Brighton's experimental champions of modern US styles have created a genuinely friendly taproom
In 2021 a home-brewer from New York bought a struggling seaside brewery. He kept the name, and changed pretty much everything else. Fast forward a bit, and Loud Shirt has a very much different reputation. Their modern, largely US inspired craft beers are available to drink in the place they are brewed at the Bell Tower Industrial Estate in Kemptown.
The Bell Tower Industrial Estate may not sound like the most glamorous location, and it’s not, but breweries aren’t spoiled for options when it comes to Brighton. Yet Loud Shirt have done a very decent job of making their little unit feel incredibly welcoming.
The out-door area feel much more pleasant than a car park should. On busy summer days the team put out loads of benches and dividers decorated with plastic leaves. It’s subtle but gives the car park setting a softer, more comfortable feel.
Once inside the gaping shutter door, the bar is just to your right with the brewery space beyond it. The bar staff here give off some of the friendliest vibes you will get behind a bar in Brighton. There are splashes of arty colour and character in the bar area, but It’s pretty industrial feeling on the whole as the machinery that produces the beers on offer is pushed up against the surrounding walls. There is ample space for rows of bench seating so loads of capacity for groups and the taproom is incredibly popular on Saturdays when Whitehawk FC are playing at home.
Now there is only one reason you would choose to frequent an industrial estate in stead of a pub, and that is because you want to drink great modern craft beer as fresh as it gets. That is exactly what Loud Shirt offer here.
With the owner and head brewer hailing from the US, the beers coming out of Loud Shirt Brewery tend to focus on kegged, new-world, specifically US hops. Like Clockwork, at 4.3%, and Hazed & Confused, their flagship session NEIPA at 4.5%, are two great core pale ale options, massively sessionable with great hop flavour. Core beers like El Dorado showcase a single hop, impressively extracting loads of character and interest in the process. And their American light lager is an addictive thirst quencher, and a proper example of what American lager can taste like, when it isn’t mass produced like all the American lagers on the supermarket shelves.
A thoughtful process and a no compromise approach to good ingredients are key to why Loud Shirt beer has gained a following in a crowded market. Head Brewer Elias’ engineering background means he’s a thinker & tinkerer, and their EXP series of experimental short-run styles give him the licence to offer drinkers something in the taproom that might test their palettes. The brewery team constantly engage their audience over the bar, looking for feedback to take their brewing forward and perhaps launch their next core product. For instance EXP01 is a darker pale ale which started as an experiment, but after consistent acclaim became a regular.
FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT
There’s no kitchen on site but they do invite food trucks down to provide sustenance to the masses. Probably best to message them in advance to make sure if you’re planning to eat here.
Friday evenings the tap-room hosts an open mic night and the first Saturday of the month you’ll find live DJs.
Loud Shirt have very quickly injected themselves into the local East Brighton community, and not just because that makes good business sense. You get a genuine feeling that the Loud Shirt team are a big happy family, and they only want to grow that family large by befriending as many people as possible. From lower-league football fans to DJs and acoustic musicians, everyone feels very welcome in this little industrial unit. Of course It helps that their beers really are impressive and I have become a big fan of their brews as well as the people behind them.