Thursday, 28 November 2013

Royal Mash at Harveys

Her Majesty the Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited Harveys Brewery in Lewes when they came to Sussex on 31st October. The Royal party toured the brewery with Head Brewer & Joint Managing Director Miles Jenner and Chairman & Joint Managing Director Hamish Elder.

On the mash tun floor, the Queen started the Steel’s masher to initiate a brew of Elizabethan Ale. Originally brewed to celebrate her coronation in 1953, Harveys has continued brewing it to the present day.

The Royal visitors paused to sign the Brewing Book containing the day’s entries before visiting the copper house, fermenting room, racking cellar and bottling line where the day’s activities continued as normal.

Staff congregated at different points en route and spontaneous applause greeted the Royal progress. Miles Jenner commented: ‘The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh took an avid interest in both the process and the jobs that staff were performing. It was a very relaxed tour.’
The Royal party joined guests of the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex at a luncheon, hosted by Harveys, in a marquee erected for the visit in the brewery yard. The eighty guests, representing voluntary sector organisations and those involved in public service, enjoyed a meal comprised entirely of Sussex fare including Brill from Newhaven fish market, Sussex Best Bitter and Sussex wines. The Loyal Toast was proposed by Hamish Elder and the Royal visitors left Lewes through streets thronged with well-wishers.

As they departed, the Royal Standard, which had been flown over the brew house as they arrived, was duly lowered.

Harvey & Son (Lewes) Ltd
6 Cliffe High Street,
Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2AH
(T) 01273 480 209
(F) 01273 483 706

Monday, 18 November 2013

Lewes Con Club Beer & Music Festival

Best of Sussex Micros beer festival will take place on Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November at Lewes Con Club, 139, High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XS, phone 01273 473076.
There will be a talk and ‘meet the brewers’ tasting session on the Saturday November 23rd as follows:
12.00-12.30: Entry with tickets available for beer tasting and buffet lunch.
12.30: David Muggleton (The Quaffer) will introduce the Ale and Hearty DVD, which we will show on club’s TV, and the Ale and Hearty Exhibition.
13.00-13.20: David Muggleton will give short talk on the Sussex Micro Brewery Explosion.

13.20-13.45 David Muggleton introduces Mark Tranter for our first tasting session. Mark gives a brief history of Burning Sky and introduces his two beers for tasting.

13.45-14.30: Break for buffet lunch. We may show the Ale and Hearty film again during lunch.

14.30: David introduces Goldmark Brewers Frank McCabe and Mark Lehmann to talk about how they set up and lead the tasting of their beers.

14.45:  David introduces Kissingate Brewers Bunny and Gary Lucas to talk about how they set up and lead the tasting of their beer.

15.00:  David introduces Langham Brewer Lesley Foulkes to talk about how they set up and lead the tasting of their beer.

15.15: David introduces Rectory Brewer Rev Godfrey Broster to talk about how he set up and lead the tasting of his beer.

Times are approximate and David will act as M. C. and encourage questions and participation. The emphasis will be to have a fun and informative afternoon.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Brighton Bier Story

Brighton Bier is merging with cask ale wholesale specialists WithSoul and fellow Sussex brewery Franklins, in a new venture that we are all very excited about.

We wanted to combine our passion for beer with our shared ambition to play a lead role in the revival of Brighton’s once proud and independent commercial brewing heritage, and put the city firmly back on the brewing map. While continuing to brew at its historic Brighton home in Kemp Town brewpub the Hand in Hand, joining forces means that Brighton Bier will initially be expanding its proud gypsy brewing heritage by utilising the additional cask ale capacity of the Franklins Brewery.

The quality, integrity and provenance of both the brewery and our beers are of absolute importance. Brighton Bier will never ‘contract’ brew a beer and all beers will be designed and brewed in person, whatever the location, by either myself or Steve Medniuk”. (Gary Sillence, founder of Brighton Bier)

As well as a full range of cask ales, Brighton Bier will also be producing bottled, canned and keg beers including a new lager, in response to customer demand. We are also thrilled at the prospect of collaborating with other micro breweries on exciting one-off projects; so believe us when we say we’ve got some great ideas for this. As a gypsy brewery Brighton Bier will be sourcing available brewing and packaging capacity for some of our new beers at independent host breweries with facilities best suited to specific beers. For us this is just a temporary solution until we relocate to a new location in Brighton and build a completely new brewery where all possible production will be brought back in-house, which we’ll be striving to do as quickly as possible without comprising the quality of our beers.

