A Moment at Harvey's Brewery in Lewes, Sussex

Words & Photo - Matthew Curtis

I spent a couple of days in Sussex this week, with my main purpose being to spend some time with the folks from Burning Sky Brewery for a forthcoming piece on Good Beer Hunting. Burning Sky sits in the village of Firle, just three miles from the town of Lewes (pronounced Lew – iss for those like me who hadn't previously heard the town's name said aloud.) So when I arranged the visit, Burning Sky’s owner Mark Tranter insisted that we also visit the historic Harvey’s Brewery, which was founded here in Lewes in 1790.

As my taste in beer has gradually matured I’ve begun to once again take great joy in the “simple complexity” found in a great pint of bitter. One of my favourites is Harvey’s Best, which is always on in The Harp, Covent Garden, which is where I drink it most often. I sometimes even flippantly refer to it as “the Orval of the South Coast” because of the brief moment of funk the Harvey’s yeast imparts to its Best Bitter.

We were fortunate enough to be blessed with a beautiful day yesterday, so it made the view of Harvey’s from the adjacent bridge all the more spectacular. I’d go as far as to say it might the most picturesque brewery in the country, although Hook Norton could arguably also lay claim to that. The tour was fascinating and the Best was, well, the best it had ever tasted. Perhaps the atmosphere of the moment itself had something to do with that however. 

I’ll go into a greater amount of detail of my visit to Harvey's in a future post, once I’ve had time to consider it properly and edit a few more images. For now, enjoy this photo I took of the brewery and the next time you see Harvey’s Best on the bar do me a favour and order yourself a pint.