I meet Mike at 9 am in the breakfast room. Not going to miss out on my morning ration of fried things.
We’ve a busy day, made busier because Mike forgot to hang on to a couple of bottles of Brewery Yard. He needs some as presents for later.
“Never turn up at a brewery empty handed.” He says wisely.
It means we have to rush off to East London to the site of tomorrow’s Goose Island Block Party. They’ve plenty of bottles there. The traffic is pretty bad. Not really much point saying that. Central London, during the day. Of course the traffic’s bad.
A couple of bottles of Brewery Yard in our hands, we pile into another cab to head over to Victoria Station, as that’s where the train to Lewes starts. It looks like it’ll take a while to get there as we’ll need to cross all of central London. The taxi driver tells us the traffic drives him nuts. Which is why we’ll be his last fare today. Odd occupation to choose, London cabbie, if the capital’s traffic is too much for you.
We decide to go to London Bridge Station instead and change further south to the Lewes train.
It’s a while since I’d been to London Bridge. Totally unrecognisable from what I remember. The station has been totally rebuilt. Not a bad thing, as it was pretty crap. Though they have placed the new ticket office in weirdly inconvenient spot miles from the entrance.
There’s quite a scrum when the train comes in, but I use the seat-grabbing skills I’ve learned from Dolores to get us three together. We haven’t even broken free from London’s embrace when Ken starts whacking out z’s. I can’t really blame him. He only flew in from the US yesterday.
I’m worried that we may be a little late when we roll into Lewes. I think I mentioned we’d turn up about midday. We rush through town but have to pause for breath when we reach the river. And get the first glimpse of Harvey’s. The perfect little red-brick tower brewery perched just above the river. It’s hard to imagine a more lovely scene.
I nip into the brewery shop and tell them I’ve an appointment with Mr. Jenner.
“Is that to do with beer history?” the man behind the counter asks.
“They’re already in the John Harvey Tavern. Do you know where it is?”
“I’ll take you over there.”
It’s just over the road and down a riverside alleyway. Miles Jenner is inside with one of Harvey’s other brewers and his hop grower. They already have pints in their hands. As we soon do, too. Mr. Jenner gets us the same as they’re drinking, Harvey’s wet hop beer. It’s absolutely stunning, bursting with juicy hop flavour, but crazily drinkable. It’s a good start.
John Harvey Tavern
Cliffe High St,
Lewes BN7 2AN.
Disclaimer: my trip was paid for by Goose Island as part of my consultancy fee.
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