 Our aim is for the new brewery to be much more than just a commercial venture. We want it to be a hub for regeneration, tourism and job creation in the city. We want to excite and educate local people about beer and brewing, and involve wherever possible local companies and suppliers.” (Steve Medniuk, Franklins Brewery owner, ex-Dark Star and Purity)

The merger will enable us to produce and directly distribute a wider range of beers across Brighton and South East England. We will be supplementing our own ales with an unparalleled range of beer from more than forty of the UK’s most exciting breweries.

"By combining the new and extended range of Brighton Biers with the existing wholesale and distribution business of WithSoul, our customers will have access to a unique range of beers from exciting breweries across the country. As well as having a choice of great beers, we want to make our customers’ lives a bit easier by offering them one point of contact, one invoice and one delivery. Many of the beers would otherwise be unavailable to order as single casks, if at all in the South East region.” (Ollie Fisher and Steve Whitehurst, WithSoul)
In the short-term, some Franklins beers will still be available to fulfil existing contractual obligations, which is good news for our customers as it will give them more beers to choose from.

At Brighton Bier our plan is to embrace the attitude, ingredients and flavour profiles of the progressive beer styles from Belgium, North America and beyond, but to do so in a way that respects the character and historical integrity of British ale. Most importantly of all, we also want to produce great beer at a great price for our customers.

There will be a launch party at the Craft Beer Co, Brighton, from 7.30pm Thursday 14th November.
We look forward to sharing a beer or two with you very soon.


Gary, Steve, Steve and Ollie


Friday, 8 November 2013

Time for a Turners at JD Wetherspoon

Turners Brewery and J D Wetherspoon are thrilled to announce their joint venture in developing a new range of exclusive real ales for sale initially within the Brighton and Hove area. The officially launch is Friday 22nd November in the three J D Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton: West Quay, Post and Telegraph and Bright Helm. On the same night at the Cliftonville, George Street, Hove, you can meet the brewers celebrating the partnership, who will be only too pleased to answer any questions you may have.

After a process of refining these exclusive ales, Turners Brewery and J D Wetherspoon have produced two fantastic beers. The new J D Wetherspoon Golden Ale, 4.3% with a subtle dry bitterness, is full of crisp fresh fruits flavours. With a wonderful floral aroma and a light sweet lacy head it perfectly complements practically every meal on the Wetherspoon menu.

The J D Wetherspoon Porter has a luxuriously silky body, jet black in colour with a contrasting white creamy head. Its impeccably balanced rich flavours, light and dry bitterness with aromas of hedgerow fruits combine to make this 4.8% porter effortlessly drinkable. To add that extra touch of class each barrel is dry hopped to enrich the experience with extra flavour and aroma.

The J D Wetherspoon pubs in the region will have the beer available as their house beer with the unique metallic Turners Brewery pump clips proudly displaying the individual pub name.

About Turners Brewery

Turners Brewery is established in Ringmer, East Sussex on a Traditional Family Farm providing unique Real Ales in Sussex and the surrounding area. The brewery operates a plant that can produce 27.5 Brewers Barrel Length (BBL) a week that is 7,920 pints of Real Ale!

0845 689 2689

About JD Wetherspoon

J D Wetherspoon plc is a British pub chain with headquarters in Watford, Hertfordshire. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company owns 880 outlets. The chain champions cask ale, low prices, long opening hours, and no music.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Lister's Littlehampton Ales

If in need of refreshment in Littlehampton, then The Little Coffee House & Bistro offers not only non-alcoholic beverages but bottles of Lister’s Ale brewed on the premises by Philip Waite, son of the family owners. Philip, a cook and self-taught brewer with an art college and oil trading background, built both the fully-automated plant and bottle-filler. The enterprise dovetailed perfectly with the commercial kitchen outlet and an alcohol license was obtained; Lister’s Brewery was registered last October and has been producing the beer since December.

