Dark Star Brewery

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The Dark Star Brewery building in Partridge Green

Dark Star is a brewery in currently located in Partridge Green, in the county of West Sussex, England.


Dark Star was originally the name of a porter developed by Rob Jones when he was employed by the Pitfield Brewery. The name comes from the Grateful Dead song Dark Star.[1] It was highly successful, being voted Champion Beer of Britain in 1987. He took the recipe with him when he moved to the brewery based at the Evening Star.[2] The beer itself is now known as Dark Star Original.


The Dark Star Brewery Company started, in 1994, as a small plant squeezed into a corner of the cellar of The Evening Star Pub, in Brighton. The company was founded by entrepreneur Peter Halliday, publican Peter Skinner, and brewer Rob Jones. At that time it was known as Skinner's brewery, but there was another Skinner's brewery in Cornwall, so the name was changed to Dark Star, after Jones's successful recipe for porter.(The resemblance between the names "Dark Star" and "Evening Star" is coincidental). It soon became apparent before long that the brewery could not keep up with the growing demand from the Evening Star’s drinkers, let alone the demand for its beers from other pubs.

In 2001 the brewery relocated to a new purpose-built brewery in Ansty, near Haywards Heath, from where it supplied the Evening Star with a selection of its beers, along with its sister pubs: The Stand Up Inn, Lindfield and The Duke of Wellington, Shoreham-by-Sea. A free trade to other pubs in Sussex and the rest of the UK developed at this time. Upon moving to Ansty, Mark Tranter became Head Brewer before leaving the business in March 2013.

A new 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) site in Partridge Green was opened by Roger Protz in early 2010. This led to a fourfold increase in production, and Dark Star becoming the second largest brewery in Sussex [3][4] In 2011 the brewery acquired the The Partridge public house in Partridge Green as a brewery tap.[5]

HopFest. Sept 28,29 and 30th 2012 will be see the launch of HopFest an annual celebration of Hops - a three day festival held at the brewery.

In February 2013 Dark Star Brewing Co launched the Dark Star Foundation, a Foundation designed to "Support and Inspire". Funds will be raised throughout the year and then allocated to good causes and to pubs to further help charity-focused events.


The Dark Star Brewery currently offers over 20 different beers over the course of a year. Most is cask conditioned, although some is sold in bottles (Sunburst, Espresso, Imperial Stout, Six Hop and Belgian IPA. The range includes retro styles such as porters, spiced beers and continental styles such as Saison.

APA (American Pale Ale) 4.7% Autumn Equinox 4.5% Best Bitter 4.0%
Critical Mass 7.4% Dark Star Original 5.0% Double Chocolate Stout 4.5%
EPA (English Pale Ale) 4.5% Espresso Stout (Coffee stout) 4.2% Festival (Sussex old ale) 5.0%
Golden Gate 4.5% Hophead 3.8% Hophead Extra 5.8%
Hylder Blond (Elderflower beer) 4.2% Imperial Stout 10.5% IPA (India Pale Ale) 6.2%
Mild for May 3.6% Nut Brown Ale 4.5% Natural Blonde (Organic lager) 4.5%
Oatmeal stout 4.2% Old ale 4.0% Old Chestnut Brown ale) 4.0%
Oktoberfest 5.2% Over the Moon 3.8% Porter 5.5%
Saison 4.5% Six Hop Ale 6.5% Smoke (Rauchbier) 5%
Spring Equinox 4.0% Sunburst 4.8% Summer Meltdown (Ginger beer) 4.8%
Summer Solstice 4.2% Sussex Extra Stout 4.5% Victorian Ruby Mild 6%
Winter Meltdown (Ginger beer) 5.0% Winter Solstice 4.2% Thornstar (collaboration beer with Thornbridge) 4.7%
Revelation 5.7% Milk Chocolate Stout 4.5% Black Coffee Pilsner 4.8% The Art of Darkness 3.5%
Rye and Juniper Hop Bock 5.2% Carafa Jade 5.0% Ardennes Pale 5.8% Kiwi 4.0% RockStar 7.0%


The brewery has won many awards, including:-

  • Dark Star Espresso Stout has been crowned the world's best speciality beer.[6]
  • Dark Star American Pale Ale (APA) was voted best golden ale at the 2009 Great British Beer Festival.[7]
  • Dark Star Dark Star (also known as Dark Star Original) has been voted supreme champion of champions in the 1996 Great British Beer Festival.[8]


  1. ^ Strong, Martin (2002). The Great Rock Discography (Sixth Edition). Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd. p. 428. ISBN 1-84195-312-1. 
  2. ^ Evening Star
  3. ^ Rumours of Dark Star's demise are greatly exaggerated
  4. ^ Times Online business section
  5. ^ We've has a baby
  6. ^ World beer Awards
  7. ^ GBBF
  8. ^ Evening Star website

External links[edit]