fruity flavour with balancing bitterness.
 Oh Boy! 4.5% B
Hops, fruit, bitterness and background malt. Ends with a long hoppy, bitter aftertaste.

CELT, Caerphilly, Wales.
 Bleddyn 5.6% PA
A commanding IPA balancing bitterness, sweetness and a grapefruit finish.
 Iron Age 3.5% B
A deep aromatic and fruity beer with hints of passion fruit.
 Ogham Oak 8.5% S
Complex flavour with resinous bite, from US hops, spicy esters from Belgian yeast and cinnamon twist from Belgian fruits and spices.
 Silures 4.6% PA
Powerfully hopped with sweet malt and a depth of tropical fruit.


BOSS, Swansea, Wales
 Black 5.0% PS
Roasted coffee, warmed dark chocolate aroma, Black treacle, nuts toasted on the fire, toffee, dark chocolate ganache flavours.
 Blonde 4.0% PA
Blonde Pale Ale, hoppy, bitter, Cascade hops.
 Brave 5.5% PA
Lush tropical fruit cocktail, alluring elderflower and rose aromas. Flavour - zingy grapefruit, zesty citrus, a spicy and piney kick to finish.

GOWER, Oldwalls, Swansea, Wales.
 Black Diamond 4.2% PS
Smoky chocolatey liquorice porter.
 Gold 4.5% G
Thirst quenching golden ale, refreshing citrus flavours and the lovely aroma
of Cascade hops.
 IPA 4.8% PA
Full flavour hoppy IPA.
 Lighthouse 4.5% S
A light, thirst-quenching continental style lager packed with flavour.
 Power 5.5% SB
Traditional IPA with a full hoppy flavour.

MUMBLES, Mumbles, Swansea, Wales
 Gold 4.3% G
Well hopped, with the distinct and bold Styrian Goldings .Lemon & lime flavours linger well.
 India Pale Ale 5.3% PA
A traditional India Pale Ale, light gold in colour and made using only Goldings and Fuggles hops, the latter giving a subtle but distinct taste and aroma.
 Oystermouth Stout 4.4% PS
A rich creamy head and dark roasted malt flavours, with the slightest hint of the sea due to real oysters being added.

PILOT, Mumbles, Swansea, Wales.
 Revolver 4.0% B
Very pale ale loaded with hops. Unfined version with saison yeast may be slightly cloudy.
 Wrecker 5.0% SB
After an initial chocolate taste it develops into a surprising, clean refreshing maltiness.

SWANSEA, Bishopston, Swansea, Wales.
 Bishopswood Bitter 4.3% B
A delicate aroma, balanced taste, with bitterness growing in the finish.
 Deep Slade Dark 4.0% M
Dark bitter, with a roasted barley flavour.
 Original Wood 5.2% SB
Full-bodied, with complex flavours with a firm bitter ending.
 Three Cliffs Gold 4.7% G
Golden beer, with a hoppy, fruity taste and thirst quenching bitterness.

TOMOS WATKIN, Llansamlet, Swansea, Wales.   Cwrw Haf 4.2% PA
A blend of Golding, Fuggle and Cascade hops. Refreshing zesty, citrus taste and a light summer aroma.
 Pecker Wrecker 4.5% B
A full-flavoured amber ale produced using the finest malted barley. A rich fruity beer with a gentle hop finish.


BANK TOP, Bolton, Lancs, England
 DARK MILD 4.0% M
Dark brown, with a malt and roast aroma; smooth with malt and hops throughout

CERDDIN, Maesteg, Mid Glamorgan, Wales.
 Cascade 4.8% B
A summer beer which is light in colour. Cascade is a carbon friendly beer that is flavoured with Cascade hops.
 Ooops 4.5% B
Bitter start, sweet finish.

DANCING DUCK, Derby, Derbyshire, England
 Ay Up 4.1% PA
A pale session ale. Subtle malt and floral notes are matched with citrus hop, rounded off with a slightly dry finish.
 Dark Drake 4.5% PS
Delicious malty, caramel and liquorice flavours combine in a smooth drinking velvety, oatmeal stout with a freshly roasted coffee and toffee finish.