Philip’s aim was to make the kind of session beer he himself would like to drink. It is a 3.9% triple-hopped best bitter, brewed with pale, brown and black malts and including Challenger and Styrian Goldings hops. The bottles have also been on sale at the China Palace restaurant in neighbouring Arundel and two London outlets: Duke’s Brew & Que, N1 (home of the Beavertown Brewery) and the Jamboree Music Venue. A cask version has appeared at the Snowdrop Inn, Lewes.

Philip will soon be rebuilding his 0.25bbl plant to double its capacity and has plans to eventually move off-site into a bigger brewery to supply more pubs within the local area. He is thinking about next brewing a golden ale. And if you haven’t already guessed from the bottle label, Lister was the family terrier, now alas departed to the great kennel in the sky but immortalised in image for what has become this Sussex seaside town’s second brewery.

Lister’s Brewery
The Little Coffee House & Bistro
44 High Street
West Sussex
BN17 5ED

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Stars Behind the Bar

Stars behind the bar at the Evening Star, Brighton are (left and right respectively) Alex Monroe and Alice Sharp. When they are not behind the bar, Alex is most likely reading Scandinavian noir detective fiction. She has a degree in Scandinavian Studies from University College London. Alice is a poet, compère and event-manager under the pseudonym ‘Doctor Bongo’. She does the bar and site management for the Glastonwick festival. Not many people know that Alex is a massive fan of the singer Chris de Burgh and that Alice has been an avid knitter since the age of seven!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sussex Drinker

There are five CAMRA branches in Sussex: Western Sussex, Arun & Adur, North Sussex, Brighton and South Downs, South East Sussex. The official ‘public face’ of the Sussex Branches of CAMRA is their quarterly magazine and campaigning tool, Sussex Drinker. The magazine is edited by my good self The Quaffer, designed by Andy Shaw of the CAMRA National Executive and produced by Neil Richards MBE of Matelot Marketing.

The editorial policy of the Sussex Drinker is to highlight, celebrate and promote to as wide and audience as possible the positive developments in the Real Ale scene in Sussex. And we are experiencing some exciting new developments. New micro-breweries continue to open up in our county and we now have our first micro-pub in Sussex – Anchored in Worthing - with others at the planning stage. But it is also the task of the Sussex Drinker to campaign against misguided measures that pose a threat to real ale, the pubs and clubs that serve it and the livelihood of those who work in the industry sector.

To meet rising demand our circulation has risen in the last four years from 5000 to 13250 while the number of pages has increased in the same period from 32 to 60. The editor personally distributes 1400 copies of the magazine outside the county boundaries - into London, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire - and is proud to say that it compares favourably with the vast majority of CAMRA branch magazines in the UK. Our regular features include comprehensive pub and brewery news, a Bus to the Pub Programme supporting the use of public transport, a History and Heritage article, Star behind the Bar, and our Cider House Notes pages. Pictured is the front cover of the current autumn issue. Our forthcoming winter issue, No. 76, is due for delivery on November 7th.

The Sussex Drinker has its own Facebook page at

Part and present issue can also be viewed and downloaded on PDF files at

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Are YOU Bonkers for Conkers???

Just to clear up any confusion there might be over the date of the 6th Annual Langham Brewery Conker Championship. The Bru News section of the Sussex Drinker stated that it will take place on 13th October but it has since been moved from that date.

The event will now take place, as the above advert in the Sussex Drinker makes clear, on Sunday 20th October, from 12noon-6.30pm. You can find more details and a pre-registration form on the brewery website at the following link

Monday, 2 September 2013

Ale & Hearty Interview Recruitment

The Ale and Hearty project is looking for more people to interview about the brewing industry in and around Sussex - especially the Lewes area. They are interested in anyone that has worked in and has a good knowledge of the industry or part of it; especially those with a history of hop-picking and/or growing, brewing, recipes, malting, agriculture, administration, the drayman and delivery.

