Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A Worthing Wander

The beer scene is moving fast with new microbreweries opening up all the time.  Traditional pubs may still be closing but new bars and micropubs seem to be springing up to take their place in certain parts.  Sometimes you need to throw away your beer guides and look for the more recently opened establishments and Worthing is a classic example of this.  Five years ago it was not a beery destination at all.  Now you can't go wrong by following the trail I did last night.  These are all top class beer bars and the very best that Worthing has to offer whatever your beer guide may say.

Arriving at Worthing station head due south down Oxford Road.  Turn right when you come to T junction before taking the next left to keep heading for the sea.  Eventually, after about a kilometre, you come to West Buildings which is home to Anchored, one of the smallest micropubs I have been in.  If you reach the sea you have missed it so turn round.  Anchored took a while to take off but it now has a loyal following and I can see why.  Three beers from Sussex micros will always be found and last night I had a choice between Downlands IPA, Ballards Best Bitter and Baseline Czech Me Out.  Sussex now has over 40 micros and the walls are adorned with all the hundreds of beers that have been enjoyed here over the past 18 months.  It's a narrow bar with five or six tall wooden tables with bench seating down the sides and it can probably seat about twenty people if everybody breathes in at the same time.  Enjoy your beer and join in the conversation.  A great start to the evening for me with a pint of Czech Me Out (4.9% ABV) and only £3.20 a pint too.  A rich dark smooth beer full of dark fruit flavours served in perfect condition.  

From Anchored I headed to the seafront and turned left.  Just past the pier you come to the Wandering Goose, a craft beer bar that has been so popular there will soon be a Goose Two opening up which is good news indeed.  This was my first visit to this GBG-listed bar and it was lively with quite a young crowd.  There are tables outside at the front which I'm sure will be full in a few months but inside there was a nice warming fire in the front room that was brightened up by the red panelling.  You head down a few steps to the lower room where you find the bar.  This lower room has green panelling as well as some interesting cinema seating which blends in well with the overall decor.  There is wood everywhere.  As well as the painted wooden panelling the floors, tables and seats are all wooden.  The bar is not quite so traditional with just a couple of handpumps serving beer tonight from the excellent Tiny Rebel and Burning Sky breweries.  The choice of craft keg was plentiful with beers from Meantime, Weird Beard, Kernel, Partizan, Tiny Rebel, Lagunitas and Camden to name the majority.  I tried a sample of Weird Beard Ninja (5.5% ABV) before ordering a pint.  After ordering though I did suddenly think 'crap, how much is this going to cost me' as craft keg in nearby Brighton is overpriced but it was only £4.10 so no complaints.  I love Weird Beard in bottles, especially the gorgeous Hit The Lights.  This one was a citra pilsner which added some interesting citrussy and tropical fruit flavours which came through despite the low temperature.  A nice crisp refreshing beer.

It was time to wave goodbye to the sea as I headed back inland past a couple of Wetherspoons.  I then turned right down Lyndhurst Road and just before reaching the hospital you come to the Selden Arms.  This traditional pub has a single area that wraps around the central bar in a horseshoe shape and it has long been the mainstay for beer lovers in Worthing and it still is well worth checking out although tonight it was empty, in contrast to the other places.  Are we seeing the demise of the traditional pub?  Craft bars and micropubs seem to have no problem attracting midweek drinkers so what is going on here?  Last night the Selden Arms had beer from Burning Sky, Kissingate, Cotleigh, Kent Brewery and Downlands as well as a good selection of traditional ciders, Belgian and German bottled beers and craft keg so what's not to like?  Well I went for the Burning Sky Plateau, a 3.5% ABV beer that for me would normally get a 10/10 rating.  Not so last night, not quite on form sadly so a little disappointing.  

Finally I headed back towards the station.  My final stop required walking past the station and heading over the railway line up South Farm Road to the latest Worthing micropub, the Brooksteed Alehouse.  This is larger than Anchored with seating for about 45.  This is my favourite pub in Worthing for many reasons and the number one reason is the quality of the beer.  They normally sell four or five beers (both local and national microbreweries) direct from the stillage in the cool room visible through the inner window.  I drink here most weeks and it always serves a perfect pint.  Last night the choice was half local with beer from Brighton Bier and Isfield and from further afield there was Tiny Rebel and New Bristol.  I chose the Brighton Bier Black Thirty Three (3.3% ABV) which was absolutely magnificent.  A low ABV hoppy black classic full of flavour.  A perfect end to an excellent evening of great beer in the best bars and pubs that Worthing has to offer.


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