Writer

Brighton Beer Blog Visit The Hole in the Wall

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

Date: Friday 21st Jan

Beers:
North Brewing – Atlantis (cask)
Ayinger – Keller Bier
Burning sky – Arise
Verdant – Putty
Verdant – Timings End

 

On a cold Friday afternoon the dog and I embarked on a trek across town. The destination, The Hole in the Wall Brighton, a pub that had been coming up more and more in conversations recently.

The day before a friend at 360 brewing had excitedly text me to say that “they are the only pub in town serving Putty”. With no other clues, but eager not to sound like I wasn’t out of the loop, I excitedly took up the offer to finally go and experience The Hole in the Wall for myself, and also invited along a home-brewer mate who had been championing this pub loudly recently.

 

Since Jim and his team took over in 2021 the pub has become a mecca for beer fans of all stripes, and not surprisingly when you hear Jim’s CV. He has previously run The Brighton Beer Dispensary, Haus On The Hill, Vine Street Tap and spent “an all too short but sweet few months” (his words) at Cease & Desist.

Jim has brought his loyal following and industry links to The Hole in the Wall and beer appears to be both a passion and a pull. A little chalk board right of the bar promises nights of upcoming beer releases and tap-takeovers from brewers near and far, and as we were about to discover, they seem to get hold of some pretty exclusive and illusive beer releases. If that wasn’t enough, literally just before publishing this write-up, a geniously timed delay on my part, they won the Brighton & South Downs CAMRA Pub Of The Year. 👏🏼

 

The pub dates from the 1870s and Jim tells me “the story goes that it got the name originally as they served fisherman through a hatch (hole in the wall) rather than let them in the pub and stink it up.” The pub was previously known and enjoyed as the Queensbury Arms, after the backstreet Mews it sits on, which is surrounded and overshadowed by the towering Hilton hotel next door.

The affectionate Hole in the Wall moniker has now been taken up by Jim as it’s name proper, and it’s an apt name given that it is most likely Brighton’s smallest pub. You can get from the door to the bar in 4 strides, then it would probably only be double that to reach the back wall of the whole pub.

There’s a front room and a back room, both quite traditional and simply wood clad, and both served by the same central bar. At 4.30pm this Friday afternoon all the stools on both sides of the bar, and a couple of the tables, were already occupied.

 

This Putty sure was drawing a crowd and I soon learned that it was an 8% DIPA from Verdant, a brewer becoming much loved for their hoppy, dank and oniony pales. Sure enough this was the only pub in town with a keg tonight and people spilled through door with regularity, stepping up to the bar with fervour and settling at tables to peer and sniff at their schooners of the thick and vibrant tangerine liquid.

Needing to stay lucid enough to save a table until friends arrived later, I didn’t dive straight into an 8% DIPA. Luckily this bar is absolutely crammed full of options; 9 keg taps and 4 cask pumps plus a fridge bursting with choices including a healthy selection of German and Belgian imports.

First, with a bit of steering from a keen-to-please barman, I opted for a 4.1% Atlantis cask pale by North Brewing. This is a quite transparent straw/yellow beer, piney with a little lime citrus. Really easy drinking. A light mouthfeel and slips down a treat.

 

While drinking this I had planned to use the time writing up some bits for the blog, but instead found myself making friends with a family of 3 who had popped in for a taste of the Putty and had taken a liking to Lucie, my Fox Terrier, who was frantically wagging her tail at anyone who entered, no doubt in the hope that they would remind me there was a few treats in a bag that I had neglected to offer her.

Next stop Germany, Aying precisely, for an Ayinger Keller Bier, which harks back to the Bavarian discovery of cave aged lagers. This was crisp with robust earthy tones and malt flavours. Loads of depth and character.

With a friend still stuck in A27 tailbacks and the other now cycling over I probably should have felt a little conspicuous in my solitude, but I really didn’t get the time to feel on my own. Whether it was the fizz of Putty excitement, the intensity of the small square footage, the spark of a Friday night beginning, or the pub’s genuine welcoming atmosphere, I found myself having conversations with at least 2 different tables of people about various things including beer, dogs, my blog and the pub. At one table were three chaps from Pigs Ears, the distributors who had delivered the very keg that all the fuss was about. They were telling me about their very well stocked, and reasonably priced, next-day mail order beer company called Fuss Club, which I will absolutely be looking to for some mixed-case exploration in the future.

