Bridge End Inn in Ruabon, North Wales is Camra pub of the year

From Camra.

The Bridge End Inn in Ruabon, North Wales, was bought in 2009 by Peter McGivern after it was closed for six months, and is now a thriving local, selling beer from the family’s microbrewery as well as ale from more than 100 local and regional breweries.

Real ale campaign group Camra, which gave the award, said the pub was one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of its annual competition – and the first Welsh winner.

Judges said the inn had everything that makes a great pub – atmosphere, decor, service, value for money, customer mix, a warm welcome, and excellent beer.

Mr McGivern said he decided to take on the pub after retiring as a local teacher, and to give an outlet for a microbrewery run by his son Matthew.

Asked how he coped with switching from the classroom to a bar, he told the Press Association: “It’s terribly similar really. It’s all about interacting with people.

“We are a family business and the pub has been a real labour of love.

“What we strived to do was create a pub not focused on food that we would enjoy visiting, putting the product first and offering a wide range of traditional beer styles. As a result we’ve built up a mixed trade of locals and beer lovers from all over Britain.

“We are delighted with this national award, particularly as we were told when first taking on the pub that there was little demand for real ale in the area.”

The Bridge End Inn beat three other finalists to claim the award – the Engineers Arms in Henlow, Bedfordshire, the Front in Falmouth, Cornwall, and the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire.


British brewing in good health? 5,500 beers now in regular production

According to a press release from Camra.

Almost 100 new breweries have opened across the UK in the past year, with a “staggering” 5,500 beers now in regular production, a new report showed today.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said there were now 840 breweries following a surge in beer production.

Roger Protz, editor of Camra’s Good Beer Guide, said: “The choice and diversity of beer in Britain is staggering and, in reality, if one hardy soul was to attempt the challenge of sampling every beer produced in Britain, including seasonal offerings, you’re going to be looking at an estimated 25-year stretch.

“Such a range is exactly what discerning beer drinkers expect in the current climate, and in spite of economic difficulties and pub closures, Britain’s pioneering brewers are more than rising to the challenge.

“Never will anyone alive today have seen 5,500 regular beers produced on these shores at any one time.”

He added: “Areas such as Yorkshire are recording startling brewery growth, with over six times more brewers in the region than when the first Good Beer Guide was compiled in the 1970s. Not only are there an exploding number of breweries operating in Britain, but also the quality of real ale has never been better.

“Speciality brewers are using the finest raw materials – malt and hops -to make their ales. Britain is a great place to be drinking good beer.”

The Good Beer Guide included a league table of the most prolific brewing counties, topped by Yorkshire, with more than 600 regular beers brewed.

The top 10 is listed as:

County Number of beers in regular production Number of breweries
1.West Yorkshire 276 43
2.Derbyshire 248 33
3.Cumbria 220 29
4.Norfolk 217 29
5.North Yorkshire 216 33
6.Gtr Manchester 210 25
7.Staffordshire 182 19
8.Cheshire 170 26
9.Suffolk 168 21
10.Nottinghamshire 166 22

The Good beer guide 2011 – now you can get it for your Android phone

The 2011 Good beer guide came out yesterday – and its now available for the Android mobile operating system.

The mobile version costs £4.99 from the andriod market

It’s a small download and quite basic and goes to the web to pick up the info (be good if local copy of data was there for speed)

You can find pubs by

  1. Near me – used the GPS option of the phone – works fine
  2. Address – put a town in.
  3. Postcode – if you know one
  4. Tube Station – only useful in London 🙂 but could see it being handy for trips away.

When you click on the pub info you are given the option of reading the review of the pub, list of features and List of standard Beers.

The info is the same as in the book, but be good to maybe to see a picture of the pub – or link to other reviews – yelp/google and the like.

And a map (using google maps but calling it within the app) which crashed the phone 🙁

Its quite an ugly app (and looks like the iphone version) and forced closed a few times on my Wildfire, but it seems to work even when I could not get a full 3G signal.

The down side is that you have to buy it all over again after a year

(iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad/Android versions cost £4.99 for access to the 2011 data then £4.99 for access to future editions data when it is available)

Here its the Camra bumpf about it

Good Beer Guide Mobile makes the ideal companion to the printed Good Beer Guide. Wherever you are, or wherever you are going, get information on local Good Beer Guide pubs and beers sent direct to your mobile phone.

This indispensible service costs just £5 (or £4.99 for the iPhone/ iPad/ iPod Touch version).

Good Beer Guide Mobile allows users to search by postcode, place name or London tube stations – or it can even locate your current position using GPS.

Search results contain full information and descriptions for local pubs and include tasting notes for their regular beers. Interactive maps help you navigate to your destination.

