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Winter walks, tasty food, refreshing drinks – what’s not to love about this time of year?

 

This is a much-maligned time of year, but it’s always worth noting that the warmest welcomes await in your favourite Sussex pubs. There’s something wonderfully welcoming about a pub that offers a superb range of drinks, some mouth-watering food and a crackling log fire.

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we like to think of our establishment as a sanctuary from the elements in the cooler months. Judging by the smiles on the faces of our customers when they step in from the cold, we know that we’re not alone. When the temperature drops outside, there’s nothing quite like time spent at the best place to eat in Sussex.

 

Our location has a lot to do with the welcome we can offer, of course. Fulking is an extremely pretty English village, and the fact that the celebrated South Downs National Park is all around us simply adds to the sense of wonder. On a weekend lunchtime, nothing beats a long walk in the countryside with the dog, followed of course by some suitable refreshments.

 

Head outside for exercise, then inside for relaxation!

 

England’s newest national park – it was formally established in 2010 – covers around 1,600 square kilometres, and it’s home to some exceptionally impressive walks. For many of our regulars in the winter, a wander through the rural beauty of the park simply has to be followed by a pint or two of real ale and a hearty hot meal.

 

One of the nicest things about local walks is that the terrain is either extremely flat or it often tends to rise gently. Thanks to this, long walks can be enjoyed by families with young children, without the kids getting tired too soon. If a wonderful meal awaits at the end of it, a rural Sussex gastropub will fit the bill perfectly.

 

There are many good restaurants in Brighton and Hove, of course, but there are times when you just have to get away from the city for a while instead. The air is crisp and fresh in Fulking, especially in the winter, making this area the perfect location for some well-earned escape.

 

The Shepherd & Dog is the perfect place for winter relaxation, whether you’re eating, drinking or simply watching the world go by.

Five ways to make the office Christmas party a big success

 

At this time of year, thoughts turn to how best to turn the works Christmas party into an unforgettable event. There are a number of ways to make it a special occasion, of course, but perhaps the most important issue is the choice of venue. Moving the event away from the workplace is key, because it allows party-goers to relax more. Here are five reasons to choose the Shepherd & Dog.

 

  1. Make sure the food is fantastic

 

Whether your event involves a sit-down meal or perhaps a running buffet, the quality of the food is a hugely important factor. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are a must, as is a choice of options to make sure every taste is catered for. Don’t forget there will be some people who have specific dietary needs. Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we specialise in the type of fine dining Sussex has become famous for.

 

  1. Offer a wide range of drinks

 

During the yuletide festivities, drinks can be as important as food, of course. If you’re organising a Christmas party for the office, the chances are you will need to think about the needs of a diverse group of people. Be sure to offer an extensive range of beers, wines and spirits, not to mention soft drinks for those all-important designated drivers. Needless to say, a choice of teas, coffees and indulgent hot chocolate is also a must.

 

  1. Never underestimate the importance of atmosphere

 

The atmosphere at any Christmas party is crucial, and sometimes it’s so good you barely notice its existence at all. If you have music playing, it’s best to make it noticeable but not overly intrusive. Your chosen playlist should be familiar to the majority of party-goers, and of course you should include a smattering of festive classics. Merry Christmas, Everybody!

 

  1. Tell us what you want

 

Christmas parties at the Shepherd & Dog are always events to remember, and over the years we have become used to providing the customers with what they want. If you’re planning a special occasion with us, be sure to talk us through the details of the celebration. If there’s anything we can do to make it extra special, feel free to shout.

 

  1. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

 

Sometimes, being the party organiser can be a thankless task. Everyone seems to have their own ideas about how to make it a special occasion, and the one who has to do the donkey work often finds it more stressful than celebratory. With our help, the organiser can relax from the start and enjoy the occasion just as much as everyone else.

 

Happy Christmas!

 

The Shepherd & Dog plays host to a significant number of Christmas parties every year. If you’re thinking of joining us at this special time of year, get in touch today for more information.

Autumn drinks to warm the cockles of the heart

 

Autumn is upon us and there will be times in the coming weeks and months when an ice cold lager may not appear to be as welcoming as it did in July. For many of our regulars, this is a time that’s more about the warmth of the welcome than the chill of the wine, so here are a few drinks ideas to help you to keep out the cold.

 

Foaming pints of bitter

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we serve an extensive range of bitters, ranging from familiar names to lesser known craft beers from across the globe. And while bitter remains popular throughout the year, it becomes the number one choice for many more people as soon as September comes to an end. One of the best things about exploring various bitters from different brewers is the subtle taste differences from one to the next.

 

Irish coffee

 

While many of us would think of coffee as a mid-morning boost or a pleasant way to finish a meal, an Irish coffee is something a little more different. In essence it’s a cocktail that provides a wonderfully warm feeling from the first taste to the last. It generally consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey and sugar, topped off with a thick layer of cream. The secret is to drink it slowly through the cream.

 

Mulled wine

 

While many people associate mulled wine with Christmas, there’s no reason for anyone to wait till December to enjoy its delicious taste. Served warm or sometimes piping hot, it’s usually made with red wine and a selection of spices. One of the more pleasing aspects of this drink is that there’s no definitive recipe, so a glass of mulled wine can often be something of a pleasant surprise.

 

Hot buttered rum

 

Hot buttered rum

 

This is one of the more indulgent winter drinks. There are a number of variations which can be added to the standard ingredients list of rum, butter, hot water and spices. A thick slice of orange peel is a good addition, and some people like to replace the hot water with hot cider instead. In the USA, this is a particularly popular winter drink.

 

The ultimate hot chocolate

 

Hot chocolate is guaranteed to bring you a lovely warm feeling just when you need it most, and to satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. For added luxury, try making it with a mixture of double cream and milk, and be sure to add a generous sprinkling of marshmallows before serving. Grated chocolate on the top completes the indulgence.

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we serve a tempting range of hot and cold drinks to bring you the ultimate autumn experience. Our bar and restaurant provide the perfect location for autumnal relaxation.

 

Time to celebrate all things German at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

 

Oktoberfest has become synonymous with drinking, eating and all-round good times in the UK in recent years, and as you probably know the roots of this cultural phenomenon lie in Germany. What you may not know, however, is the sheer scale of modern-day Oktoberfest celebrations.

 

The original, and still the largest, event takes place every year in Munich. It attracts somewhere around six million visitors from all over Germany and across the world. In 2013, more than 7.5 million litres of beer were consumed over the 16-day period, not to mention a huge range of traditional German food items, including:

 

  • Hendl (roast chicken)
  • Brezen (pretzels)
  • Schweinsaxe (ham hock)
  • Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes)
  • Steckerlfisch (grilled fish served on sticks)

 

The start and finish dates of Oktoberfest in Munich will change slightly from year to year, but since German reunification it has been timed to include German Unity Day, which is celebrated on October 3rd. As well as food and drink, the event also includes fun fair rides, stalls, games and a variety of street entertainers.

 

A little slice of Germany in rural Sussex

 

While there’s nothing quite like being in Munich during this spectacular occasion, the next best thing is to experience one of the many British Oktoberfest events instead. On Sunday 5th October, the Shepherd & Dog are hosting a day that celebrates German culture mixed in with a traditional Sussex welcome. A day that features mouth-watering food and superb beers in a glorious rural pub deserves to be on every wish-list.

 

The first Oktoberfest events as we know them today were held in the early 19th century to celebrate the wedding of Kronprinz Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildurghausen in 1810. The original festivities were centred on horse races which attracted thousands of people from across southern Germany.

 

There are a number of important links between Sussex and Germany. The Brighton Pavilion was built at the behest of King George IV, a prominent monarch from the House of Hanover. Many Sussex towns, including Hastings, Lewes, Uckfield, Crawley and Hassocks, are twinned with German locations.

 

If you’re keen to find out why German food and drink has become so popular at this time of year, be sure to visit the Shepherd & Dog for Oktoberfest. There is something wonderful about superb food and iconic craft beers when they’re enjoyed in a beautiful rural setting. This promises to be an occasion not to be missed.

 

The Shepherd & Dog’s Oktoberfest celebrations are to be held on Sunday October 5th.

Broaden your craft beer horizons with us

Craft Beers

 

In recent years, the popularity of craft beers has risen and risen, and it’s so easy to see why. The days when the only beers we could find were made by a handful of large breweries are long gone, and consumers are now able to choose from a huge range of suppliers of all shapes and sizes. It really is all about variety now.