If you fit the bill, or know of someone that does, please get in touch by the following email:

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Shore Inn, East Wittering

On the West Sussex coast, near Chichester Harbour, can be found East Wittering, where the aptly-named Shore Inn is just a stone’s throw from the beach. The Inn comprises both the first built part and the only surviving segment of the Shore Hotel, which was a much larger 1930s building with luxury accommodation, a cocktail bar and facilities for dinner dances. Another long-gone landmark, the Shore Club, stood to the north on what is now the Inn’s car park

The Shore Inn is bustling with customers on my Saturday afternoon summer visit: pool players, seated-at-the-bar locals, fishermen, beach-loving day trippers, those enjoying their retirement, groups of youthful males and females, both young and middle-aged couples, families with children, and fans of real ale such as myself. The Shore Inn is also dog-friendly with several friendly canines to pat including the pub’s own pooch, a Staffie by the name of Rosie (pictured).

The layout of the L-shaped interior cleverly caters for all these sections of the public. The pool table is tucked away unobtrusively behind the servery at the top entrance. Cushioned settles and seating run down the east side wall. There is another spacious seating area in front of the bar at the centre of the pub. A left-side conservatory extension houses a dining area. And beyond there, in the north-west corner, is a self-contained family room. The décor throughout is smart but creates a relaxed and friendly environment with adzed beams, much exposed brickwork and plentiful comfy seating.

There is a good, varied, competitively-priced pub menu using locally sourced ingredients, with a choice of light dishes to substantial mains and delectable puddings. Given its waterfront location the Shore Inn aptly specialises in seafood and fish dishes, freshly chalked up on a blackboard menu. There is a popular ‘Locals Night’ menu on Thursdays, from 5-8pm, followed by a pub quiz. Patrons wishing only to drink are equally well attended to by the very friendly and efficient bar staff. Six hand pumps are offering Sharp’s Cornish Coaster and Doom Bar, Palmers Copper Ale and Dorset Gold, and the LocAle choice, Dark Star Hophead and American Pale Ale.

I’ve a pint each of the last three of these. The prices are very fair (£3.30 a pint for the APA, £3.10 for the others), the quality excellent. It is always the mark of a good pub when, if a barrel needs changing – as it did at some point for the Dorset Gold – it is a situation immediately recognised and promptly attended to by the staff, with great care and consideration given to the condition and clarity of the freshly-poured pint, as it was here. I savoured my fourth and final pint of the day from the new barrel of Dorset Gold - a very satisfying conclusion to a most enjoyable visit.

The Shore Inn, Shore Road, East Wittering, West Sussex, PO20 8DZ, Tel. 01243 674454 Twitter:@TheShoreKitchen; Email:

Friday, 16 August 2013

North Sussex Branch of CAMRA Mild Day

In conjunction with the CAMRA Mild in May promotion, the North Sussex Branch Mild Day was this year, once again, held at the Swan, West Green, Crawley, on Saturday 11 May. Landlord Rob Brindley did everyone proud as he promoted eleven examples of this beer style at a festival covering the Thursday through to the Sunday. The Swan is an excellent two-bar community pub just a few minutes walk from Crawley railway station and town centre. It has LocAle accreditation and was the local branch 2012 Pub of the Year.

We were spoilt for choice with a mild menu from across the country, namely: Goacher’s Real Mild (3.4%, Kent); Tring Mansion Mild (3.7%, Herts.); Green Jack Albion Mild (3.8%, Suffolk); Pilgrim Moild (3.8%, Surrey); Ramsgate Gadds’ Old School Mild (4.0%, Kent); Lytham Twilight (4.0%, Lancs.); Nelson Dover Patrol (4.4%, Kent); Kissingate Gardenia Mild (4.5%, West Sussex); Nottingham Centurion ND (4.9%, Notts.); Milestone Sherwood Ruby Mild (5.6%, Notts.); and Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby (6.0%, West Mids.).

As we supped our mild ales we were treated to a entertaining and informative talk by Dave Roberts (pictured) of the Pilgrim Brewery, Reigate, Surrey, whose own (3.8%) Moild was represented at the festival. Dave, armed with a copy of The Brewer’s Art, and against a backdrop of blue, fluttering Milds in May pennants, took us through the history of mild ale in his own delightfully animated and inimitable style. In spite of the inclement weather, the day was a great success and very well attended. If you are a mild fan and have not previously attended the North Sussex Mild Day, do give it a try next year. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Last of the Locomotive Inn, Littlehampton - Once a “House” of Repute in Sussex

The Locomotive Inn, as its name suggests, was next to the town’s railway station in Terminus Road and served for much of its life as a station hotel. It first appeared in the 1874 Kelly’s Post Office Directory, run by one Thomas Crawford, although it may have existed earlier; for the same licensee is listed in 1870 as running an unnamed beerhouse in Ferry Road, which seems to have been a previous or alternative name for Terminus Road.

