Firle Beer Guide: Your Firle guide to beer, beer bars, breweries and brewpubs

Latest reviews from Firle

94 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“Visited April 2022. Large-ish and popular attraction on the A27 a few miles east of Lewes. As others have noted, it's not ideal for public transport, so you're best off finding a teetotaller to drive you there. The main car park is often full; if you park in the field to the left of the farm ensure you avoid the muddy bits that look like they may eat small cars. From the field it's a bit of a hike back around the front of the farm to a great plant shop and a good farm shop. There's also a café and farm park - so plenty to keep your family busy whilst you head for the main event - the magnificent Cider Barn. According to the yellow website (which the proprietors assure me is kept up to date at least weekly) at the time of writing this review the Barn holds 695 packaged products (107 meads, 61 perries, 297 ciders and 230 beers), along with 139 draught/open products (122 ciders and perries, 3 beers and 14 meads) - these you can get tasters of (there's small disposable taster cups near the till), or buy a pint to drink outside, or fill various-sized containers to take them away. The beers are almost entirely local, with a high proportion of East Sussex breweries represented (along with quite a few from West Sussex). The ciders have a fair few from Sussex but the bulk are from the main UK cider counties, with a smattering from elsewhere in the UK and a few French bottles. Frankly it's a scene to take your breath away as you step away! The comments comparing it unfavourably to a garden shed are a little unfair - yes it's smallish (but not that small - bigger than most craft beer shops) and there's a lot crammed into the space, but it's well organised. There were eight customers when I was there and it felt busy but still chilled and friendly (but again, remember it's a shop not a pub - and most craft beer shops would struggle with that many people at once). It's undeniably popular though, so you'd be best off visiting either earlier in the day, or on a weekday in term time. The two proprietors were both really friendly, and hugely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about cider and mead especially, and knew their products well. The prices were pretty competitive for the area. All in all this was one of the best beer/cider/mead venues I've been to and I would definitely return if down that way (hell, I might even travel down there purely to go there again!). It's brilliant, get yourself down there now!“
wheresthepath 89 days ago
84 /100 PLACE BARN, THE STREET,
“Review is for the brewery's online shop. I tend to order from their online shop every few months and have never been disappointed. Usually a good range of beers, especially if you wait for 'special' releases. Pretty much the best prices you will find for their beers. Shipping is always prompt and beers are well protected. No complaints.“
Leighton 595 days ago
76 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“Been there with McTapps so you get the heavy detail over there. Beside this I have to damit that this one is the biggest cidre collection I have ever seen in my whole life.And I also must admit that I have never left a place that early like I did it here. tweo guys standing on within the same lane watching out for their cidre ? Impossible. I bet that your living room is bigger than this location. Nah, your garden shed is bigger for sure. So this place is a bit tough. Super crazy selection, good service, but with every turn of your body your elbow could easily kill four or five bottles due to the lackof space.“
MichaelAwesome 2918 days ago
74 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“Came the way from Eastbourne to visit the Cider Centre and unfortunately our two (2!) satnavs didn’t find it. After one hour of searching, a nice guy who I asked, helped us to find it (basically just drive along the A27 towards Eastbourne coming from Lewes or towards Lewes coming from Eastbourne - it lies just beneath the A27). When we arrived there at around 12.30 in the noon it was heavily crowded and all of the 50(?) parking spaces were full and we had to park the car at a field beneath. The shop itself (well, the "Collection of Ciders & Perries") was such a tiny place, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Had expected something elso of the ratings here on RB. Of course this tiny place was stuffed until the ceiling with ciders, perries, fruit wines and mead - I would say, there were around 50? ciders and perries on cask available and many of them plus beers in bottles for a reasonable price. I cannot say anything about the selection, it has got a full 15/15, but meh- this tiny place. I don’t like being rushed through some bottle shop and when I wanted to take a look at the beers and ciders and with all that people walking into me (no, I am not fat) - it made me mad. There is hardly place for 1.5 people beside each other on the way and everything on the left and right is filled with bottles (at the end with casks) and it is so dark with only artifical lights. I felt ok and really, I don’t care when I disturb people who think they must enter such a tiny place with their childrens pushchair ( I have been there with my two years’ old daughter as well- no pushchair, she can walk by herself very fine- and she just stayed outside with my husband because this is no place for small childrens) - but a person who is afraid of small rooms better stay outside. The girl at the cash desk was of course very busy but also very unpersonal and neutral - not very friendly or open-minded and there was no single smile on her face to be seen. Maybe I just had a bad time to get there; it was in the middle of the day and in the middle of the English summer holidays - but I expected more. Of course I would come back again anytime to sample more of its ciders and perries and of course I would recommend it anytime - but I just wasn’t happy altogether. Selection perfect, but more crowded than Stonehenge and the "restaurant" was just a simple, dark and ordinary café not serving any nice food at all (only some lame baked potatoes and baguettes and "soups of the day"). And when it is the national collection of cider & perries : Where is the iced cider to be found? It stays in my mind for a massive amount of new ciders / perries but with almost zero atmosphere and uninterested staff and too many peoples / too less space.“
