The summer holidays are finally here! We haven’t had a proper trip back home to the UK for a couple of years now so we are long overdue a UK tour to catch up with various people up and down the country. We’ve started our trip in the idyllic Dorset countryside staying with Trudy’s friend who introduced us to each other almost 25 years ago. I’d forgotten just how beautiful the villages of this part of the South-West of England are. Today’s post is not only a Brew with a View but also gives me the chance to write about Simon and Maria, the lovely couple who run the Chetnole Inn in the village of the same name.
The Brew – Rare Breed from the Butcombe Brewery
Whilst German beer is very nice, especially the Kolsch that is local to Cologne, British real ales are something I really miss. Whenever we come back to the UK, I’m always keen to try out new brews from small, independent breweries that are at heart of their communities. So on only the 2nd day of our summer trip back to the UK, it was great to get the chance to sample a pint (or perhaps 2 or 3) of Rare Breed from the Butcombe Brewery. The Brewery was established in 1978 by Simon Whitmore when he was made redundant from the Courage Brewery. The current Brewery that was built in 2005 remains the largest new build brewery in the UK for the last 35 years. Butcombe is now part of the Liberation Group that together form the largest independent brewery and pub network in the UK. Collectively, they support over 750 staff and their families. Butcombe brew a wide range of beers and have a number of permanent beers available through their local pubs and shop (online info – here), they also have a continually changing range of seasonal and limited edition beers.
The View – Chetnole, Dorset
On the face of it, the view might not look anything particularly special. It just looks like the view out of a window onto a street. However, there is nothing more special than the calm relaxing view from the window of a traditional village pub that looks out into the tranquillity of village life.
We had a great couple of days exploring some fantastic villages. We went down to the Dorset coast and took a boat trip from Lulworth Cove to take a look at the Durdle Door rock formation that is a great example of sea erosion. It’s great place to give kids a real life view on some of the things they learn in school Geography lessons.
We went to Weymouth to soak in a bit of the traditional old English seaside town atmosphere. We never get bored of the sound of a seaside amusement arcade. We finally finished up in West Bay that was the location for the filming of the Broadchurch TV series. Intelligence from my friend Colin suggests that they are filming Series 3 of Broadchurch in the village of West Bexington just 3 miles up the coast. We also found a great little shopping place called the The Customs House, which has little areas for small retailers and manufacturers of clothes, furniture, gifts and all sorts of other things. We spent a great couple of hours wandering around and poking around all the little shops.
A Perfect Dorset Country Pub – The Chetnole Inn
After a busy day exploring the Dorset countryside we then had a fantastic evening in a wonderful local pub with the friends we were staying with. The pub was called the Chetnole Inn and was in the village of Chetnole, just a few miles south of Yeovil. The pub is owned and run by Simon and Maria, who were the perfect hosts for a fantastic evening. The pub is the kind of place were the locals have their own tankards and where visitors are welcomed warmly into a family then leave as friends. As soon as I started looking at which beers they had behind the bar the locals immediately started offering their opinions on which ones were the best. As well as the wonderful Butcombe Rare Breed, they also had Valley Gold from the Wriggle Valley Brewery in Ryme Intrinseca (two villages away) and Summer Gold from the Dartmoor Brewery. They also serve local cider and brandies from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company who are located in Burrow Hill. It was amazing to see the dedication that Simon and Maria have for supporting local breweries and drink suppliers.
A Menu Full of Local Dorset Produce
The Chetnole Inn’s menu has been designed by their head chef Matt Burton who has been at the pub for 6 years now. The Inn’s support for local businesses extends to the food as well as the drinks. They proudly highlight all of their suppliers in their menu. The fish comes from Samway’s in Bridgeport, the meat from Prime Cuts in Shaftsbury, the pork is from a local family run farm (Hamish Pork), the bread comes from the local Evershot Bakery and even the chutneys and jams they use come from local villages. The food itself was fantastic as well. I had Thai Crab Cakes for starter and then a lamb main course from the specials board, both of which were great. The rest of the family and friends all loved their meals, even my fussy younger daughter loved her veggie meal, which doesn’t happen that often. To finish off the meal, we shared a sticky toffee pudding and again the flavours were just perfect.
So having just been back in the UK for a couple of days we managed to tick off one of the major things we miss, dinner in a proper English Country Pub. We had a wonderful evening of great food and at the same time had a hand in supporting not just the Chetnole Inn itself but all the different local producers and suppliers they use. I encourage everyone to try and support their local businesses that are life blood of every community.
Simon and Maria also provide accommodation at the Chetnole Inn, more information about their rooms and their fantastic menu can be found on their website here.