Forget the days of a cheap Carlsberg 12 pack down the beach. Craft beer exploded on the scene and seduced our taste buds with its heavenly citrus hops, punchy American IPA’s, caramel infused stouts and Icelandic wheat beers. There’s no going back now.

In Brighton we’re lucky enough to have over 60 legit breweries right on our doorstep, from Bedlam and Brighton Bier to the award winning Long Man and Darkstar. So whether you’re a big and beardy seasoned ale drinker, or craftie novice there’s something here to suit every taste. 

We took one for the team and drank our way around Brighton to uncover the city’s best craft beer pubs. Our livers aren't happy, but you should be. 

When Brighton Bier decided to launch Bierhaus, we couldn’t of been hoppier. They even saved a 200 year old Kemptown pub in their quest to bring their award-winning beers to the mouths of us lucky Brightonians. The brewery is a mere mile away meaning you get to sup on not only the tastiest of ales, but the freshest too. Guest beers from the likes of Brewdog and Hand Brew Co make regular appearances, as well as a heap of tasty international brews and ciders. And if you should happen to feel a little peckish while you’re there, they also serve up some darn delish pizzas courtesy of Pizzaface! Sundays are our faves in da Haus - £3.20 Cask Pints, Free Sunday papers, board games and pizza. Lush!

Read more about Brighton Bierhaus

The summer of 2018 saw Bison Beer open it's third site in Brighton’s famous North Laine, partnering up with Humble Plates to put on a bar, kitchen and hideout operation that truly has something for everyone. 103 North Road‬ is a bold and experimental concept that has been brewed in partnership with Bison Beer's original brand designer, Dan Walters, and realised with the expertise of architects, We Like Today. The new crafthouse stocks Bison's usual work-class selection beers from all around the globe, and their own fresh brews too. If you don’t know your stouts from your IPA’s then fear not, they’re a really friendly bunch and will point you in the right direction.

Read more about Bison Beer Crafthouse (North Road)

Holler began in 2016 as a dream of Steve’s: to set up a brewery in the heart of Sussex and sell beer that would be available to all. So Holler began as Holler Boys, literally two boys (Steve and Ant the farmer) and a gal (Steve’s beloved Bethany) in an old dairy building on a farm in the tranquil countryside not far from Lewes. Steve created a core range of highly drinkable beers (Cheat Mode, Fog Cutter, Heavy Lifting, Bunko, Loot et al..) and as the team, the beers and the love grew, we left the boys behind and just became Holler… In September 2018, they opened a brand new shiny brewery in the centre of Brighton that has double the production capacity of their farm site. And with this, The Holler Tap Room, where you can try the beers only a few yards from where they were made. All of the beer on offer is available to take home in 2 litre flasks, with the additional options of mini kegs, cans and full 72 pint casks offered. Should you prefer to an evening of drinking in the taproom, Holler have teamed up with Fatto a Mano to offer pizzas delivered direct to your table.

Read more about Holler Brewery & Taproom

The World’s End is like nowhere else in Brighton. Four player virtual reality booths, a remote control racetrack, 50 craft beers and Wolfsmouth kitchen - you won’t want to go home.  Part of the Laines string of boozers, you’ll always find their tasty beer on the taps (brewed just up the road in Adversane, West Sussex). But you’ll also find enough of a selection of draught, canned and bottled beer to keep you amused. Whether you're up for a 10% ABV brew or you're the designated driver, they’ve got something crafty and delicious for you.

Read more about The World's End

Smack bang in the centre of Brighton is one of the trendiest pubs in town. After a lick of paint and a bit of a spruce, the newly refurbed pub is a bustling hotspot for the genteel types of Sussex. Renowned for their homemade infused gins, this blinder of a boozer also stock a ravishing range of craft beers. From tasty beer staples such as Beavertown and Tiny Rebel to exciting newer brewers such as Holler Boys and Crate Brewery. With 20 keg taps, 2 cask pumps and a glorious array of bottled and canned goodies, you and your gang will have a mighty fine time tasting you way through this lot. To soak up all the booze we’d recommend grabbing some stellar pub grub from the boys at Croustillant D.

Read more about The Seven Stars

Most Brightonians will have whiled away many a blurry night at The Joker – their stunning array of local craft beers (not to mention 2-4-1 prosecco on Monday nights) have lured Team Wriggle in like a magical siren on many an occasion. Nestled smack in the heart of the lively London Road quarter of Brighton, the Joker brings everything you'd expect in terms of atmosphere and good vibes. There's monthly live jazz shows and regular DJs until late on weekends, making The Joker the ideal late-night drinking den to gather in with your best mates.

