A FORTIFYING pint of meat stout, not seen for more than 75 years, has been revived by a Darwen brewery.

And the curious ale, preserved by an old Dutton’s master brewer, could be about to go worldwide.

Retired motorcycle examiner Phil Dixon was bequeathed the recipe for Mercer’s Meat Stout by his father Derek.

Now the stout, which can trace its history back to just before the First World War, is on the pumps again, thanks to Three B’s and Rob and Mark Bell.

Phil, 62, went to the Bells with his original recipe which, after a little trial and error, it’s now going down a storm with locals.

One of the original ingredients in the brew was meat extract caramel - which they had some trouble sourcing – so Bovril was used instead.

This turned the yeast slightly frisky but with a few minor alterations the meat stout was recreated for 21st century drinkers.

Mark said: “We called it Winter Warmer Ale at first because we thought people wouldn’t go for meat stout.

“But someone asked what it was all about so we told them the tale and people have really taken to it.”

When his dad retired, Phil recalls him brewing up the stout in the bath, before transferring it to a washing machine to keep it at the correct temperature.

And his verdict after being invited down to the brewery’s Black Bull pub to sample the first pint?

“It was just as good as I remember – if probably not better,” said Phil.

“They intended to put just one barrel on, to test it, but they’ve now finished their third and are onto a fourth.”

The brewery’s exploits reached the ears of London beer blogger Martyn Cornell, who made a round-trip from the capital to sample the results.

He is now looking to take the original Mercer’s recipe to the United States. One of Phil’s friends is also intending to take the stout to a bar and brewery in Perth.

The original stout was made by John Mercer’s, of Adlington, later bought out by Dutton’s.