Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fullers Brewery Tour Weekend, and Lamb brewery, Chiswick

So as I said in this post we went on the tour a few weeks ago. We only spent the one night in London but crammed in plenty of beery goodness.

IMG_0422We started by having lunch in the Crown and Anchor, which was a Young's & Co pub but now seems to be part of a small group under the name of 'Convivial London Pubs'.
This was quiet at the time, with some very friendly and helpful staff, happy to give us the directions to get to the Tour. He also suggested we later visit their sister pub 'The Lamb'.
A great jalapeño burger washed down with a fresh Wandle by Sambrook's Brewery was a good start.

Onto the Fullers Brewery then, I'm not going to go through the whole thing here, I suspect a lot of readers here have either been on a tour before or are reasonably knowledgeable of the workings of a brewery. It was very professional in the set up of the tour, I think the sheer size of it amazed me most and I'd recommend the tour to everyone.
There are more photos of the brewery here on Flickr.

Entering 'The Hock Cellar' is where most people want to be though if your truthful, your served half's of many of their excellent beers, from pump or bottle.
They suggest you start with the lower abv beers and work your way up to the stronger ones, but most people went for their favourites it seems.
DSC_7297I  started with the ones I'd not tried before, Gales Spring Sprinter the seasonal golden ale 4%, Gales HSB at 4.8% (Horndean special bitter) which was really nice, a lighter bodied ESB. I then  tried most of the Fullers they had on offer, they were happy to open bottles too. And as you'd expect all were in great condition, London Pride never tasted so good!
My wife went for their Honey Dew, Discovery, Golden Pride and Bengal Lancer, her favourites being the first two.


Later on after food we went to the The Lamb as previously suggested, as it houses its own microbrewery in-house. I opted for the taster tray, 4 of their own brews and 1 from another pub in the group housing 'The Botanist Brewery'.

Their 'Helles'  (not a favourite style of mine) was very nice, 3.8%, well carbonated, fresh and light, good malt and some butter. The Hefeweizen, 5.5% I felt was a poor example, very little of the characteristics you expect from the style.
Up onto the American Pale Ale quickly then which was pretty nice, 5%, on Untappd I commented 'Peach, lychee, soapy, dry'. They nicely picked the ball up again with that one, and carried on well with the Imperial Stout. This was a lower abv at 5.5% for an IS but held a good body, nice and smooth with chocolate, coffee and just the right amount of bitterness, a well made stout.

The Botanist Brewery (which is housed very near Kew Gardens) provided a nice finish, a strong ale/red ale at 6.2%, rich and malty, chewy malts, with good hop profile. I'd certainly recommend The Lamb if your in Chiswick high street as a great place to drink, its was very popular that night also.

We then went back to the Crown and Anchor as they had some live jazz on, i think my wife was a bit on beer overkill by this point and wanted a different form of culture! A great quartet playing New Orleans style jazz, with patrons and staff dressed up in 'day of the dead' costumes and make-up.
I had a bottle of Anchor Steam beer, and then a pint of Sharps Cornish Coaster whilst tapping my feet into the night.


The word verification system on blogs and websites annoys me greatly, but like some other beer Bloggers I frequently read I am unfortunately going to have to turn it on due to the increasing amount of spam I'm currently receiving.
I had only ever had a trickle coming through but over the last couple of weeks its massively increased in frequency on a daily basis.
I'll remove it at some point in the future to see if the torrent has subsided to its previous trickle, until then its here to stay.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Ale

JW Lees Manchester Star AleWow, surprise here. Not one I'd seen before, and only picked it up on a spur of the moment trip to Morrison's.

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Ale, I didn't note the abv or style when i bought it, I was in a rush and quickly put in the basket as one I'd not had before.
Answer: Porter, 7.3% and damn delicious.

I got a frothy off white head, the aroma was light and roast chocolate, and sweet dark fruit.

Good body for the style, and lovely rich fruit, plum, raisin, coffee, and a little spicy too.

Good carbonation as you can see from the photo, this is a really, really good beer and next time I'm there I will pick up some more without a doubt.

Monday, 8 April 2013


DSC_7400I was reading the great posts on their recent Munich trip by The Beer Nut and The Bitten Bullet, and decided that as I was over the other side of Cardiff for a meeting I should do some beer shopping. German beer shopping, after reading their exploits.

As always this involved heading to the Cardiff Beer shop/Discount Supermarket, but again, despite good intentions to only buy a few German beers, I was swayed by their great choice and ended up with a bit more than intended.

The first I decided on was a name I recognised from their Munich posts, although I couldn't remember the opinions presented.

Ayinger  Ur Weisse  5.8% Dunkelweizen
Hacker-Pschorr  5.5% Hefeweizen
Oettinger 4.7% Helles

These two on the left will be my first US Craft beer in a can experience.
Ska Modus Hoperandi IPA 6.8%
Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA 7.1%


 Moving back to Europe I got  a classic, the Tripel Karmeliet, an Abbey tripel weighing in at 8.4%.
Back to Blighty and one from the Kernel, always reliable, although this is a collabaration beer with Brodies, a black IPA and 6.9%.

After two good beers from Hardknott I went for a hat-trick and got their Cool Fusion, 4.4%.

In the shop they were also doing a deal on the beers from the Brains Craft brewery, 4 bottles for a fiver. Whilst i was a little underwhelmed by their Barry Island IPA, although a fairly decent beer, I had wanted to try some of their newer offerings. The cask versions do not seem to make it round my way so this was an opportunity I took.

Weiss Weiss Baby, 5.9%
Colonel Williams, the Martyn Cornell collabaration East India Pale Ale, 6%.
A Pils from the Hills, pilsner 5%.
Boilermaker, an IPA brewed with Penderyn whisky infused oak chips, 6.5%. I did hesitate over this one as whiskey beers are not my thing but thought I'd make up the foursome with it.

So after a little run of night shifts this week I'll have to decide which to start with.
As always, any comments on these beers appreciated, good choice? bad beer? let me know.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Williams Brothers Fraoch Heather Ale

Williams Brothers Fraoch Heather AleI've been meaning to buy this for ages but on the occasion I've been in Morrison's I seem to have always passed it up at that time. Thankfully, last visit I did not.

I really liked this, and surprised myself in doing so, I thought it would be some 'quirky' beer which you just have to try and tick off, maybe you might like it but just because it is that quirky heritage beer, and probably never buy it again.

But actually I really quite enjoyed it and have indeed bought it since.

This beer is from a recipe that they say 'allows you to literally pour 4000 years of Scottish history into a glass', during brewing they add sweet gale and flowering heather into the beer, and it then is poured and allowed to infuse further in more heather. 5% abv, 500mls.

Pours a gold/copper colour, a lovely floral aroma, honey sweet notes, light but not thin body.
It has a great rounded flavour, the malts are sweet, the floral heather perfumes your mouth, its incredibly smooth. And I will be buying it again. You should too.