Review – Craft Beer Co
Craft Beer Co is already one of Brighton’s most popular pubs, drawing in punters with its eclectic and substantial range of beers and ales.
Situated in the heart of the town centre on Upper North Street, this small, independent London-based pub chain recently underwent an intense four-week period of restoration including, most importantly, a new kitchen and upstairs seating area. But has the hard work paid off?
Changing the downstairs interior to a light, pale yellow colour instantly makes Craft Beer Co more welcoming and inviting. But it’s the upstairs seating area where you can see the effort the pub has put into its expansion.
Kitted out in larger tables with plum walls and leather seats, this area has a more formal, plush feel to it. Seating thirty with an additional room for twelve in the more intimate room next door, Craft Beer Co clearly used their business nous to ensure that the space can be utilised for parties, weddings etc.
Aside from additional seating and a lick of paint, a brand-new kitchen has been added. Not a first for the Craft Beer Co collective but a much-needed addition to this Brighton branch. Formerly the pub had been surviving on the occasional homemade scotch egg, packets of crisps and hosting the odd pop-up. But now they’re firing up the griddle and setting themselves bang on trend by serving a selection of – you guessed it – burgers.
Forty Burger, an independent start-up with presence in the London-based Craft Beer Co pubs, has set up camp and brought its simple ‘something for everyone’ menu down to the coast.
Burgers include a classic cheese, a daring ‘Elvis’ with peanut butter and banana, plus good vegetarian options including a lentil and goat’s cheese burger that’s unique to the Brighton pub.
Opting for a simple Cheese and Bacon burger – red onion relish, shredded lettuce, pickles, smoked streaky bacon and mature cheddar – I also sampled the skin-on chips with parmesan and truffle oil. Other sides on offer included an interesting special of ‘chips and bacon dust’.
Served on a metallic tray with cutlery, Craft Beer Co has been careful to minimise the street food element currently associated with burgers and aim for a slightly more sophisticated, classic serving.
The patty, made from Aberdeen beef, was cooked medium and fresh to order. Incredibly filling and very meaty, it was thick and oozed gorgeous burger juices. Paired with the combination of salty bacon, rich cheddar and crunchy lettuce allowed for a really good, classic ‘all-American’ feel.
The bun, however, was slightly dry – quickly remedied with a generous slather of mayonnaise from the condiment selection. It would have been nice to see homemade sauces on offer rather than bottles and jars.
The truffle oil chips were decadent and rich. Oily and sprinkled with parmesan, they were an indulgence yet didn’t pair well against the burger. As a stand-alone dish they would have been superb alongside a smouldering glass of red or a smokey ale.
It will be interesting to see how the menu fares against stiff competition across Brighton, however Craft Beer Co is worth a look for burger fans across the city with its straight-up, classic selection of meat in a bun.
Craft Beer Co, 22-23 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FG
Originally printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent 5th September 2014