Directories record the next two licensees to have been William Knight (1878 - 1890) and Miss Fanny Stoner (1895) before the arrival of the long-serving Edward John Huntley. Unless Huntley had a similar named son or brother, he seems to have been the licensee from 1895 to at least 1938 (the last directory available in the local library) oddly punctuated by the appearance in 1930 of Hugh P. Goodwin.

The in-house KTB publication of c. 1932 describes the Locomotive as “a rebuilt house with a distinctive design of its own carried out by the architects, Messrs. Clayton & Black – a simple and restrained design but one which nevertheless makes the house stand out from amid its surroundings as a piece of very good building. The finely panelled oak doors are details worthy of note.”

In KTB parlance, “simple and restrained design” is a synonym for neo-Georgian, and one might easily mistake the rebuilt Locomotive for one of John Leopold Denman’s trademark Brighton pubs. Indeed, a 1970s Brighton Polytechnic student dissertation on Denman erroneously attributes to him the Greyhound, Brighton, when it was, in fact, another Clayton & Black design in the neo-Georgian mould.

The rebuild of the Locomotive most likely took place in the second half of the 1920s, when Edward John Huntley was the landlord. The only picture I can find of its previous incarnation as a Victorian building is from 1920, as apposite background to a derailed locomotive engine. The Inn was finally demolished in June 2013 after having stood closed for about eight years.

Thanks to my friend Tony Wakeford for these photos of the exposed cellar after the pub was razed to the ground.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

17th Worthing Beer Festival, 18th-19th October 2013

Worthing Beer Festival’s relocation to St. Paul’s has proved an overwhelming success, with space for an increasing number of beers, record attendances and a wider choice of food. This year, as well as a Beer of the Festival, a new award will be introduced for Sussex Beer of the Festival. Our regional bar will feature beers from Cumbria, and there will again be two further bars showcasing the best breweries of Sussex and other parts of the UK. A total of over 75 beers plus extra ciders and perries will be available. The infamous charity auction will again take place at around 9pm Friday evening.

Owing to public demand, the festival opening time has been brought forward to 11am for both days, 18th and 19th October. Full opening times: Friday 11am-3.30pm (£3.50) & 5.30-11pm (£5); Saturday 11am-11pm or until the beer runs out (£5). Tickets will be on sale at the Selden Arms, Worthing; Gardeners Arms, Sompting; Henty Arms, Ferring; Crabtree, Lancing; Duke of Wellington, Shoreham-by-Sea; and the Evening Star, Brighton. Tickets will be available on the door subject to availability.

Postal applications to: The Treasurer, The Boathouse, Shopsdam Road, Lancing, BN15 8ES; please make cheques payable to “Arun & Adur CAMRA”. Friday evening and Saturday sessions sell out very quickly, so advance booking is advised. Tickets will be on sale also at the festival venue: St. Paul’s, Chapel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1EE (opposite the Town Hall and the Post Office, and an easy walk from Worthing Central station).

For more information:

About the Festival Poster Artwork

After all the positive feedback and comment from the use of the painting of Lydia Cattermole for last year’s advertising, we once again decided to promote the Worthing aspect of our beer festival. A couple of old photographs were trialled, but licensing costs proved prohibitive. While searching for out-of-copyright images in Kim’s book shop, a comment made about a set of vintage-style prints that were already being considered - as they perfectly reflected the image we wished to project - led to contact being made with the artist Chris Gibson. Chris was commissioned to produce a graphic of our venue, St Paul’s. A number of alternatives were supplied and we finally settled for the superb art work that we are using throughout this year’s festival.

Based in Chichester, graphic designer Christopher Gibson initially studied art at Worthing Art College in the late 1980s before specializing in graphic design at the London College of Printing and Typography at Brighton University. He has exhibited pastel and watercolour works in the past but it was a love of the classic travel posters of the early-20th century that inspired a set of contemporary prints that were initially exhibited at the Oxmarket Galleries in Chichester. His commissions and prints can be found across Europe and the US. Christopher can be contacted at;; 07969 524341.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ale & Hearty meets the Vintage Mobile Cinema

Ale & Hearty meets the Vintage Mobile Cinema at Harveys Brewery car park, corner of North Court and Harveys Way, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2JW. Times and dates are 10am-4pm, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September.

