Fundamentals #121 — Abyss Brewing Twerk IPA

Lewes, nestled among the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park, is a pub town. In fact, it’s one of my favourite places to go drinking on the entire planet, and I make the effort to try and get down there at least once a year.

I like to start in the Rights of Man, one of four hostelries in town owned by Harvey’s Brewery, which has its production facility (referred to by locals as “The Cathedral”, which becomes obvious when you see it) right in the centre of town. This is a pub of two halves; downstairs, it’s a cosy, quirky old boozer; upstairs, there’s a fancy roof terrace where locals flock to enjoy fresh seafood and cold lagers on a hot day. For me, it’s the perfect chance to get reacquainted with a pint of Harvey’s Best, before heading a few yards up the road to the Brewers Arms for what is, honestly, the best sausage and mash you will ever eat.

While Lewes is synonymous with Harvey’s, the local area has spawned some incredible young breweries over the past decade. You might have heard of Burning Sky, which is based in the village of Firle, about five miles away. Back in Lewes itself is red hot newcomer Beak, nestled beneath the chalky white cliffs and not far from another great pub, The Snow Drop (named after an infamous avalanche that once fell from the very cliffs it overlooks).

One of the most recent additions to this healthy beer scene is Abyss Brewing, which, fittingly, began its life in the basement of one of Lewes’ many pubs, The Pelham Arms. These days this beautiful 17th century pub is in the hands of Dorset’s Hall & Woodhouse Brewery and is one of the best places to grab a bite to eat should you find yourself in town. It’s here Abyss cut its teeth before exploding out of the cellar, focusing on a range of hoppy, hazy and delectably juicy beers.

Now in its own dedicated space, the brewery has further sharpened and refined its output, and Twerk, its latest New England-style IPA, is a shining example of this. We’re talking Rubicon levels of mango and passion fruit here. In fact, it’s packed so full of tropical fruit flavours I wouldn’t be surprised if it counted towards one of your five-a-day. Where this beer excels however, is its soft, dry finish; reigning in all those big fruit flavours and enhancing its inherent drinkability.

I’m excited, because a couple of weeks after writing this I shall be on my way to Lewes again. And I hope to find myself in the Snow Drop, or perhaps Patch Beer Cafe, enjoying a few halves of this beer, or one very similar to it. Abyss is aptly named, as this brewery makes beers you’d happily choose to sink into for all eternity.

Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.