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One brewery that is often seen around these parts but seems to get little recognition is the Dark Star brewery of Sussex. Their 'Hophead' is often to be found in the Kings Head and they have a dedicated pump in the Grove. In addition a couple of their beers have been guesting in the Star in the last few days. So what do we know about them?

The brewery started in the cellar of the Evening Star pub in Brighton as a hobby brewery but soon demand was such that they needed larger premises and they moved in 2001 to a purpose built 15 barrel plant in Haywards Heath and then earlier this year tripled their capacity when they moved again to an industrial estate at Horsham.

Like most breweries they have a core range with seasonals and monthly specials. Many of their beers are widely available, and in my opinion, rarely fail to impress. The Good Beer Guide lists 6 beers, all of differing styles, and their website lists many more.

As mentioned earlier, 'Hophead' is one of their more popular beers. Described as having 'a fruity/hoppy aroma' and a 'citrus/bitter taste' it covers most bases that the hoppy drinker wants. I am more interested in their less common beers though. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, their 'Tripel' is a superb beer but a bit hefty at 8.5%, but if you want something a little less taxing then they brew 'American Pale IPA at 4.7%, which is full of American hop flavour as would be expected, from chinook and centennial. At this time of year, 'Hylder Blonde' makes an appearance; a 4.2% elderflower beer, delicate and lightly hopped, ideal for a warm evening. This is backed up by 'Espresso', again 4.2% but dark and rich and enhanced with real espresso coffee beans, and has been voted previously 'The World's Best Speciality Beer'. 'Winter Meltdown' will also be around soon, which has a subtle ginger and spicey background taste. If you want the full list of available and upcoming beers, their website is more than informative.

All in all, a very consistent brewery, never afraid to experiment and always seems to get it right, whether the beer be light, dark or something in between. Long may they prosper.