Tagged: sussex country pubs

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