If you are an ale drinker and don’t mind a walk off the beaten path, then you could do a lot worse than heading to the Barley Mow in Kemptown. With a cosy, friendly feel, big roasts and a comfortably warm garden for all of you smokers, it’s the perfect Sunday remedy to an overindulgent Saturday night, or failing that, any other time where you want a “quiet one” with your buddies or significant other. It has blankets if you get cold in the garden and board games, LOTS of board games (including big Jenga).
However before this turns into a rambling review of the pub, let us get back to the all important matter in hand – ale. What is a little special about The Barley Mow is their new ale deal. Ingeniously, you are provided with a bat with three holes, patiently awaiting the insertion of three third pint glasses of freshly pulled ales. Gentlemen, choose your weapons. With two bats between us, this allowed us to try every beer they had on offer, all for the princely sum of £3.40 per bat.
Due to this being a relatively recent development in the pub, the uninitiated clientèle (including a family of about 12) gawped in amazement at the fully loaded beer bats. Alas, being an expert at pint holding will get you nowhere in this game, and whilst being vastly under skilled in fully loaded bat-brandishing, alongside the pressure of an expectant pub audience, there was I’m afraid to say, some minor spillage.
And with that we had effectively created a mini beer festival in our corner of the pub, awesome. Here are some of our thoughts.
Arundel Stronghold – 4.7%
Stronghold was one of the darker ones of the session. This one has a sweet, coffee-esque edge on the way in followed by a subtle, bitter, rum finish. It always goes down well.
Harveys Sussex Best – 4%
A bit of a regular down the Mow, this chap always delivers with his oaky base and light, hoppy fizz. The magic of the Harvey’s is that it’s never a chore to drink on any levels.
Trident – 5%
This one had just been changed, the bar girl was observing a glass of it, although it wasn’t at all to it’s detriment. My female partner crime tells me that it was one for the ladies, subtley fruity with none of the bitterness or your standard ale.
American Pale Ale
Along the same lines as the Trident, a fruitiness but more bitter than the aforementioned. A vaguely smoky finish. All in all, an excellent all-rounder, with ticks in all the right boxes.
Darkest of the lot. A smooth nutty, winter pint, not too much of a task to drink. However this lost marks on being altogether too mild in taste, paling in comparison to the others.
Exit – 5.7%
Strongest of the six that we tried. Very interesting this one, a multi-layered fruitiness that left us guessing “what fruit IS that?”. My lady pitched in that if whiskey had an ale equivalent – it would be this. This one had top marks for being interesting but perhaps a little rich for a whole pint.
So there it is, the winner to the battle of the ales was American Pale ale with 8.5/10, available at The Barley Mow, Kemptown, Brighton.