Conker competitions, pop-up parties, Indian headdresses and a mash tun called Martha. This is Langham Brewery and it’s a gem.
On Saturday the 12th April I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the Langham crew- Lesley Foulkes, James Berrow and Saulo Parreira as they got the van packed up and ready for a show the following day, got the brewery ready for a tour booking by The Outdoor Lads (a rambling group based in London) and welcomed a steady flow of customers in for some of their fine ales. It’s an amazing space to be in, a converted barn on the Cowdray Estate, Lodsworth (between Petworth and Midhurst), overlooking some fine views of the Sussex countryside- rolling yellow fields of Oil Seed Rape, nearby grazing horses and the first Swallows of summer darting to and fro overhead. The surroundings are all very beautiful, all very Sussex and all very inspiring- the Swallows have inspired the brewery logo and their award-winning modern IPA, Black Swallow (a stunning 6% base of sweet toffee and bitter chocolate that give support to big hits of hoppy grapefruit and a finish of roasted coffee and a gentle smoke).
It all started back in 2004 when then home-brewer James and fellow Langham founder Steve Mansley decided to make the leap into micro brewing after a conversation down the pub (as these things quite often happen). They moved into the current space a year later, keen to avoid a typical warehouse unit, and set about transforming the space into the brewery. They’ve recently finished further renovation, adding two more fermentation tanks to their existing four (Fanny, Fiona, Freda and Fatima). The humourously named kit (completed by Cathy the Copper) was liberated from Wickwar brewery and needed refurbishing itself. A bit of TLC and a lot of hard graft later and the brewery has gone from supplying five pubs in their first year to supplying multiple pubs along the south coast from Brighton to Southampton and up into Winchester and South London. They’ve also got their bottled Hip Hop in Tesco supermarkets and Waitrose has taken on their Sundowner (their 4.2% golden ale which sees tropical fruit highs dance over smooth biscuit-malts and end with a long bitter citrus finish).
Using floor malted barley, whole leaf hops and dry yeast Langham are now producing five core beers, Hip Hop being another award winner and their best-seller (a modern 4% blonde boasting floral aromas and citrus & grass hops on the palate with a crisp and refreshing mouth-feel). The team are keen to experiment too, with a small brew-kit used to trial new ideas.
Their new APA, Arapaho (“a generously super-hopped deep gold American Pale Ale with a creamy, foamy head”) is proving popular and a new Saison in the early stages of trials is showing plenty of promise- a cheeky sample boasting clean notes of banana and spice that play on the palate and in the aroma was an absolute delight. There was also word of a smoked porter being in the pipeline too, exciting stuff indeed from a brewery whose core range are fast becoming classics of the Sussex beer scene. It’s not just their beers that make this a gem of a brewery however, it’s the team themselves who treat every customer and visitor as a friend of the brewery, making you feel every bit welcome in the stunning space that is Langham brewery.
You can meet the team, sample the brews and take in the stunning scenery by booking a tour or swinging by for their next in-house event celebrating the recently finished refit or put the Conker championships in your diary- held at the end of the summer for kids and the adults that never grew up.