Read more about The Joker

Located in an old Victorian period building, Idle Hands is a quirky craft pub for people of all walks of life. Reminiscent of the days when bars were purveyors of artisan spirits and wines, it has a strong ethos of handpicking the best of these, with an ever-changing array of fine wines and spirits from around the globe. With 10 taps dedicated to craft beer that rotate regularly, Idle Hands showcases some of the best of British brewing. Decorated in keeping with the Victorian building it lives in, Idle Hands is a bar that feels like it’s been there for decades. With regular live jazz and swing and a red piano welcome for all to use, come down for craft beer, amazing spirits and a tinkle on the piano under the watchful eyes of our resident ram’s head.

Read more about Idle Hands

Tucked away in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine, Dead Wax Social are kings of casual dining and the city’s premier late night drinking hub. They have an ever-changing selection of craft beers. Whether you’re after a schooner from the tap wall, or want to work your way through the choice selection of bottled goodness, we’re sure you’ll find a favourite.  The beer list is curated by Beer Collective, and includes the likes of Northern Monk, Madhatter, Fourpure, and local brewers Bison Beer and Two Tribes.

Read more about Dead Wax Social

One of the oldest pubs in Kemptown, the Barley Mow has long been famed for its fantastic selection of real ales and generous servings of quality grub. Six ales always on tap with a regular rotation. Currently donning the pumps is Longman’s American Pale Ale, Purity’s Pure UBU, Upham’s Punter, Arundel’s Pickled Mouse, Butcombe’s original and Westons’ Rosie Pig. A toasty fire in winter months, and a quaint beer garden out back for summer. What more could you ask for?!

Read more about The Barley Mow

An independent, family-friendly pizza pub perched high upon the hillside just two mins walk from Brighton station. The 'Westie' has been lovingly restored by Ben and Heather and is a proper local boozer with a family at the helm. With traditional pub pantones, a blend of old and new furniture, and plenty of charm. A super cosy home-from-home - creating a beautiful neighbourhood pub with ‘the Cheers factor’ - a place where everybody knows your name.

Read more about The West Hill Tavern

Run by London based Southey Brewing Co. The Brighton Beer Dispensary are dishing out some of the most exciting beers in town. The interior is unassuming, exposed brick walls, wooden saloon style bar and red velvet stools. Bang tidy. The real star of the show is how it should be, the belting beers. Purveyors of breweries large and small, you can find a tasty selection from lesser known breweries such as Burnt Mill and Vocation to hop legends such as Wild Beer and Northern Monk. 9 Kegs, 6 Casks and 3 Cider Taps, asking for recommendations is encouraged so go on, don’t be shy.

Read more about Brighton Beer Dispensary

The Pond are an independent pub in Brighton's North Laine serving up delicious beer from all over the planet, including their very own Pondwater Pale Ale. The highly rated Baby Bao crew in the kitchen knock out an enormous amount of Taiwanese steamed bun goodness, delivering mouthwatering grub for carnivores and herbivores alike. On Mondays they go completely meat-free and the menu changes with the seasons. Open from midday to midnight seven days a week so pop in for a pint and kick back in this cozy boozer that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Read more about The Pond

With 24 keg taps, 4 cask pumps, over 80 craft cans and bottles plus an in-house brewery, the North Laine Brewhouse are most definitely all about the beers. There’s always something new and fresh to try, or ask the barman for top tips to find your perfect brew. On Sundays head down for a lazy afternoon lolling about on their furniture and filling your belly with sensational home-cooked roasts.

Read more about North Laine Brewhouse

You can see why the newly refitted Hare & Hounds on London Road is making waves in Brighton’s pub scene as soon as you walk through the doors. The Meantime tank stands proud at the entrance, tempting you to try the brewery fresh, unfiltered beer straight from the tank to your glass. The Hare & Hounds team keep their key kegs changing every week so you’ll always be spoilt for choice. Despite the huge size of this pub, and the fact it’s stocked to the brim with some of the finest drinks available, you feel relaxed and chilled out in this joint. Head out the back to the spacious decked beer garden, crammed with booths and contemporary murals - you could easily wile away a few hours sampling all of the local ales and craft beers on offer!

Read more about The Hare & Hounds

East Street Tap is Brighton’s oldest boozer dating from at least 1568. It has had many incarnations over the years and has had a rather interesting history. It’s now home to a mouth watering selection of keg and cask beers from both local brewers like Gun based in Berwick and international brewers from as far afield as New Zealand. They LOVE beer. There is also a carefully chosen spirit list including another local favourite Brighton Gin plus an excellent wine list and a decent selection of non-alcoholic beverages including Kombucha.

Read more about East Street Tap

The Craft Beer Co. boast 18 keg lines, 9 cask pumps and over 200 bottles and cans. Hello, I’m drunk. The uber knowledgeable bar staff eagerly wait to help you discover which heady delight to opt for. Family run, spiffingly decorated and banging Sunday Roasts are just another few reasons to visit. Whilst some of the guest kegs can be steep at £3.60 for a half, these are high calibre, speciality beers that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Tiny Rebel’s Orange Mocha Frapp Stout is currently making an appearance along with Magic Rock’s Grapefruit Pale Ale. If you need to keep an eye on the pennies, opt for a cask Clerkenwell Pale for only £3.40 or a Dark Star Revelation for £4.50.