This unique service is compatible with most mobile phones with Internet access and support for Java applications, the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch and now AndroidTM devices.

For a full list of compatible devices please visit


Next time you walk past that old pub call in, it may be gem

Camra have launched a great book about Real Heritage Pubs in Wales.

I went along to one of my favourite Cardiff City pub (after the Goat Major), The Old arcade on monday, thanks to Brains for the lovely half of dark and the snacks on the house 😉

Anyway the book is a great celebration of pubs with interiors of special historic interest that are still with us, it’s mad that Wales has over 4000 pubs but only just over 100 with original features.

The book is A5, so handy for your man bag when you are traveling around Wales looking at these great pubs.

Each entry for the pub contains a great photograph taken by Michael Slaughter, a potted history of the pub with info on the interior and facilities ie does the pub do food, its not a replacement for the Good Pub Guide but a great addition if you are on the lookout for a pictorial guide to the best old boozers in Wales.

A bargain at £6.99

Of course my mate Rob is a one man old pub photo machine with his Travels with Beer be good if he put a book out as well 😉


The great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2010 Cardiff June 10th to June 12th – you going?

After last years festival I hope to fit in some time this week to go, probably from Thursday Lunchtime (half day off work anyone?) and a half on the Saturday as Iam doing the photomarathon with my Son, and hope to get some more purple moose as it was great last year.

Purple moose

Some great Beers on the list from Wales and beyond, more info on the Cardiff Festival here

There are quite a few breweries I have not tried, so not sure which to try with my lack of time, it may be ArfurD and the old glassworks boys recommendations.

If it’s on then I will be having a half of Bullmastiff Welsh Black as its a custom of mine to have one of bob & pauls excellent brews every Welsh festival… so hopefully one of their brews will be available on the thursday.

