In March, after a decade and a half as brew master at King Street’s A1A Aleworks, Doug Murr brewed his last beer for the popular restaurant and tap house. And this summer (if all goes according to plan) Doug’s opening the doors at Dog Rose Brewing Company.
It’s a bold move to venture into the world of sole proprietorship. There is a laundry list of variables – many out of one’s control. But it isn’t the first time Doug has allowed lady luck to have a say in a big decision. And given his track record of success in such matters, there’s no reason to believe he isn’t still playing with a hot hand.
Case-in-point: Doug’s arrival in St. Augustine was the result of a coin flip. He’d already decided to leave Atlanta, where’d been living in years prior, and the decision came down to the two sides of a coin – Asheville, North Carolina was heads and St. Augustine, Florida tails.
Tails it was and by January of 2002, Doug – who’d long worked in bars and restaurants – was heading up the brewing process at A1A. He was happy, but not quite satisfied. “You always want to do something that’s going to be your own,” Doug says of his decision to leave A1A in early 2016.
Consistent with his past good fortune, Doug’s leaving A1A coincided with the restaurant giving up its adjacent brewing facility and selling off its brewing equipment. Knowing full well he intended to go out on his own, Doug jumped at the opportunity and acquired the familiar equipment at a decent price. “It kind of all fell into place,” Doug remembers.
Dog Rose Brewing Company – named after the Rosa Canina, a wild rose said to have medicinal properties – is just the latest addition to a neighborhood that has become one of the fastest developing in the city. “We are excited about being a part of Lincolnville,” Doug says. “There’s so much cool stuff happening over there. It’s so vibrant and welcoming. Our intention is to be this neighborhood’s bar – for the people who live here.”
Using the recipes and penchant for experimentation he cultivated at A1A, Doug is developing an entire suite of house ales and lagers, from staples like IPAs, Porters, and Ambers, to more idiosyncratic brews. “I’ve always liked to try things that may not seem to make sense at the time,” Doug says of his process for developing new beers. “I love to brew with different botanicals – whether it be peppercorns or cucumbers or different fruits. I like to stay ahead of the curve and experiment.” Doug is currently waiting on Federal approval to begin the brewing process, but he says he still plans on opening the doors to Dog Rose this summer – with or without his house brews at the ready. If history is any indication, everything else is likely fall into place from there.