Read more about The Craft Beer Co.

In the cellar depths of this locally revered pub, a beautiful thing called Dark Star Brewing Co. came to be. Back in ‘94 the brewery was created to quench the thirst of beer deprived punters upstairs, but as word spread of these tasty new ales the supply was quickly drunk dry. Thus the brewery had to be relocated to a larger holding, but the same fresh, tasty browns remained. 7 cask pulls, 8 keg lines and a worldie range of craft bottles and cans. Our Dark Star favourite has to be the Creme Brulee, dubbed a dessert in a glass with it’s vanilla and caramel undertones. This off the beaten track pub may be simple in decor, but it serves breathtakingly good brews.

Read more about The Evening Star

This Kemptown institution has been serving up hits of the good stuff for over 150 years, and brewing up its own for the last 30. Numbers like that are no mean feat and with age, comes wisdom. Wisdom of the boozy kind. This old school taproom is clad with adorably ramshackle decor, hilarious staff and a killer beer selection. The most recent additions to the Hand in Hand brews are their first ever keg beer, Shaka, and German Pilsner, Hans. Hans it to me please. The largest Cider maker in sussex, Seacider, have a resident pump here and we highly recommend giving the Mango one a go. In the fridges you’ll find a quaint selection of old faithfuls such as Einstock and Brooklyn. Pop down for a jazz night and sip on the very moreish DAP pale ale.

Read more about Hand in Hand

A locals boozer for hardened ale drinkers. This old skool tavern may be quaint in size but it's vast in its beery offerings. Old tobacco tins filled with punters messages line the walls, tankards hang from the bar and you’ll usually find a pooch or two among red velvet topped wooden stools. This Fuller’s owned pub have more than eight taps with a few staple Fuller’s brews as you’d expect and moreish seasonal changers. Butcombe, George Gale & Co, Little Beer Corporation and Longman Brewery (voted best beer in the world 2017) have all made guest appearances here. Basketmakers really do stock some of the best quality beers in Brighton and also boast over 100 whiskies. They were voted best Brighton’s best pub from 2014-2016 and entertain some damn fine pub grub.

Read more about The Basketmakers

Built in 1848 this makes The Lord Nelson one of ye oldest pubs in sunny Brighton. A short totter from the main station and you’ll find yourself in this cosy, saloon style boozer with adjoining conservatory area and lovely wee garden. This Harvey’s run pub serve up Lewes’ best with the likes of Georgian Dragon, Sussex Best and their delish IPA. Keep an eye out for their seasonal changers like the recent Sussex Wild Hop, earthy background flavours with sharp citrus notes cutting through. Renowned for their live music nights, there’s a Folk Night every first Monday of the month and their food menu is also worth a pretty penny.

Read more about The Lord Nelson

This champion wee boozer on the bottom of Trafalgar Street was taken over by Indigo pubs in 2010 and was transformed into a veggie eating, ale drinkers paradise. With six cask ales to choose from there’s something for everyone. Pale, amber and copper ales as well as vegan and gluten free options. The pumps change seasonally and host the likes of Firebird, Drygate, Tiny Rebel and Greyhound. If all that beer chat has you feeling peckish, grab some delightfully delirious veggie food. The Ginger Beer Battered Halloumi is life.

Read more about The Prince George

Known for its mega selection of devilishly good cocktails, The Black Dove are also vested beer connoisseurs. The interior is a ramshackle of vintage artwork, wax covered bottles, velvet drapery, quirky ornaments and characterful pieces of antique furniture. The eccentricities of the decor are reflected in its behind bar offering. Six keg lines, 11 Sheppy’s ciders, Brooklyn Lager, International Pale Ales, Belgian Beers and over 60 bottled ales. They also flaunt a 100% organic wine list. The staff's knowledge of the tipples on offer is unparalleled so give ‘em a chance to talk you through the latest exciting browns on offer and settle in for the night in one of the hidden away nooks or crannies. A flamboyant bar of Kemptown proportions.

Read more about The Black Dove

Slap-Bang in the middle of the Lanes, the Black Lion transforms daily from bustling foodie pub, to one of Brighton’s busiest late night venues. With great blues and funk bands playing early in the week, to the city’s finest DJs spinning vinyl on the weekend. Rocking a huge heated beer garden, it’s a must try for any pub lover in the city. The food is all about getting back to basics, using local, seasonal and fresh ingredients in recognisable dishes. Traditional pub classics with a modern twist. The knowledgeable bar staff can whip up your favourite cocktail or pour you a banging local craft beer. Cheers!

Read more about The Black Lion

Published -7th June 2019