Back in May, I found myself in the company of heathens, in a run-down 19th century Victorian ex abattoir in Triangle Road in Haywards Heath. Which is an experience that was in no way as bleak as it may sound. I was on the hunt for interesting Sussex taprooms, and I’d found one.
The Hop Sun
The heathens in question were the Heathen Brewers, who are normally found lurking in the cellars of delicatessen and vintners Grape and Grain on The Broadway (Haywards Heath). They assured me they were going to transform this abandoned abattoir into a hip and vibrant new 10 barrel brewery, taproom, café and community space. A place where you can enjoy their craft beers, along with a range of other local produce. A place where you could see pop-up events and gather with friends to enjoy a pretty unique atmosphere. A place that would be known as the Hop Sun.
I’m not going to lie, at the time the heathens showed me around and described their vision … it was exciting but it was also pretty hard to imagine.
But the bar is now open
However, last week I went back for the opening night of the Hop Sun, lured in by the promise of craft beer and some groovy lighting and I’m happy to report the heathen vision has become a reality.
At the risk of sounding very uncool, they’ve created a really cool space and atmosphere. They’ve kept many of the original features including the original bare brick walls, steel support beams, old sinks, and rafters but they’ve added a hold lot of hip. There’s an eclectic mix of multi-coloured strobe lighting, fermentation tanks, barrels of beer, haphazardly placed picture frames, and the coolest of all cool decor in the toilets (no need to take a book, just read the walls)!
But what about the beer?
Heathen Brewers have been brewing beer for the best part of a decade and The Hop Sun will be selling all their usual brews as well as a changing choice of some of the region’s other craft beers. If you’ve never tried a Heathen brew, they include the intriguingly named Chemistry (orange and coriander wheat beer), A Darker Shade of Pale, 59 Forever, and Mocha amongst others. The truth is, I could describe them all to you but I’m no great connoisseur, and actually, you’ve just got to try them for yourself and see what you think. Better still, if you’re worried about your carbon footprint, it’s approximately 234 cm from fermentation vessel to serving tank! You don’t get much more local than that.
The Hop Sun will also be serving a small selection of hand-picked wines by Grape & Grain and Sussex gins (hurrah). You can also order pizza from Piani Italian Pizza and they’ll deliver freshly made pizza of your choice straight to your table.
And the vibe?
The heathen folk just ooze personality and that’s clear the minute you walk in. It’s got a great atmosphere with a quirky clientele of all ages. It’s the sort of place that’s just fun to hang out in and you could pitch up in your suit straight from work or in your best Hawaiian shirt or even a kilt and you’d still fit right in.
The Hop Sun is open Thursday to Sunday from 3 pm and 9 pm and if you’re in the area, it would be rude not to pop in. You can find out more at www.thehopsun.co.uk.
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