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Meet the publicans: The Brewers Arms, Martinstown

Ben and Leanne Carter. <i>(Image: thebrewersarms.com)</i>
Ben and Leanne Carter. (Image: thebrewersarms.com)

Leanne and Ben Carter bought the Brewers Arms, a traditional village pub and freehouse in Martinstown near Dorchester in 2016. Dating from 1848, it was built as a girls’ school before it became the village inn in 1865 - the beer came from the Brewery House opposite. Back then, the pub was a popular watering hole with local farmers who would wash their sheep in the washing pool just up the lane in front of the pub. These days plastic ducks have replaced the sheep, as this is the starting point for the pub’s annual Duck Race along the Winterbourne stream.

How did you end up at the Brewers Arms?

Pre-children (we have three boys aged 12, 10 and 4), and having serious careers, we traveled the world together. We always knew we could work well together. I (Ben) had managed pubs many years ago and enjoyed all aspects of running one. So, when we had the chance of having our own pub in Dorset, we leapt at the chance.

What inspires your menus?

Local seasonal produce. We are proud to showcase lots of Dorset ingredients on our menus, and we love working with local suppliers. Dorset Wines in Poundbury have worked with us since we opened, as has Prime Cuts butchery in Shaftesbury. Our delicious coffee comes from Cafe Rico in Weymouth, and Shakers in Dorchester are our catering suppliers.

Great British Life: The Brewers Arms in Martinstown.The Brewers Arms in Martinstown. (Image: thebrewersarms.com)

What's on the menu?

It changes daily according to seasonality and what local produce has come into the kitchen. We are renowned for our pub classics such as steak and Stilton pie, or fish and chips with minty mushy peas. We also offer daily specials to keep both the customers and chefs interested!

Any signature dishes?

Our Sunday roasts get fantastic reviews - roast chicken, roast beef, roast pork loin or mushroom and squash wellington - with all the trimmings, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, honey mustard parsnips, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, Yorkshires. However, the most talked about dish is the twice cooked pork belly bites – crispy chunks of pork belly in hoisin or maple and sesame sauce - perfect as a beer snack or starter.

What about vegan and veggie options?

We have both and, where we can, we can adjust dishes to order. Veg curry, mushroom stroganoff and homemade ratatouille are always on the menu.

And for dessert?

These are all homemade and range from traditional sticky toffee pudding to gluten free gooey chocolate brownies.

Great British Life: The Brewers Arms in Martinstown.The Brewers Arms in Martinstown. (Image: thebrewersarms.com)

What's behind the bar?

As we are a freehouse so we enjoy supporting local breweries where possible. The Brewers Arms proudly sponsors and supports Dorchester’s annual beer festival. We serve the real ales straight from the barrels - gravity fed provides the perfect pint!

Are you dog friendly?

Indeed, we are, and we have some lovely walks nearby of varying lengths and gradients. Dogs and their wellie clad owners are most welcome, as are walking parties.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being at the heart of the community. The pub is situated in the award-winning village of Martinstown, and our aim is to keep the Brewers Arms as a traditional English pub - not gastro! The open fire is a real treat in winter, and in summer the sunsets from our garden are stunning. We both worked in the corporate industry prior to becoming publicans and we’ve learnt from this. So, we try and run this village pub like a small family. Also, we’ve made some truly great friends for life during our time here. None of this would have happened without us taking that leap of faith back in 2016.

thebrewersarms.com



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