Thursday 10th July 2014
The reason why this brewery has a second name as it was re-badged in Spring 2015 as the Lyme Regis Brewery. When this visit was made it was still known as the Town Mill Brewery. As far as I am aware the name-change made no difference to the beers produced on this small brewery in the back streets of Lyme Regis. The original name came about as the brewery is located in the building of the historic Town Mill.
I must admit that it is refreshing that a small brewery such as this coming out to say that they only brew “real ales”, describing “craft beers” as another product. This is, of course, very true as the “craft” offerings are almost always sterile kegged beers with industrially made Carbon Dioxide added to preserve them. This brewery tries to include as many ingredients from the West Country as possible. Their beers are found in pubs throughout the West Dorset and East Devon and are well liked.
The Town Mill is a small collection of buildings saved by volunteers and now occupied by a variety of businesses such as art galleries, a café, a silversmith, pottery and a cheese-monger. Central is the original mill which is preserved in working order and mills flour.
The volunteers were able in 2009 to acquire the Malthouse which had been separated from the old mill and used to supply electricity before the advent of the National Grid. This was only possible because of the intervention of the South West Regional Development Authority that provided the funding to purchase it. Thus, the brewery was founded in 2010 as some of the Town Mill volunteers formed a consortium to set it up.
After a wrong turn or two I arrived at the brewery. It is quite hidden away on the slope of the hill that forms the town of Lyme Regis. Because of my own inability to find it I have copied the details of the brewery’s own directions at the end of this piece.
I must say it is a good location when you eventually arrive. It is basically a large white-washed open plan building with outside seating for the good weather months.
I went into the open glass double doors that had been slid open. On my right was the small bar counter with its lonesome hand pump and shelves of bottled beers stacked in front and behind. Despite a blackboard outside stating another beer was on draught the offering off the hand pump was Lyme Gold and of course, I had a pint and enjoyed it greatly.
At the back of the building was the brewery itself. It is of 4 bbls (brewer’s barrels) capacity and this can produce 16 firkins (9 imperial gallons) of beer per brew.
There are five regular beers as follows: Cobb (3.9%), a traditional bitter; Black Ven (5.0%), a porter; Lyme Gold (4.2%), a golden ale; Town Mill (4.5%), a best bitter and Revenge (5.3%), an IPA. There are a number of seasonal and special beers.
Nearly all of their beers are bottled and I had a good look at the range which was displayed on shelves to right of the entrance door.
There was also merchandise and a selection of ciders from Dorset Nectar Cider of Waytown near Bridport. A visit has subsequently been made to the farm where this is made and an article is being prepared for publishing in BeerVisits.
I would very much like to go back to this little brewery one day just to sit outside with a good beer in my hand, watching the world go by.
The Lyme Regis Brewery (was the Town Mill Brewery), Mill Lane, Lyme Regis DT7 3PU
Tel: 01297 444354
Shop and Bar are open Monday-Sunday: 10.00-17.00
To get to The Town Mill from the top of Broad Street which is where the bus from Axminster stops, go back and turn right into Sherborne Lane. At the bottom, turn right over the river, then right again onto the Riverside Walk. This leads to the brewery.
From the bottom of Broad Street which is where the bus from Weymouth, Dorchester and Bridport stops. Cross the road and go up the through the car park. This leads directly to the Town Mill via steps and a footbridge.