DARK STAR, Horsham, West Sussex, England
 American Pale 4.7% PA
Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops, Maris Otter malt. Light colour and dryness with a crisp taste and full hop aroma.
 Hophead 3.8%     G
Pale golden ale, strong floral aroma and elderflower notes.

ELLAND, Elland, W Yorks, England
 1872 Porter 6.5% PS
Rich, complex and dark Porter from an original 1872 recipe, with an old port nose, and coffee and bitter chocolate flavours on the palate.

EVERARDS, Narborough, Leicestershire, England
 Tiger 4.2% B
Chestnut brown in colour; spicy hop aromas with toffee undertones.

FULLERS, Chiswick, London, England
 ESB 5.5% SB
Northdown, Target, Challenger & Goldings hops give grassy, peppery notes and intense citrus fruit. Pale Ale and Crystal malts for a biscuity, toffee element.

GREY TREES, Red Cow Pub, Aberdare, Wales
 Afghan 5.4% PA
Cascade, Citra and Simcoe hops. Maris Otter malt provides a light colour and dryness to complement the crisp taste and full aroma of the hops.
 Diggers Gold 4.0% G
A modern golden ale — alive with fresh citrus aromas which leave a subtle bitterness. Crafted with Marris Otter Pale Malt, with US hops.

HEAVY INDUSTRY, Henllan, Denbighshire, Wales
 Brew 77 4.9% PA
Heavily hopped (Columbus, Cascade, dry hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe) Flavour of dark Seville marmalade is backed up by a piney, peppery bitterness.
 Diawl Bach 3.8% G
Dry hopped with Amarillo, Cascade and Citra whilst conditioning. Fruity and hoppy.
 Pigeon Toed Orange Peel 5.2% S
Orange wheat beer from Bavarian hops.

HOBSONS, Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire, England
 Champion Mild 3.2% M
Chocolate, malt, and nutty mild flavour. Maris Otter malting barley, pale chocolate malt and crystal malt with Fuggles and Goldings hops.

HOP CRAFT, Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales
 Crema Extrema 5.0%  PS
Dry roasty brew with unmistakable hit of coffee. Hot and cold steeping provide complex coffee character.
 Sick Body Sick Mind 4.5% PA
An extra-pale combo of US hops gives citrus, fruit, tropical and skunky facets to  the beer's character, allied to a bone-dry body and mellow bitterness.
 Statement of Intent 5.9%  PA
Big hoppy IPA.
 Temple of Love 3.8% PA
Fruity, citrusy, punchy hop flavour and beefy bitterness over simple malt base with Munich malt for body and flavour.

KINVER, Kinver, Staffs, England
 Maybug 4.8% S
German style, lager beer
KITE, Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales
 Jemima’s Pitchfork 4.4% G Refreshing crisp pale golden beer brewed with Citra and Eldorado hops giving undertones of citrus, pear and melon.
 WPA 4.1% PA
A blonde ale with fruit and sweet malt, followed by a refreshing dry finish.


LIVERPOOL ORGANIC, Liverpool, England
 Best Bitter 4.2% B
A hoppy beer with citrus notes.
 Shipwreck IPA 6.5% PA
An IPA with intense citrus flavours.

MALVERN HILLS, Malvern, Worcs, England
 Priessnitz Plzen 4.3% S
A draft cask-conditioned Pilsner-style lager brewed in the traditional way.  It is a well-balanced beer; light in colour, with a resinous aromatic finish.

MARBLE, Manchester, England
 Chocolate Marble 5.5%  PS
Brewed with an emphasis on chocolate malts; tasting of coffee, cocoa and liquorice with a bitter finish.
 Earl Grey IPA 6.0%  PA
Addition of Earl Grey flavouring during fermentation and heavy hopping give a citrus fruit aroma. Hop notes are complemented by Bergamot and a light tannic finish.
 Ginger Marble 5.1% S
This full-bodied copper coloured beer displays a delicate blend of cloves, coriander and heaps of fiery ginger.

