Who are Abyss?
Abyss Brewing are an independent brewery on the south coast of England, about 20 miles away from Brighton.
The brewery make hop-forward, on trend beers with a belting core range established featuring hazy IPAs and some quirky offerings. Throughout lockdown they have been brewing several new beers, selling locally in 1 litre bottles and mini-kegs. We’ve managed to get our hands on some of their cans though and will be reviewing them all week.
Superfuzz – 5.6% Hazy IPA
Branding: What I’ve noticed about all of the Abyss branding, is it’s a little bit out there but for me Superfuzz isn’t something I’d be drawn to in a bottle shop. I suppose, because we get so few Abyss beers up North, I haven’t really seen their beers before so the logo and the Abyss elements don’t stand out to me. That said, now I’ve seen it once, I’ll recognise it and look for that small logo.
Aroma: You can tell this one has been dry hopped to the hills and back. Big citrus and pine smell on the nose from the combination of Simcoe, Citra and Chinook. It fades quite quick, not lingering too long which suggests this won’t be too pungent in taste but it smells like it should which is a good start.
Flavour and feel: This is is everything I like in a beer. Perfect ABV at 5.6%, hazy, juicy, and a nice bitterness. Packed full of Citra, Simcoe, Chinook, Superfuzz is well hopped, the mouth-feel is everything I’d expect and this ticks all the right boxes.
It’s got Maris Otter, oats and malted wheat giving it a rich, caramelised aftertaste but a smooth texture throughout. The use of California Ale yeast is genius too as it gives the beer a clean taste, whilst been hazy as hell.
One of Abyss’ flagship beers, if you are looking for something hoppy and hazy, they most certainly have you covered! Really good start to our week on Abyss beers.
Dank Marvin – 5.8% Juicy IPA
Branding: More like it for me, this is something I’d go for straight away from the shelf. Big colours and the way in which the word Dank melts into the can is beautiful.
Aroma: Similar to the Superfuzz, you get the hit of apricot and passion fruit from the Simcoe, but there’s a real earthiness and juiciness in this, likely from the addition of one of my favourite dual-purpose hops right now, Columbus. This is punchy on the nose and from smell alone, I’d expect this to be more pungent than the Superfuzz.
Flavour and feel: After drinking the Superfuzz yesterday, I was expecting much of the same. It poured in a similar vein, with a orange colour and thick white head. A piney, juicy IPA brimming with Chinook, Columbus and Simcoe hops. The Dank Marvin is a complete juice bomb; big fruity flavours, low bitterness but not overpoweringly sweet that it was unbearable.
Road Trip – 6% Comet IPA
Branding: Another very different feel from these guys. Normally I hate inconsistency but it works with the outlandish styles they go for. This combines flat yellow and black with a great mural feel can. Really like this.
Aroma: Another dry hopped beer, this has piney, resinous notes on the nose but being a Comet Single Hopped beer there’s more grapefruit and stone fruit than punchy tropical flavours. I’m not a huge fan of this hop normally, but it has been used more in some good IPAs recently so was willing to embrace the taste!
Flavour and Feel: Outstanding. It has to be said this beer, for me, is in another league to the previous two. It has bitterness, sweetness, a great mouth-feel and I wanted to drink more and more of this when the glass was finished. You get the hit of grapefruit immediately, then it mellows quickly into smooth lychee and apricot flavours. Really good beer and I’d happily buy a few cans of this one.
Vanilla Ice – 5.2% White Stout
I was really looking forward to this beer. My favourite of all time is a white stout from Mad Squirrel – Hoodwinked and this is the first one I’ve had since. High expectations.
Vanilla Ice is a Vanilla White Stout with Coffee, Vanilla and Cacao. The coffee and the vanilla come through strongly on the nose, and it makes you want to dive right in. The taste is smooth, creamy and the coffee/vanilla combo is really well done. Where this falls down for me is the cacao is just too faint. I love cacao in a beer, especially one with chocolate coffee and vanilla so it’s a shame!
