– Liam Toms (Untappd: liamtoms)
Wimborne is a market town in Dorset, with a population of 15,500. It was once home to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. It has a town crier who is also a well known underground DJ. Right now it’s experiencing it’s very own craft beer revolution. It could be regarded in the scene as a “best kept secret” but my guess is that won’t be the case for much longer.
If our opening paragraph has intrigued you enough to make the trek to Wimborne, the rest of this post will hopefully provide some insight for your pilgrimage. The first thing to know is that currently the best time to visit Wimborne is on a Friday evening. This is when the town’s key craft brewers open their taprooms to the public.
The Brew Shack is the smaller of the Wimborne’s breweries, but has barrels of potential and is only really just getting started. Based at The Old Manor Farm Buildings, a short walk from the town centre, The Brew Shack is a good first port of call on your Wimborne crawl as it both opens and closes early (3pm – 7pm). There’s not a lot of room inside, so depending on the time of year you visit you may struggle to get in. The Brew Shack currently have five flagship beers to try, as well as single batch brews, all across a variety of styles. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the pale / IPA beers tend to go first, so get there early!
From The Brew Shack we recommend crossing town (by taxi, or 30 minute walk) to the Stone Lane Industrial Estate, home of a brewery set to take the country by storm, Eight Arch. Having focused initially on perfecting their core styles, Eight Arch have recently started to branch out with more adventurous beers and collaborations. They increased capacity at their taproom in 2017 and are currently working on another extension for 2018. Throughout this time their Friday night session (4pm – 8pm) has been accompanied by an outdoor street food offering from Flaming Peaches (who do cater for vegetarians/vegans).
From Eight Arch it’s a short walk to The Tap House, an overall more traditional ale house, but a good stop over on route to Wimborne’s mecca of craft beer, The Butcher’s Dog. The Tap House is a Cask Marque CAMRA recognised pub, who serve ‘real ales’ straight from the cask, with mostly local beer on offer but some from further afield also. If it’s your first time in Dorset it’s a chance to sample some of the county’s more remote/rural brewers. There is a also a Wetherspoons on route to The Butcher’s Dog but we’d advise skipping that.
The Butcher’s Dog is what makes the effort of trekking out to Wimborne worthwhile. Locally they are leading the way for how a good craft beer pub ought to be. They have 14 beers on tap across a variety of styles and breweries, plus a bottle fridge that is always stocked full of interesting alternative options. The beers on tap are always clearly listed on a large board next to the bar. The downstairs and bar area can get a little crowded on a Friday night, but there is also a spacious upstairs room and landing. They regularly host tap takeovers from some of the best British craft brewers, but these tend to be on a Saturday night rather than Friday (a welcome reason to come back if you’re local!).
Public transport links to Wimborne are limited and do make visiting the town difficult. You can get a bus from Bournemouth or Poole Town Centre, where the London Waterloo to Weymouth train line also stops. The last buses out of Wimborne leave before midnight, be sure to check listings in advance.
If you visit any of the places featured in this blog, please let them know that Beer Tours sent you.