I had been undecided whether to go for a post work beer on Friday of last week and when 5 o’clock finally rolled around I decided that I would and was accompanied by one of my work colleagues Tim. The George Payne (http://www.thegeorgepayne.co.uk/) is fairly local to where I work and also next to the train station I use on a Friday (I cycle to work the rest of the week, Friday is rest day). The George Payne is a pleasant local boozer with a nice look and feel to it. It is hidden away form the main road and so makes it feel like the sort of pub that you will only get local people in and the clientele are a nice mix of post work drinkers, couples, and young families and friends. As such you do get some young children in there and dogs are also allowed, I will let you decide whether you approve of both of those facts. The look and feel of the pub is very good with it managing to retain a proper pub feel but whilst also being bright, clean and modern (in a sort of retro way as with most things now) and even has flowers behind the bar. The toilets were also very clean with nice tiled walls to maintain that traditional pub feel, they had posters up for a monthly cockney night and it had the feel of a place that would suit that sort of thing.
Next up the important bit, the booze. They have 4 ale pumps although each time I’ve been in one of these has been off but that could have been bad timing. They also have the usual selection of lager as well as having London Meantime Lager alongside a decent cider selection with plenty more ciders in bottles behind the bar. Overall a fairly large variety on offer. As an ale man, but not exclusively, Tim and I went for a pint of Robinson’s Trooper to start. This was their strongest ale on offer at 4.8% and to be honest I have always steered clear of the Iron Maiden inspired ales, but on this occasion thought I’d give it a go. It was a pretty standard ale and nothing really to write home about, which is what I had thought it might be to be honest. It lacked any of the bright hoppy flavour of many lighter ales that are currently being produced and also lacked the depth of a better quality dark ale. Pretty middle of the road and so would give it a 1 out 5, I wont be buying it again in a hurry.
Next up I wanted to have something a bit different and was craving something with a bit more of an interesting flavour and so went for the DNA New World IPA by the Charles Wells brewery at 4.5% abv. This promised much with its IPA label and claims of combining the best of British and American beers, a promise which it did not deliver on. Despite its bright and slightly garish graphics shouting at me telling me this would be exciting it really wasn’t. There was another total lack of flavour and the hoppy nutty tasting notes that they claim on their website were totally absent. It was cold and fizzy and just tasted like a slightly dark lager to me. A bit disappointing and so I would only give this a 1 out of 5 as well.
Following these initial two disappointments I went for a safe option with my third pint, Timothy Taylor Landlord. This is a classic pale ale which plenty of pedigree behind it and a vast array of awards. At 4.3% it is not the strongest but is an excellent session beer or one to have if you are not looking to get properly on it. It has a good classic flavour to it, with a subtle hoppy aroma which is refreshing and not too overpowering. This was easily the best of the ales we had and I probably should have had three of these but then that would not have made for a good review would it. I would give Timothy Taylor a solid 3 out of 5 which is possibly pushing on to 4 as it is a classic pale ale with an understated style and taste.
I’ve not sampled the food at the George Payne but they have a pretty decent sounding menu mixing pub classics with a few twists. Overall I would recommend this pub as a nice place for a quiet drink with friends and perhaps a bite to eat. We sat outside and caught a little bit of the early evening sunshine which was very nice. I hope that the ale selection will rotate soon and they will get a few more interesting ones in, they did have ESB at one point but that seems to have gone which was a shame. If you find yourself in the Hove area and in need of a quick pint definitely give this place a go.