McTapps 2922 days ago
84 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“Amazing place. Smallish place stuffed with more than a hundred draught ciders and plenty in bottles too. Also some mead. You just get a tasting thimble and you can help yourself to as many samples as you want. It would be very impolite to not buy anything though. They will supply plastic containetrs (for a charge) or you can bring your own. Essential.“
chriso 3056 days ago
94 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“We stopped past Middle Farm on the way back from a trip to see the Seven Sisters (also worth a visit) and were completely blown away by the place. The “cider centre” is a modest-sized hut in the farm complex which encompasses farm shops, cafe, restaurant, gift shop and farm zoo. The place has a plethora of all alcoholic beverages British. It is stuffed to the rafters with barrels of cider, perry, mead and liqueurs. You just grab yourself a sample cup and taste away! Over 100 ciders/perrys in barrel are available for takeout in plastics containers, ceramics bottles or by the barrel themselves. In bottles they have beer (100+), cider, perry, mead, spirits, English wine, liqueurs and juices. All fairly local, all British. You can drink your cider outside at the restaurant tables. Only (slight) negatives are the bees and relatively cramped space, but it all kind of adds to the ambiance anyway. I doubt there is a better selection of cider anywhere else.“
Scopey 3647 days ago
88 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“The national cider and perry collection – an unsurpassed cornucopia! Middle Farm is a complex of buildings incorporating an excellent farm shop, a gift shop, a children’s farmyard zoo, a restaurant and – best of all – the national cider and perry collection. The latter is housed in a small barn packed with goodies. There are 116 barrels of cider, all of which can be sampled (just help yourself!) as well as hundreds of bottles beer, cider and perry from local sources and further afield. It’s a veritable treasure trove. We visited on a cold day in early November to celebrate Caspar’s forthcoming move to the United States and spent a happy few hours in the courtyard. Those of us who weren’t driving (really the only way to get there) were fortified by the abundant samples and hot mulled cider from the barn. (Visited 6 November 2011).“
Boudicca 3865 days ago
88 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“2010-07. Visited late on a sunny Saturday afternoon last July about an hour before they closed, we swooped into the parking lot after a long day in Hastings and were extremely surprised to find a hundred barrels of cider and perry in the tasting room. Our travelling companions tried a few before heading out for a spot of tea, but we stayed and thoroughly enjoyed the bee-filled barrel room and several more samples. We bought a few jugs to try later (tasty), with some suggestions from the friendly staff on hand. Quite steady business, not packed. Would return in a heartbeat, despite being a bit out of the way. (3/10/15/NA/10/16) 88%“
mabel 4032 days ago
86 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“2010-07-31. I had read about this place, particularly Rastacouere’s glowing review of it, so I had some idea of what to expect, but I was still unprepared for what we found. We arrived later in the day so we eschewed the farm part (which in hindsight didn’t seem that interesting anyway) in favour of heading directly to the cider facilities. My jaw dropped as we walked in to a room that was wall to wall filled with plastic casks full of cider and perry. I wasn’t sure where to start so I got a sampling glass and asked for some suggestions. Its a bit cramped so try to avoid bringing any bags in with you if you can, I eventually stashed my backpack in a corner. Went around ticking and tasting at random, and had sampled enough in 30 minutes to an hour that I was actually feeling the alcohol a bit by the time I left. We were in a hurry but I would recommend planning to spend a long time here, take advantage of the food next door and the reportedly excellent selection of cheese (it was closed by the time we giddily rejoined our group). A pain to get to, we were lucky to have a driver. Selection of ciders is (I have to assume) unparalleled. They also have a decent selection of beer on hand but if you are considering them you may be missing the point! (Although they might serve as a nice palate reset). They have containers on hand or they will fill just about anything you bring them apparently. If you are even modestly interested in cider this is well worth a visit. An experience.“
jercraigs 4377 days ago
100 /100 MIDDLE FARM, LEWES ROAD, FIRLE
“This wonderful place is located about 2 miles East of the actual. The closest train station is Glynde, an unpleasant 45 minutes walk away by the A27 that does not have a walkway for all the length or you may catch a bus from Lewes every 1h30, in the week. Count 2 hours once you get the Southern from London-Victoria. Once there, it has this charming feel of honest stresslessness that can only be found in campaigns. I’m a city guy myself, but it seems that many of my favourite spots, moments etc. originate from rural areas. ambiance: 5. The staff is truly charming, extremely knowledgeable. I stayed there about 3 hours and ended up very friendly with them, chatting about Quebec ice ciders and Calvados. When I’d fill a plastic pint of a cider 10 meters away from them, basically from a random barrel amongst possibly 90 that covered that single wall, they knew immediately which one I picked without possibly being able to read the label, up to the ABV. They’ll let you sample without making you feel out of place or overly ambitious. 10. They love cider-lovers. The selection, to put it mildly, is almost undoutedly the best cider/perry collection in the world. 15. And overall, well with all I’ve written, I’d better give it a 20 and be done with it. This is the Mecca, the Kulminator of all ciderheads and by default, one of my favourite places in the world.“
Rastacouere 5445 days ago