I have never really understood the idea of Dry January (Dryanuary?) I mean while it does make sense to cut back a bit after all the Christmas excess, for example switching back to having coffee with breakfast rather than Buck's Fizz, I don't see why you should cut it out completely? We all know it's the most depressing month of the year so why make it worse?!

Which is why my ears pricked up when I heard about Tryanuary (Marketers do love a portmanteau!). As the name suggests the idea behind the campaign is to encourage people to try a local beer rather than cutting everything out - much more positive!

Brighton & the wider region of Sussex are home to some fantastic breweries so here are my suggestions of what to look out for during Tryanuary...

Brighton Bierhaus

Photo of two glasses of Brighton Bier taken at Brighton Bierhaus
Brighton Bier is a great local brewery and you will see their beers available at several pubs around the city but I recommend going to Brighton Bierhaus which is their tap. The staff are very friendly and happy to give you some pointers on what to try, and you'll see their love of Brighton is reflected in a lot of the names of the beers, for example there is the West Pier Pale Ale; Fat Boy Stout and ChoccyWoccy Brew-Ha. Brighton Bier also brewed Mabiera to help raise funds for the Save Madeira Terrace campaign. Finally if you are doing Veganuary as well then you'll love this place even more as they serve vegan pizzas from nearby Pizzaface!

Loud Shirt

Photo of Martyn & Mike of Loud Shirt beer Brighton
Martyn & Mike founded Loud Shirt Beer in 2016 combining their shared passion for beer and loud shirts! I love the branding on the bottles, all bright colours and full of fun. Their Ecstasty Stout has already won awards and they also brew Insomnia which is a black IPA! You'll see Loud Shirt at several festivals as well as shops and bars but they also do regular open days at the brewery itself so why not pop along and say hi? The next ones are on the 12th & 26th January.

Dark Star

Photo of Dark Star's Espresso and Creme Brulee beers
I have to mention Dark Star as they brew my favourite - Espresso. While the main media focus stills seems to be on Pale Ales and IPAs, I prefer the darker ports and stouts and the Espresso is one of the darkest. It's worth it just for the smell, and thankfully the taste is every bit as good. Although if you're not a fan of coffee stay well away! Another one that is worth a try is the Crème Brûleé, while it's too sweet to be a session beer it is a delicious treat and again perfectly captures the caramelly goodness you'd expect from the name. For something a bit lighter I'd recommend the Festival and my partner adores the Hophead. In the city centre the Evening Star is still the place to go for the widest selection of Dark Star beers or a bit further out there's the Lockhart Tavern.

Beer & Brew

Photo of some Harveys beer ready to be tasted on the Beer & Brew tour of Brighton
If Tryanuary seems a bit overwhelming and you just don't know where to start then book yourself on a Beer & Brew tour. Regardless of your level of knowledge you are bound to learn something as Rob is one of the country's few beer sommeliers. I did the tour last year and had a great time; Rob is so enthusiastic and is keen to educate people in the many different types of beer available. During the tour you'll get to see a range of independent pubs and try 6 different types of beer.

BeFries

Photo of some fries and beer taken at BeFries Brighton
Talking of Beer & Brew reminds me that Rob worked with the lovely guys at BeFries to compile a suggested pairing menu, so whether you're dipping your fries into a smoky barbecue, satay or, my favourite, the basil mayo they'll be able to suggest a beer that will go perfectly - included BeFries own beer.

The Tiger Inn

Photo of the inside of The Tiger Inn pub in East Dean near Brighton
If one of your resolutions was to do more walking or simply to explore more than why not escape the city and visit The Tiger Inn? Catch the 12 or 13 bus from the seafront (in front of Harry Ramsdens) and enjoy a lovely ride along the coast then hop off at East Dean. This picturesque village is where Sherlock Holmes is believed to have retired, there is even a blue plaque on one of the cottages (yes we know he's fictional!). Here you will also find The Tiger Inn, a gorgeous country pub complete with low ceilings and plenty of nooks and crannies. They also serve a good selection of beers including some from the nearby Long Man brewery, their Best Bitter is my favourite but the American IPA and Copper Hop are also good choices. From the pub there is a fantastic circular walk to Birling Gap including views of the Belle Tout lighthouse.

Other recommendations...

Photo of the sign for the Lion & Lobster pub in Brighton & Hove
Before this post becomes an essay I just want to add in a few more suggestions of places to find local ales to try. The Lion & Lobster on the border between Brighton & Hove often serves Dark Star and Lewes based Harveys. If you need some food to soak up the drink then head to Stock Burger Co. on the seafront as they serve beer from Sussex based Bedlam Brewery. As in BeFries, the menu at Stock Burger says which beers go best with which burgers - my favourite is the El Toro burger with the Curious Porter.

So forget Dry January and get out there and try some delicious local ales. Plus if Tryanuary has really inspired you then get yourself some tickets to TOM's Beer Fest, a new two day festival featuring the finest Brighton-based brewers plus live music and pop-up food stalls.

Cheers!

Charlotte

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