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Brighton Beer Blog review The Basketmakers Arms Brighton

A descriptive, beer-by-beer account of our visit…

Date: Monday 12 July

Beers:
HSB
Hophead
HSB/London Pride half-and-half

 

This Fuller’s pub lurks on a back street metres from the busy streets of the North Laine, but certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s a proper Brighton pub and a favourite for young and old, person and dog – I don’t anyone who doesn’t speak warmly of The Basketmakers.

A bit of research suggests that the name comes aptly from the fact that this building once housed a basketmaking business, located in what was Brighton’s basketmaking quarter. In the 1850s the owner began the Victorian equivalent of a side-hustle and began selling beer as well, and within a few decades the beer-selling was the primary moneymaker. It’s wonderful that a pub which reaches back into this little-known aspect of Brighton’s past thrives and keeps the story alive to this day.

We know this is a popular pub, but it doesn’t stop us being surprised that even on this grey and grisly Monday afternoon we’re lucky to bag ourselves a walk-in table. Given that most people are suffering a hangover from England’s Euro final loss the night before, the pub is alive with the conversations and laughter of people who clearly have other things to live for.

The Basketmakers’ corner location and backstreet residential setting allows for some cute alfresco seating, and they seem happy for people to relocate their stools as the sun moves across the street. Inside, the pub doesn’t exactly feel like the bedded-in boozer we were expecting; the paint looks fresh, the bar is emerald green, the low ceilings are a bright cream, and the wooden furniture and seating is all looking pretty new rather than worn-in and threadbare. Nevertheless The Basketmakers exudes the traditional charm that a century-and-a-half-old pub should. The floorplan is pretty compact across the one ground floor, so all the tables and booths seem to have a cosy squashed-in feel. This is a place you could quite easily lose some hours in with friends, or get comfortable on your own for a while doing a crossword with a pint.

The walls are decorated with countless articles of memorabilia and signage, in particular a myriad of old tins, and these are the pub’s characterful niche: they conceal hidden treasures in the form of witty anecdotes, sage advice or simply inane scribbles, all penned by your fellow punters. Whatever you discover, it’s certainly an eye-opening window into the minds of the pub’s clientele. The pressure was on for us to leave our own mark, but with no good jokes coming to mind we simply left behind a shameless bit of advertising for the Blog.

The young lady serving us was incredibly nice and enthusiastic, and the insider advice from her is that the roasts are legendary and the rums are priced very decently. So what did she serve us? First up one of us opted for HSB by Fuller’s, and the other went for Hophead by Darkstar (loving the new pump clips by the way). The HSB, if you’ve not had it, is rich, sweet and malty with flavours of dark fruits like raisin and prune. HSB is not to be confused with its deeper and more meaningful cousin ESB, which packs a punch.

The Basketmakers Arms is understandably a cask destination, and it’s great to see a city centre pub so well stocked with cask ales. Today seven of the eight pumps are in action, dispensing Fuller’s and Darkstar beers as well as a guest ale and a cider. The beers we tasted were spot-on and well kept by the cellar manager. Keg ale fans get a choice of Sierra Nevada’s fine pale or Fuller’s own session pale, and the lager taps offer impressive variety as well with Asahi, San Miguel, Peroni and Amstel.

By the time of our next order we had recalled a trick learned from some miscreants at an Imbibe conference years ago, and opted to go half-and-half with a pint of London Pride and HSB. This creates a beer that’s lighter and less sweet, but still rounds off with the rich fruit of the HSB. Do you also enjoy a half-and-half, and do you know anything about how this originated? We can’t find any references online.

We didn’t eat on this occasion, but it sure was tempting as the menu is broad and covers all the expected pub classics at a reasonable £13 a plate, as well as an exciting-sounding Fisherman’s Sharing Platter at £23. There are also small plates, sides and desserts a-plenty, as well as roasts on Sundays and Fishy Friday specials.

It’s plain to see why this pub is such a Brighton institution; the history combines with the genuinely pleasant environment and the characterful touches, and plenty of options for food and drink tick all the boxes. The drinks options lean towards cask ale drinkers, on the whole an older generation CAMRA crowd, but in doing so The Basketmakers makes itself a special destination because of how it stands proudly different to the many city centre pubs that focus on modern craft taps.

BBB absolutely recommends coming down and having a pint here, though we’d suggest booking in advance. Its popularity combined with limited seating space inside and out means you ride your luck if you just show up.