On a quick toilet and photo mission through the pub I also discovered that the back room houses a popular Toad table. The popular Lewes pub sport seems to be migrating into a few more pubs in Brighton recently.

 

 

I bridged the remainder of the ‘styling-it-out’ time with a half of Burning Sky’s beaut of a session pale, Arise. A fantastic tasting session beer. Citrus flavours, grassy, herbal, yet light and creamy on the palette. Just wonderful.

Finally my friends arrived and it was time to take the plunge and see what the fuss was about, so 3 schooners of Verdant’s Putty were quickly sat before us, and just in the nick of time as the keg was dry 15 minutes later. This has a dense, pungent catty and tropical aroma. Thick, yet soft and slippery mouthfeel. A medley of herbs, chive, and a blend of tropical fruits like lime, mango, guava. Sooooooo juicy. A soft grassy finish though the alcohol is very present, a small sip goes a long way. It’s gorgeous out of a can as well so definitely one look out for in shops.

 

Both of my experienced beery friends, whilst enjoying it, felt it probably wasn’t a match to the hype and so we looked to another of Verdant’s beers for our last of the night, Timings End, a 6.5% New Zealand hopped IPA that a couple of the chaps from Pigs Ears next to us had been arguing was probably better than Putty.

This was Paler in colour, biscuity, creamy with a lovely rounded oatey mouthfeel. Zingy, grassy and citrus giving it lightness. Sort of had a Lemon tart with cream flavour. At least one of our group agreed that this was a superior beer as it didn’t have the alcohol burn of the DIPA, but by now I was 3 pints ahead of my compatriots and felt unable to have valid opinions.

 

This was a wonderful first experience at the Hole In The Wall, a place I came to try one beer and left trying 5, enjoying 5 and feeling like I’d had a bloody good night out with both friends and strangers.

This feels like a place that beer fans of any style can come and either enjoy a pint of something familiar in a friendly atmosphere, or take a taste journey that literally could lead anywhere.
This pub might be small, but it certainly looms large on the Brighton pub landscape.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Date: Friday 21st Jan

Beers:
North Brewing – Atlantis (cask)
Ayinger – Keller Bier
Burning sky – Arise
Verdant – Putty
Verdant – Timings End

 

On a cold Friday afternoon the dog and I embarked on a trek across town. The destination, The Hole in the Wall Brighton, a pub that had been coming up more and more in conversations recently.

The day before a friend at 360 brewing had excitedly text me to say that “they are the only pub in town serving Putty”. With no other clues, but eager not to sound like I wasn’t out of the loop, I excitedly took up the offer to finally go and experience The Hole in the Wall for myself, and also invited along a home-brewer mate who had been championing this pub loudly recently.

 

Since Jim and his team took over in 2021 the pub has become a mecca for beer fans of all stripes, and not surprisingly when you hear Jim’s CV. He has previously run The Brighton Beer Dispensary, Haus On The Hill, Vine Street Tap and spent “an all too short but sweet few months” (his words) at Cease & Desist.

Jim has brought his loyal following and industry links to The Hole in the Wall and beer appears to be both a passion and a pull. A little chalk board right of the bar promises nights of upcoming beer releases and tap-takeovers from brewers near and far, and as we were about to discover, they seem to get hold of some pretty exclusive and illusive beer releases. If that wasn’t enough, literally just before publishing this write-up, a geniously timed delay on my part, they won the Brighton & South Downs CAMRA Pub Of The Year. 👏🏼

 

The pub dates from the 1870s and Jim tells me “the story goes that it got the name originally as they served fisherman through a hatch (hole in the wall) rather than let them in the pub and stink it up.” The pub was previously known and enjoyed as the Queensbury Arms, after the backstreet Mews it sits on, which is surrounded and overshadowed by the towering Hilton hotel next door.

The affectionate Hole in the Wall moniker has now been taken up by Jim as it’s name proper, and it’s an apt name given that it is most likely Brighton’s smallest pub. You can get from the door to the bar in 4 strides, then it would probably only be double that to reach the back wall of the whole pub.