MOORHOUSE’S, Burnley, Lancashire, England.
 Blonde Witch 4.5% S
Moorhouse’s first ever blonde ale. This beer is as light as you get with a lager colour (minus the bubbles). Smooth and fruity.
 Pendle Witches Brew 5.1%  SB
A full malty flavoured beer with a crisp sweet fruity aftertaste and soft citrus notes.

NEATH ALES, Neath, Swansea, Wales
 Dewi Sant 4.8% PA
Pale, fruity, easy. Enough hop flavour.
 Rattler’s Resolution 4.8% S
Elderflower beer.

OSSETT, Ossett, West Yorkshire, England
 Silver King 4.3% S
Dry citrus Lager-style pale beer. A crisp, dry flavour and a fruity, citrus aroma. 

OTLEY, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales
 O1 4.0% B
Pale straw coloured beer using Brewers Gold and Styrian hops. and5 different hops.
 Hop Angeles 4.8% B
An American red ale with nine different American hops. High bitterness, fruity and crisp.
 Weissen 5.0% S
Light golden naturally cloudy wheat beer. Crisp, clean but distinctive flavours with citrus hop aromas and balanced bitterness.
Dry hopped
PALMERS, Bridport, Dorset, England
 200 5.0%  SB
A copper-coloured full-bodied rich and malty beer with a distinctive hoppy character.

PEERLESS, Birkenhead, Mersyside, England
 Jinja Ninja 4.0% S
Refreshing ginger beer made with fresh root ginger, chilli and lemons.

PURPLE MOOSE, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, Wales
 Dark Side Of The Moose 4.6% M
A delicious dark ale with a deep malt flavour from roasted barley and a fruity
bitterness from Bramling Cross hops.
 Madogs 3.7% B
A crisp, malty, reddish coloured session bitter with a dry bitter finish.

RCH, West Hewish, Somerset, England
 Pitchfork 4.3% G
A golden bitter with floral citric hop aroma. It has a hoppy taste which is slightly sweet and fruity.

RINGWOOD, Ringwood, Hants, England
 Boondoggle 4.2% PA
A blonde fruity ale with a citrus punch and a well-balanced fruity taste. English Pale Malt and First Gold and Fuggles hops.
 Fortyniner 4.9% G
A light fresh hop bouquet. Rounded malt taste with strong hop balance, deep, bittersweet finish. Golden, full bodied malted beer.


SALOPIAN, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
 Lemon Dream 4.5% S
A zesty pale delicate lemony beer, brewed using organic lemons which adds subtle aromas and a citrus filled fruity finish.
 Shropshire Gold 3.8% G
A light copper full-flavoured bitter, with a floral aroma and a full hoppy flavour that is balanced by a crisp dry maltiness and a rich finish.

SALTAIRE, Shipley, Yorkshire, England
 Blackberry Cascade 4.8% S
American style pale ale with the floral aromas and strong bitterness of Cascade  and Centennial hops, infused with a hint of blackberries.
 Elderflower Blonde 4.0% S
A refreshing blonde ale delicately infused with the flavour of elderflower.
 Raspberry Blonde 4.0% S
Refreshingly blonde ale delicately infused with raspberry flavours.
SARAH HUGHES, Dudley, West Midlands, England
 Dark Ruby Mild 6.0% M
Clear fruitiness in the aroma, followed by sweet maltiness and slightly bitter finish.

TENBY, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
 Barefoot Blonde 4.6% S
A pale ale with 30% pilsner malt.
 Black Flag Rum Porter 5.2% PS
Black vanilla, spiced with rum.

THORNBRIDGE, Bakewell, Derbyshire, England
 Jaipur IPA 5.9% PA
A citrus dominated IPA, soft & smooth builds to a crescendo of hoppiness with honey. An enduring, bitter finish.

THWAITES, Blackburn, Lancs, England
 Wainright 4.1% G
A well-balanced and very drinkable golden ale.

TIMOTHY TAYLOR, Keighley, West Yorkshire, England
 Landlord 4.3% B
A classic strong pale ale with a complex and hoppy aroma. 

