Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Yet another micropub in East Kent. Well, actually, it’s a micro-brew-pub as it possesses a brewery within the single room of a micropub. Actually there is another as the Four Candles in Broadstairs has acquired a brewery since I last visited, albeit in the cellar. There wouldn’t be any room for customers if it was in the pub’s drinking area.
Sorry about that digression but it might be the beginning of the next trend. Sadly, there has been a problem with the equipment in the Dog House and there was no home-brewed beer when Linda and I called in.
I had noticed that the publicity photographs showed the brewing equipment to have light coloured wooden insulation panels around the vessels and on the equipment we saw on this day they were dark, almost black, and of a different shape.
The lady behind the bar explained that there had been a number of problems with the original plant, one of which was cooling. She told us that it had gone back to the manufacturers and what we were looking at was the replacement equipment.
She said that it was hoped that brewing would commence before Christmas 2015. We will try to visit in December and this article will be updated.
Despite this disappointment it was a successful visit.
There were three beers available and these were Kent Brewery’s (Birling, Kent) KGB (Kent Goldings Bitter) (4.1%) and two from the Tonbridge Brewery (East Peckham, Kent) Ebony Moon (4.2%) and Alsace Gold (4.0%).
These are served from jacketed casks that are cooled and rest on the top level of a rack of shelving on which the glasses are stored underneath.
What makes this place different from other micropubs in East Kent is that it has other functions. It is located in the Evegate Business Centre. This sounds strange until you actually visit the place.
There are business offices but it is mostly small shops. There’s a florist, several clothes shops, a tea room and delicatessen and much more. One of these small units contains the Dog House.
It is the inspiration of Karen Sunshine who was a amateur home brewer and wanted to expand her craft to something larger as a business. Hence the Dog House and the name of Sunshine Brewery on the hanging sign outside. The name of the pub came about because the premises were formally used as a veterinary practice. This is now housed in a larger building near the entrance to the centre.
She originally enquired to the owners about establishing a brewery in the centre and they suggested that she open a micropub to compliment it. And this was what we were looking at.
Inside the door are a couple of small tables with a pair of bench-type seats padded in blue cloth. Then there is a larger cloth-covered table with four chairs and opposite that is a high table with two tall seats.
On the right is a French dresser and at the back of the room there is a large wine rack that extends up almost to the ceiling. A few stools in front of the bar, and that’s it!
This is café-bar in the true sense as it serves coffees and speciality teas.
Also sandwiches and paninis (freshly made) along with bacon rolls, pizzas, chips, fish-finger sandwiches (!) and much other fare. The orthodox pub snacks are covered in great detail with crisps, scratchings, biltong, peanuts, popcorn, olives, wasabi nuts, pickled eggs and onions. Some customers were using it as café, others as a pub.
It’s well worth visiting especially if you are travelling along the A20 in a car as its less than half a mile from that road. Maybe by the time you visit you’ll have to opportunity to try some home-brewed beer.
The Dog House, The Evegate Centre, Station Road, Smeeth, Kent TN25 6SX
Tel: 07568 385221
Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11.00-15.00; Thursday 11.00-19.00;
Friday 11.00-21.00; Saturday 11.00-17.00
The pub is located just south of the A20. If driving along that road ignore the sign for Smeeth as it is on the other side of the A20. Turn in to Station Road (alas no station anymore!) and you will see the Evegate Centre on the left just after the motorway bridge.
It is not exactly well placed for public transport, yet is reachable. The key is the 10 / 10A bus operated by Stagecoach that runs from Ashford to Folkestone via Hythe. This route diverts off the A20 to serve Brabourne Lees and this is where you must alight (at the Woolpack, now closed). Then walk south towards Smeeth village along Church Road. Pass through Smeeth to A20, cross to other side, walk along Station Road then as above.
It is just less than a mile overall.