Harvey’s brewery is a great example of an english regional brewery that has existed in some form for hundreds of years. Under the the care of John Harvey in the early 1800’s the Bridge Wharf Brewery was established (Above) and stands to this day. Harvey’s to its credit despite being a large regional brewer (50,000 barrels a year) still manages to remain in line with tradition in a few ways.
My trip the brewery came about via a wonderful trip through the country side. Country lanes at best wide enough for 2 cars and often wide enough for only one wind through fields divided in feudal times. Often times the road is lined by a canopy of deciduous trees including Oak and Yew. At this time of year the leaves hadn’t yet grown through and the early spring sun was able to shine through. As the car came nearer to the south down so to did we come near to pints of real ale.
Upon taking a side street from the high street to John Harvey’s pub we were greeted by a remnant of tradition. Harvey’s within the immediate area still deliver’s it beer via horse and carriage.
We visited the tied pub rather than the brewery itself as the brewery has a tour wait list of 2+ years. Regardless the pub is an experience in itself. The building is likely of nearly the same period as the brewery and beautiful in its own right.
The beer itself remains pulled from a beer engine, real ale as it were. Of course in a place like this you order one thing and one thing only… bitter.
Like all real ale this beer was cask conditioned and thus a “Real Ale” in the british understanding of the term. Real ales unlike north american beers are not overly carbonated or carbonated really at all. Instead they are what many would describe as flat. Without the bubbles you are really able to taste the beer unabated by the bite of carbonation. Harvey’s Sussex Bitter is malty with a floral hops unlike the punchy bitter american ones most of us are accustomed too. It mixes malt notes of caramel with fruity notes similar to peaches, fig or currants. This is not a challenging beer, to some it might even be called boring but it is traditional and it is well done.
Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter- 4/5