Posted by: Michael | 4 November 2008

Brew Review #1 – Fuller’s London Pride

Hello, and welcome to my new blog! I’ve been wanting to get started with a beer and/or wine review for a while now, both as a way to expand my own palate and pass along pleasurable libations with others, as well.

I’m far from a beer expert (in fact I’m quite the amateur) but I’m willing to learn and hope you’ll get something out of this, too.

With that said, let’s get started on our very first Brew Review, Fuller’s London Pride. This is a classic English Pale Ale and there’s plenty to be said for it.

Let’s start with a look at the bottle itself. I think there’s a lot to be said for nice packaging (not that good beer can’t come in plain packaging), so let’s check this out:

The bottle

The bottle

This is a standard 11.2 oz bottle with a beautiful red and gold label:

Front label

Front label

From top to bottom, we see a golden griffin with the words “Griffin Brewery” underneath, followed by “Fuller’s,” then “Chiswick,” and then the epynomous “London Pride.” The label is finished off with the proud (no pun intended) “Outstanding Pale Ale,” hops and barley adorning the banner. The bottle is also stamped with a griffin above the rib at the top with the words “Est’d 1854” and a griffin between them; directly over the label is stamped “Independent” and below the label is “Family Brewers.”

The back is fairly straightforward, informing us that “Fuller’s London Pride is an award-winning English classic pale ale, rich and smooth, with a good malty base abd well-developed hop notes on the finish.”

“The Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London, has been brewing fine ales since 1654. The Fuller, Smith & Turner partnership, dating back to 1845, brews an excellent range of award-winning ales, many of which are available in the USA, including London Pride and the world’s original ESB [Extra Strong/Special Bitter].”

“I hope you will enjoy trying all our fine ales.”

Back label

Back label

We are then give the company’s web address (www.fullers.co.uk) and informed that this is, indeed, a product of England. Fuller’s London Pride is 4.7% alcohol by volume.

Now then – to the tasting!

I’ve selected the standard straight pint glass for tonight’s beer. It features the logo of the Irish Lion, my favourite local watering hole. This beer was poured at approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit, having been taken out of the refrigerator and allowed to warm for about 10 minutes.

Straight pint glass

Straight pint glass

Once poured, this beer has a beautiful dark amber colour. It just looks delicious – who wouldn’t want to enjoy that burnished gold? Immediately after pouring, it had a head of about 3/4 of an inch; this quickly faded to about 1/2″. When taking a deep sniff of the beer, I smelled mostly bitter with a slightly sweet undertone.

Immediately after pouring. Take notice of the head at this point.

Immediately after pouring. Take notice of the head at this point.

We’re ready to take a swig. And so we raise this glass to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. God Save the Queen!

On first sip, I immediately noticed the combination of sweet and bitter that fills the mouth in a pleasing way. There’s also a coppery minerality beneath it all, preventing the bitterness from overtaking the palate.  I noticed a somewhat coffee-like consistency – certainly thicker than water, but not much beyond that. The aftertaste, which probably lasted upwards of a minute, was of weak tea. At this point the head was almost completely gone, with only some surface bubbles remaining – perhaps 1/8″:

After the first sip. Notice the head is rather thin at this point.

After the first sip. Notice the head is rather thin at this point.

About four minutes later, I took a deep whiff of the beer. The first scent that came to mind was cold rocks – almost as though I were in a cave deep underground. A bit of chalk also peeked in from time to time. The second swig brought me a few moments of lemon rind taste. The swallow left a velvety texture on the tongue – very pleasing, earning this a 4.0 for mouthfeel on my Beer Advocate review.

The next sip, eight minutes later, was taken with very few bubbles on the surface. The head was gone, but enough carbonation remained to allow the velvety feel to coat the mouth. At this point, we can see that there is little in the way of foam adhesion to the side of the glass (I believe this is called “lacing,” but I’m not quite sure so I won’t use the term just yet):

Post-third sip. No noticeable foam adhesion.

Post-third sip. No noticeable foam adhesion.

Overall, this beer was very enjoyable. It’s nothing that will make you drive to the store the next day to buy them out of stock, but a very nice everyday beer. The mouthfeel was wonderful, and the taste was refreshing. I give Fuller’s London Pride a B+. Go check it out on their website here. I found this at Sahara Mart in Bloomington, IN at the price of $11.79 for a package of six.

Don’t forget – alcohol is meant to be enjoyed, but it can hurt you and those around you. Drink responsibly -buzzed driving is drunk driving, too.

Until next time, cheers!

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Responses

  1. Our national training centre has London Pride on tap, and generally this is better than bottled beer – less gas. Very nice easy drinking beer this – minimal chance of a headache the next day!

    One to recommend – get yourself some Old Speckled Hen…though don’t go mad, it’s strong!!

    If we meet up on your trip to England next year, i’ll find a pub with some good beers!

    Wayne

  2. Wayne,

    I’ll definitely check out the Old Speckled Hen – I’ve seen it in quite a few places but have never actually tried any of it. I’m looking forward to it, now.

    Meeting up to partake in your country’s fantastic pub culture would be wonderful. And a note on pub culture – it’s so interesting to an American that you’ve got brew on tap at your national training center. Aside from a brewing company, that would be unthinkable here in the States! An old holdover from Prohibition, I suspect.

    Thanks, and good to hear from you!


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