What better way to begin a review of Worthing's first micropub, Anchored in Worthing, than with a photo of genial local legend Nigel Watson:
Since the opening of Anchored in August 2013, Nigel has worked tirelessly to improve the premises, installing wonderful new tables (now with much-appreciated integral coat hooks), and outside seating in good weather. My most recent visit over the summer was post-table refit, but pre-anchor installation, otherwise I would have treated you to a shot of the eponymous ship-securing device that now hangs proudly above the door.
Former mariner Nigel navigated a steady course around the various licensing obstacles he encountered during the early months of Anchored's trading, and his superb establishment now enjoys loyal support from a legion of local (and not so local) real ale aficionados.
As a passionate advocate of the micropub movement, Nigel has been generous in his support of the owners of other new establishments in the locality, Shoreham's Old Star Ale and Cider House, and Worthing's second micropub, Brooksteed Alehouse, whose proprietors have also run sessions for Nigel in their turn when life's travails have interfered with the dispensing of pints. Such solidarity has been great to see, and is another refreshing characteristic of the micropub movement. Reviews of both of these fine hostelries will be forthcoming in due course.
I've been to Anchored on four occasions now, both during the day and in the evening. The atmosphere is welcoming and convivial, and for me it typifies the ideal micropub experience.
Above everything else, of course, we visit micropubs to afford ourselves the opportunity to embrace the consolations of malt and hops, and it has to be said that Nigel keeps his beer superbly. And I do mean really, really well. A Sussex bitter, mild, and dark beer are usually to be found on the chalk board, together with a selection of ciders, perries and local wines.
During my last visit in the company of the doughty Mr. Hughes, Langham Triple XXX, Goldmark Craft Beer's Arun Amber, and Kissingate Black Cherry Mild were on offer.
Horsham al(e)chemists Kissingate don't make a bad beer in my opinion, with their extraordinary Mandarina Red having been my Beer of the Year in 2013. Whilst you have to be in the mood for a cherry mild, I was, and it was quite excellent.
Goldmark's Arun Amber was noteworthy for being the first beer from this brewery I thought didn't taste like homebrew; maybe they do have the potential to produce something worth drinking after all. However, I do wish they'd drop the posturing 'Craft Beer' from their brewery's name. It's both self-aggrandisingly naff, and redundant. All beer is 'crafted', guys. All of it. Even the stuff that lives in lake-sized stainless steel tanks. It doesn't spring into existence on its own. 'The "c" word' is pure marketing guff and Goldmark should drop it to save themselves further embarrassment.
However, on the day it was Langham's Triple XXX that I went back for another pint of. Langham's 'traditional, with a twist' approach to brewing always seems to hit the spot, and they've put out a succession of terrific beer recently such as their Black Swallow BIPA, Arapaho APA, and a stunning Saison, launched at this year's Yapton Beerex in fined and unfined presentation.
On what had proven to be rare rainy afternoon this summer (and it really did tip down), the Triple XXX was comfort in a glass: a perfectly balanced blend of high roast chocolate malts tempered with just enough astringent bitterness to achieve lupulin equilibrium. It was absolutely delicious.
As well as Anchored offering a selection of local cheese, it is worthy of note that sandwiches are available from Bosun's Café next door. Nigel was even kind enough to pop our order in for us.
Anchored in Worthing is already a local institution among those who appreciate well-kept beer and the art of conversation, and I commend this establishment to you without reservation.