Talk - Harvey’s Brewery

When Harveys Brewery was built in 1790 24% of an average family’s budget was spent on beer, according to Miles Jenner, the MD of the modern-day company, who is giving a talk tonight on ‘Lewes Breweries, the History of a Brewing Community’. A startling statistic, down to the fact that 200-odd years ago it was unsafe to drink the water provided by the water company, and typhoid epidemics were rife. “Back in Georgian times,” says Jenner, “Lewes boasted nine breweries. Today only Harveys remains.”

In 1790 the ale we drank tasted very different. “It would be nothing like the modern Harveys Best,” says Jenner, “though we do brew a couple of ales which are similar to those available then, our Imperial Extra Double Stout and our 1830 Porter.” His talk charts the local brewing industry through two centuries. “I will talk about a number of the personalities who have emerged during that period and also about the interaction of the urban and rural in the economy of a County Town, a synergy which still exists today.” Harvey’s Best, of course, was voted CAMRA’s Real Ale of the Year in 2005, and Jenner was made Brewer of the Year by the Brewing Guild in 2001. Contrary to popular belief, Harveys beer is not made from Ouse water: since a typhoid epidemic in the 1870’s it has been drawn from a spring under the site. Nowadays, of course, it is safe to drink Lewes’ tapwater: even so we do know quite a few people who still spend around 24% of their income on the local ale. AL

Simply the Best: Harveys have been brewing in Lewes since 1790
Anne of Cleves
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £5

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