A warm autumn welcome awaits you at the Shepherd & Dog

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we’ve enjoyed a wonderful summer in 2018, full of long, lazy days under blue skies and warm evenings that sometimes never seemed to end. Our idyllic little corner of Sussex, like just about everywhere else in the UK, really has had a summer to remember this year.

 

As the autumn season is now upon us, we take comfort in the fact that our Sussex gastropub is just as wonderful and just as welcoming in October as it is in June. While we might see fewer customers savouring an al fresco pie and a pint in the garden at this time of year, there’s still plenty to enjoy inside.

 

We’re lucky that the rightly popular South Downs National Park is right on our doorstep, and of course a picturesque masterpiece like this becomes uniquely attractive as the colours of autumn start to emerge. As a result, we always have a steady stream of ramblers, hikers and dog walkers coming through our doors.

 

Come in from the cold, make friends with the warm

 

On days when the weather is at its worst in both the autumn and winter seasons, a warm welcome can always be found here. There’s something wonderfully reassuring about a hearty hello, a crackling log fire and a sumptuous hot meal, especially if you’re just coming in out of the storm.

 

We are always fully aware of the fact that when it comes to fine dining Sussex foodies have a wide range of eateries to choose from. We’ve always worked hard to become something of a haven for diners in recent years, and we now enjoy a reputation for culinary journeys which are always enjoyable.

 

Needless to say, many of our customers pop in for a drink or two rather than to sit down and eat. We serve a great selection of craft beers these days, so we’ve become used to newly arriving customers taking a minute or two before deciding what to order. Variety is the spice of life, after all!

 

The Shepherd & Dog is one of the finest rural pubs in Sussex. We’re based in the picturesque village of Fulking.

Four reasons why locally-sourced produce is a speciality at the Shepherd & Dog

 

Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we take great pride in the fact that we source a significant proportion of our food ingredients and produce from local suppliers. There are a number of excellent reasons to think more in terms of ‘going local’ these days, and we continue to support as many businesses in our region as we can. Here are four good reasons for doing so.

 

  1. Boosting the local economy

 

Here in the south-east, well away from the hustle and bustle of London, we are fortunate to be in a region that plays host to a large number of independent suppliers. From fishing fleets along the Sussex coast to remote farms in the South Downs National Park and all points in between, we’re able to provide much-needed business to a great range of highly-respected organisations.

 

  1. Keeping a close eye on quality

 

By engaging with local suppliers on a regular basis, our kitchen team is able to monitor quality at all times. We can liaise directly with suppliers as and when we need, and this close contact is a major help in maintaining good, mutually beneficial relationships with butchers, bakers, farmers and just about everyone else. We see this as a very important aspect of providing the type of fine dining Sussex can be proud of.

 

  1. Helping the environment

 

We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously, as evidenced by our recycling programmes which cover materials such as glass, cardboard, cans, plastic and vegetable waste. Our commitment to local suppliers is also an important factor, because it cuts down on the pollution caused by the long distance journeys carried out by national providers.

 

  1. Pride in what we ALL do

 

The Shepherd & Dog is an important hub in the local community, and we are understandably proud of our idyllic rural location and our links to businesses in the region. We genuinely enjoy the role we play in the supply chain of produce sourced in Sussex and the surrounding area, and in the coming years we plan to cultivate more relationships that bring rewards to all of us. We’re rightly seen as one of the finest gastropubs in Sussex, and we have many local suppliers to thank for that.

 

 

The Shepherd & Dog is a large country pub in the South Downs National Park. We are regarded by many as the best place to eat in Sussex, so come along and see for yourself why we remain so popular.

 

The perfect spot for a wonderful family lunch

 

During those long, lovely days of summer, there are few things more enjoyable, more fulfilling and more rewarding than family time. Spending a few precious hours with loved ones can be life-affirming, especially when everyone has the opportunity to relax and forget all about the pressures of everyday life.

 

Here in the south-east of England, there are plenty of things to see and do when you have a family get-together, and one of the finest activities is a long walk in the sunshine followed by a mouth-watering pub lunch. The Shepherd & Dog is in a prime location for walkers, with the spectacular South Downs right on our doorstep.

 

And when it’s time to settle back and savour the type of fine dining Sussex has become famous for, what will you choose from our extensive menu? There’s something for everyone to enjoy here, ranging from tasty light bites to hearty main courses and all points in between.

 

So many temptations to choose from…

 

Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional favourite with a twist (perhaps line-caught cod and hand cut chips) or you fancy trying something a little different (how does pumpkin, ginger and potato rosti sound?), you can find it right here. These are the type of lunch options that make you want to stay awhile and soak up the ambience.

 

A lunch menu has to have something to suit all tastes for a large family group, with options for vegans and vegetarians, and of course for those with intolerances and allergies. Here at the Shepherd & Dog, we have a menu that appeals to everyone, and we’re understandably proud of the fact that so many of our customers come back to us time and time again.

 

There are a number of superb Sussex gastropubs in our area, but very few of them can boast a large garden in the heart of a celebrated National Park. At weekends and during school holidays, we welcome many large family groups as they seek refreshment after a long walk in the surrounding countryside. Sometimes nothing beats a few drinks and a delicious meal when you need a little rest and recuperation.

 

The Shepherd & Dog is a lovely Sussex gastropub with a great reputation for fine dining and a warm welcome. Come and see us soon and discover for yourself why we remain so popular.

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