WAEN BREWERY, Llanidloes, Powys, Wales
 Chilli Plum Porter 6.1% PS
A dark velvety smooth porter, with luscious plum flavours and a chilli warmth.
 Lemon drizzle 3.7% S
Lemony vanilla flavoured pale ale.
 Pamplemousse 4.2% G
Citrus and grapefruit flavours.
 Snowball 7.0% PS
Chocolate, vanillas and coconut stout

WYE VALLEY, Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire, England
 Dorothy Goodbody Stout 4.6% PS
Dark full-bodied stout with roasted barley flavours and a dry bitter finish. Coffee notes and plenty of hop flavour.


HARVIESTOUN, Alva, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
 Schiehallion 4.8% S
Lager with a crisp palate and a lingering, fresh, grapefruity finish.

MIGHTY OAK, Malden, Essex, England
 Oscar Wilde 3.7% M
Mellow, nutty, dark mild. Brewed using Maris Otter Pale, Crystal and Black  malts and gently hopped with Challenger.

OAKHAM, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England
 Citra 4.2% PA
A light refreshing beer with pungent grapefruit, lychee and gooseberry aromas leading to a dry, bitter finish.
 Green Devil IPA 6.0% PA
A hop harvest aroma with tropical fruit. smooth and fruity start, developing into lemon, limes and a citrusy bitterness. Finishes with a crisp dry aftertaste.
 Tranquility 6.5% G
A golden beer which blasts off with powerful grapefruit/citrus aromas and flavours, touching down with an intense and satisfying bitter finish.

SADLERS, Stourbridge, West Midlands, England
 Hop Bomb 5.0% PA
A powerful India Pale Ale, brewed with American Amarillo and Citra Hops. Fragrant, floral, very hoppy with rounded fruit finish.

ST AUSTELL, St Austell, Cornwall, England
 Proper Job 4.5% G
A powerfully hopped golden IPA with citrus grapefruit flavours brewed with a single malt from Maris Otter Pale barley.
TATTON, Knutsford, Cheshire, England
 Gold 4.8% G
A full-tasting, satisfying deep golden ale, with a generous maltiness backed up by a robust hop character.  
 Obscure 5.7% SB
A dark, hoppy, strong ale with a complex malt blend giving an intricate aroma.
 VIPA 6.3% SB
Strong pale ale balancing exotic fruit character with modern British hop aroma. British and European malts, and honey, Bramling Cross and UK Cascade hops.
 White Queen 4.2% S
Belgian white wheat beer, spiced with coriander, Curacao orange peel and cardamom. Naturally cloudy wheat beer.

TINY REBEL, Newport, Gwent, Wales.
 Cwtch 4.6% B
Welsh Red Ale. Citrus and tropical fruit dominate, backed up with caramel malts that balance the moderate bitterness. Six malts, two US hops.
 Dirty Stop Out 5.0% PS
A smoked oat stout. Complex, dark, with hints of smokiness and perfume aromas. A blend of nine malts, firmly hopped.
 Fubar 4.4% PA
A unique schizophrenic beer where you'll face off against floral hoppy flavours up front, leading into a dry spicy bitterness on the back.
 Hadouken 7.4% BW
Amplified IPA. Massively hopped with three American varieties.
 Hank 4.0% PA
US style pale ale with tropical and citrus aromas with low to medium bitterness. Floral flavours with slight caramel and biscuit notes.
 Urban IPA 5.5% PA
A carefully crafted intercontinental blend of hops helps take traditional IPAs to the next level with Urban IPA.

WYE VALLEY, Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire, England.
 Butty Bach 4.5% G
Golden ale from Maris Otter and Crystal malts, flaked barley, malted wheat, and locally grown Fuggles, Goldings and Bramling Cross hops.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Seven Years for Zerodegrees Cardiff