There’s a front room and a back room, both quite traditional and simply wood clad, and both served by the same central bar. At 4.30pm this Friday afternoon all the stools on both sides of the bar, and a couple of the tables, were already occupied.

 

This Putty sure was drawing a crowd and I soon learned that it was an 8% DIPA from Verdant, a brewer becoming much loved for their hoppy, dank and oniony pales. Sure enough this was the only pub in town with a keg tonight and people spilled through door with regularity, stepping up to the bar with fervour and settling at tables to peer and sniff at their schooners of the thick and vibrant tangerine liquid.

Needing to stay lucid enough to save a table until friends arrived later, I didn’t dive straight into an 8% DIPA. Luckily this bar is absolutely crammed full of options; 9 keg taps and 4 cask pumps plus a fridge bursting with choices including a healthy selection of German and Belgian imports.

First, with a bit of steering from a keen-to-please barman, I opted for a 4.1% Atlantis cask pale by North Brewing. This is a quite transparent straw/yellow beer, piney with a little lime citrus. Really easy drinking. A light mouthfeel and slips down a treat.

 

While drinking this I had planned to use the time writing up some bits for the blog, but instead found myself making friends with a family of 3 who had popped in for a taste of the Putty and had taken a liking to Lucie, my Fox Terrier, who was frantically wagging her tail at anyone who entered, no doubt in the hope that they would remind me there was a few treats in a bag that I had neglected to offer her.

Next stop Germany, Aying precisely, for an Ayinger Keller Bier, which harks back to the Bavarian discovery of cave aged lagers. This was crisp with robust earthy tones and malt flavours. Loads of depth and character.

With a friend still stuck in A27 tailbacks and the other now cycling over I probably should have felt a little conspicuous in my solitude, but I really didn’t get the time to feel on my own. Whether it was the fizz of Putty excitement, the intensity of the small square footage, the spark of a Friday night beginning, or the pub’s genuine welcoming atmosphere, I found myself having conversations with at least 2 different tables of people about various things including beer, dogs, my blog and the pub. At one table were three chaps from Pigs Ears, the distributors who had delivered the very keg that all the fuss was about. They were telling me about their very well stocked, and reasonably priced, next-day mail order beer company called Fuss Club, which I will absolutely be looking to for some mixed-case exploration in the future.

On a quick toilet and photo mission through the pub I also discovered that the back room houses a popular Toad table. The popular Lewes pub sport seems to be migrating into a few more pubs in Brighton recently.

 

 

I bridged the remainder of the ‘styling-it-out’ time with a half of Burning Sky’s beaut of a session pale, Arise. A fantastic tasting session beer. Citrus flavours, grassy, herbal, yet light and creamy on the palette. Just wonderful.

Finally my friends arrived and it was time to take the plunge and see what the fuss was about, so 3 schooners of Verdant’s Putty were quickly sat before us, and just in the nick of time as the keg was dry 15 minutes later. This has a dense, pungent catty and tropical aroma. Thick, yet soft and slippery mouthfeel. A medley of herbs, chive, and a blend of tropical fruits like lime, mango, guava. Sooooooo juicy. A soft grassy finish though the alcohol is very present, a small sip goes a long way. It’s gorgeous out of a can as well so definitely one look out for in shops.

 

Both of my experienced beery friends, whilst enjoying it, felt it probably wasn’t a match to the hype and so we looked to another of Verdant’s beers for our last of the night, Timings End, a 6.5% New Zealand hopped IPA that a couple of the chaps from Pigs Ears next to us had been arguing was probably better than Putty.

This was Paler in colour, biscuity, creamy with a lovely rounded oatey mouthfeel. Zingy, grassy and citrus giving it lightness. Sort of had a Lemon tart with cream flavour. At least one of our group agreed that this was a superior beer as it didn’t have the alcohol burn of the DIPA, but by now I was 3 pints ahead of my compatriots and felt unable to have valid opinions.

 

This was a wonderful first experience at the Hole In The Wall, a place I came to try one beer and left trying 5, enjoying 5 and feeling like I’d had a bloody good night out with both friends and strangers.

This feels like a place that beer fans of any style can come and either enjoy a pint of something familiar in a friendly atmosphere, or take a taste journey that literally could lead anywhere.
This pub might be small, but it certainly looms large on the Brighton pub landscape.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.