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Latest news from CeltiConnect and things to come

August 3, 2011

Over the last few months CeltiConnect has been involved with the following projects:

• Welsh North American Business Chamber is working on re-doing their website, and we have been involved with the process.
• Wales to Boston Musician’s Exchange Program brought Sarah Louise Owen, Stuart Beattie and Colin Roberts from North Wales to the Boston area to perform a number of gigs back in May.
• CeltiConnect is currently working with Global Infrastructure Advisors to create a web presence.

Look for the Wales to Boston Musician’s Exchange to bring Welsh learning American musicians to Wales in March 2012.

Help us keep the Welsh in Wales!

April 15, 2011

In one of the most Welsh speaking areas of Wales, the kitchen staff of a hotel has been banned from speaking Welsh in the kitchen, and of all places this is happening in LlanfairPG on the isle of Anglesey. Yes! in that most famous of Welsh place names – the world’s longest name for a town: llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Here is the story as told by the Daily Post
BBC Wales Newyddion

Join us and others in voicing your opinion about this situation! You can visit the website of the Gwesty Carreg Mon Hotel, from their website you can go to the contacts page and leave them a message voicing your displeasure. If you want to call the hotel and make a kind request for them to change their policy, and offer come for a meal if they do change it it might be helpful. The phone number at the Hotel is 01248 714224, and the owner manager’s name is Ruth Hogan.

Ottawa Welsh website looking 21st century now

March 7, 2011

The Ottawa Welsh are now at a new address on the web.

Looking good and now you can sign up for any updates which they post on their site, and follow RSS feeds on the arts in Wales. It has been sometime since their site has been updated, and this gives them a nice 21st century look.

Please visit the site and let them know if you like their new look.

Ottawa Welsh get a makeover

February 17, 2011

The Website for Cymdeithas Cymry Ottawa is getting a makeover. Shorter, easier name; updated look; and a blog, as well as a news feed from Wales and the ability to sign up to the page. It is being redone in a WordPress format, and getting a little personalized artwork in the header.  Here is the old site and here is the new site.

Boston-Wales Musician’s Exchange Program?

October 20, 2010

Sunday, November 7th at 6pm in Salem, MA at The Vault (217 Essex Street) we will be doing a show with Sarah Louise Owen (from Caernarfon, Wales – currently living in Caerdydd), and kicking off plans for exchanging music between Wales and Boston.

The plan is to create a Wales to Boston (and vice versa) exchange program for musicians.  It would work something like this:  A musician from one side of the pond would plan to go to the other.  On the other side of the pond other musicians would help make contacts with venues, or arrange for playing gigs together.  Also people who are willing to put up a musician for a stay in their home would provide a place to stay.

Our goal is make Boston an easy starting point in the U.S. for Welsh musicians to find gigs, and similarly make Wales an easy starting point for Boston musicians to break into the UK.  With a similar population base (around 3 million), strong Celtic leanings in Boston, zealous music fans in both locales, and great places to play in both places it should be an easily workable plan.

Interested in joining the support team for making this happen?  Are you a musician in the Boston area or in Wales looking jump across the Atlantic?  Are you a fan of music looking to broaden the scope of the music in your area, and offer places for musicians to stay?  Shoot us an email at phil.wyman (at) if that describes you.

Click the link below to see the flyer of Sarah’s upcoming show.

Sarah Louise Owen Flyer

Volunteering at Beer Advocate’s Boston American Craft Beer Fest

July 1, 2010

just before the rush

It’s true.  I volunteered again for a beer festival.  This time it was with Beer Advocate, and their American Craft Beer Festival in Boston.

Prior to the event I had a chance to meet Todd Alstrom, one of the two brothers who started Beer Advocate at a pub crawl in Cambridge, MA. I was picking hos brain about good importers in the US.

Now this beer festival, as far as beer festivals go – is outrageous!  It is big, is has some of the best in American Craft Brewers, and everyone has a lot of fun.  I was the direction dude.  People wanted to come into the wrong entrance, and I was the guy who redirected them to correct location.  So, I greeted people, told jokes, and sent crowds walking in the correct direction.  Then I took an occasional break to sample some of the 400 beers from the 8 brewers in the event.

Good event, worth attending to learn a about craft beers, and sample.  This is not an event for people who want to get drunk, because we were on the lookout for your kind, if that was you!  This event is for the people who think of good beer like a gourmet item – with a connoisseur’s palate.

this photo was not intentional, but thumbs up to Pretty Things (Brewery)

Thumbs up to Harpoon the major sponsor, and to the breweries with some of the longest lines:  Pretty Things from Boston, and Duck Rabbit from North Carolina.  Also this is a call out for Stone Brewery – they had a line up of 4 of their Stone IPA’s on cask each dry hopped with a different hop – Awesome.  Unfortunately it disappeared too quick and I only got to try 3 of the 4 cask versions.

Wales leads the world in maggots!?

May 5, 2010

That may sound gross, but it actually is quite good.  ZooBiotic, a Bridgend, Wales based company which specializes in using maggots to clean wounds, and has developed their products around this growing field of medicine has acquired a rival company from Germany, and this now makes them the European leader in the larval therapy wound healing market.

Hmmmm…kinda gross, kinda cool.

For more info go to this story.

NERAX volunteer thank you event

April 13, 2010

NERAX held a thank you event for the volunteers who helped make their recent New England Real Ale Exhibition in Somerville what was probably the the most successful in the 14 seasons of doing these events.  The volunteer session was held at The Independent in Somerville, MA.

NERAX volunteers appreciating Real Ale

There were three casks on hand:  Williams Brothers Fraoich Heather Ale, Williams Brothers Midnight Sun Porter, and Harviestoun’s Bitter and Twisted.

