Friday, 22 May 2009

My Welsh Blogosphere - Arfur Daley

Thanks to Dave for letting me write my little piece for this website. It does feel a bit odd not writing for my own blog, but I'll give it a go.

The Brew Wales blog is about two and a half years old and has completely changed from what was originally intended to be. But then again that is the beauty of the blogosphere – the blog can adapt and change in a fluidic manner to changes in the author's life. Brew Wales was originally going to be about the day to day running of a brewery, however a back injury put paid to that and so I adapted it to news and reviews about pubs, beers and ciders. Looking back at when I set it up, I did not even give a great deal of consideration to the name and just played about with some words until I found something that worked and someone else had not used. However the name has now come to be recognised as a place to read about real ales, ciders and festivals for Wales. I should really have got into blogging earlier as on one occasion, having lent some photographs I had taken to another blogger, I was mistaken for that author and received threats. It's not much fun being mistaken for Fido the Dog from the Lone Voice!

As a former South & Mid-Wales Regional Director of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, I do have an in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of brewing and pubs in Wales. I also used to run a Cardiff City-centre pub some time ago at which I was a pioneer for the liberalisation of the licensing laws. Brew Wales has come in for some criticism in that it is too CAMRA friendly and I make no secret about the fact that I am a life member of that organisation. However, Brew Wales is more about my personal beliefs, for instance, I have no qualms about taking on the so-called fake charities such as Alcohol Concern or writing about a non-real ale or pasteurized product that I like.

One of the first articles on Brew Wales was the history of one of Newport's finest pubs, Ye Olde Murenger House. This was going to be a regular 'Pub of the Week' feature but I could not find the time to research other in depth articles. The blog post was merely an extended article that I had written some years previously for the local CAMRA magazine, Beer Necessities. Albeit with added photographs of the Tudor ceiling of the pub. Nowadays the blog content can be anything from a nice pint in the pub to criticising MPs or pub companies. I do have a 'to do' list to write about but given the nature of the blogosphere, ie, able to adapt and use breaking news in ways the MSM cannot, I often find that I'm spending my time adapting a breaking story rather than reuse an old dead tree press article from years back. The irony is when I do write about an old 19th Century brewery in the valleys more people visit the Brew Wales site and even leave comments. For some reason, visitors to the Brew Wales blog, unlike the political blog, very rarely leave comments, though I had to activate comment moderation after a spamming episode.

And the future? Well my live blogging of the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival went down well last year so may well repeat that in June. Oh and I have a cider festival at the Clytha Arms, then there's the CAMRA Pubs of the Year, Champion Beer of Wales/Britain and I may even get time to stop off in a pub and write about that. Let's just hope the Vulcan is still there when Welsh Bloggers in the Pub meet up there. It won't be the same with a few tinnies on a building site!

(Written by Arfur Daley, Welsh blogger, owner and author of the Brew Wales blog)

This is the twelfth in a series of posts giving a chance for Welsh bloggers to have their say on the state of the blogosphere and where it's going. If you're interested in contributing place feel free to contact me at

3 Responses to “My Welsh Blogosphere - Arfur Daley”

Good post.

Can you recommend me a cider? Nothing too sweet, say around Strongbow in terms of sweet/dry trade off. Preferably welsh too...

The Murrenger is one of my favourite hang outs...

Brewblogger said...

Depends if you want bottled or draught cider. Gwynt Y Ddraig do a range of ciders available in most supermarkets in Wales. Or come along to the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival in June to try a few.

"Or come along to the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival in June to try a few."

I think that would be a red rag to a bull dressed as a valleys commando for me!

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