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A thread devoted to Real Ales in Wales

big eejit

She looks like Alan Gilzean
am vegi so not the best person to advise on sunday lunch locations!
Had lunch in the Lansdowne. Was good but could've done with fewer annoying kids. Community pubs eh!

Went to the Urban Taphouse in the evening. What a great pub. Lovely pints of Goldie Looking Ale and best onion rings ever.

If Urban Taphouse was in Bristol it would be full of absolute wankers but just mix of normal non wankers. Great place.
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
Have spent the weekend in Derby, similarish in size to Swansea but unrecogniseable from it in terms of vast and superb beer choice.

It was the National Winter Ales Festival, excellent, but we had an almost better time all day Saturday and on Sunday afternoon too. we managed 18 different pubs over those two days, but it wasn't about the quantity but the quality -- strictly only a half per pub policy in almost all of them, and a fair bit of walking involved too, so oddly underpissed. Several micro breweries based in pubs, and loads of other places (Spoons included) featuring multiple choices from other independent and small local and other breweries. What looked like the best pub for gigs in Derby, the Flowerpot, is also highly ale friendly. Not a bad or even indifferent half in more than about 1 (and only for one of us) of this cornucopia of destination ale pubs, all beers in cracking condition.

Frustrating as hell to return to Swansea after that. Try finding more than about four ale friendly and ale-choice friendly places within walking distance of the centre and you'd have to give up, and the outskirts (Mumbles aside) are mostly even worse :mad: :(

The vast majority of people here seem to have been drowned in and the brains washed by shit corporate lager :mad:, not even genuine lager either, mostly.

Yet despite that depressing reality (or apparant reality), I still optimistically cling to the hope that if another genuinely independent and genuinely ale choice friendly place in Swansea opened, even half way comparable to the New Zealand or Brunswick in Derby for instance, they'd do a very brisk trade. There's a fair bit of frustrated demand here, as our Beer Festival getting crammed to the rafters and drained of almost all beer every year proves.

One of the main guys at the Gower Brewery has told festivaldeb that they've bought the Ship in Port Eynon (way out on the Gower) BUT also that they really are on the look out for a suitable property in Swansea. Bring it on, can't happen soon enough.

And watch this space for another possible development we've recently become aware of.

Please quell the frustration and pissedoffness of us ale lovers, anyone with a bit of investment money (Swansea properties, including run down crap pubs, can be cheap!) and commitment to good ale!

Gaaarrrrgggghhhh! :mad: <shakes post-Derby fist at sky! :( >

[ETA links and tweaks]
 
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William of Walworth

Festographer
Finally managing to get to the Andrew Buchan in Cardiff today, criminally long overdue :oops: (following the anti-racism demo).

We'll try and make it to Gravity Station as well :)
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
Punch Taverns in major trouble non-shocker -- lots of pubs in Wales at risk of closure according to this article

You can only hope that some of the better ones can be bought out, and end up getting run independently and free from both tie and free from the exortionate hand of PubCos of this kind.

ETA though : some of the vultures described in that article tell against much likelihood of a positive outcome ... :(
 
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William of Walworth

Festographer
Somewhat belatedly, details of the Great Welsh Beer Festival 2014 have just been announced.
And their Facebook page.

At the Millennium Stadium!! -- ambitious no? :D

It's Thurs 5th to Sat 7th June, and annoyingly I'm entirely out of Wales for all those days ... but some at least of our Swansea CAMRA lot will be getting there ...

Those that aren't put off by the STEEP! entrance charge :eek: :hmm:

Or by the almost exclusively Welsh beers/breweries list ... please don't get me wrong, some of those breweries are truly excellent, but we do things a bit differently at our fest in Swansea -- we showcase and welcome lots of the better Welsh beers BUT plenty of interesting hard-to-find-in-Wales imports too, a mix which we find beer lovers do appreciate.

Still different festivals, different strokes. Either approach will work no doubt.
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
Somewhat belatedly, details of the Great Welsh Beer Festival 2014 have just been announced.
And their Facebook page.

At the Millennium Stadium!! -- ambitious no? :D

It's Thurs 5th to Sat 7th June, and annoyingly I'm entirely out of Wales for all those days ... but some at least of our Swansea CAMRA lot will be getting there ...

