The beers I am talking about are known as Old or Stock Ales, although the latter name is rarely used today. I don’t want to enter into too much detail, as this post is much more about tracking down and enjoying one of the first old ales of the 2023-24 season.
I am talking about here is XXXX Old Ale produced annually by Sussex brewers, Harvey’s of Lewes. Brewed to a strength of 4.3% abv. It is a rich, dark ale, containing a high percentage of crystal malt and black sugars. The beer is said to be reminiscent of the strong, mild ales, brewed at the beginning of the last century, and its arrival each year, is eagerly awaited by its devotees.Brecknock Arms, a small and attractive, late Victorian pub belonging to Harvey’s Brewery. It’s a pub that I’ve known for a long time, and through several changes of landlord, but it’s always been a reliable source of decent pint of Harvey’s, as well as a regular stockist of their seasonal beers.
The Brecknock itself was doing a healthy lunchtime trade, serving up Sunday roast dinners to the hungry residents of Bells Yew Green and beyond. I was almost certainly the only customer not eating, but from what I could gather, the pub is popular with drinkers, at other times. It’s a couple of years since my last visit, but the Brecknock seems to have settled down nicely, under the care of its current owners, and long may it continue. Given these credentials, there's every chance I will be returning for another fix of Harvey’s excellent Old Ale.