Tour of Harvey’s Brewery in Lewes

Yes, I am getting a bit behind. I thought I’d do a quick post on a tour of Harvey’s Brewery in Lewes  me and Philosopher went on a couple of weeks ago – organised by a WI group based in Polegate. We were lucky to go – there is a three-year waiting list for tours, but one of the WI members works for Harveys.  This photo is off the internet.

About 36 of us, including beer-loving husbands, partners and sons, met outside the historic brewery. On the wharf-side, it dominates the skyline of Lewes. Interestingly, another nearby building, now disused and on the edge of a car park, used to be a timber yard belonging to the firm of Wenban-Smith. We were friends with the Wenban-Smiths in Birmingham. It was once their family firm, but the links with Lewes are long gone.

Anyway, Harvey’s brewery is still in the family, although Head Brewer and current Managing Director Miles Jenner, who showed us round, is not a Harvey descendant. He is incredibly knowledgable and passionate about his craft… Philosopher and I reflected that he must have a pretty good life – although running any business must be scary in the current political disaster-zone. Still, they seem to be pretty successful in organising p***-ups in that particular brewery.


We toured the building and learned all about the brewing process. It is pretty much driven by gravity – starting with the water which is pumped up to a tank at the top of the tower, and works its way downwards through all the mashing and boiling and fermenting etc to the bottles and barrels on the ground floor. The brewery still uses historic, original processes… the locally-grown hops are still stored in their original bins, and all the historic machinery is still in place – including the steam engine, which used to pump the water up andstill works, although only about once a year. The process has little waste – the by-products are sent out to farmers and market gardeners.

Mash tun – I think


Miles Jenner getting very enthusiastic
Yeast doing its thing…
..on what will soon be Harvey’s Best Bitter

I just love that malty, yeasty brewery smell.  It was all very interesting – Battleaxe would totally recommend the Harveys tour for anyone who has the opportunity.

We ended up at the sampling room on the ground floor, and everyone had ample opportunity to taste the products…. pity nobody tried on a Beard Snood, even after a few glasses…

Aargh, Battleaxe has been so busy. Think Ardingly Show, the Race for Life and endless work in preparation for the Garden Party at Fairlight Hall in July.  Then, oh excitement, my poetry book is just back from the printers…. about which, much more later, but am off to Turkey shortly….  yesterday I managed to lose our passports. Spent a frantic and sick-feeling few hours turning the house upside down only to find them in a forgotten handbag….

Battleaxe on beer-testing duty

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