That said, it’s refreshing, moreish and again, like all of the Abyss beers, I’d drink this over and over and be very happy.
Meet the brewery..
So let’s start with an introduction, who are Abyss and how did the brewery come about?
Andrew and I met at Art school over 20 years ago and have been doing daft things ever since.
You seem to have a great core range of beers currently that are doing so, so well. What’s the ethos behind your brewing and how do the ideas come to fruition?
We’re probably around 2-3 years behind where we’d like to be if we’re honest. We’ve always loved drinking great beers and talking about them and have really enjoyed the UK beer scene rapidly evolve in the last 5 years. Andrew had built up his pub, the Pelham Arms, Lewes creating amazing food and was looking for a new challenge. After he was banned from the kitchen worktop we began brewing in the tiny 16th century pub cellar, 2 kegs a week. Direct feedback from the customers upstairs and bobs your uncle you’ve got a captive audience encouraging you and a brew kit in the ABYSS!
When a brewery came up for sale outside of Lewes we scraped together * £30K each and got to work *(don’t start a brewery with £30K each). Ever since we’ve never been able to make enough beer, banging out 440’s with our designs splashed all over them was always where we wanted to be at. What the pandemic allowed us to do was take a small break from trade kegs and get ABYSS into cans. Our recent range of cans (2 releases a month since March) DANK MARVIN, SUPERFUZZ, TROPICAL THUNDER, VANILLA ICE, MARS INTO THE ABYSS were all pretty much ready to go, we’d just never had the capacity to brew it all.
And if you had to choose, what’s your favourite beer you’ve brewed so far?
Personally, our collaboration with SMOD (Saint Mars of the Desert) brewery released this week has been very cool to work on during a very strange time. Another 2 person operation we met Martha and Dan at the SALT Oktoberfest last year and then called in at the brewery on the way home. They have great stories born from all their experience in the U.S. brewing scene, many of them hilarious. Fans of each other’s beers we’d keep in touch as anxiety levels grew around the industry. We then thought what better way to collaborate during a global pandemic than a virtual collaboration inspace – MARS INTO THE ABYSS was born, a super light NEIPA packed full of tropical stone fruit.
What’s the story behind the name and the brand “Abyss”?
The ABYSS was born under Lewes in the cellar of the Pelham Arms. We view the ABYSS as a positive place, take a chance in life and in the darkness you will find the light. Thats what we did and here we are !
If you could collab with any brewery who would it be and why?
Harveys AND Hall and Woodhouse. Harveys have such a unique presence in Lewes and the UK for their beer steeped in history. Hall and Woodhouse kindly gave Andrew a draft tap (the original ABYSS tap!) for us to pour our earliest beers and a re a great family run brewery again with a real sense of heritage. A 3 way South coast Collab brew !
If you could brew with any ingredients, on one monster brew, nothing’s off limits, what would you include?
Digestable gold sparkles for our Pale Deluxe?! or maybe a monster IMPERIAL VANILLA ICE White Stout ?
The Covid Round
How much has the current situation put your brewing schedule for 2020 on hold?
We’re brewing as much as we can. We deliver through Sussex every Friday, National orders leave on the courier every Tuesday, local customers collect and Central Brighton can order through UBER Eats 7 night s a week.
How can people continue to support you during this time?
Check out our website www.abyssbrewing.co.uk enjoy our beers, spread the word on the networks ! Merch and snacks coming soon. Then buy other microbrewery beers and do the same !
When we get through it all, which we will, what are your main plans for events and brews in the second half of 2020?
We’ve been on the cusp of moving the brewery to a more central site for a while so we have have a tap room and return to doing lots of events with local creatives and get back on the road with the ABYSS cycle club !
Where can I buy their beers?
At the time of writing, there are a few Abyss beers available to buy online including Dank Marvin and Superfuzz.