Hic, been celebrating at Zerodegrees in Cardiff for their seven years at their Westgate Street Brewpub. Lots of beer flowing, including an India Pale Lager, a thyme Saison and a Strawberry Berliner Weiss. As well as the Mango beer and a few others. Pizza, cooked in their open kitchen helped soak up the beers!
Zerodegrees in Cardiff was the first craft beer pub to open in the City, nowadays Brewdog Cardiff is just a few yards south of here and heading North one encounters Tiny Rebel Urban Tap House and the City Arms. Added to that the plastic paddy palace that was Kitty Flynn's is now the Cambrian Tap, things are looking good for the beer drinker in the 'Diff,with more of a selection than ever before.
Nearly forgot to me mention the Gravity Station run by Waen Brewery, Craft is King it appears in Cardiff.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Big Apple Cider and Perry winners

It was the Big Apple Cider and Perry Championships in Putley, Herefordshire, yesterday and the results are below

Saturday 2 May 2015

CAMRA Cider and Perry of the Year

CAMRA names the UK’s best Ciders and Perries

GOLD (joint) – White Jersey, Orgasmic Cider Company
GOLD (joint) – Janet’s Jungle Juice, West Croft
BRONZE – Medium, Three Cats

GOLD – Two Trees Perry, Gwynt y Ddraig
SILVER – Snowy Owl, Raglan Cider Mill
BRONZE – Perry, Snails Bank

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today announced the winners of its National Cider and Perry Championships.

The joint winners of the Cider Gold medal are White Jersey by Orgasmic and Janet’s Jungle Juice by West Croft. White Jersey was described by judges as being ‘fruity’ and ‘easy drinking’, with ‘a slight sweetness balanced by an excellent tang’, and having ‘balance without too much acidity’. Janet’s Jungle Juice was described as having a ‘mature and woody aroma’ with ‘an initial sweetness and a smooth finish’, and a ‘full mouthfeel with a resinous aroma’.

The winner of the Perry Gold medal is Two Trees Perry by Gwynt y Ddraig (meaning ‘dragon’s breath’ in Welsh) which the judges described as being ‘initially sweet with a refreshing, dry aftertaste’, ‘complex yet well balanced with a poached pear flavour and aroma’ with a ‘slowly developing finish’.

The final round of judging for CAMRA’s National Cider and Perry Championships 2015 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 awards were selected by a specially chosen panel of experienced judges, drinks writers and CAMRA members.

Steve Layton of Orgasmic Cider Company, had this to say on hearing his cider had taken the top spot,

“We’re very proud of this single blend [variety] cider - we grow the apples, we produce the cider, we do everything - so to me this is a great achievement, as it lets me know our cider is enjoyable to drink by everybody on this top judging panel. We're very proud to win and this is a massive achievement.

Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider and Perry Committee Chairman, had this to say on the quality and diversity of entries:

“The quality and variety of real cider and perry is increasing year-on-year, making our job as judges increasingly difficult. With a set of truly excellent drinks available this year at the festival, and a competition which was very tight right until the final judging we are confident these ciders and perries can truly be known as the best in Britain.”

Reading CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival serves over 550 beers available, plus 150 ciders and perries (from over 100 producers), plus a selection of foreign beers, English wines and mead.

Over the four days festival around 13,000 attendees will drink over 35,000 pints of beer and 11,000 pints of cider.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Ale and Cider Fair for Merthyr

The historic town of Merthyr Tydfil plays host to an ale and cider fair this Saturday in the Redhouse, the former council offices which were recently refurbished and reopened to the public after years of lying derelict. Looking at their website it does seem like this place is trying to establish itself as the Chapter Arts Centre of the Valleys, which , of course, is a welcome development.
Expect beers from Grey Trees, Pipes and Tudor Breweries together with ciders from Brecon Beacons Cidery and Halletts, hopefully without their mouse infection this time!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

There's a Beer Revolution in Hay!

Popped into Hay-on-Wye the other morning, not somewhere I visit often, the last time I was there was June last year, according to Swarm. A lot has changed since then with a new manager in Kilverts who is eager to bring in the changes with different ales and local cider hitting the pumps shortly.

The biggest surprise was the new off-licence, Beer Revolution, based on the cobbled yard of the castle, a bit difficult to find at first but well worth the effort. This shop is packed with beers from the best breweries from Wales and beyond, Waen, Tiny Rebel, Celt Experience, Mad Dog to name just a few. A couple of surprises were two new Welsh breweries Radnorshire Ales from New Radnor and the Lucky 7 Beer Co who are based in Hay-on-Wye,
Local ciders and perries from Gwatkins are also available
A welcome outlet for good and unusual beers in this part of the world!

