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Firkin Dogbolter

Published: Jul 7th, 2009 | Author: The Beeralist

Firkin Dogbolter Pump Clip

Firkin Dogbolter Pump Clip

Over on my old pub review site I put up a page many years ago about the demise of the Firkin chain – and the loss of the gorgeous Dogbolter which was a feature of all the Firkin pubs I used to visit.

Originally the page was a rant about how Bass/Punch Taverns had taken over the chain from Allied Lyons (later Allied Lyons) in 1999 and had closed all the breweries – thus spoiling at a stroke the unique nature of many of the establishments. Many of the pubs became O’Neills pubs – pretend Irish pubs. I subsequently updated the page a couple of times with further facts about the takeover, and then after a while forgot about it.

However, whenever I used to check the hit counter for my pages I almost always found that the Firkin page was by far the most popular page on the site – with many people using ‘Dogbolter’ as the search word that brings them to the page on my site.

Flyman & Firkin, Shaftesbury Avenue

Something I have just found out however is that Dogbolter lives on! The Ramsgate Brewery of er… Broadstairs produces a bottled beer called Gadds’ Faithful Dogbolter Porter which is a good copy of the original Bruce’s beer. You can read more on the Gadds’ Beer Shop blog and also enthusiastically reviewed on the Boak and Bailey’s beer blog.

I’d love to be able to taste some of that – Dogbolter was the highlight of any trip to a Firkin pub. Being quite strong though it did tend to monkey about with one’s head…

If you want to read more about the history of the Firkin chain you could have a look at my Firkin page (now relocated into the Good Beer, Good Pubs articles section) or check out Wikipedia.

10 Responses to “Firkin Dogbolter”

  1. Kenny says:

    I too mourn the demise of the Firkin chain. I used to frequent the Flounder and Firkin in Highbury and The Fox and Firkin in Lewisham. When I moved to Oxford the Fuggle and Firkin was my new haunt.

    As for Dogbolter, you could buy a beer kit for a while and I made a few of them myself… although probably not to the same standard as the real thing. Sadly this seems to have gone too.


  2. jason says:


  3. Kieran Moore says:

    Ah, ‘the dog’, certainly did for me in those halcyon days, when one could stay down the pub all afternoon at work, and just report back by way of those new fangled mobile phones. Sigh…

  4. Bear Freeman says:

    Used to frequent the Flounder & Firkin for a Dog or two, and brew it from kits at home as well, not the same but very nice beerage. Must’ve had one of the last pints of Dog at the Flag & Firkin in Watford late ’99, when the sell off had been announced. Have thought about getting set up at home with Dog kits regularly seen online, but shocked to find no Dog available as of June 2017!

  5. Bear Freeman says:

    PS, Gadds/Ramsgate brewery’s poor imitation of Dog is awful, weird taste to it, in bottles anyway.

  6. Pamula Furness says:

    So glad to have found this site, I too was a Firkin fan back in the ’90’s. I have been searching for advice really, as I still have a can of ‘Dogbolter’ wort, and was considering brewing it up for Christmas. Any advice would be most welcome

  7. Simon Watts says:

    The board of Punch Taverns must class as some of the most useless wastes of space that humanity has ever produced. True oxygen thieves who would kill the Golden Goose, chuck it’s golden feathers in the dustbin and then try and sell the carcass, after letting it go off.
    The Firkem pubs were always full, of drinkers and of life. Life music, bands, Frankie “Boy” Flame at the Goose & Firkin on a friday night bashing the joanna for a cockney sing along. All killed off for absolutely no good reason apart from Britain’s biggest pub owners are also Britain’s most useless human beings.

  8. Richard Harris says:

    I spent many a happy night in the Flounder and Firkin in Highbury drinking DogBolter. Even had the Dog Bolter tshirt they used to sell!
    Saturdays they would have songs round the piano. It was slightly ironic then but seems ancient now!

  9. Pete says:

    I had the brewery tie “Usque ad mortem bibendum” I think. In a fit of gown up behaviour I gave it to a nephew – one of my worst decisions actually.
    Spent too much time drinking dogbolter as a medical student – usually Borough and Elephant. Great times if I could remember them!!

  10. Martin Richard Harris says:

    I’ve just bought some Dogbolter from my local garden center and it’s not far off what I used to get in a Firkin’s pub in Catford back in the mid 1980’s a nice smooth velvety malt chocolates flavour

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