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Date: Monday 12 July

Beers:
HSB
Hophead
HSB/London Pride half-and-half

 

This Fuller’s pub lurks on a back street metres from the busy streets of the North Laine, but certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s a proper Brighton pub and a favourite for young and old, person and dog – I don’t anyone who doesn’t speak warmly of The Basketmakers.

A bit of research suggests that the name comes aptly from the fact that this building once housed a basketmaking business, located in what was Brighton’s basketmaking quarter. In the 1850s the owner began the Victorian equivalent of a side-hustle and began selling beer as well, and within a few decades the beer-selling was the primary moneymaker. It’s wonderful that a pub which reaches back into this little-known aspect of Brighton’s past thrives and keeps the story alive to this day.

We know this is a popular pub, but it doesn’t stop us being surprised that even on this grey and grisly Monday afternoon we’re lucky to bag ourselves a walk-in table. Given that most people are suffering a hangover from England’s Euro final loss the night before, the pub is alive with the conversations and laughter of people who clearly have other things to live for.

The Basketmakers’ corner location and backstreet residential setting allows for some cute alfresco seating, and they seem happy for people to relocate their stools as the sun moves across the street. Inside, the pub doesn’t exactly feel like the bedded-in boozer we were expecting; the paint looks fresh, the bar is emerald green, the low ceilings are a bright cream, and the wooden furniture and seating is all looking pretty new rather than worn-in and threadbare. Nevertheless The Basketmakers exudes the traditional charm that a century-and-a-half-old pub should. The floorplan is pretty compact across the one ground floor, so all the tables and booths seem to have a cosy squashed-in feel. This is a place you could quite easily lose some hours in with friends, or get comfortable on your own for a while doing a crossword with a pint.

The walls are decorated with countless articles of memorabilia and signage, in particular a myriad of old tins, and these are the pub’s characterful niche: they conceal hidden treasures in the form of witty anecdotes, sage advice or simply inane scribbles, all penned by your fellow punters. Whatever you discover, it’s certainly an eye-opening window into the minds of the pub’s clientele. The pressure was on for us to leave our own mark, but with no good jokes coming to mind we simply left behind a shameless bit of advertising for the Blog.

The young lady serving us was incredibly nice and enthusiastic, and the insider advice from her is that the roasts are legendary and the rums are priced very decently. So what did she serve us? First up one of us opted for HSB by Fuller’s, and the other went for Hophead by Darkstar (loving the new pump clips by the way). The HSB, if you’ve not had it, is rich, sweet and malty with flavours of dark fruits like raisin and prune. HSB is not to be confused with its deeper and more meaningful cousin ESB, which packs a punch.

The Basketmakers Arms is understandably a cask destination, and it’s great to see a city centre pub so well stocked with cask ales. Today seven of the eight pumps are in action, dispensing Fuller’s and Darkstar beers as well as a guest ale and a cider. The beers we tasted were spot-on and well kept by the cellar manager. Keg ale fans get a choice of Sierra Nevada’s fine pale or Fuller’s own session pale, and the lager taps offer impressive variety as well with Asahi, San Miguel, Peroni and Amstel.

By the time of our next order we had recalled a trick learned from some miscreants at an Imbibe conference years ago, and opted to go half-and-half with a pint of London Pride and HSB. This creates a beer that’s lighter and less sweet, but still rounds off with the rich fruit of the HSB. Do you also enjoy a half-and-half, and do you know anything about how this originated? We can’t find any references online.

We didn’t eat on this occasion, but it sure was tempting as the menu is broad and covers all the expected pub classics at a reasonable £13 a plate, as well as an exciting-sounding Fisherman’s Sharing Platter at £23. There are also small plates, sides and desserts a-plenty, as well as roasts on Sundays and Fishy Friday specials.

It’s plain to see why this pub is such a Brighton institution; the history combines with the genuinely pleasant environment and the characterful touches, and plenty of options for food and drink tick all the boxes. The drinks options lean towards cask ale drinkers, on the whole an older generation CAMRA crowd, but in doing so The Basketmakers makes itself a special destination because of how it stands proudly different to the many city centre pubs that focus on modern craft taps.

BBB absolutely recommends coming down and having a pint here, though we’d suggest booking in advance. Its popularity combined with limited seating space inside and out means you ride your luck if you just show up.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *