Sussex; A Tryanuary Snapshot

A few weeks back I signed up as a volunteer to help the Tryanuary campaign as the Local Champion for Sussex. Tryanuary won’t be for everyone but if you are looking to try something new in 2018 then it’s a great resource to point you in the direction of breweries, pubs, beers old & new and some special events. I can often be seen flying the flag for the Sussex beer scene and figured that the campaign would be a great way to kick the year off. Luckily the local scene has been keen to get involved too, with special beers and events in the making. You can check the Tryanuary website and social media channels for updates, but to help promote the brewers and pubs who’re getting involved in this year’s campaign I wanted to help you to get to know them a bit better, so to accompany the new beers and the events that are being organised I asked the same four questions to those who’re taking part. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Jordan Mower, Unbarred 

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1. Please introduce yourself and your business
My obsession with beer started with home brewing. I spent nearly every week trying to perfect an IPA. With the help of Al from Top Notch I registered my 50L kit as a brewery from the summer house in my garden and won the Best of show with a cask of my “Benchmark” at the Sussex Beer Festival. I then worked for a local brewery and continued to brew UnBarred on evenings and weekends. I soon became the Head Brewer and did my IBD course in brewing. I now work full time as UnBarred Brewery from Missing Link Brewing in East Grinstead. A collective of brewers that can brew what they want with no restrictions with the highest quality control. I also do some consulting and love working with other breweries.

2. How did you get into the world of beer?
I first grew my passion for beers when I wanted to have a go at home brewing. I needed to do a lot of “market research” and try all the beers I could find that inspired me. It was then I grew a passion for hop forward and Belgian style beers. You can see how they have influenced the beers I make today. I took test batches to local breweries and festivals to get as much feedback as I could so I could get better. My obsessive mind couldn’t turn off from dialling in my process and creating new beers to push my own skill set.

3. What’s your desert island beer?
If I could only drink one beer and was stuck on an island it would probably be Jaipur by Thornbridge Brewery. It was one of the first beers that really got me excited about brewing. All the fruit flavours from hops that weren’t very common in the English beer scene at the time. It’s perfectly balanced with a good kick at 5.9%.

4. How would you describe the Sussex beer scene right now?
Every evolving and exciting. I’ve been distributing to Mad About Malts from Holland. They literally drive over just for the beers in the Sussex scene and the Dutch locals are loving them! It’s amazing how much diversity Sussex has to offer, from traditional cask to breaking new science. We have so much to offer.

Jordan is collaborating with Al from Top-Notch to bring Sussex a one-off Tryanuary NE IPA full of Orange, Beetroot and Ginger.

Find out more about Jordan and Unbarred beers on the brewery website: http://www.unbarredbrewery.com/


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1. Please introduce yourself and your business

I’m Brook and with my wife Holly we are Brolly Brewing Ltd. The brewery name came about through friends of ours who used to call us Brolly when talking about us as a couple. We’re a 1BBL brewery based on a farm just outside of Wisborough Green. We brew at weekends and sometimes late at night as we both work in London full time. We brew traditional styles but also have a passion for more modern, hop-forward beers. These are quite tricky to brew on our very basic kit but with a little time and effort we get there. Our core beers are Lowfold Wissy 3.8% ABV which is a Sussex style bitter, C.O.W. 4.8% ABV a very hazy and hoppy pale with 20% Oats. We also produce an oatmeal porter called Aurora Brollyalis 6% ABV and we’re about to launch our first NEIPA for Tryanuary which is 5% ABV and doesn’t have a name as yet.

2. How did you get into the world of beer?

I grew up in a pub and my first experience of beer was drinking the drip-trays when my father wasn’t looking. They were at about head-height so I was very young indeed! I always wanted to brew but until I moved out the pub I wasn’t able to. I’ve been home brewing for years and also founded the Horsham Homebrew Club which meets every month at Darkstar’s Anchor Tap in Horsham.

3. What’s your desert island beer?

My desert island beer is very tricky indeed, I don’t think I can chose as it depends on so many factors. So imagining I’m actually on a desert island with the sun beating down I’d probably go for any NEIPA produced by Other Half brewery, Brooklyn.

4. How would you describe the Sussex beer scene right now?

I think the beer scene in Sussex is fantastic, we’re blessed with some great breweries and incredible pubs. I’ve also seen so many pubs close over the past few years, it’s awful to see them go as once they’ve gone they never come back. The micro-pubs that have subsequently appeared are a real inspiration. Worthing’s micropubs are doing a great job and they’ve managed to create their own beer scene where you know you’ll find great beer and hospitality.

Brook is currently brewing up a special NE IPA for January. He and the Brolly beers can be found at The Kings Head in Billingshurst on the 27th January along with Gary from Kissingate for a double Tap Takeover and Meet the Brewer event. 

Keep up to date with Brolly Brewing on Facebook & Twitter


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1. Please introduce yourself and your business

We are John Azzopardi and Aaron Burns, as of April 2017 we are the owners of The Brooksteed.

2. How did you get into the world of beer?

Before The Brooksteed, we owned and operated Gin & Bear It pop up gin bar, however like all sensible people we have always been fans of drinking beer. We got properly into the world of beer when the Watchmakers Arms micropub opened around the corner from our home. We were so impressed with the idea and their amazing hospitality that we couldn’t help but drinking there as often as possible. It was the owners of the Watchmakers that helped us with our decision to purchase the Brooksteed

3. What’s your desert island beer?

This changes from week to week but currently it is Unbarred’s Vanilla & Blackberry Ice-cream beer.

4. How would you describe the Sussex beer scene right now?

The Sussex beer scene right now is buzzing. There has never been a better time to be involved in the world of beer. With so many Sussex breweries around we are spoiled for choice and with so many new and innovative brewers we are faced with massive choice. Our greatest problem is finding the space to stock it all!

The Brooksteed will be hosting a series of Meet the Brewer events throughout January, including Ascension Cider, Vibrant Forest, Kiln Brewery and Unbarred, see the Tryanuary website for more details.  

Keep up to date with The Brooksteed on Facebook & Twitter


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1. Please introduce yourself and your business

Hi I’m Wayne Frost Business Development Manager at Weltons Ltd. I’m responsible for sales, marketing, strategic partnerships, quality sampling and chief scrounger. As for the business, Ray Welton has been brewing for 22 years now and brews a whole host of different beers (We never re-badge any beers). Ray brews sixty plus different beers a year and knows the industry inside out.

2. How did you get into the World of beer.

It was through a mutual friend (the old landlord of the Kings Arms Billingshurst) Chris. I’ve been drinking Ray’s Old Cocky since 2003 and Chris suggested that I had a chat with Ray and the rest is history. Both of us are rugby and beer nuts and hit it off straight away. Now I had been fortunate to had travelled extensively whilst working for a publisher and had seen the early rise of the American craft scene in 2002 (gone were the days of saying s..t not another bloody Sam Adams or Bud, but yes I’m off to the states to try some newbies)and had spent a lot of time in Germany and Belgium. I used to ferret out new beers where ever I could. To date I have tried over 5,000 beers worldwide so you could say I have a little knowledge and a lot of passion for the industry.

3. What’s your desert island beer.

Well I’m going to have two, my first is De Struise Black Albert and my second is Weltons Dr French’s Old Remedy (Tomintoul cask aged). Both of them are so complex and a joy to drink.

4. How would you describe the Sussex beer scene right now.

There’s been a lot of new breweries open over the past three years. When someone mentions Sussex beer to me, I immediately think of ‘Old’. No one does an Old like this county and I particularly like the way Ray primes ours with molasses. We are in challenging times and where as I believe we will see a few more breweries close, I do believe it will level out. Certain breweries have carved a niche which is their strength. Weltons are known for our diverse range and this bodes well for the future. Let’s not forget Sussex has nationwide celebrated brands such as Dark Star and Burning Sky, it also has Harveys, that grand old lady. Sussex beer scene, nah nothing going on here 😉

Weltons have brewed a Tryanuary Single Hop First Gold IPA which will be available in pubs from January 1st. It can also be tried at the brewery’s first pub night of the year on January 5th from 18:30 

Find out more about Weltons beers on Twitter or at the brewery website: http://www.weltonsbeer.co.uk/w/


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1.Please introduce yourself and your business

Al Maddock – Owner and part-time brewer at the Nano Top-Notch Brewing Co (1BBL). Top-Notch brewing commercially since 2013 – Look out for some great beers in this 5th anniversary year!

2. How’d you get into the world of beer?

Born out of a passion for home brewing in the pursuit of perfect hoppiness!

3. What’s your desert island beer?

Siren Craft Brew “Middle Finger Discount” collaboration DIPA with To Øl from Denmark – 7.2% Mosaic juiciness on cedar! Would last longer on a dessert island!

4. How would you describe the Sussex beer scene right now?

Awesome! – Over 80 breweries developing and promoting great beer – Something for everyone, driving quality and innovation.

Al is collaborating with Jordan from Unbarred to bring Sussex a one-off Tryanuary NE IPA full of Orange, Beetroot and Ginger.

Keep up to date by following Top-Notch on Twitter and find out more about the beers at the brewery website: http://www.topnotchbrewing.co.uk


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1. Please introduce yourself and your business

My name is James Brett and I currently run The Jolly Brewer pub on Ditchling Road, Brighton. I have run pubs, mostly in Brighton, for about 20 years, and have always liked the look of the Jolly Brewer as an interesting building in a good area. We took over the pub in mid October and it was fairly uncared for and neglected. With a limited budget we have tried to make as many improvements as possible without spoiling the lovely character of the pub. Our approach is to provide quality ales and craft keg beers mostly from Sussex, and a range of lagers and familiar beers to avoid excluding those who just like a pint of Grolsh! We have three cask ales including Jolly Brewer Best which is brewed for us in Sussex and is available all the time, and a continuously changing selection on the other two pumps. We also have 4 craft keg taps, again focusing on Sussex brewers with the occasional ‘guest’ from further afield. We hope to take the pub on a permanent basis and continue our improvements to the pub, and extend our beer range.

2. How’d you get into the world of beer?

I got into beer by trying different bottles and cans with my dad (a very long time ago) when there was a much smaller choice, then got into discovering the ale pubs of Brighton whilst at University. I inevitably ended up working in a pub as a bar cellerman, and was fortunate enough to work for a very old school landlord who taught me how to look after beer properly! As I moved on and ran my own pubs I discovered the variety of different styles, did the usual brewery tours, and began to explore the world of Belgian Beers. I have experimented with a bit of home brewing, with varying results, but leave that to the experts now!

3.What’s your desert island beer?

It’s very hard to choose a desert island beer that you will have to live with forever as there are now so many to choose from! I think I would go for the first beer I tried that made me appreciate the power of hops which is Brewdog Punk IPA. I know its very commercial now but I still love it!

4. How would you describe the Sussex beer scene right now?

The Sussex beer scene is incredible right now. We are still discovering new brewers every other week, and there is so much good stuff being made! I have met some amazing people who are so passionate about their product and the whole scene. There is a lot of comradeship and support between brewers which is great to see too. It has been great to see some of the bigger traditional brewers challenged and given a wake-up call too!

The Jolly Brewer is joining the NYE launch of ABYSS brewey’s Tryanuary Mango Milk IPA and is planning an alternative Burns Night and a Meet the Brewer event with Lost Pier. Check the pub’s Twitter for updates. 

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