Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sussex Cheese & Ale Tasting


Sussex Cheese & Ale Tasting - Saturday 26th April, 7pm, Langham Brewery, Langham Lane, Lodsworth, West Sussex, GU28 9BU. 

Sussex has a rich heritage of both cheese making and artisan brewing and this evening will combine the two in a unique cheese and ale tasting. Carefully selected cheeses from around Sussex will be paired with complementing ales from Langham’s own brewery and will be accompanied with bread, chutney and fruit. This wonderful evening will be lead by Louisa Mason of Flavour Tastings and David Muggleton (The Quaffer) from the Sussex Drinker who will expertly guide you through six amazing cheeses ranging from soft Ash goats’ cheese, to tangy Brighton Blue and pair them with wonderful Langham ales including Flor-ale and  Best Bitter. A truly unique evening not to be missed!

Entrance by advanced tickets online. Buy online at:

Friday, 28 March 2014

Beer lovers appeal for help in researching Crawley's boozy past


On Wednesday 5th March, I gave an informal talk, on old Crawley breweries, in the town's Wetherspoon outlet, the Jubilee Oak. The talk was in conjunction with a 'Meet the Brewer' evening at the pub with Gary Lucas of Kissingate Brewery, Lower Beeding, showcasing a number of his excellent ales.

Local newspaper reporter Luke Warren picked up on the feedback from the event and penned this very helpful piece for Crawley News.

As Luke says, if anyone has any information on the Victorian breweries of Crawley, please let me know on

A link to the website version of Luke's article is

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

V.A.T. ... Venues Against Taxation!

In the last four years beer duty has risen by a gruelling 42%. The publicans of South Street, Eastbourne are joining together to demonstrate to their customers what an enormous difference this relentless increase makes to the cost of a pint. They are offering pints of real ale at the duty free price, for an entire day on Tuesday 18th March 2014, the day before the annual budget.

Rachel Ainsley, landlady at the Dolphin explains that “although the scrapping of the Beer Duty Escalator and One Pence Reduction in the 2013 budget was greatly received and helped boost confidence and employment in the hospitality industry, it cannot stop there. We are calling for the government to freeze beer duty in the upcoming budget; it is essential for the future of our industry.”

After years of duty increases the UK pays the second largest amount of beer duty in Europe: a startling third of the cost of a pint of beer goes on duty. In 2012 beer drinkers in the UK paid 43% of all EU beer duty, yet we are still seeing record numbers of pub closures each week. British beer sales currently support almost one million jobs and contribute more than £22 billion a year in taxes. The five pubs involved, Bibendum, the Dolphin, Dew Drop Inn, Maxims, and the Eagle, between them employ sixty-five people and contribute to the local economy, as well as support local commerce and charities. A freeze in beer duty this year would secure an additional 2,400 jobs in the industry nationally.

The great British pub is at the heart of a community; they bring people together, provide a safe environment for supervised drinking and play a unique role in our social lives and national identity. The Publicans of South Street, Eastbourne, believe that keeping down the cost of beer and making it affordable is the best way for the Government to support our pubs.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

CAMRA Spring Equinox Festival: Horsham Drill Hall, 22nd-23rd March

Tickets for the first CAMRA North Sussex Equinox Beer & Cider Festival are selling well. The proven excellent beer festival venue is the Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham, RH12 1JF, which is in the town centre about a twenty minute walk from the station. Tickets are available from Beer Essentials, the Malt Shovel and Kings Brewhouse, all in Horsham. Postal applications (cheques payable to CAMRA North Sussex) to The Treasurer, 19 Felbridge Avenue, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 7BD.

The beer list is almost finalised, with over fifty to choose from. All six of our excellent branch brewers will be featured, plus other local favourites, a number of the new breweries that have opened in the few months, and some gems from further afield. A healthy mix of winter and spring ales will be available, as you would expect on the weekend of the Spring Equinox. There will also be a great selection of local cider and perry. The more tickets we sell, the more beers we will be ordering, so if you have not bought your tickets yet, help us to get the beer order to over sixty.

Sessions are Saturday 12noon-4pm and 6-10pm, then Sunday 12noon-4pm. Tickets are £6 for the Saturday sessions, £5 for Sunday, and include a souvenir glass, plus a free pint for card-carrying CAMRA members. Hot and cold baguettes and snacks will be available at all sessions. A number of musicians are lined up to provide entertainment for the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon sessions. A £1 donation will be made by the branch to a local charity for any returned souvenir glasses, along with the value of any donated surplus tokens.

For more info, including a beer list visit

Monday, 3 February 2014

Meet The Quaffer at Kissingate Brewery

I'm doing a talk on Crawley's 19th century brewing heritage at the Kissingate Brewery, Lower Beeding, on Saturday 15th March from 6pm.

It's a ticketed event with an opportunity to try Gary's superb beers direct from the cask at 1990s prices, a complimentary drink on arrival and a hot and cold buffet.

If you've never heard of Henry Holder, George Chantler and the Ockendens, come along and discover Crawley's little known brewing past.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Meet The Quaffer and Kissingate Brewery at the Jubilee Oak, Crawley

Meet the Brewer, Gary Lucas of Kissingate, and brewery historian David Muggleton (The Quaffer). Join us for an evening of great beer, banter, nibbles and a fascinating insight into the history of at least four 19th century breweries in Crawley. Quiz & prizes too! Wednesday 5th March from 8pm at the Jubilee Oak (JDW), 6 Grand Parade, Crawley, RH10 1BU, 01293 565335

Monday, 20 January 2014

'F' day for Firebird

'F' day for Firebird Brewing Company was 27th July 2013, when Bill King and Richard Peters started their first brew of their new venture at the Brickworks Brewery in Rudgwick, West Sussex. Originally friends from the Birmingham University School of Malting and Brewing, Bill and Richard met up again years later and the idea of Firebird soon rose from the ashes over a pint in a local pub. The name is in a nod to the continual regeneration of Bill King’s brewing heritage in the King & Barnes and, then, W.J. King breweries. Richard was originally a brewer with Courage. The new ten barrel brewery was constructed from a range of plant purchased, refurbished and assembled by Bill and Richard.

Firebird celebrates the traditions of the world’s great brewing centres. The 2013 launch beers were Heritage XX Best Bitter (4.0%), Paleface American Pale Ale (5.2%), Old Ale XXXX (4.5%) and Bohemia Pilsner Lager (4.8%). The New Year will see Richard and Bill brewing a pale beer using New Zealand single hop variety Pacific Gem, as well as a Weissbier, complete with the yeasty, zesty tones so typical of this Munich speciality. They'll follow this with plans to produce many seasonal ales and world classics including Porter, Alt Bier and Belgian Pale Ale.

Bill and Richard are already investing in new capacity with two new fermenters scheduled for delivery in January. The beers have been on sale locally at Rudgwick Social Club; The Mucky Duck, Tismans Common; The Sir Roger Tichbourne, Alford Bars; and The Chequers, Rowhook. They will also be available at the North Sussex CAMRA Spring Equinox Beer Festival, Horsham, 22nd-23rd March and, hopefully, at the Sussex CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival, Hove, 6th-8th March.

Firebird Brewing Company Ltd, Old Rudgwick Brickworks, Lynwick Street, Rudgwick, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 3DH, 01403 823180.