Keeping it real … Real Ale
Escape Western Road’s busy streets filled with frantic shoppers by taking the turning up Dean Street, you will see a sign pointing out that up this road you will find beer, motivation to soldier on. Walk part way up one of Brighton’s many killer hills and sandwiched between two rows of terraced houses and you will find yourself standing in front of the bright lights of Brighton Beer Dispensary.
Brighton Beer Dispensary is the combined venture of Brighton Bier Co and Late Knights Brewery, two breweries who impressed me a lot last year.
Walk through the doors and the recent memories of busy streets, angry shoppers and huge red sale signs are instantly forgotten as you are greeted by a homely, friendly and relaxing feeling pub. To your right along the front windows you have a few high tables all full with people drinking and laughing, behind them is a coat stand to hold your heavy winter coats and also a pipe holder which I am sure is for decoration purposes but secretly I hope it’s not! To your left are more lower tables sat next to a half wooden / half wallpapered wall. But the first thing that will grab your attention is the large L shaped chunky wooden bar inviting you to pull up a stall and hang your coat on the hook placed under the top of the bar (a feature I feel all pubs should have!).
Behind the bar is a full wall of different drinks sitting above the beer fridges which had a very impressive range including Beavertown’s latest canned beer Holy Cowbells Indian Stout, which is the first time I have seen this. If you prefer your beer pint size than the bar was full of great beers, Brighton Bier, Kemptown Brewery and Late Knights dominated the ale pumps. Two guest keg beers, one light vs one dark which brags an impressive previously served menu, which included Weird Beard. The bar staff keep the light and dark beer specials secret till after you drink it though so people get to try breweries they have never tried before instead of reaching for a fashionable brewery they are already familiar with. To get a hint at the level of quality beers though all you have to do is look at the previous keg specials menu, which can be found on the wall by the coat stand. It didn’t stop there though as there were a number of beers on gravity also available! If beer isn’t your thing then there was also half a bars worth of real cider.
The walls are wooden, wallpapered and exposed brick which gives this pub a retro feel without feeling like it’s trying too hard, the balance is perfect. Out back I saw glimpses of what looked like a large seating area in a conservatory. There is a warm homely feel to the place and although I don’t remember a log fire it felt like it’s the type of pub that has one! I’m guessing by the layout that once upon a time this building was the same as the surrounding buildings and actually a home which might explain the natural homely feel to the place! If you need to use the loo then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the walk down the corridor as the walls are plastered with Andy Capp cartoon strips!
As for the beers, my friend and I had a pint of Brighton Bier Dealers Choice and the Kemptown Brewery beer both excellent! They were served up in slick handled pint glasses. Other names floating around the beer selection was Caveman Brewery, Fyne Ales and Ilkley Brewery.
The food menu consisted of home made burgers and other interesting bar snacks, my friend had never had the pleasure of experiencing fried gherkins so we ordered their Beerkins, beer battered pickled gherkins and they were amazing!
I don’t know if it is true but I once heard that Brighton has more pubs per square mile than anywhere else in Europe, a title i imagine a few places tries to claim but if it true then overall most the pubs are usually rather good, but there are a small handful that are head and shoulders above the rest and the Brighton Beer Dispensary is without doubt in that category and is in fact in my opinion one of Brighton’s finest drinking establishments.