The event is hosted by the Ale & Hearty project, celebrating lost breweries and brewing in the Lewes area, and is part of this year’s Lewes Heritage Open Days. The specially-made film will be around 17.5 minutes long and eulogises about bygone days of hop picking, brewing and local Sussex traditions with vintage footage taken from local sources including Screen Archive South East.

The Vintage Mobile Cinema seats a maximum 22 people per tour/event. It is the only surviving unit from a fleet of seven Ministry of Technology mobile cinemas built in 1967. Meticulously restored to its former glory, it now features state-of-the-art surround sound, HD digital projection and a comfortable climate-controlled environment for the audience.
This is a short event; the film will be shown three times every hour for a six-hour period during both days so is suitable for children from the age of 5 years who are easily bored. The cinema itself is a thing of beauty and of interest to everyone. Please note this event takes place outside in a working brewery car park so, although all necessary safety precautions have been taken, parents must be responsible for their children.

Unfortunately, due to the age of the Vintage Mobile Cinema, there is no accessible provision for this event. The nearest municipal access toilet is on Market Lane, Lewes, BN7 2NT. Pay parking and disabled parking is available in the NCP Harveys Way car park, Lewes, BN7 2JW, which is next to the Harveys brewery venue. There is absolutely no parking available in Harveys Brewery car park.

Pedestrians walk along Cliffe High Street, past the Harveys Brewery shop on your left, then take the little ‘twitten’ or alleyway, North Court, just afterwards, also on the left (with Bills restaurant on your right). Go through North Court and walk to the end. To the right there is a municipal car park, to your left is the back entry delivery park for Harveys Brewery for deliveries - the Vintage Mobile Cinema is in there. No booking is required for this free event.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Beers WithSoul

At WithSoul we have a simple ambition: to sell great pubs remarkable beer.

WithSoul have been a tremendous find. A fantastic ever-growing list of beers and brewers coupled with an infectious passion for what is going on in the brewing world. I always look forward to what is coming next from them, only wish I had a bigger cellar!” The Stile Bridge (Maidstone and Mid Kent CAMRA Pub of the Year 2012)

Based in Brighton, WithSoul deliver a unique range of cask and craft beer across London, Sussex and Kent. We represent several excellent Sussex breweries, complementing them with some of the best cask ales from around the country and a superb range of English Lager.

Our aim is to offer a balanced portfolio with both familiar local beers and some less familiar, occasionally eclectic offerings, to deliver the vital point of difference and interest our customers need to appeal to the most discerning drinkers.

You could say we are biased, but we believe having familiar and unfamiliar brands together is fundamentally good business sense. In the Cask Report, 75% of cask ale drinkers said they choose a familiar, trusted brand, but 78% also said they like to try new beers. We know that’s more than 100%, but it shows that drinkers want a range of both familiar and unfamiliar beers when deciding what to drink and that is what we endeavour to provide week in, week out.

 Working with WithSoul has helped us quickly extend our reach beyond the local area. Their excellent sales and customer service leaves us free to focus on what we do best...brewing great beer!” Brighton Bier Co

For more information on WithSoul and our portfolio of beers, please visit, call Ollie on 07525 438 486, or email Stephen at

Friday, 28 June 2013

Havant Brewery Open Day

Havant brewery is run by husband and wife team, Mike and Caroline Charlton. The couple opened for business in April 2009 at their home in Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hampshire, producing four firkins per brew on a 1-barrel plant. Initial demand was so high they quickly increased brewing to four times a week.

Two years later, having won a number of awards for their beers at festivals and still unable to keep up with demand, they designed, constructed and installed their own 3-barrel brewery with two fermenting vessels. In another expansion, earlier this year, Mike and Caroline moved their brewery to its new, eponymous home at Havant, on an industrial estate just a few minutes stroll from the town’s railway station.