 

A large number of micro-breweries have been created over the past couple of decades in all parts of the world, and the discerning consumer is now blessed with a superb range of craft beers to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a stout from Staffordshire, a bitter from Belfast or even a porter from Pennsylvania, the chances are you’ll be able to find it somewhere.

 

One of the more intriguing aspects of craft beers is the subtlety of flavours that can be savoured. The final taste of a beer is dependent on a number of things, such as the ingredients included and the brewing process that’s used. Those in the trade will tell you all about the importance of the water source, because it’s often the water that makes a crucial difference.

 

Travel the world of craft beer without leaving Sussex!

 

Craft beers offer delicious flavours, subtle after-tastes and a chance to explore a whole new world of pleasure. The Shepherd and Dog Summer Beer Festival provides the perfect excuse for exploration, with almost sixty different offerings from around the world to try.

 

The extensive range of breweries featured at the event includes Hawkshead Brewery from the Lake District, Hacker-Pschorr from Munich, Kona Brewing Company from Hawaii and Lervig Aktiebryggeri from Stavanger in Norway. If you’re planning a world tour of beer, you can do it from our garden!

 

The festival brings you bottled, keg and cask beers from across the globe, and is accompanied by live music sessions and of course a superb range of foods to add to the occasion. If you’re keen to find out more about the wonderful world of craft beer, come along and enjoy every single drop.

 

The Shepherd & Dog Summer Beer Festival runs from Friday 25 to Monday 28 August.

 

A Sussex Country Gastro Pub

sussex country pubs, brighton gastropub

 

 

We are most definitely a “GastroPub”.  Fine dining in a great country pub atmosphere is what we’re all about, but where did the term Gastro Pub come from?

Well, pencils at the ready all you pub quiz types because this is good hostelry trivia coming your way.

The term “gastropub” was originally coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over The Eagle pub in   Clerkenwell in London.  It was a time when the country was going through a bad recession and a lot of struggling pubs were going under.  To try and stand out from the crowd, Eyre and Relben had the idea of keeping the casual pub atmosphere while serving the kind of Mediterranean-inspired fare you’d find in a good restaurant along with cask ales.  So they brought gastronomic dining to the local – hence the name.

Brighton GastroPub for Fine Dining

The idea proved such a success that the concept breathed new life into the great British pub and the rest, as they say, is history.  And just to prove its here to stay, in August 2012, “gastropub” was added to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

So if you’re in Sussex or Brighton and fancy some fine dining, then swing by – our gastro pub credentials are definitley worth checking out.

Top 10 Cocktails in the UK This Summer

sussex pub cocktails

 

OK all – time to raise the tone a little.  We’ve had a good time talking about the beer,  but let’s add a little class and sophistication to these ramblings and talk cocktails!

Over the summer we have actually had some good weather.  Things weren’t looking good through June and July, but August has rescued what threatened to be a soggy season (provided you stayed out of the wind).  This showing of the big yellow thing in the sky led many to be a little more adventurous with their beverages, and test the skills of many bar staff in Sussex Country pubs by asking for such delights as an Apple Lush (I’m sure that’s a band I used to be in?).

And now, as the season begins to wane, we have a definitive list of the top 10 cocktails consumed across the nation over the last few weeks.  The list is produced by:

https://www.cocktail.uk.com/cocktails/topten/rated

So it has an air of authority, and who are we to argue with those who clearly have nothing better to do that publish random lists to do with booze.

THE TOP 10 ARE,……….

  1.          Strawberry Daiquiri
  2.          Black Russian  Rated
  3.          Long Island Iced Tea
  4.         Margarita
  5.         Mojito
  6.        Pina Colada
  7.        Cosmopolitan
  8.        Sex on the beach
  9.        Apple Lush
  10.        Last of the Architects

 

And for the curious and more adventurous among you, this is how you make an……

Apple Lush:

Ingredients:

2 parts Vodka, 2 parts Apple juice, top up Ginger beer, pinch of Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Shake vodka and Apple juice (it is best to use 1 part Apple puree and 1 part Apple juice) together with ice
  2. Pour into an iced Collins glass and top up with Ginger beer
  3. Garnish with a slice of apple sprinkled with cinnamon
dog walkers pubs in sussex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not so sure about it myself………

The Beer Prayer

sussex country pubFollowing along from the theme of my last post – As many regulars will know, attendance at the bar in a Sussex Country Pub like the Shepherd and Dog  can be become what can only be described as sacred duty for those who take their drinking seriously.  So when I came across the following it took me back to the heady days of my youth, when I had the pleasure of travelling in a sky blue uniform that required me to drink in bars around the world in the service of Queen and Country.

