Pub Review – North Laine Brewhouse

Bank holiday? Time for a day trip to Brighton. Just a shame that all of London had the same idea.

At least the pubs are still empty if you go at noon.

The North Laine Brewhouse lies just on the border of one of Brighton’s most interesting, BoHo quarters, North Laine. Past all the shops selling brightly coloured shirts and hand-made jewellery, this gem of a pub brags its own in-house brewery, more beers on tap than you can shake a stick at, and a hefty selection of bottles waiting in the fridge. Offering a reasonably priced tasting flight is the icing on the cake.

The outdoor seating area is right next to a busy, noisy road, but other than that there’s really not a lot I’d change about this place. I only wish we’d stayed a little longer for more beers.

Still, tasting four isn’t a bad way to start the afternoon.

Left to right: Kirkstall, Dexter Milk Stout; Laine, Mangolicious; Loud Shirt, Psychedelic IPA; Franklins, Strawberry Sour

Loud Shirt, Psychedelic IPA 5.1%

A golden, clear IPA, the Psychedelic starts with a hint of cinnamon spice on the nose. The flavour is gently malty at first with a touch of caramel, but any gentleness soon fades as the next flavour kicks in.

Lemongrass is a tricky one to work with. Done well, it can be light, refreshing, perhaps even a touch exotic. This time, sadly, it makes the beer taste of disinfectant. Hops arrive to give a bitter finish, but it’s too late: I feel like I’ve washed my mouth out with soap. 1/5

Laine Brew Co, Mangolicious 4.7%

Pale gold and very clear, Mangolicious is already living up to its name from the first whiff: mangoes for days. That continues onto the palate, joined by sweet peach (not dissimilar to Badger’s Golden Glory) and moving through to a passion fruit finish. It’s a delicious tropical fruit salad.

Sadly, that’s not all. Underlying all these delightful, juicy fruits is an undertone of chamomile, giving the beer that characteristic pot pourri, mealy texture. A shame, because if not for that this would be a lovely beer. 2/5

Kirkstall, Dexter Milk Stout 4.5%

Another stout that looks like a stout: dark, rich, and creamy. That richness comes through on the aroma too – there’s a solid hit of nuts and umami on the nose, along with lactose and cacao nibs.

The flavour is pretty typical: hazelnuts and chocolate first, then a hint of lactic sweetness/sourness. There’s not much left for the finish, just a slightly gritty texture again. 2/5

Franklins, Strawberry Sour 5.0%

As someone trying to show off their expertise as a beer aficionado, I’m very lucky to have a partner who indulges me by joining me at the pub. I must try to remember this when I get upset about her consistently picking better beers than me.

The Strawberry Sour looks, reassuringly, like a strawberry smoothie: pink, creamy and cloudy. Strawberries running through the aroma and palate, as you’d expect, but what I’m really struck by is how crisp and refreshing this beer is. It’s not overpoweringly sweet and fruity, nor is it overly sour. For a warm bank holiday afternoon, I’d struggle to recommend anything better. 4/5

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