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Mumbles Ale House

Whilst down the Mumbles the other day, we popped into the Mumbles Ale House, the newest addition to the Mumbles Mile and just a short walk off the main road. The pub opened last year in what was an art studio.

 Certainly it's one of the smallest micro-pubs I've been into but size does not matter here when you look at the range of real ales and ciders they have on sale.

 Although whether or not if it's the first micropub in Wales is debatable as the Waen-brewery owned Gravity Station opened in Cardiff earlier in the year. First micropub that's a freehouse in Wales to be more exact.

A visit to the Pilot in Mumbles

Popped into the CAMRA award-winning pub The Pilot in the Mumbles the other day to do some filming with Simon Martin

We got to review their Black Storm Stout with Richard the brewer

One of their beers I particularly enjoyed was Revolver which features the same recipe every time it is brewed with the only difference being a change in the hops used.

Monday 13 April 2015

Best pubs in Wales

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, have announced their list of the best pubs in Wales.

North Wales
Abercolwyn Branch

Chester & South Clwyd  Branch


Gwynedd a Mon  Branch

Vale of Clwyd  Branch

West Wales

Bae Ceredigion


Cresselly Arms 
Cresswell Quay

South Wales



Cardiff (City)

Cardiff (Country)

Gwent (City)


Gwent (Country)


Mid Glamorgan

Neath Port Talbot

No Sign Bar

Vale of Glamorgan & Bridgend


Saturday 28 March 2015

A visit to the Pilot Brewery in Mumbles

(4K) Pilot Brewery Tour Mumbles Swansea (Brewpub):

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Flemish Sours review

Met up with Simon Martin to review a couple of Flemish sours, Rodenbach Grand Cru and Duchesse de Bourgogne

Rodenbach came out on top!

Monday 2 March 2015

March Pub Auction

March Pub Auction

First major pub auction of the year will be on Wednesday 11th March 1430hrs at Puckrup Hall Hotel, near Tewkesbury, Gloucs, GL20 6EL, with 10 pubs going under the hammer. Subject to change, check out the Sidney Phillips website for more details.

Let's have a look at what is going under the hammer:

Cross Keys Hotel, Nantgarw, GP £175,000
Open plan bars and restaurant, two-ensuite letting rooms, three-bedroom owners accommodation, gardens.
Often been passed this pub as it's on the bus route from the Otley Arms to Fagin's so there are some good pubs nearby. Always seemed a bit run-down but you expect that with pub-co pubs. Could do well in the right hands, conversion to housing unlikely as it faces a busy main road.

Royal Head Inn, Llanidloes, Powys GP £160,000
16th-century black and white inn with lounge bar and restaurant, public bar and games room, 3 letting rooms and 4 bedroom flat.
Historic pub which has been let down by Enterprise ownership over the years.

Wain Y Clare, Mamhilad, Torfaen GP £150,000
Main road pub and dining venue, open-plan bar areas, four bedroom owners accommodation, gardens and car park.
Situated on the main Pontypool-Abergavenny road this used to be an extremely busy pub, as the large car park used to be quite full. Been shut and boarded up for a while, another pub-co success story.

Riverside, Brewery Lane, Bridgend GP £225,000
Attractive Gerorgian ph, 0.37 acre, 2 bars, 4 bedroom owners accommodation, large car park
Huge pub, just off the town-centre, again has been run-down over the years.
Was once known as 'The Jolly Brewer' and dates to 1795 and was the family residence of the owner of the nearby brewery, the Stiles, it became a pub in the 1920s and was known as the 'Brewery House' until renamed by owners Courage in the 1970s.
A lot of potential here, despite being in Bridgend, although the nearby cinema was demolished a few years ago so the council might look favourably to demolish this historic pub.

