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Siblings tap into their dreams to open The Brew Forest in Lymington

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A BROTHER and sister duo have launched a new nano-brewery and tap room in Lymington, combining decades of experience in the hospitality trade.

The Brew Forest, based at Setters Farm Workshops on Mount Pleasant Lane, opened its doors in March and has already build a loyal band of local customers.

For siblings David Kennett and Helen Bowyer, the launch of their own nano-brewery and tap room has been a longstanding dream. David said: “It was something we talked about for a few years. We were looking around but we never really found quite the right premises.

Helen Bowyer and David Kennett of The Brew Forest
Helen Bowyer and David Kennett of The Brew Forest

“We have had an amazing response so far – we couldn’t have asked for more. We have had a couple of sunny bank holiday weekends and as word spreads people are travelling from further away to visit us.

“We have regular customers from Pennington, Lymington, Boldre and Sway, and we have had great support from locals and neighbours.”

The open bar area features wood panelling, table and stools, as well as wood burner. Beers are crafted on site and brewed in small batches which are then available to buy direct from the tap.

Every area of the taproom tells a story with many of the artists and producers based at Setters Farm Workshops stepping in to help launch the venture, including painter Will Rochfort and sculptors Andy Baerselman and Michael Turner.

The Brew Forest is open from 4pm-8pm from Thursday to Saturday and from 2pm on Sunday.

However, David said: “If people are still here then we will stay open but we wanted to condense people into those hours so we aren’t just standing around.

“I’m often here brewing Monday to Wednesday so if the door is open then people are welcome to come in for a drink.

Every area of the taproom tells a story
Every area of the taproom tells a story

“We both have other jobs and because we don’t have the huge overheads we don’t need to be open seven days a week.”

David and Helen’s ambition was create a welcoming tap room which they would be happy to visit, so the venue is both dog and family friendly, with customers also invited to enjoy takeaway food on-site.

David said: “We brew four core beers and two interchangeable beers. We also have guest beers so at the moment we are stocking Pig Beer and a Pilsner from Sambrook’s Brewery in London.

“We have a blonde ale, a pale ale, a grapefruit IPA and a red ale that will be on tomorrow. Our interchangeable beers are mainly IPA.”

Currently one of the specials is a pale ale called BR-Ukraine, which David has created to raise money for the Ukraine Crisis Appeal run by the Red Cross.

Helen said: “David is the head brewer. He started brewing at home and sharing with neighbours and friends and realised he had a real passion for it and the beer was always received very well.

“Our beers are inspired by the surroundings of the beautiful New Forest, and we brew in small batches so you can rest assured that you are always getting fresh, tasty beers, using the finest, freshest hop varieties.”

The Brew Forest has four core beers with two interchangeable
The Brew Forest has four core beers with two interchangeable

Both David and Helen have spent decades in the hospitality trade with David working on cruise ships for before moving to the New Forest around four years ago and initially working behind the bar at the Forest Park Hotel. Helen also worked in hospitality running nightclubs and bars around the country before also returning to live locally.

David said: “I worked on cruise ships for 13 years but both my stepdad and my dad became quite ill at the same time so I decided I want to be closer to home.”

After leaving Forest Park Hotel during the pandemic, David went to work for Hermes as a delivery driver and also work night shifts at Berrys Bakery, based at Setter Farm, where he learnt the premises would be available when the business moved to Ringwood.

“Originally I was just planning to can our beer and sell it that way because we didn’t think we would find the right premises.

“But when they told me the bakery was closing I knew straight away that it would be perfect – it was exactly what we were looking for and we had amazing support from the landlord when we were converting it.”

As well as selling IPA and beers, the Brew Forest sells wine and prosecco, gin and spirits, soft drinks and an array of cocktails including Margarita, Mai Tai and Pina Colada.

Plans for the future include a monthly pop-up food truck and special events, with the venue also available for private hire functions. To find out more visit www.thebrewforest.com

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