A Brief History Of The 'Beer Of Brighton'

A long, long time ago in a shed far, far away Joosy was born. Actually, it wasn’t all that long ago, and it wasn’t that far away. The beer was Benchmark, and it was brewed in Head Brewer and Founder Jordan’s shed in Hove. From those humble beginnings, hand bottled by Jordan himself (with a little bit of help from the family!) and sold to local bottle shops Joosy has enjoyed a somewhat extraordinary rise.

It's so easy to forget about the great core beers of craft beer sometimes. We take for granted that they’re always there and we’ve all had countless pints of them so inevitably we might try the newest release or the latest conceptual pastry sour – but there is nothing quite like a great pint of a beer you know so well. It’s comforting, it’s familiar and, in the case of Joosy, it’s absolutely delicious!

Bottle of Benchmark IPA - on a wooden table outside. Two cans of Joosy Pale Ale. On a table outside with beer in a glass next to them.

Joosy started out life as Benchmark, a 4.7% Session IPA with an amber hue and plenty of piney bitterness and rich fruity aromas. Brewed to be the perfect beer for ‘chewing the fat with good friends & old barflies’ it really hasn’t changed much in that sense. If you come to our Taproom on any day of the week it’s full of best friends, co-workers and old acquaintances catching up on the days/weeks/months goings on over a cool pint of Joosy. The laughs, the smiles, the arms round the shoulder are all too familiar to our bar staff who are there whatever the weather making sure those glasses are kept full and, honestly, it’s exactly why we do what we do. And it’s what keeps our customers coming back.

When we opened the doors of the new brewery and Taproom back in 2019, Jordan and Lead Brewer Gary set about re-imagining Benchmark to the beer that we know now. An award winner itself, winning the Bev Robbins shield back in 2015 at the CAMRA Worthing Beer Festival, they wanted to keep that spirit, what made it so special, and create something that would really represent Brighton. Not long after, Joosy was born!

A 5.1% hazy Pale Ale brewed with Amarillo & Simcoe, it’s a super juicy and crushable pale with bags of citrus, grapefruit and orange zest. A little stronger than its predecessor with a more golden colour, it might have changed in appearance and flavour but it still retains that same spirit, that same purpose that won it that Shield all those years ago. But life was about to change.

Not long after we opened our doors and started getting the word of Joosy out there, lockdown hit. We had to adapt and, wanting Joosy to be the same beer that united people, we started selling it by the bucket load in cans and essentially whatever takeaway container we could, or you, get our hands on.  It continued its journey, people sharing their pictures and stories of them sharing a can with the housemates, families, event distant ones over a Zoom chat. We kept brewing and brewing, and you kept buying and buying!

Joosy cask clip on hand pull pump6 cans of joosy cans on table outside

Now, this isn’t intended to be a history lesson on the various stages of lockdown so we’ll skip a bit, but Jordan recalls a story of during one stage of the lockdown being relaxed, people running around Brighton trying to get their hands on some. ‘They we’re running up to pubs shouting from the back of the queue asking if they had any Joosy. If they said no, they’d leave the queue and on to the next until they could grab some – it’s that important to people!’. We’ve continued to brew it since, having to make more and more every month to ensure that it’s always available. We want to make sure it’s ever present, that people can catch up with loved ones, their best mates and take a moment to catch up over their favourite pint.

It's great when you know you’ve got something wonderful, when you can see people shouting for it, laughing with their friends over a pint, but winning awards is a fantastic feeling. So back in 2022, when we heard that Joosy, like its predecessor Benchmark, had won a gold medal at the Craft Beer Awards in London last year we were over the moon. Jordan and Gary’s creation that has brought so much joy to us, to our customers, and to customers of pubs and bottle shops up and down the country is an award winning, gold nonetheless, pale ale. It was a huge moment for us, and it’ll spur us on to keep brewing it, and keep you glasses full!

Two cans of Joosy next to award in a frame
We wonder what Joosy would be like if we ramped it up to 8%...??