Brewery Beer
Abbeydale Restoration
Arkwrights Run of the Mill
Arkwrights Trouble at Mill
Art Brew Seasonal
Artisan IPA
Bank Top Barley to Beer
Bath Ales Summer Hare
Black Country Ales Cobbler
Black Country Ales English Summer
Blackwater SKA
Boggart Cascade
Box Steam Old Jocky
Bragdy r Nant Chwaeden Aur
Bragdy r Nant Mwnci Nells
Brains Bitter
Brains Dark
Brains SA Gold
Brains Reverend James
Brains SA
Brains On the Head
Braydon Chippenham Yertis
Breconshire Brecon County Ale
Breconshire Cribyn
Breconshire Golden Valley
Breconshire Good Time George
Breconshire GVX
Breconshire Spirit of The Dragon
Bridestone Pennine Gold
Broughs Bitter
Broughs Pale Ale
Bryncelyn Holly Hop
Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous
Bryncelyn Oh Boy
Bullmastiff Rover’s Return
Bullmastiff SOB (Son Of A Bitch)
Bullmastiff Special Reserve
Bullmastiff Welsh Black
Cannon Royal IPA
Cannon Royal Dark Edge
Cannon Royal Mortar
Celt Experience Bleddyn 1075
Celt Experience Bronze new recipe
Celt Experience Golden
Celt Experience Proud of Pubs
Celt Experience Summerberry
Celt Experience Beer Rocks Spring Crazy
Celt Llantrisant Wheatsheaf Golden Hoppy Special
Concrete Cow Cock & Bull
Conwy Honey Fayre SP
Conwy Rampart BB
Conwy Telford Porter
Conwy Beachcomber
Corvedale Farmer Ray
Cumbrian Legendary Dickie Doodle
Derventio Cleopatra
Elgoods F’Elgood Fresh
Elland Earthbound
Enville LPA (Light Pale Ale)
Evan Evans Archers Empire
Evan Evans Archers Golden
Evan Evans Cwrw
Evan Evans Golden Hop
Evan Evans Warrior
Facers Daves Hoppy Beer
Facers Flintshire
Felinfoel Double Dragon
Felinfoel Seasonal
Forge Lite House
Freeminer Slaughter Porter
Fuzzy Duck Cunning Stunt
Gertie Sweet Wrexham “1047
Gertie Sweet Wrexham Gertie Sweet
Golden Valley “4
Golden Valley Brewers Choice
Great Orme Great Welsh
Great Orme Celtica
Great Orme Welsh Black Mild
Gwaun Valley Fishguard Bitta (2 9)
Gwaun Valley Fishguard Bitta (2 9)
Gwaun Valley Fishguard Light (2 9)
Gwaun Valley Fishguard Light (2 9)
Heart of Wales D’Rovers Return
Heart of Wales High As A Kite
Heart of Wales Horseplay
Heart of Wales Welsh Black
Hobsons Best
Hobsons Mild
Hogswood (St Agnes) Old Goshen
Hogswood (St Agnes) Stoked
Hunters Phesant Plucker
Jacobi Dark
Jacobi Light
John Roberts “1642”
John Roberts XXX
Jolly Brewer Taffy’s Tipple
Jolly Brewer Taig’s Garden
Joseph Herbert Smithy (Fox, Hanley Broadheath) Snooty Fox
Kingstone Abbey Ale
Kingstone Gold
KInver Light Railway
Kinver Maybug
Kinver Nightjar
Liverpool One Liverpool Dark
Liverpool One Liverpool Dark
Loch Leven (Kelty Scotland) Once Bitten
Ludlow The Boiling Well
Mallinsons Castle Hill Premium
Mallinsons Castle Hill Premium
Marble Ginger
Mavern Hills Black Pear
Montys Midnight
Montys Sunshine
Moorhouses Black Cat
Morton Forever Darkness
Naylors Cravenbrau
Neath Ales Black
Neath Ales Firebrick
North Cotswold Vanilla Bumble Beer
North Cotswold Summer Solstice
North Curry Gold
North Wales Moelfre IPA
North Wales Abergele
Oakham Inferno
Oakham Inferno
Offas Dyke Grim Reaper
Offas Dyke Thirst Brew
Otley “01
Otley “02”
Otley “05”
Otley “F”
Otley O Garden
Otley OG
Otley tba Dark O
Penlon Cottage Cardi
Penlon Cottage Tipsy Tup
Penpont Launceston Roughtor Extra
Penzance Potion No 9
Plassey Cwrw Tudno
Plassey Dragons Breath
Prescott Hill Climb
Preseli Tenby Old Mariners
Preseli Tenby Baggy Wrinkle
Purple Moose Glaslyn
Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose
Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale
RCH Old Slug Porter
RCH Pitchfork
Rhymney Amber
Rhymney Dark
Rhymney Export
Rhymney Hobby Horse
Rotters Utter Rotter
Rowton Meteorite
Rowton Bitter
Rowton Golden Mild
Rowton Golden Mild
Salamander Golden Mouth
Salopian Soul
Sandstone Postmistress BB
Sandstone Poachers Pale
Sandstone Sandstone Edge
Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild
Sarah Hughes Pale Amber
Six Bells Bursting Out
Spinning Dog Herefordshire Light Ale
Spinning Dog Mutley’s Revenge
Stonehenge Eye Opener
Stonehenge Danish Dynamite
Swansea Deep Slade Dark
Swansea Three Cliffs Gold
Teme Valley Talbot Blonde
Teme Valley That
Tempest IPA
Tempest Porter
Thornbridge Jaipur
Thornbridge Jaipur
Toll End Ocker
Tomos Watkin Cwrw Haf
Tryst Black Jack IPA
Tudor Blorange
Tudor Skirrid
Tudor Sugar Loaf
Uley Old Ric
Uley Pigs Ear
VOG Chapter Old School
VOG Light Headed
VOG Summerdaze
Waen Landmark > now maybe blackberry Stout
Warcop Black Bowler
Warcop Cobblers
Wessex Isle of Avalon Lumberjack
Wharfebank Cam Fell Flame
White Hart Carmarthen Cwrw Blasus
White Hart Carmarthen Roast Barley Stout
Wickwar Station Porter
Wickwar Station Porter
Wickwar Station Porter
Wickwar Cotswold Way
Windsor & Eton Guardsman
Windsor Castle Brickmakers
Wye Valley Butty Bach
Wye Valley DG Country Ale
Wye Valley HPA
Wye Valley Trekkers
Zero Degrees Black Lager
Zero Degrees Mango
Zero Degrees Pale Ale
Zero Degrees Pilsner

Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival Great Beer List

The honorable Brewblogger has posted the list of beers that will available at this years Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival 2009 at the CIA in Cardiff, Thursday 11th June 11-11, Friday 12th & Saturday 13th June 11-11


Some great Welsh classics in fact, he mentions 78 Welsh Beers from 29 different Welsh Breweries

I am looking forward (as I will be going) to these ales.

Conwy Mulberry Mild, 3.80%ABV, Mild
Otley New Brew to be confirmed (will it be hoppy?)
Rhymney Lager, 5% ABV, Speciality Ale
Bullmastiff Welsh Black, 4.60% ABV, Speciality Ale (I love it )

But hopefully Arfur can give some pointers to some of the stars of the festivALE.

of course the English craft Beers are worth a walk to the other side of the bar as is the Cider..

and those half pints help as I can’t drink as much as I would/could on a multiple session.

You can learn more about this great use for the CIA’s terrible acoustics here.