David Bruce (right) back in the brewhouse with West Berkshire Brewery
head brewer Will Twomey
Travel back in time to the early days of the microbrewing revolution in Britain and the name Dogbolter will loom large.
Dogbolter was created by British brewing pioneer David Bruce at The Goose and Firkin in 1979 and subsequently brewed at his other Firkin Pubs. David has since gone on to other brewing and pub adventures in Britain and abroad, but now he’s back, at West Berkshire Brewery (WBB) where he became chairman last year. The new full-mash brew, with an OG of 1060° (6% ABV) was brewed by Will Twomey, head brewer at WBB, who ensured that his brew remained true to Bruce’s original recipe.
The irony is that the first ever brew of Dogbolter was the result of a fortunate mishap: Bruce was brewing his notorious Earthstopper (OG 1075°) when he was distracted by a phone call. The call was longer than expected and, by the time Bruce returned to his brew, its OG had fallen from an initial 1085°, past the intended 1075° to 1068°. Realising his cock-up, Bruce reduced the OG further to 1060°. The accident turned out to be an inadvertent stroke of genius.
The opportunity to brew Bruce’s Original Dogbolter came about when David was asked to feature in Boak and Bailey’s new book, to be published on June 19. The re-launch of Dogbolter is, therefore, Bruce’s way to celebrate the chapter devoted to him in Brew Britannia: the Strange Rebirth of British Beer.
To mark the event, WBB promises 40 firkins and 6,000 commemorative bottles of Bruce’s Original Dogbolter will be available nationally to pubs, wholesalers and retailers. Firkin fans of the 1980s will be able to sample again one of Bruce’s most acclaimed brews, while the new generation of ale lovers will be able to experience the real taste of Bruce’s “happy accident”.