CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> Two Peasmarsh Pubs
Horse & Cart Inn, School Lane, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
Peace & Plenty Inn, Peasmarsh Road, Playden, East Sussex
Before I review this week's pubs I'd like to start with a review from San Francisco. The following e-mail is from Mistah Rick, my California friend who visited the UK this summer only to strengthen his passion for microbrews and real ale:
"...on the corner was the Magnolia Pub. And fresh on tap (although not on the hand pump) was the brew I had fantasized about since reading its description on my last visit: Proving Ground Pale -- 7.0% ABV and 100 IBU.
"Move over Lagunitas IPA! Although it's not an IPA, this reaches new heights of hoppy delight. The first sip caressed the back of my tongue, tenderly tenderized it. Have you ever been French kissed by a beer? I wouldn't have thought it possible. Its heady hop pressed a tongue of bitterness into the back of my mouth and pressed down hard. The back of my own tongue seemed to reel, to roll, to unfurl back into my throat. New bitter taste buds burst into life along the length of my esophagus, greeting the course of that sip with an ecstatic Yes!, Yes, YESSSS!
"After two or three sips I felt that my joyous tongue was as long as my arm. I felt an urge to roll it out and sip lustily straight from the glass without picking it up. I felt compelled to let it lash across the bar and lick the lips of the lass who had served it to me (in spite of the chilling stud in her philtrum). Could I possibly finish this pint? Not that the alcohol content was too high (if I rode my bicycle cautiously, watching out for streetcar tracks, I knew I could survive another trip back to the BART station), nor was it too bitter to cease from devouring it (the brewer's notes said that the hop was 'balanced by loads of Maris Otter pale malt as well as a touch of rye and flaked barley'). It's just that by the bottom of the glass I was sure my tongue would be lolling out. I would walk out of the pub panting and drooling enthusiastically. With livened senses I would drop to all fours and lope down the street, pausing to sniff crotches that passed by, leaping up to lick faces. My tongue is alive! I want to let it loose to lick flesh! This stuff brings out the animal in your taste buds.
"Well, I guess the urge subsided and I managed to make it back to BART without molesting anyone. That stuff is dangerous."
Meanwhile back in southeast England I've been holidaying with another American. Barb, a lifelong friend of mine, is not yet a real ale aficionado but she loves English pubs, and she'll happily hoist a few pints of Continental lager and even an occasional IPA. She also happens to be an original Beatlemaniac, which is why my friend Andrew and I took her on a pilgrimage to Peasmarsh, home of Paul McCartney.
Unfortunately Paul wasn't in town at the time, but we did manage to catch a few glimpses of his estate. This, of course, worked up quite a thirst, so we headed down the road in search of a pint. The first pub we found was the Horse & Cart Inn, a pleasantly regular pub with a friendly and informative barmaid who said Master Paulie was currently in London. As we chatted about his kids and his earlier days when he would occasionally visit the pub we sipped our pints of Forge Cuddle (3.8%, Old Forge Brewery, Hastings, East Sussex). This was a most appropriate beer to cuddle up with as we chatted about Paul, pondering the reasons why he chose to become engaged to that Heather woman instead of to my friend Barb. It was also a perfect pint for verbally ripping apart the pub we'd previously visited [reviewed below].
Also on tap at the Horse & Cart were Rother Valley Level Best and Harvey's Sussex, although this was to be the last cask of the Sussex until Harvey's Brewery in Lewes dries out from the recent flooding of the River Ouse. Come to think of it, the River Rother flooded as well, and is flooding once again as I write this review, so I hope there hasn't been any damage to the Rother Valley Brewery. As far as I know the Old Forge Brewery is still above water, but I'm not absolutely certain. Perhaps both Harvey's and Rother Valley should produce seasonal Flood Ales in special casks that stand up to being washed down the river and engulfed in mud. I'm not sure what they should taste like as far as hoppiness, maltiness, and character are concerned. All I know is that they should definitely be wet. And as the actual casks would be very dirty after all that travel down the river, they could probably use a cleaning service to give the casks a full cleaning before reusing, as the breweries wouldn't want to ruin their well-travelled brew with river mud.
Earlier in the day, just outside Peasmarsh toward Rye, the three of us made the mistake of stopping at the Peace & Plenty Inn. We were both hungry and thirsty and looking for a sandwich and a quick pint. Our pints of Greene King IPA (3.6%, Greene King, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk) were fairly promising, especially as the pastel sunlight was washing in through the pleasant windows in the restaurant section. But soon we discovered the entire pub appeared to be a restaurant -- there were only three stools at the bar, and it was not a bar that beckoned one to sit down. We resigned ourselves to a large table and perused the menu where we discovered no sandwiches or bar snacks listed. The landlady, a fairly upscale woman who must have been responsible for the flower-and-cutesy-country-flavoured decorating job, told us sandwiches were no problem at all, so we ordered three prawn sandwiches. These were very ordinary sandwiches with rather mediocre prawns and a bit of sickly salad alongside. When we paid the bill we were astounded: we'd been charged not only £4.50 per sandwich but also an extra £1.50 service charge just to walk in and sit down and breathe the air. Is this absurd or what? I'd say the Peace & Plenty is simply a restaurant pretending to be a pub. At least we enjoyed the complimentary attentions of the mellow black cat who was only after one of Andrew's prawns...
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(Last updated 6th January 2003)