Brighton Tap Takeover

Over the weekend of the 8th to 10th of April Brighton became the centre of the UK’s craft beer movement. The Brighton Tap Takeover is a new style beer festival that celebrates one of the fastest growth industries in the UK at the moment. Craft beer has exploded in the UK with an estimated 1,300 breweries operating in the country. This is more per capita than anywhere in the world and the list continues to grow. Closer to home the success of craft beer has been epitomised by the guys over at Bison Beer and the support they gained for the Bison Arms pub in the South Lanes.The Brighton Tap Takeover saw ten of the UK’s top craft breweries take up residence in ten city centre pubs. Each pub was dedicated to a single brewery where they showcased their range of beers, the result of this was a total of around fifty beers to try over the weekend. The main hub of the festival was The North Laine Brewhouse on Gloucester Place where beers from each of the breweries was available – and this is where my journey began.

North Laine Brewhouse

To kick proceedings off I was invited along to the North Laine Brewhouse on Friday afternoon to join in a craft beer tasting event with some other press types, all in the name of research of course.

Having an opportunity to hear from the brewers about their ethos and story was a great start to the day. What strikes me most about these beers is that you get a real feel for the personalities of the people making them. They all take inspiration from a variety of sources and express this through their products, and they are all very passionate about what they do.

We also heard from representative of event organisers The North Laine Company and The Beer Collective about their reasons for putting on the event.

Niki Deighton, Director of the Beer Collective, said of the festival: “It’s so exciting to have all of these amazing brewers in our city for the whole weekend. As well as great beer, each of the brewers will be bringing their own personalities to the party and provide music, food and frivolities all weekend long.”


Once the tasting was over we were invited to select a favourite beer to be canned on site to take home with us in their specially designed Tap Takeover cans. This was a nice touch and not something that I had ever seen before. I very much enjoyed getting a can of Cloudwater’s DIPA v3 made in front of my eyes to enjoy the following day.

Brighton Tap Takeover Can

Next up we went on a little tour of some of the other pubs starting with cake and beer pairings at The White Rabbit. We enjoyed a double chocolate milk stout brownie paired with a rather delicious “Nightmare on Bold Street” milk stout at the aptly named Mad Hatters Tea party.

After this was a trip to the recently opened East Street Tap where Bison Beer and Two Tribes were in charge of the taps. This newly launched pub takes its inspiration from New York beer venues with bottle packed fridges and a wall of craft beer taps. This was followed by visits to the Mash Tun and Victory Inn which were particular highlights for me as the beers on offer were superb.

Cloudwater, who had the Mash Tun, are a very interesting brewery who have created quite a legendary status. The DIPA v3 that I mentioned earlier was being launched at the festival and I’ve never seen so much excitement over a beer launch.

Cake and beer at the Mad Hatters tea party

Celt Experience, who hail from Wales, were in charge at the Victory Inn and were my personal favourites – and not just because they had beers on cask. Their beers are influenced by an interest in Celtic mythology and are specifically brewed with food pairings in mind. They were certainly very interesting brews that were packed with flavour and well worth seeking out. The Brigid Fire and Pre Prohibition IPA were especially good.

After a final stop at vinyl haven Dead Wax Social, where a lot of the festivals musical entertainment was based, our day was over. The Tap Takeover festival is a fantastic event that really captures the spirit of the craft beer movement. Whether you are a craft beer fan or not you cannot deny the huge influence that these breweries are having on popular culture in the UK and further afield.

If you missed out on all the fun do not despair as I am sure that the Tap Takeover will return next year and be even bigger and better than this inaugural event. Keep an eye out on their website and other social media to keep up to date with sorts of crafty goings on.

Brighton Tap Takeover

Twitter: @tap_takeover

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