An Open Day was held on Saturday 16th March. On a morning of scudding clouds, sudden showers, and puddles forming in pavements and walkways, I found my way to the brewery slightly early, several minutes before 11am. Glad to see the doors already ajar, I peered through and was warmly welcomed inside. A few people were already present, more promptly arrived and it wasn’t long before quite a crowd had assembled and Mike was conducting his first tour of the day. A festive atmosphere was soon upon us and, as if to bless the occasion, the sun emerged, bathing the brewery interior in warm, bright shafts of light.

I’m a huge fan of darker beers and was delighted to see on the brewery bar, alongside two regular beers, Havant Started (4.0%) and Havant Finished (5.0%), a sweet stout Havant Herd (4.2%). This was a new beer to me and my first taste found the roasted coffee flavours to be perfectly balanced by Lactose sweetness and notes of light milk chocolate. The stout was also a delicious accompaniment to the cheese on crackers with home-made chutney that were appearing on plates around the place. Also on was their pale ale P09 (3.8%), also known as Havant Decided.

After a couple of very enjoyable hours I had to depart, with Sussex Drinkers to deliver to Portsmouth pubs. As the first lot of visitors exited, having first purchased various takeouts, bottles and boxes for home consumption, more people wandered in to take their place and it was time for Caroline to serve more customers and Mike to commence yet another talk. Some folks like to take Saturday afternoon at leisure but Havant brewery would be bustlingly busy for quite a few hours yet.

We wish Mike and Caroline every success in their new premises.

Havant Brewery, Unit 25, The Tanneries, Brockhampton Lane, Havant, Hampshire PO9 1JB; tel. 02392 476067.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Once a “House” of Repute in Sussex – The Crabtree Inn, Lancing

The Crabtree Inn dates from 1931, newly built to serve the housing estate to the north west of the town that sprawls into Cokeham and Sompting. The construction date, as is often the case with the Kemp Town Brewery, is on a rainwater pipe head - at the left of the building. I have no original plans or confirmation of the architect but it is probably by J. L. Denman and Son. The two flanking brick wings with parapet and the neo-Georgian classical doorways with pediment and pilasters are hallmark KTB. The style is somewhat understated and vernacular but consistent with another Denman-designed suburban estate new-build, the Dolphin, East Worthing, where the concave layout is the converse of that found here at the Crabtree.

The interior retains many striking features. The recently refurbished ‘Spitfire’ saloon bar on the right has an original counter, elegant cupola ceiling, a fine brick and stone Tudor-style fireplace, and half-height panelling. There are teak floorboards and fixed cushioned seating. The pub’s middle snug was long ago combined with a left-side public bar at the point where the off-sales was probably situated. Here is another original counter, field panelling and fixed seating. The back fittings to each bar have been replaced. Admire the craftsmanship in the decorative plasterwork mouldings on the frieze, cornice and capitals in both rooms.

Without the architect’s plans one can only surmise, but the left hand door probably led to both the left side bar and a Jug & Bottle. The defunct counter to what was the left bar is now stranded in the middle of the room, oddly with panelling on both sides. The middle snug may therefore have been entered by a central doorway, now replaced by the projecting window bay.

The Crabtree is Good Beer Guide-listed and always offers Fuller’s London Pride plus a fine selection of three ever-changing guest ales that are served in top condition by the manager, Brian Lamb. The Crabtree also offers its trademark Sunday Carvery. The chef slow-roasts joints of beef, turkey, lamb and pork overnight, resulting in the most succulent and fresh Carvery probably anywhere in the south. The pub has also created a menu designed to fill the demand for good home-cooked pub food at an affordable price. Food is served daily Monday to Saturday from 12noon to 3.00pm and evenings Tuesday to Friday 5.30 to 7.30pm. The Crabtree Inn, 140 Crabtree Lane, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9NQ; tel: 01903 755514.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Ale & Hearty Reminiscence Sessions

Free Reminiscence Sessions are to be held at two venues as part of the Ale & Hearty project by heritage organisation Strike a Light, looking at the history of breweries and brewing in the Lewes area of Sussex. These will be a chance to meet, talk and explore memories of working life centred upon beer, brewing, breweries, hop picking, local trades, village heritage and more. Bring along old photographs of life in Sussex to unlock the past. Tea and cake is provided and all area welcome.

