VIDEO: The Miner’s Arms, Priddy

Bloody typical – we could have done with this before Brew Britannia went off to print.

We’re still explor­ing the recent release of British Pathé doc­u­men­tary footage to YouTube. Our most recent dis­cov­ery, above, includes the only images, still or mov­ing, that we’ve come across of the inte­ri­or of the Min­ers Arms at Prid­dy, Som­er­set.

Paul Ley­ton – the tall, grey-haired patri­cian char­ac­ter who buys the buck­et of snails from the old feller in the footage above – was a for­mer pilot who lived with his fam­i­ly aboard a con­vert­ed dou­ble-deck­er bus for a time after World War II. He went on to be a lead­ing fig­ure in Britain’s space pro­gramme, left in a huff, and took on the Min­er’s Arms in the ear­ly six­ties. Snail farm­ing and frozen food were his main obses­sions, and he did­n’t start brew­ing until 1973.

The Min­ers Arms brew­ery was among the first of the new wave that kicked off what we’ve called the ‘rebirth of British beer’.

At which point, we are oblig­ed to sug­gest that – ahemyou ought to order a copy of our book to find out more.

The Return of Dogbolter

What's Brewing magazine, Winter 1980/81, featuring David Bruce.

When we interviewed David ‘Firkin’ Bruce last summer, he told us about his new role as Chairman of the West Berkshire Brewery.

Last week, that rather belat­ed­ly trig­gered an idea: maybe, with a brew­ery at hand, he might be con­vinced, for the first time since the 1980s, to per­son­al­ly brew a beer to an orig­i­nal Firkin recipe.

He respond­ed enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly to the idea and is going to dig out his orig­i­nal 1979 recipe for the famous Dog­bolter (all grain, no malt extract) and recre­ate it in the brew­house at WBB.

It should be avail­able on draught in time for the launch of Brew Bri­tan­nia in June. There will also be a nation­al­ly-mar­ket­ed bot­tled ver­sion avail­able at some point after­wards.

UPDATE 23/04/2014: David Bruce says –

The WBB will be brew­ing 30 brew­ers’ bar­rels of my orig­i­nal Dog­bolter (full-mash grist at 1060° O.G.) at 7:30 am on Wednes­day 21st May.  This will be pack­aged to pro­duce 40 firkins and c. 6,000 com­mem­o­ra­tive bot­tles, all to be avail­able nation­al­ly from 2nd Jun.

Hav­ing spent so much time and effort research­ing the rise and fall of the Firkin brew­pubs, we’re real­ly excit­ed at the prospect of actu­al­ly tast­ing it.**

In fact, with the ‘1970s bit­ter’ cur­rent­ly being tin­kered with at Kirk­stall in Leeds, and talk of an anniver­sary batch of Litch­bor­ough Bit­ter at Phipps NBC, it’s going to be an inter­est­ing cou­ple of months for we who lust after long gone beers.

We’ll post more details on avail­abil­i­ty when we have them.

** We have, of course, tast­ed the Rams­gate Brew­ery beer of the same name. Let’s hope this does­n’t turn into one of those trade­mark dis­putes every­one hates.