FIRST VISIT: FRIDAY 8 AUGUST 2014
After visiting the Martyrs Museum and the Martyrs Tree then next logical step was a pint at the Martyrs Inn.
The Martyrs Inn is a slick place. Its the kind of establishment you could take your gran when you are trying to prove to her that you’ve achieved more with your life than you actually have. Three cask beers were available: all from Badger – Tanglefoot, First Call (previously known as First Gold) and Brewer’s Bee. I know the other two and I’m not really a fan so I ordered a pint of Brewer’s Bee, even though the name suggested it would be brewed with honey and I’ve yet to find a honey beer that is much use. Yup, Brewer’s Bee contains honey. It tastes like a standard Golden Ale but with a strong lick of honey in the finish. Thankfully, the honey wasn’t as overpowering as some brewers make it but it’s still not a beer I want to drink again. The staff were friendly and efficient and well presented. The food menu looked like it was designed by the same team who design menus for Wetherspoons – both in style and content – but the prices were obviously created by someone who feels they are more worthy than Spoons. The food prices all seemed a few quid more than I’d want to pay. The £7.80 I paid for the drinks – one pint of beer, one pint of lemonade, one half of lime & soda – seemed high compared to other places I’ve visited in Dorset. We sat on the front patio and used the free Wifi. When our glasses were empty we headed to Dorchester in search of better beer and a better deal.
Badger Tap Room
Hall & Woodhouse
Blandford St. Mary
FIRST VISIT: SATURDAY 2 AUGUST 2014
The reason for stopping of at Blandford was to pick-up a case of Roaring Roy Dog. In 2012 Badger released a limited edition one-off brew called Wandering Woodwose – it was one of my favourite beers of the year. Roaring Roy Dog was the 2013 follow-up and, although I didn’t know until I arrived at the brewery, 2014 also has limited edition beer – Shapwick Monster. As we pulled into the carpark I noticed there was a couple of folk sitting at a picnic bench drinking a beer. On previous visits there was no opportunity to buy a pint. You could buy bottles and merch to take home and you could go on a brewery tour but you couldn’t buy a pint to sup in the sun. I entered the building and gingerly followed the signs for the bar and restaurant. I made my way downstairs to the basement. Nobody came running after me to ask what I was up to. I approached the bar and ordered a pint of Hopeful Hop and even as I did I expected someone to say that pints were only for people who had paid for the tour. My pint was poured with a smile and the price of it and a can of soda pop was only £3.20, which made me smile. Hopeful Hop is a single hop beer. I don’t know what hop it is but if you can be arsed looking I’m sure then internet will tell you the answer. It was okay.
The restaurant and bar space is actually quite pleasant. Despite effectively being a basement it is still bright and airy. One corner has leather couches and low tables – the place to gouge out if you only fancy a beer or six. The rest of the space is given over to (posh) refractory style tables. The menu looked quite decent. But nobody was eating so I couldn’t see how the food appears when it is served. There’s a display case which houses ancient and unopened bottles of Badger, which was greatly appreciated by the beer geek in me. I popped to the gents. It was clean and fresh smelling and very modern looking. There was a couple of signs stating how important good hand hygiene is and there was a seven point plan detailing how to clean your hands properly. I assume these are the same signs that are in the toilets of the actual brewery as it seemed slightly over the top for someone just popping in for a Ploughmans. My lass and bladder was empty so I headed back upstairs to purchase a case of the Dog and a case of the Monster.
This was a far more interesting visit than I expected it to be.