Here we are again, another week another brewery. It's a hard life eh!
This week I caught up with Harry, the founder of Dookit Brewery in Glasgow. I was recommended his beer by a few of my Instagram buddies. And I'm so glad I listened to them!
Like most people in our industry Harry started working in pubs. Around this time he also discovered his love of home brewing. A job opportunity arose with Canopy Brew Co as a warehouse assistant, however he started to gravitate to the actual making of beer. After achieving his General Certificate in Brewing (GCB) he became head brewer there. A move to Glasgow came next, where he started working at West Brewery. Currently he makes beer when he has time after working in Valhalla's Goat, which is a shop like The Misty Bottle, but in Glasgow!
Currently he doesn't have his own brewery, so he relies upon using a friend's place (Ride Brewery in Glasgow) so he gets in when it is convenient for both of them! Therefore, if he was to make a lager, which he would love to do, he would be taking up their equipment for weeks. He practices all his beers first in home brew form in his flat. Then does it again and again until it is right! The three beers, which he has out currently, a table beer, a porter and a sour are styles that he's not exactly experienced in making on a larger scale! In order for him to produce these beers to a high standard, he takes a lot of advice from friends in the industry, reads well informed books and of course there is a lot of trial and error. However what he has produced he's very proud of and has developed a great deal of confidence now in his abilities and feels that what he's produced are well balanced, tasty and high quality beers.
Doing small batches also enables Dookit Brewing to gain notoriety in small craft beer shops like ours and focus on quality over quantity.
So while walking through Queen's Park in Glasgow thinking of a name for the beer, I saw a baby pigeon and wondered what the young of a pigeon is called. It transpires they are called squeakers. Therefore this for me was perfect. In regards to the beer, I wanted to make a table beer as it's one of my favourite styles. Unfortunately many I have tried recently have left a lot to be desired. The difficulty with a table beer is trying to get the flavour and body into a beer of such a low ABV. This beer is 3.3% and is perfect for a school night. I've added a lot of rye to this beer for both the flavour and the body. Medium crystal is added too to give it a light caramel sweetness. This beer would suit lovers of blonde/amber ale and also fans of bitter beer and pale ales.
Craig's notes – This is a surprise. Like Harry I too have been let down in the past with table beers. I often find these too watery. But what a beer to start with! I get a stone fruit kind of flavour, quickly followed by that unmistakable rye flavour. This is very drinkable. It's great to be able to offer a beer to people who want to cut down on the ABV, but without compromising on flavour.
Haha, yeah. In my previous life I studied English Literature at University. My two loves of beer and reading combine here for sure. For those who don't know Beelzebub appears in Macbeth in the porter scene, so I thought the name was very apt for the beer!
I've gotten a lot of stick from hardline porter makers for this one. Generally no more than 7 malts are used in porter making. However I've used 12 malts in this one! The first stumbling block I had with this beer was with the water in Glasgow. It's so soft that I had to up the bio carbonate levels to get the right texture. I was particularly excited in using Special B malt in this one, which is a Belgian malt that gives a raisin flavour. I wanted to make a beer that was like chocolate covered raisins. So this combined with chocolate malt has produced a beer with some of these attributes I think!
Craig's notes - On the nose I get cherry and chocolate for sure. Like a black forest gateaux! I don't get an overly boozy flavour which is great. Also the beer is not too thick or too thin. I've had porters in the past that have been like gravy and others like water so this is a good balance I feel. There's a great sweetness and the minerality makes it very moreish! A lovely drop.
The inspiration for it comes from my local fruit & veg store 'Fresh 'n' Fruity'. I've become friends with the owner Shahida as she's introduced me to so many exotic fruits that I would have been too scared to pick up previously. This is where tamarind comes into it. A fruit that is native to Africa, it gets nicknamed the 'date of Africa'. After careful explanation on how to work with it, I fell in love with the taste. I'd previously made one sour before, but wanted to make one with more of a tangy flavour. My grandfather grew up in the Punjab and tamarind has made its way across to that part of the world too. I wanted to make a beer that I could pay homage to him with. Hence the name. Basant is a kite flying festival that celebrates the coming of Spring in the Punjab region.
Craig's notes - Wow! Tanginess straight off the bat. It's a flavour explosion. I love passion fruit so this beer is perfect for me. There is a slight note of green apple also. I enjoy a sour beer and usually can only have one, but with this since it's in a 330ml bottle I can imagine having a few of these no bother! I would love to try it with a hot curry.
Harry. I have really enjoyed your beers! I've loved hearing the backstory to them as well. What's the plans for the future of Dookit then?
At the moment things are good. I'm enjoying working at Valhalla's Goat. I'm learning the customer facing side of the business in a place that is well run. I'm also finding time to create beer and make contacts with people, like yourself, who are interested in stocking small breweries like Dookit. I'm going to continue with this at moment. The dream is however to own and run a microbrewery/taproom perhaps with a space for music and art. I think there is a gap in the market for this, and with people becoming more discerning in their tastes, I feel there will be a opportunity to appeal to those who like to support small businesses.
All of the beers mentioned above are unfined, unfiltered, bottle conditioned and vegan friendly.