One venue is Ringmer Village Hall, where sessions will be held from 2-4pm every Monday from 10th June until 12th August. The other venue is Beechwood Hall, Cooksbridge, where sessions will be held from 2-4pm every Wednesday from 19th June until 21st August. To find out how you can join in for free, contact Nicola Benge, Ale & Hearty Project Coordinator on 07727 006538 or email: Click on the poster image for more details.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Drinking Songs of the South Downs

As part of the Ale & Hearty heritage project of Lewes, there is a free, folksong workshop with folk group ‘Emily and the Hares’ at the Lewes Arms, Mount Pleasant, Lewes, Saturday 8th June, from 10.30am to 4.30pm. No previous experience of singing traditional songs is required!

When there was a celebration in the offing, or a war to be fought, or love to be extolled, how better to do it than with a drink! The folk songs of the South Downs included great howling choruses to the joy of ‘barley brew’ and would have been sung whenever groups of people met together to socialise, be it at the pub, the market, or the fair.

Emily and the Hares will teach you these songs in the joyous way they were intended - no ‘finger-in-the ear’ wailing, they promise! They will also give out printed hand-outs with the words on so that you will be able to learn the songs more easily.

Please book your lunch on arrival at the Lewes Arms. Lunch break will be 1-2pm. There will also be short breaks in the morning and afternoon. To find out more or book your free place, please contact Nicola Benge, Ale & Hearty project coordinator at or 07727 006538.

Emily and the Hares are Emily Longhurst, Chris and Ann Hare, who have been singing together since 2007. Recently they have run the highly successful ‘South Downs Songs Project’ with the South Downs Society, which has taught traditional songs to some 250 people between September 2011 and March 2013. More details at

Ale & Hearty is a Lewes based project looking at the heritage of brewing in the town. It is looking for people in the Lewes area (Including wider East Sussex) to record their memories of ale, and brewing in the region, hop picking and hop picking holidays, working as a dray man, cooper, in a brewery, or in a Maltings, or anything related:

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ale & Hearty

“Wine is but single broth, ale is meat, drink, and cloth.” - 16th century English proverb.

The Ale & Hearty project, from arts and heritage organisation Strike a Light, aims to encourage participants and visitors to share memories of ale, local brewing, and agricultural and brewery working life in Lewes. It involves collecting oral histories and holding reminiscence workshops, arranging heritage open days with walking tours, creating an exhibition and producing a booklet. A project launch for ninety people was held at the Linklater Pavilion, Lewes on Friday 8th March to promote a year of exciting free events and activities celebrating the heritage of the brewing and related agricultural industries in Lewes.

The busy evening played host to talks from Miles Jenner, of Harveys Brewery, and Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe, Mayor Elect of Lewes. There were Sussex and ale-themed folk songs from the group Emily and the Hares; an exhibition and slide show; ale to drink gifted from Harveys with local cheeses from the High Weald Dairy; the unveiling of a new logo; and a raffle which raised £185 towards a companion education pack to go out free to Lewes primary schools. Photos show (right) Steering Group Members, your Blogger The Quaffer and Miles Jenner. And (below) Project Coordinator Nicola Benge with Cllr Nicholson and his wife (middle pair) and the Mayor Elect.

The event celebrated memories and stories from a time when Lewes laid claim to nine local breweries, unearthing the hidden history of one of the main industries of the town over the last 300 years. Nicola Benge, Ale & Hearty Project Coordinator, said “We really enjoyed meeting new project participants, visitors, volunteers, all interested in Ale & Hearty activities. We had a great deal of enthusiasm for the event, and with the help of generous local Lewes businesses, raised money towards supporting local educational projects too!”

Strike a Light is a non profit arts and heritage organisation which celebrates and profiles the importance of local community and history, utilising people’s life stories and memories to transform public and private spaces. It aims to manage projects which improve cultural heritage, and promote local arts and social development. Ale & Hearty is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), using money raised through the National Lottery. Partners for the project include East Sussex Libraries and Information Service, Harveys Brewery, Lewes History Group, Friends of Lewes, Action in Rural Sussex, and Lewes District Seniors Forum.

For more information on the project, please visit the website: or contact Nicola Benge, tel. 07727 006538; email: