Friday, 14 July 2017

Hand Brew: Brewing Resumes at the Hand in Hand, Brighton

A visit to the Hand in Hand, St. James’s Street, Kemp Town, Brighton on 17th June found three of their Hand Brew beers on the bar. The tiny corner pub was crowded (good to see) with a music act appearing as part of a charity event but I managed to squeeze a seat at the bar and have a half of all three beers. Writing tasting notes was difficult with precious space on the counter and little room to manoeuvre but I managed to jot the following in my little black book:

DAP: Session Pale (3.8%), mango and tropical fruit flavours, delicate, well-balanced with a dry finish, not overly hoppy.

Tickler: Irish Red (4.2%), soft caramel-toffee nose, bold dark fruit flavours against a biscuit malt backbone – hint of chocolate in the finish.

Session IPA: Citra Ahtanum (4.5%), toffee-apple and apricot nose, pear and apple fruits at first followed by lemon-zest and citrus aftertaste, not overly assertive.

The Tickler was my personal favourite. Pump clips on the wall showed other Hand Brew beers to be Quicker than the Eye: Red IPA (5.0%) and Shaka: Pale Ale (4.0%).

The brewer is Jack Tavaré who also brews under the Beercraft brand at the Watchmakers Arms, Hove.

Brewing at the Hand in Hand began in 1989 when Bev Robbins installed a tower brewery and adopted the name Kemptown Brewery and the old dolphin brand image of the pub’s once former owners. The Kemptown name continued until 2012 when Brighton Bier Co was launched at the pub as a gypsy brewery with Gary Sillence as brewer. Brewing at the pub lapsed after Brighton Bier obtained premises at the Bell Tower Industrial Estate in October 2014, so the new venture, which first brewed on 4th August 2016, is an especially welcome development. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

Beer Lines: News from The Beer Essentials 30a East Street, Horsham, West Sussex

Beer Lines

The Beer Essentials was established in August 2001 by former King & Barnes retail sales manager, Gareth Jones, following the closure of King & Barnes in 2000. Eager to continue providing proper beer to the good people of Horsham, Gareth immediately set to establishing his very own off-licence. Many years later, The Beer Essentials stands as a haven of real ale in the Horsham District. Situated in Horsham's historic town centre, The Beer Essentials continues to provide top quality beer and cider to it's happy patrons. I'm on the mailing list for Gareth's newsletter and I thought I would share his latest one with the world.

News from The Beer Essentials 30a East Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1HL, 01403 21889

Welcome! Welcome to the latest issue of Beer Lines, the newsletter of The Beer Essentials, Horsham’s real ale shop.

Greetings from a very sunny East Street. The hops in my yard at the rear of the shop are looking decidedly triffidlike and I’m beginning to think that spring is finally here. I’m not generally known for my optimism weather-wise but there’s hoping for a prolonged spell of warmth that will make people think about beer. I realise that some people (and I include myself) think about beer whatever the weather but you know what I mean! Anyway here is the beer news.

The Anchor Tap

While writing this newsletter I found the April edition from last year and in it I mentioned the Anchor Tap, Dark Star’s pub just a few shops down from me, as it had not long opened its doors. Well one year on and The Anchor Tap has just been voted North Sussex CAMRA's Pub of the Year and thoroughly well-deserved in my opinion.

Horsham Beer Festival 2017

Just another quick reminder that tickets for the above event go on sale at 10.00am on Saturday 3rd June. Ticket day tends to be fairly chaotic so you might want to set an alarm.....there will be free cake!! CAMRA Sussex Beer Festival I had a very enjoyable evening recently at the CAMRA Sussex Beer Festival held for the first time, this year, at Brighton Racecourse. Not necessarily the easiest venue to get to (many thanks to Liz and Bob Sutton for letting me share their taxi back down the hill to the station!) but once there the beer was fantastic. I did quite a bit of “quality control” however two real stand-out beers for me were Thornbridge Brock, a delicious velvety stout with a hint of smoke and Downlands West Indian Pale Ale, a fantastic IPA full of fruity hop flavours (see below).

New Bottles

I have just got some new beers in from Hubertus in the Czech Republic. I currently have the Light (3.9%ABV) and the Medium (4.4% ABV) but I hope to have several others from them soon. All of their beers are very clean and refreshing and full of flavour. On Draught during April we hope to have on draught: Dark Star Six Hop Ale 6.5% ABV £3.25 per pint; Tring Apache 3.9% ABV £2.30 per pint; Downlands West Indian Pale Ale 6.5% ABV £3.25 per pint, plus loads of other great beers TBC. Please check blackboard in shop for current availability.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Science of Beer Event at the Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux, 8th April 2017

Combining a fascinating talk with some fabulous fun demonstrations all about the process of brewing beer, PLUS the chance to sample some local brew, this is an evening not to be missed!

If that was not enough we will also provide a delicious curry and a voucher to sample a free beer of your choice (soft drinks and wine are also available). A vegetarian curry option is available but we are unable to offer alternatives to the curry.

If the weather is good then there will ALSO be an opportunity to look through the Centre's fantastic historic telescopes at some fascinating night sky objects including Jupiter.

There will be a cash bar throughout the event and the opportunity to take beer home.

Numbers are limited to a total of 80 so when we have received confirmation of the event book early to secure your place.

Time: 7.00pm - 11.30pm 

Cost: £30 per person 



The Observatory Science Centre
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Tel: 01323 832731
Fax: 01323 832741

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Preorder My New Book, Brewing in West Sussex

I'm delighted to say that you can now preorder at a discounted price from the publisher's website my forthcoming book, Brewing in West Sussex, available Wednesday 15th February 2017. Please follow this link,

Monday, 17 October 2016

Forthcoming Publication: Brewing in West Sussex

Everything has gone quiet on this blog for the past two months because I've been focused on finishing this, my second book with Amberley Publishing of Stroud, Gloucestershire. It will be 96 pages with 180 images and probably available in February 2017.

It's not yet on the publisher's website but details can be found here and elsewhere.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Once a ‘House’ of Repute in Sussex: The Queens Park Tavern (now Hanover), Brighton

As the Queens Park Tavern, this first appears in the 1855 street directory under licensee Robert Coe at what was then Reservoir Road. The reservoir lies off Islingword Road and is visible from the Constant Service pub, which is named after the former reservoir owners, the Brighton, Hove and Preston Constant Service Water Company. 

On 3rd February 1859, Robert Coe’s widow, Emily, took out a premises lease on the Queens Park Tavern with local brewer William Hallett. By 1866 the licensee is William Emerson whose directory listing of 1871 combines the Tavern with a Dairy and makes reference to the Queen’s Park Cricket Ground, adjacent at the south west prior to the construction of housing north of the park in the late 1890s. On 30th October 1874, Emerson filed his bankruptcy order. In the 1881 census (image below), the landlord is George Shepherd, originally from Beeding, Sussex, and recorded as a widower at the age of just 29. He runs the tavern with his 14-year-old sister Kate as barmaid and a live-in servant of the same age, Jane Tucknott. 

The brewery established by Hallett eventually became the Kemp Town Brewery, who in 1927 modernised the Tavern to plans by Denman & Son. This was partly in response to the increase in the neighbouring population following the construction a few years earlier of the adjacent council estate. The landlord of the time was George Frederick Chapman, who had been there since before the First World War and who was no doubt desirous of the extra custom that the new estate and modernising of the pub would bring. It was intended to construct a commodious refreshment room catering for parties, along the north side elevation in Down Terrace, but this idea was withdrawn. Instead, the existing portico entrance with stepped parapet was provided. This led, via an inner vestibule, to an Entrance Saloon served by its own section of counter, and a separate Saloon Bar at the north-west corner. The three pedimented doorways along the Queens Park Road elevation gave access to a Bottle and Jug Department, Private Bar and, at the south corner, a Public Bar that was further enlarged in 1930. A billiard room was retained at the rear. 

The interior was eventually opened up and altered, probably during work in the early to mid-1970s, but the 1927 exterior remains intact, which is essentially a neo-Georgian brick façade affixed to a Victorian building. The supporting pillars of portico are tiled in triglyph decoration, each bearing a monogram, the date of construction in the first instance, the KTB initials of the brewery in the second. Two dolphins, the emblem of the brewery, entwine within a mosaic surround on the marble entrance floor. The frieze would have originally spelt out the name of the brewery in its livery colours of blue and gold. 

The tavern subsequently became a Charrington house. It was earmarked for demolition in 2000 but the plans to erect twelve townhouses on the site came to nothing. Its present name is after the Hanover area of the city, on the edge of which it sits, and was bestowed relatively recently by current operator Indigo Leisure.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Once a "House" of Repute in Sussex: The Brighton Tavern, Brighton

Beer retailer John Brown was operating in 1848 from what was then 100 Gloucester Lane, Brighton. The pub name first appears in 1877 when 45 year old William Pelling was the licensee with his wife Sarah. Its eventual owners, the Kemp Town Brewery, became evangelists for the cause of ‘public house improvement’ and in 1936/7 the premises were rebuilt and expanded to absorb the confectioners at No. 99. The shop area became a new Public Bar and what had hitherto been the public bar became a Private Bar. Both were entered through a newly built central lobby, which also gave access on the immediate left to a small Bottle and Jug. It was given a brick re-fronting in somewhat austere neo-Georgian style and has since suffered externally no more than the loss of its stepped parapet.

It is a rare example of a modernised Kemp Town Brewery house not designed by J. L. Denman - the architect was F. W. Pearcy. The black and white photograph of the original pub in the 'before and after' collage below is courtesy of the James Gray Collection. 

Although the tavern was most recently refurbished c. 2000, enough of the interwar interior work survives for CAMRA to consider the pub of regional heritage importance. Of the two left-side doors in the central entrance, the one still in use would have originally led to the Bottle and Jug: the seat has since been removed and a replacement counter top inserted. The old Public Bar retains a good brick fireplace, field panelled dados and curved counter with tiered and fluted bar back. The counter front in the old Private Bar is also original but its top and the basic back shelving are post-war. The toilets at the rear have been upgraded since I keeled over in the gents thirty years ago after starting the night on the home brew. They now provide a passage from one bar to the other that was not previously possible except via the ladies. The pub is popular with the LGBT community.