Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Lewes Arms - centre of civilisation

Thanks to Liberal England for alerting me to the plight of the Lewes Arms, which used to be my local. This excellent pub is now being boycotted by its regulars because the owners, Greene King, have withdrawn Harvey's bitter from sale, because it outsold their own brew.

Harvey's is based in Lewes and produces one of the best bitters in England. They also produce special brews for different seasons and events. When Lewes was flooded a few years ago, the brewery also suffered but they rescued some unbreached barrels from the river and sold the contents as Ouse booze.

The Lewes Arms was established in 1789, a good year for friends of liberty, including Tom Paine who lived in Lewes a few years earlier. The first time I went in there, I overheard a conversation at the bar about the relative merits of Herodotus and Livy as historians. I assumed that the people discussing this were academics from Sussex University down the road. When I got to know them, it turned out that one was a part-time barman and the other a former District Commissioner from Kenya and owner of a small and idiosyncratic restaurant in the town.

On another occasion, I was commenting that some chap had just won a Nobel Prize for discovering a new form of carbon called Buckminster-Fullerine. "That's Margaret's husband" responded my companion pointing to Margaret sitting behind me.

Such things do not happen in Chard.

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