I finally managed to track down the elusive Harvey's Old last night, and am pleased to report it was in fine fettle. In fact it was so good and slipped down so well, that I had four pints of it! The outlet at which I enjoyed this excellent winter drink was the Brecknock Arms, a small, unspoilt Harvey's pub situated in the tiny village of Bells Yew Green. This settlement is just five minutes walk away from Frant railway station, itself only one stop away from Tunbridge Wells.
My son Matthew and I caught the 18.32 service from Tonbridge, and although we had to change at Tunbridge Wells were at the Brecknock just before 7pm, where we met up with our friend Eric who had caught an earlier train over. It is the best part of two years since I last set foot in the place, and the pub has changed hands since then. Now, following a period of uncertainty over its future, I am glad to say the pub is thriving once more. There was a good mix of regulars when we walked in some, like ourselves just off the London train, and although the place gradually emptied as the night wore on, it was good to see it busy.
As well as the Old Ale, there were three other Harvey's beers on sale; Hadlow Bitter, Best Bitter, plus the seasonal Bonfire Boy. The latter makes an appearance every year, around this time, and is a full-bodied Amber Ale brewed to a strength of 5.8 % abv. Roasted malts are used in the recipe to give a slightly burnt taste with a hint of smoke. We had some food to go with our beer; nothing fancy but good solid, value for money pub-grub. It was a good evening, but finishing with a half of Bonfire Boy probably proved my downfall. as I had somewhat of a thick head this morning!.
We will definitely be making a return visit in the not too distant future.