Thursday, 26 April 2012

Brains aiming to open at controversial Tenby development

Welsh brewers Brains are getting involved at the controversial Tenby development on the South Beach.

Down at the start of the beach was a run down cafe and it certainly could have done with modernising.
The land was sold and are to be "19 luxury apartments - with stunning sea-views". This shows the building August last year.

When you see it in the context below I can see why locally there was a fair amount of opposition to the development. Why people feel the need to build flats there and ruin such a beautiful landscape I'll never know. They have also had to dig into the cliff side to squeeze in all the buildings.

 The local news and events website Virtual Tenby has fairly strong opinions on the matter here.
This is how its progressing last month
Anyway, this is a beer blog you say, what about it?
Well there is to be a bar and restaurant at the site, and posters up showed Brains were seeking the appropriate licensing permissions, and they now have begun advertising for staff.

It'll be interesting to see how this does in the position it is, a very seasonal business surely? And if you end up with drunks, trouble and more litter on the beach, they could be in for a lot of bad press blaming Brains whether they're responsible or not. We'll have to watch this (ugly) space.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Kings Table Real Ale

My wife went to Hampton Court last weekend with some friends and brought me back a present, not quite the Knight in armour my son got but I was happy with a beer.

Its brewed for Hampton Court by Ballards Brewery. I'm not sure where they are based as their website says they brew in the 'heart of Sussex'  yet the address there says Nyewood in Hampshire?

Anyway look at the lovely label, great artwork. This is a bitter, 4.2% abv, bottle conditioned.
Interestingly alongside the usual pouring to avoid sediment advice it advises you to 'not refrigerate for longer than 30 minutes as a chill haze may result'.
Whilst I've read about beer's and hazes, I dont think I've seen that on a bottle before now.

Back to the beer, its a golden yellow, and an excellent example of how bottle conditioning can be done right.
Very little aroma, a little sweet citrus if anything. Good body, plenty of bitterness, clean and dry in the mouth, and extremely drinkable.

 Its nothing that will stand out but its not disappointing either. I wouldn't say you should seek it out but for any ticker you'll get a good session bitter alongside that tick.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Berliner Kindl Weisse

Like the last beer, this has been sitting in the shed for a good few months, in fact I think I bought it at the same time that Ghost Drinker posted his review of it, as I wondered how much more he paid in the Leeds North Bar than the £1.50 (edit - see comments below) I did at the Cardiff beer shop.

Since then I'd completely forgotten about what kind of beer it was, and dragged it out this weekend.
I'm trying to cut down on beer expenditure this month to have more for my Cornwall holiday beer purchases, so I'm going through my beer stash instead of buying new currently.

Opened up, pale straw yellow with an immediate frothy head, but it was short lasting and soon reduced to nothing much at all.

As I got the first aroma of green apples and lemony sharpness I started to wonder what this was? A first mouthful was like a static shock, made me sit upright, what was that!! As I commented to some popular deity about its sourness my wife enquired whether it was possibly off?
I was taking in such sharp crispness, lime cordial sprang to mind in flavour. Upon visiting Ghostie's page again I realised it was indeed supposed to be like this, although I did not have any syrup flavouring that is traditionally added to the beer.

At first I seriously thought I was not going to be able to finish the 3% and 330ml bottle but it actually became quite drinkable once you get over the initial shock. It had as it warmed almost a light mead/honey aroma and quality to it which certainly helped it go down! Very well conditioned in the bottle also.

Interesting to put it mildly!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Anchor Brewing Co. Brekle's Brown

This bottle has been sitting in my shed since the new year.
Its a piece of Anchor brewing history apparently, inspired by the all malt browns ales from their history.

Its also in a typical Anchor shaped bottle of 650mls, its 6% abv and I paid £4.99.

Deep brown in colour, a creamy head that's pretty big to begin with but it settles to a nice finger height.

Rich and sweet aroma, brown sugar, and that's how its tastes also. The malts give caramel and toffee, with a sort of luxurious smooth quality and depth, reminding you of the best Belgian beers.
The citra hops give it a nice moderate bitterness, on the medium body with good carbonation, this is a great beer well worth picking up if you see it.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Pubs in Tenby, Pembrokshire

Tenby in Pembrokshire, South West Wales, is a beautiful place and well worth visiting for a weekend break, preferably longer to fully appreciate it. If you get bored of the amazing scenery and beaches there is plenty to do in the surrounding area what ever your preferences. It truly is a 'picture postcard' place to look at.

I present the evidence in these photos, my wife has had family here for many years, and first took me down ten years ago. We still visit several times a year, the kids love it.

Anyway, enough of the tourist hard sell, the town has plenty of pubs to refresh those sun soaked bodies if ice creams fail to do so.
The first few years we came we visited most of them in the town, in recent years because our kids were young we haven't been to that many but I tried to make up for that last week during our Easter holiday.
When the tide is out thats pretty much all beach too.

The first couple of evenings were spent drinking in, with poor choice from both Londis and Sainsbury's. Unfortunately the latter has got a small store in Tenby with an even smaller beer range, you certainly wont get your Punk fix here. Londis used to have quite a few bottles from local and interesting breweries, I had my first St. Austell Clouded Yellow from there, but the choice is not as good these days.

The first pub I visited was the free house '5 Arches Tavern'. A pub with dark corners, stone columns and nooks abound, it had 2 pumps with Brains Bitter and Theakstons Black Bull which I chose. It was creamy, almost nitro 'smooth' apart from the temperature, an okay start.

Practically built into the old city stone walls is 'The Bush Inn' a thin and narrow pub, appeared to be many more locals than tourists drinking in there. Welsh brewery Felinfoel seem to have the only ale on there amongst the many keg taps. 

So I headed onto Upper Frog Street, past the Tenby Rugby Club which does serve non-members, and found the 'Normandie'.
It has the appearance more of a bar/restaurant, entry that day was difficult due to the two staff smoking and blocking the door, peering through the window I couldn't see any hand pumps. Next time I'll venture in but that day I had plenty of others to choose from.
Like the The Coach and Horses, Tenby's oldest pub, Dylan Thomas once got pissed there, it advertises itself as the towns 'finest gastropub' esp. Thai food apparently. Their Hancocks was off, so in one of the two small front rooms I had a pint of Doom Bar, unfortunately not in the best condition malty but no hop profile.

I turn onto the high street with a view over the harbour and north beach, see above,  further and I pass on the left the now closed 'Sun Inn' but on the right is a Marstons called 'The Lamb'. I've been in here a few times before, mixed crowd, quite empty today, no single hop series on which was a shame, but Hobgoblin, Banks bitter and Jennings Laughing Gravy which was at 4% a really good bitter, copper coloured, sharp fruit good bitterness. The pub's 70-80's punk soundtrack was pretty cool too.

The Lamb
Later we went for a family meal at The Buccanner , I started with a pint of Felinfoel Double Dragon smooth and malty, a little spicy, its not an outstanding bitter but hits the spot. As I then received an insane pile of Pembrokshire ribs (reminded me a bit of TV's Man vs Food, but on this occasion man wins!) I followed them some how with a pint of Doom Bar, better condition this time, seemed lighter, noticable hops balanced its malt, good pint. A busy pub, serving standard but pretty good food, the only thing I didn't like was they ice chill their glasses, fine for those drinking cider or lager but not mine please! Seriously, some guy had ice crystals on the rim of his Strongbow!

The following day, I went into the Lifeboat Tavern. They have two handpumps, currently  serving Doom Bar and one other which was off so I couldn't tell what it was. Again I previously have drunk in the Lifeboat, good nights, lively younger crowd, with its bar shaped like bow of a boat, and plenty of tenby rich seaside history on display.
 As I'd already had Doom Bar that week I moved down the square passed the Buccanner and down the road towards the harbour and into the Hope and Anchor on the left.

Hope and Anchor, Tenby's best pub?

After being limited to 2-3 taps in the pubs so far this was much better. 3 permanent pumps with Brains Rev James, Doom Bar, and Felinfoel Double Dragon again. But also they have 6-7 guests on, this week it was Wharfebank brewery's 'Tether Blonde, Fullers Chiswick, Kite brewery's Thunderbird, Robinson's Enigma and another I forget.

I started with the Enigma, an amber ale, nice and light, lightly malted, dry and smooth, very pleasant. Looking at the numerous CAMRA 'we're in' good beer guide I order a Fullers Chiswick something I've only had in bottle form before. Fruity, biscuit malty, nice dry bitter finish.
The pub has a pretty standard menu for food except for fish where it has an extensive range for the freshly caught seafood of Tenby.
It apparently is a free house but they seem to be advertising its range of forthcoming guest ales from a Molson Coors flyer which includes Worthington White Shield and others from their 'Shield' range.

I finished with the newish Welsh Kite Brewery. Later when looking them up I realise we pass them on the way down here to Tenby, a detour next time perhaps! Their Thunderbird was excellent, a 4.5% bitter, nice hops, balanced with malts well, fruity and good bitterness.

Back out onto the road, back through the town you pass the Tenby House 'Griffin Bar', its popular at night with a younger larger crowds, its a more spacious pub, selling Hobgoblin, St. Austell Tribute.
I'm sure I'll see plenty of this on holiday in Cornwall next month so I pass this time and proceed back through the town towards the South beach and tucked down Lower Frog Street I go into the 'Crown Inn'.

This is a Brains pub, we've been there several times over the years, always good atmosphere, its basically a large terrace house on a side street.
They have 5 pumps with Abbott Ale, Brains SA and their IPA, Caledonian Raspberry Fool, and Smiles brewery Blonde.
I was tempted by the £2.10 pint offer for the IPA, muted in its hoppiness I thought, light in everything. Started to wish I'd tried the Caledonian or Smiles. The pub however are advertising that soon they will also be serving direct from the cask ciders and ales.

So thats my first round up of the pubs in Tenby, next trip (June) I'll try to visit the ones I passed by this time, and I know there are a couple more I've not mentioned.
A great holiday destination, and for the ale drinker the Hope and Anchor is your best bet.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Arcobrau Weissbier Hell

Just as I comment on one of the Ormskirk Barons review's about the lack of decent German beers in Aldi over the last couple of years, I spy bottles of Arcobrau Weissbier Hell on their shelves, £1.49 for 500mls, 5.3% abv.

I buy one and open it.
A big head as you see, cloudy yellow, great aroma of banana, yeasty and a little pepper?
Very smooth, dry, not as much banana as the nose suggests, the classic bubblegum is there, some sharpness of lemon, wheat and just yummy overall.
That was yesterday, and today, because I went back and bought more.

Because right now I needed something soothing and alcoholic, when you've been vomited on by a patient (I'm a nurse) at work, this is how you unwind and deal with it. When you go to change and find the shower room so full of xmas decorations and broken chairs that you cannot access a shower this is what you do. So sorry, not the end of the review you were probably expecting, but sometimes life's shit and this is how I deal with it.

In summary, this beer is good, buy it, and Aldi sell more like this. Cheers.

Oh and happy 200th post to me!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Newmans Last Lion of Britain

Another from the Caerphilly based brewery Newmans, which I've reviewed here before and mused upon here also.

Its a 330ml bottle, and I suppose comes into the ESB category as its 5%, nice label too.

You can see the carbonation in the photo, and the red brown colouring.
It had an aroma of sweetness, sugar sweetness but also a malty caramel sweetness. Is that right? perhaps not, but sweet full stop.
Sweet but dry, medium body, the alcohol comes through, caramel again in buckets, and a spicy bitterness resides.

Fairly standard ESB, nothing exciting though.