At many of the more formal occasions this would be recited by a man of the cloth in addition to the normal prayers and set the tone for what inevitably turned in to a bit of a session.

Enjoy………….

Our lager,
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink,
Thy will be drunk,
(I will be drunk),
At home as I am in the tavern.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillages,
As we forgive those who spill against us,
and lead us not to incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers,
For thine is the beer,
The bitter and the lager,
Forever and ever,
Barmen.

country pubs in sussex

The Goddess Of Beer – And No – It’s Not The Barmaid

country pubs in sussex

I know of several candidates who consider themselves God’s gift when it comes to beer, but I have recently come across evidence that in ancient times the heavenly brew was in fact the purview of a Goddess.

The ancient Sumerians counted among their most revered Deities the Goddess of Beer – Ninkasi.  As evidence of this an ancient hymn to Ninkasi was written some 4000 years ago, and as well as being the lovelorn ramblings of an early boozer, it contains the recipe for the Middle Eastern beverage of the time.

The Hymn provides wonderful evidence of the fact that beer was in fact a staple of the culture of that time around Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and archaeologists have also discovered chemical traces of beer in a fragmented jar dating from the mid-fourth century BC.  At the same site they also found evidence for early wine-making and it is thought that the idea of brewing beer arose from baking, perhaps discovered from the fermentation process that was seen with grains that had been left out too long.

As only fresh water was used in making beer, and it had to be boiled as part of the process, it may have been a case that, quite by accident, they discover it was healthier to drink than the water from the local canals which could be polluted by human and animal waste. The beer also contained nutrients other drinks didn’t and when included as part of a staple diet of the Mesopatamians, they realised they felt better, and not just because of the alcohol.  From the evidence of art works also found throughout the region dating from ancient times, it’s clear that beer was consumed daily in great quantities by the people.  No wonder they gave prayers of thanks to Ninkasi.

http://shepherdanddogpub.co.uk/

So there you have it – official confirmation that the ladies of the bar at not in fact encroaching on a traditional male domain, but are simply re-claiming their ancient rights as the heavenly appointed village boozers –  but we kind of knew that already ;0}

http://www.ancient.eu/article/222/

What is a Craft Beer?

sussex country pubs

As we continue to sample the samples for the Craft Beer festival at the end of Aug someone asked the sensible question – what actually is a craft beer?

This was quite a shock – not the question itself, but the fact anyone was able to be anything close to sensible by that point.  Anyway, now that the head’s cleared a bit – here goes……….

It’s Not Clear – Obviously!

Defining what qualifies as a craft beer can actually be quite difficult.  I think the best definition I’ve seen is:

‘craft beer’ as beer made by a brewer that is small, independent, and traditional’

But as Craft beers become more popular there are quite a few hitting the market that might not fit neatly into this description, especially as the term “traditional” is open to interpretation.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2015/aug/27/can-craft-beer-really-be-defined-were-about-to-find-out

Independent breweries appreciate the freedom to be able to use whatever ingredients they like to get those extra special flavours, but this might mean using more modern innovations such as coffee grounds or even chilli’s.  So would this mean they are not classed as “traditional”.

Also, one of the big chains might invest in a small brewery but allow it to carry on growing and producing excellent beer without corporate interference, but it’s no longer independent.

And if sales are good, a small brewery will grow – that’s just good business – but it can stay true to its brewing methods and keep producing the beers that made it popular in the first place.

Ideal for Sussex Country Pubs

So I think the real test of whether a beer can truly be called “Craft” has to be in the taste.  When beers are mass produced decisions are made about ingredients used and brewing techniques employed that have a lot to do with keeping the output high, and this is reflected in the flavour of the final product.  When the time and effort is spent on making a beer that bit special, allowing certain flavours to develop, it really shows.  When the big breweries pile in and try and make versions of Craft Beers that really don’t tick the boxes any seasoned beer drinker can tell the difference straight away – quality will always win out.

http://shepherdanddogpub.co.uk/

So come along to our good old Sussex Country Pub on the 26th – 29th Aug, get your taste buds around a selection of the Craft Beers on offer and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.  By the end of the evening you might even agree with most of the staff here – who cares about a sensible question!