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Is Harvey’s Best The New Young’s Ordinary?

Published: Mar 22nd, 2010 | Author: The Beeralist

Some years ago there were beers that seemed to be everywhere in London – Wadworths 6X, Fuller’s london Pride and Young’s Ordinary (Bitter) for example. Assuming you liked those beers they were always a good fallback if there was nothing else available.

But, quality could vary. Whereas 6X and London Pride were fairly presentable in most places, Young’s Ordinary actually never seemed to live up to its Wandsworth promise when drunk in non-Young’s pubs

Now, Wadworths 6X is rare in London and although London Pride and Young’s Ordinary are still available in Fuller’s and Young’s pubs, other beers taken their place in other pubs – including Harvey’s Sussex Best.

Now Harvey’s Best is a particular favourite of mine, so whenever it’s available I’m tempted to try it. But after some recent disappointments I’m being more careful.

The Lewes Benchmark

On our recent trip to Lewes (where Harvey’s brewery is located), Jon and I found that Harvey’s Best was available in practically every pub we visited – and generally it was pretty good. With the brewery so close, non-Harvey’s pubs in Lewes presumably work hard to keep it well so they stand a chance of selling it.


In London pubs, Harvey’s Best falls into 3 groups:

1) The Royal Oak in Borough

This pub is Harvey’s only London pub and the beer quality is always superb. You’d hope they would get it right here.

2) The Harp in Covent Garden, The Dispensary in Aldgate

Two superb pubs that carry Harvey’s Best nearly all the time. The taste is up there, but it is still distinguishable from the Royal Oak.

This grouping could also include the Bell at Cannon Street and the Peacock in Aldgate when it’s available.

3) The Rest

Do these pubs carry Harvey’s Best because it plays well with beer drinkers – are they trading on the name? But perhaps without the commitment to keep it well?

Harvey’s Best is a distinctive bitter and can easily be done wrong – just like Young’s Ordinary many years ago in all those non-Young’s pubs. If contemplating a Harvey’s Best now in a pub I’m not familiar with I’d always want to taste it first.

One Response to “Is Harvey’s Best The New Young’s Ordinary?”

  1. The Beeralist says:

    In what context?

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