Friday 18 November 2016

Brecon pub to improve

A run-down hotel and bar in the centre of Brecon is set to get a new lease of life next year when it reopens as a Wetherspoons pub in February 2017. The George Hotel, once a regular entry in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide shut in January this year and was in such a bad state of repair the refurbishment works will take over a year before the building is once again suitable for use. The hotel was dropped from the Good Beer Guide after the dramatic drop in beer quality when the hotel was purchased by the later disqualified company director and former gay nightclub owner, Simon Buckley.

Some of the reviews from Trip Advisor are worth repeating:

“Not recommended Terrible & rude customer service”
I would not recommend this pub or hotel as the staff are extremely rude and unhelpful and obviously do not need customers.

We had an 8 month old and an 11 month old with us who were excellently behaved throughout, which is more than can be said for the female member of staff there.

Everything seemed very disorganised and lots of people were moaning. I will not be going back there again. If this is the service you get for a meal, I dread to think what it would be like to be a guest at this hotel.

“Dreadful Sunday Lunch - Avoid this place!!!!”
Avoid this place at all costs or you will waste your money and be left disappointed, hungry and annoyed. So much so it has prompted me to deliver this critical but honest review for the benefit of others.

Visited on a Bank holiday. They were short staffed, waited hour and a half for our food which they had forgotten about!! Food very disappointing when it eventually arrived. Will Not be visiting again.

“Wetherspoons with bad service. ”
Service was short, snappy, rude and when the chef came out to tell the staff the wait was now 1hr I was neglected to be told (I merely overheard). My partner ordered a mixed grill and was laughed at in the face with no explanation. 
When another table came to sit near us they closed the kitchen clearly unable to cope with a medium busy Saturday night. 
And most of the food was obviously bought in frozen!

Although there are a few good reviews, it does raise suspicions when they are posted by staff members!

The George Hotel in Brecon scored so low because:
Compliance Food Hygiene and Safety 
Some major non-compliance with statutory obligations
"Repeat issue re fridge. High risk stored"  
Some major non-compliance with stat obligations
"Grease to walls. Cleaning issues" 
Confidence in Management Systems 
Poor track record of compliance, little or no technical knowledge. Little or no appreciation of hazards or quality control. 
"No food safety management".

Not the type of place you'd really want to eat in is it?

Still at least when Wetherspoons opens there the George will improve dramatically.

Elsewhere in Brecon, the Bull's Head pub is still shut and has been since 2010 apart from brief openings during Brecon Jazz Festival. Another pub owned by Simon Buckley, this was once a successful and thriving pub until he turned his reverse Midas touch to the premises and drove the customers away with his barely drinkable beer and attitude of the staff. So that's two former CAMRA Good Beer Guide pubs shut in the market town of Brecon. The Temperance Movement did not even manage that!

Oh and in a recent email from Buckley to the Brew Wales editor, he claims now that he is in communication with the dead! He is clearly bonkers!


Monday 4 July 2016

Former Newport publican jailed for child abuse images

Continuing the long tradition of Newport publicans who get caught with obscene images, read this about the former landlord of the now defunct Hereford Arms in Maindee, a former manager of the Hornblower, Andrew Bates, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for having hundreds of images of child abuse on his laptop. Full story from the South Wales Argus here
A coincidence is that Bates frequented the Hereford Arms in Maindee.
Bates managed the Hornblower in Commercial Street when his father Ken was the leaseholder. Ken Bates also attracted the interest of the police whilst he was running the 'Blower for his ahem "interest in photography."

"Bates, who wore a blue jumper at his sentencing, had a further 211 category B images and videos and 108 that fell into category C." Blue jumper? Well he always was a scruffy bastard. At least wear a tie when you are up before the judge.