Those that aren't put off by the STEEP! entrance charge :eek: :hmm:

Or by the almost exclusively Welsh beers/breweries list ... please don't get me wrong, some of those breweries are truly excellent, but we do things a bit differently at our fest in Swansea -- we showcase and welcome lots of the better Welsh beers BUT plenty of interesting hard-to-find-in-Wales imports too, a mix which we find beer lovers do appreciate.

Still different festivals, different strokes. Either approach will work no doubt.
A few of Swansea CAMRA went, they all had reservations about it. Will try and find out more ...
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
Briefly the main drawbacks to the GWBF that my friends observed last week :

1. Plastic glasses
2. Overbearing security
3. Expensive
4. There were £5 tokens which you had to spend all of, no refunds even if you'd spent only less than half of it, apparantly (?) the bar prices didn't divide well into the token price either.
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
We know a few of the Cardiff CAMRA lot too, and some of them were unhappy on several levels when we chatted with them shortly ahead of the fest.

They couldn't hold it in the CIA/Motorpoint Arena anymore, it had become ridiculously expensive to hire apparantly. But watch this space in the coming year about whether or not they go back to the Millennium Stadium -- I have strong suspicions from everything I've heard, that they won't.

Where's the alternative in Cardiff for such a big event though? :confused:
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
Fair few people have been saying that City Hall would be great -- has been held there on the past. But it seems that capacity is an issue there. Big queues waiting to get in etc. (apparantly)
 

ddraig

dros ben llestri
hmm
the main room is big enough i reckon,
not as big as cia but does it really need to be that big?
and there is a west entrance as well as the main one

otherwise the mercure holland has an impressive large room on ground floor with own entrance but prob a bit too far out of town
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
hmm
the main room is big enough i reckon,
not as big as cia but does it really need to be that big?
and there is a west entrance as well as the main one

otherwise the mercure holland has an impressive large room on ground floor with own entrance but prob a bit too far out of town

Good thinking but we're getting word, I think, that they'll be sticking to the Millennium again next year :(
(TBC, anyway).
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
:D

Well there'll be plenty of sampling at Swansea in August! Watch this space .... :)

Time for a plug!

The Swansea Bay Beer and Cider Festival opens at 5 pm next Thursday (21st August), lasting until 11 pm, Saturday 23rd.

Second biggest beer fest in Wales, and for breadth of choice a definite rival to Cardiff's IMO (yes I'm biased :D but see posts above).

See the links on the page linked to above for beer list and cider list. Some pretty good music as well (festivaldeb and her CAMRA friend Diane booked the bands)

All very welcome to visit! :) :cool:
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
We were so busy over the relevant weekend that I couldn't get online to post about it. It was the most successful Swansea Beer festival ever in terms of numbers and beer/cider sales, and (I'd also suggest), in terms of vibe and atmosphere too.

festivaldeb had her purse stolen from the building ahead of the festival opening ( :mad: :( ) but that was by far the worst negative -- and exceptional too. We'll be chatting with the Brangwyn's staff to overhaul security arrangements (for volunteers particularly), ahead of the next one.

When i say exceptional, I mean that there was essentially ZERO trouble during the festival itself.
 

William of Walworth

Festographer
Posted back this back in February ...

One of the main guys at the Gower Brewery has told festivaldeb that they've bought the Ship in Port Eynon (way out on the Gower) BUT also that they really are on the look out for a suitable property in Swansea. Bring it on, can't happen soon enough.
.. and I have a little update now :

I spoke to one of Gower bosses myself the Saturday just gone. As well as one or two other Gower pubs, we went to the Ship, which has been refurbished in great fashion. Excellent new showcase for their truly great beers. And bossman was there at the same time as we were ....

It seems that the Gower Brewery have expansion plans in the pipeline, they've been doing pretty well. Definitely on the cards is to open, before too long, a new plant with more capacity, near Penclawdd. Possibly (even probably?) on the cards too, is to open a new pub in Swansea itself.

That's very much yet to be confirmed, and it won't happen before next year if it does, but blimey! Centrral Swansea doesn't half need a new place focussing on GOOD local beer, so if this suggested idea comes about, I'll be overjoyed ... :eek:
 
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