The Bitter and Twisted from Scotland is a nice British Bitter session ale with little “bitter” to it as is the standard for a British Bitter.  It was light, refreshing, and both the aroma and taste were citrusy and grassy.  This is an easy drinker.

The Williams Brothers’ offerings (also Scottish) were nice:  The Midnight Sun Porter was almost pitch black in color with a small head, and low carbonation.  To my liking it did not have a coffee taste or smell (after all, dw i’n casau coffi – Welsh for “I hate coffee”), it was malty, with a hint of molasses and chocolate, and was very smooth.

The Froach Heather Ale is billed as probably the oldest style of ale still produced in the world – now this was a wonderful offering to have as a thank you to the volunteers – a bit like Jesus turning the water to wine, and the governor of the feast recognizing that the best was saved for last – this was a in great cask condition (well for me it was – it was not “bright” enough for the NERAX gang, but poured a bit cloudy and then cleared up to a nice orangey/amber color with a creamier head than the other beers, which left a nice lacing down the glass.  The herbed, fruity flavors jumped out nicely, and the this unique beer which uses heather flowers in the brewing was a favorite of mine on this day.

Was able to spend time with new friends from the NERAX gang, and had a great time.  Nice event NERAX gang – thanks.  Looking forward to NERAX North.

NERAX and Welsh Ales

April 5, 2010

Back in February Phil Wyman from CeltiConnect toured breweries, cider barns, and the lone Welsh Whiskey distillery.  Last week the Welsh Ales and Ciders paid a visit to Phil in return.

NERAX – the New England Real Ale Exhibition, which focuses on cask conditioned ales, and ciders brought 45 British brews on cask to Somerville, MA.  Phil was on hand again.  At the Trade session in the afternoon about 100 people from various New England’s breweries, distributors, importers, and sellers were on hand for a workshop led by Mike Labbe.  Mike happened to be wearing a shirt from the Breconshire Brewery in Brecon, Wales.  Phil had been there last month and met Buster Grant, the Brewer at Breconshire.  Mike spoke on how to run your own cask ale exhibition, and the trade session included a time of cask ale tasting.

During the trade session, Dr. Phil Budden, the Consul-General from the Boston British Consulate arrived to CeltiConnect’s Phil Wyman’s surprise.  After a quick and happy hello at the door, Mark Bowers (president of NERAX) asked the Consul General to say a few words during the session, and Dr. Budden offered his hand in help to support the work of NERAX in whatever way he could.

Cask ale, unlike tap beers, is cask conditioned and served either by gravity or hand pump.  The statement of purpose from CASC (The Cask-Conditioned Ale Support Campaign – the mother organization of NERAX) reads as such “We are dedicated to the sensible enjoyment of top-fermented, traditionally brewed ales that undergo a secondary fermentation in the vessel from which they are served. CASC is a group of like-minded individuals who seek to expand the awareness of producers, distributors, and consumers about the use of traditional ingredients in, and dispensing of, real ales.”

During the tasting session, Phil had a chance to taste all the Welsh Ales which were open for that session, and a few more besides.  Breconshire Brewery had sent four ales, and two of them were available that day:  Red Dragon, and their award winning Rambler’s Ruin.  The Red Dragon was in perfect condition, and was Phil’s personal favorite of all the ales he sampled at the event.

Beside Breconshire Brewery, Otley and the cider brewers Gwynt y Ddraig (The Dragon’s Wind) from Pontypridd also had beers available, as did Great Orme from Conwy, and Purple Moose from Porthmadog.  Not one of these beers (in the case of Gwynt Y Ddraig ciders) was less than superb.  But, unfortunately, not one of these beers is available in the US, whether in a bottle, on tap, or by cask.  This is something, which the brewers, NERAX, and CeltiConnect would like to help remedy.

Great Orme’s “Orme” started off Phil’s tasting session had a full toasted maltiness to it.  Otley’s “Columb-O” was a refreshing session ale, which tasted as though the cider apples might have fallen in the vat.  “Columb-O” and Wye Valley Brewery‘s (a brewery just outside the Welsh borders in Hereford, but with a name like Wye Valley one almost wants to call it Welsh) “HPA” were very similar in this respect, and were favorites of some of the NERAX workers.  Gwynt Y Ddriag was a cider maker Phil visited in February.  On cask the “Happy Daze” cider was excellent, and worth a second trip to the bar when Phil worked as a volunteer for the Friday evening session.  Purple Moose’s “Snowdonia Ale” (another of Phil’s fav’s) had a nice fruity hoppiness and a long dry finish.

Beside these distinctly Welsh Brews, Phil had to taste a few of the suggested favorites:  Salopian Brewery‘s “Oracle” (English), Harviestoun Brewery‘s Bitter and Twisted (Scottish), and Lang Brau‘s “Amber Maerzen” (German).

CeltiConnect would like to give special thanks to gang at NERAX for allowing us to be part of the event.  Mark Bowers (pictured below on the right with Jan Williams), Mark Irwin (volunteer coordinator), and Mike Labbe – thanks for letting us join you.  We will do what we can to help out at NERAX North as well.

Green Initiative and Nuclear Power?

March 30, 2010

Today’s news from the business sector in Wales brings these two large items:

1)  There is a £8.3 million investment initiative which has been unveiled to develop new green technologies in Wales.

2)  Ynys Mon (The Isle of Anglesey) has been tagged as being the location for the next British nuclear power plant.

Some would applaud both announcements, others would find them to be contradictory – not on a carbon footprint basis, but upon a ethical “save the earth” basis.  What do you think?

Weigh in and share your thoughts.  Is this a quicker, more efficient way to diminish carbon output, or is it a quicker, more efficient path toward the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons?

Is it dependable?  Is it safe?  Do you like the combination or fear it?