Sentencing him, Judge Daniel Williams said: “Behind the photographs is a real child and a real crime. The suffering of the children could only be greater by them knowing that their abuse has been watched by you for your own sexual gratification.”
Bates was given a 12-month sentence for possessing category A images and videos. He was also handed a further six months, to be served concurrently, for the category B images and movies, and another three months for the category C pictures and videos. That will also be served concurrently.
He is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order, under which he is barred from living with any child unless their parent or guardian has knowledge of his crimes. He will also be included on the sexual offenders' register.
All photos stolen from his Facebook profile, which has now been taken down as Facebook don't allow nonces on there.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Caerphilly Food Festival this Saturday

Yes the blog is back!
This Saturday, the 7th May sees the return of Caerphilly Food Festival, a one-day spectacular in the centre of the town with the main street shut down from opposite Wetherspoons to the Tommy Cooper statue, with market stalls all the way down.
Caerphilly Food Festival is back in town
Back for its fifth year and after the success of last year’s, thousands of people are expected to descend onto the town centre. The Festival will run from 10am-5pm, with a day packed full of fun for the whole family to embark upon. Over 70 stall holders will tempt visitor’s taste buds with samples of their delicious goods, along with a range of unique crafts to admire. This year the event will feature an exciting new demonstration area by Broil King BBQ Theatre, where workshops will be held between 11am and 3:30pm in the Twyn car park. Not forgetting the children, numerous activities will be held throughout the day including, puppet shows, animal displays, craft workshops, along with interactive cooking workshops at Children’s Cookery Corner held hourly between 11am and 3pm. Amongst the demonstrations and workshops, walkabout acts and street shows will be parading the town, entertaining the crowds, as well as RecRock Music who will offer live performances from local singers and groups. Cadw is also kindly offering two for one entry into Caerphilly Castle, during the Festival. The cheapest entrant will go free. This is sure to be a great day out for all ages, make sure you don’t miss out! For more information about the Caerphilly Food Festival, please call the Visit Caerphilly Centre on 029 20 880011 or visit the website .

Beers and ciders from Jacobi, Gwynt and Gwatkin Cider will be there.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Brewdog Jet Black Heart review

Last week I popped into Brewdog Cardiff with Simon Martin to review some beers and their Jet Black Heart Oatmeal Stout was one of the ones we tried

Swansea Brewery goes from Gower to Power!

A Gower ale has won a seat in parliament after being picked as one of two guest beers on rotation in Westminster.     
Gower Brewery’s Brew One ale will be stocked in Strangers’ Bar, a favourite watering hole for Members of Parliament attending political meetings and debates in the capital.
MPs who drink in the bar are encouraged to recommend beers from their constituency, giving political punters a taste of lesser known brews from across the UK.
MP for Gower, Byron Davies, chose Brew One, a honey coloured ale, from award-winning Gower Brewery, based in Crofty Gower.
Mr Davies said: “The quality of the brewery’s beer is exemplified by the taste and high standard contained in Brew One, which goes on sale at the Palace of Westminster this week.
“Gower Brewery is a local business success story. What started as a small behind the pub in Oldwalls, Gower, enterprise, has flourished into a major brewing concern with global reach. It is now expanding with the addition of a bottling plant and employing more local people. I chose the Brew One beer to give the other Members of Parliament a true taste of the Gower. 
One of the brewery’s original ales, Brew One was created four years ago in a small micro-brewery located at the back of the Greyhound Inn in Oldwalls.
Since then, the brewery, established by four friends Matt Joslin, Chris Mabbett, Paul Chiverton and Chris Stevens in 2011, has expanded rapidly, moving to a 15,000 sq ft premises and increasing from five to a 20-barrel capacity.
Owners Chris Mabbett, Chris Stevens and Matt Joslin travelled from Gower - labelled the UK’s first Area of Outstanding National Beauty - to London and poured the first pint.
He said: “It is a bit surreal to pour a pint of your own beer amidst some of the most influential people in the country. When Bryon Davies got in touch to let us know he had chosen Brew One as his favourite beer we were so excited.
“It’s great to receive support from our local community and this is another way of us getting our beers out there.
“We’re already speaking to suppliers over the bridge, in Bristol and Birmingham. We’ve also got some exciting export plans, and are looking overseas to Austria and even as far as China.

“We’re also having positive conversations with major supermarkets. Hopefully 2016 will be the year customers can go into their local shop and buy our bottles from the shelves.”

Under experienced Master Brewer, Dave Campbell, the brewery currently has five year-found ales, including its flagship, Gower Gold, and eight seasonal brews.
Now one of the fastest growing breweries in Wales, Gower Brewery has listings with Majestic Wines and CK Supermarkets in Wales. The brewery also has wholesale distribution through Molson Coors (in Wales) and Carlsberg (UK).
For more information about Gower Brewery, go to


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