Falcon Inn, Hinstock, Market Drayton, Salop GP £250,000
Village inn with 3 interconnecting trade areas, 6 en-suite letting rooms, separate 2-bed owners cottage, set in 0.47 acres
 Another Enterprise Inns disposal

Red Lion, Aston, Oxon GP £245,000
18th century Cotswold pub, 2 interconnecting bars, 3 bedroomed owners accommodation, village green location
Not a pub I know, or want to know after reading this description from 'The Endless British Pub Crawl' blog.

Bay Horse, High Street, Bromyard GP £245,000
Black & white inn with two characterful trading areas, 5-en suite letting bedrooms
Another one I'm not familiar with but the Trip Advisor reviews aren't that good!

Bulls Head, Brecon GP £185,000
Riverside location, 2-section open bar, 8 bedrooms, development potential, currently closed
Once a popular pub and CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular when it was owned by Marlows who also owned Breconshire Brewery. It did go downhill after Evans Evans Brewery purchased it, no surprise there, and has been closed for a number of years.

Prince of Wales, Portland Street, Cheltenham GP £290,000
Regency town-centre property, 2 bars, 5 bed owners accommodation, trade garden, currently closed
Not a pub I know, then I always get lost n Cheltenham!

Rose & Crown, Goodwick, Fishguard GP £95,000
Two bars in a coastal village with 3 bedroom owners accommodation, beer patio and smoking solution
Next door to the Hope & Anchor pub which also appears to be closed.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Beer reviews with Simon Martin

Meet up with Simon Martin from Real Ale Guide recently to do some beer reviews for his You Tube Channel. Finally got around to embedding them here

First up was Fullers Past Masters Old Burton Extra:

We also did Fullers Imperial Stout:

Fuller's have always been one of my favourite breweries so I enjoyed tasting these with Simon, although the Imperial Stout was a bit heavy for lunchtime drinking! Visits to the Lansdowne, Chapter Arts Centre, Butchers Arms, The Cottage, Urban Tap House and Brewdog were made afterwards, luckily there is no footage of that available!

Friday 23 January 2015

Cidermaker to appear on Great British Railway Journeys

An award-winning cider maker from Abbey Dore in Herefordshire will be appearing on BBC2's Great British Railway Journeys on Tuesday 27th January at 6.30pm. Denis Gwatkin, who makes cider at Moorhampton Park Farm was visited by Michael Portillo during the cider-making season in September last year, where they picked apples and used Denis' Victorian apple scratter and press to produce juice to ferment into cider. The visit to the farm and cider house will be shown as part of Episode 17, featuring a train journey from Swansea to Hereford, using the Bradshaw's Railway Guidebook.

According to Denis Gwatkin, “Michael was keen to be involved in all aspects of making the cider, from shaking the apples off the tree using the traditional panking pole, to collecting the apples and using my restored Victorian scratter and press. Afterwards, of course, we retired to the cider house for a refreshing cup or two of my award-winning cider, which he said that he enjoyed very much!”

Cider has been made at Moorhampton Park Farm for generations, with the orchards clearly marked on the 1833 map, a few years before Bradshaw began publishing his guides. Denis Gwatkin has been producing cider commercially now for almost a quarter of century and has won numerous awards from CAMRA  as well as International Cidermaker of the Year. Moorhampton Park Farm features a farm shop where the full range of ciders and perries produced on the farm may be sampled and purchased. The farm also plays host to an annual music festival in August.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Another new Cardiff Brewery

Popped into the Pen & Wig in Newport today and discovered they have a new beer on tap from a new Cardiff Brewery, the Surfing Monkey Brewery! I don't know anything about this brewery but from this brew, Off Shore Howler, a wheat beer brewed with orange and coriander I have high hopes of great beer from them.
Tasting Notes:
Off Shore Howler is a slightly hazy golden colour, which as a wheat beer should have a haze to it. Spicy aroma with cloves, coriander and orange zest present. Coriander and orange in the taste as well, the orange dominating towards the end along with some astringency. Dry, bitter-orange finish. A good thirst quencher!

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Now and then, Angel, Caerleon

 The former Angel ph, Caerleon is now a Sainsbury's Local Supermarket


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