We love our perfect South Downs location

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we’re understandably proud of our location right in the heart of the South Downs National Park. This is a truly beautiful part of the world, and it’s one that lends itself perfectly to the gentle art of relaxation. Whether you’re in the area for long, lonely rambles or a friendly stroll with the family, the chance to call in and see us surely shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

This is the UK’s newest National Park, having been given this official status in 2011, but of course the countryside that surrounds us has remained blissfully unspoilt for many centuries. If you’re ever in the mood for a VERY long walk, the South Downs Way runs from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east for a distance of around a hundred miles.

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we’ve been providing refreshments to walkers and ramblers for many decades, and we’re understandably proud of the welcome we offer to a diverse cross-section of people throughout the seasons. Our unique location in the picturesque village of Fulking places us in the ideal position to offer superb drinks and fine dining to locals and visitors from all over the world.

 

Proud to offer the evening dining Brighton people love

 

We enjoy a peaceful spot at the foot of the fabled Devil’s Dyke, a 100m deep valley which has been an important tourist attraction for a number of years. Of all the pubs in Sussex, we feel ours is in a truly fabulous location. Devil’s Dyke has an interesting mythology about it, having been named after an ancient tale concerning the digging of a ditch by the devil himself in order to flood the valley.

 

In Victorian times, Devil’s Dyke was a hugely popular tourist attraction, and was home to a fairground and a couple of bandstands. These days, you’re more likely to see paragliding enthusiasts looking to make the most of the winds, and many of them pop into the Shepherd & Dog after their adventures have come to a close for the day.

 

We offer a superb lunch menu here, and on summer days many of our patrons head into our large garden to make the most of the warm weather. When the evenings come around, our dinner menu tempts visitors from across the region, as our talented chefs create the type of fine dining Sussex has become increasingly famous for. Why not pay us a visit and find out for yourself?

 

The Shepherd & Dog is a large, friendly and welcoming pub and restaurant in the South Downs National Park. We pride ourselves on being one of the most iconic pubs in Sussex.

New Year, new you – healthy alternatives for drinkers

 

For some, the New Year represents a fresh start, a time to make a few lifestyle changes and perhaps to usher in a completely new person. This is the time of year when gyms and health clubs experience a major spike in popularity, of course, and when takeaway food outlets suffer a noticeable dip.

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we have always offered viable alternatives for those seeking to eat and drink more healthily. Complete abstinence is always an option, but in truth it ought to be remembered that life is for living. There’s a happy medium here, and it’s one that we’re always pleased to support. The fine dining Sussex has to offer is always a pleasure, at any time of the year.

 

It’s not difficult to swap your usual tipple for something a little more healthy. Red wine is a popular choice because it contains antioxidants which can be good for your heart, although if you’re counting the calories white wine is lower. As always, a couple of glasses now and again won’t cause too much harm to the diet.

 

Cocktails with care can make a big difference

 

If you’re a fan of cocktails, there are several ways to make your favourite drinks more beneficial to your health. A bloody Mary, for example, will be better for you if you use fresh tomato juice rather than the bottled variety. Sangria is a popular choice, especially at parties, but standard mixes often contain a significant amount of sugar. To alleviate this, multiply the fresh fruit content instead.

 

If you’re keen to drink more healthily, it’s always a good idea to think about the ingredients in your favourite cocktails. If they include syrup or sugar, it might be best to give them a wide berth. Even swapping tonic water, which is high in calories, with club soda can make a significant difference.

 

If you’re a beer drinker, you don’t need to give up altogether to get healthier. Many of those in the know switch to Guinness in order to cut the calories. The legendary Irish stout packs in fewer calories than most bitters and lagers, so turn to the black stuff if you’re looking to drink more wisely.

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we provide a huge variety of beers, spirits, wines and cocktails.

 

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!

The Cure for Everything – Except Hangovers!

With our Gin and jazz night coming up at the end of next week, I thought you might like to know a little more about the history of what for a long time was the nations favourite tipple.

A Sussex Country Pub Favourite

Sussex Country PubsYou might be surprised to learn that starting from humble beginnings, the old G&T has a long and really quite complicated history, filled with a level of intrigue, that belies its simple ingredients.

It’s thought that Gin was invented in the 16th century in Leiden, Holland by one Dr. Sylvius de Bouve.  It was originally prescribed as medical treatment said to aid circulation. It made its way to the UK, where, due largely to being cheap, it became the beverage of choice.  By 1750, over 11 million gallons were being downed by Londoners every year.  Eventually, the level of drinking became such a problem that a series of laws had to be introduced to  curb the general populations’ reliance on the spirit, and by the mid-19th century gin came to be considered a gentleman’s drink.

In 1857 the British Crown formally took over the government of India, and as Empire spread more Brits began to make their way to the subcontinent and other warm postings. They struggled with the ravages of malaria and boredom in tropical climates when some smart (and sweaty) colonial  figured out the cure for both of these evils – The Gin and Tonic.

http://qtonic.com/history.html

Purely Medicinal My Dear

At that time tonic water was infused heavily with quinine, which was an extract from the South American cinchona tree.  Known to locals as the “fever tree” because its bark was able to stop chills, cinchona bark was first brought to Europe in the 1640s when it was shown to both cure and prevent malaria.  So tonic water  became an essential part of Britain’s colonial expansion, even though its taste was bitter and harsh. Brits soon found that the addition of gin, sugar, ice, and citrus was the perfect way to temper the bitterness and make the cure palatable.   And as a bonus, the inclusion of limes prevented scurvy, which was always a problem during the long sea voyages to the postings.

 

The Modern Pub Version

Nowadays tonic water is much more palatable, with much smaller doses of quinine and more sweetening agents, making the G&T as popular as ever.  Quibble ass we may over the details (how much ice to use, lemon versus lime or cucumber, proper ratios etc.), we can all agree: the timeless gin and tonic really does seem to cure all ills.

Except hangovers, that is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gin_and_tonic

 

The Hills Are Alive – With Sussex Walkers

walkers pubs in sussex

 

Hope you read that title with the tune going on in your head!

Now we finally seem to be enjoying something like a summer, we’re really seeing more of you heading off up the hill to enjoy some of the spectacular scenery we’re blessed with around the pub.

While there are some really nice walks starting from the car park, we have the advantage of also being in easy reach of Devils Dyke (well, easy if you’ve got the legs for the climb up the hill).  So you’re not limited to just the dog walks or hikes around us here, there’s plenty of scope for roaming further afield and you can just use us as a base or a pit stop.

If you’re feeling energetic just head South out of the beer garden, climb up to the top of the Downs and you’re only half a mile from the Devils Dyke.   For the hardy souls walking along the South Downs Way (which runs along the escarpment just behind us) we’re an ideal place to drop down for a spot of lunch or a well earned pint.

Dog Friendly – Walker Friendly – And Just Plain Friendly

sussex country pub, dog friendly and walkers pubIf you do decide to stay,  the garden is coming into it’s own again in the fine weather.  It’s the ideal place to take a load off once you’ve clocked a few miles and dog Walkers and Hikers all get to appreciate the outdoor bar.  So whatever your plans for the day, its well worth stopping by.

For some walking ideas try:  http://shepherdanddogpub.co.uk/local-walks

or:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/activityandadventure/walkingholidays/8120709/Devils-Dyke-South-Downs-walk-of-the-week.html