Fuller's Proud Flagship: London PrideMay 3, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Refrigerators and FreezersThe Bottom Line Great for quaffing, great for pounding the jar on the table, and never gets in the way by being too assertive. Divinely subtle and tasty.
A review of Fuller's London Pride Pale Ale.
Pros: Delicious, light enough to quaff, rewarding to deeper thought.
Cons: Delicate, not bottle-conditioned, and you can't get cask in America.
Ordinarily I don't do this: review something else under a different header. But I went ahead and popped the top on my only bottle of London Pride before I checked epinions' list of beers available for review. I mean, who'd have thought a brewery's stated flagship beer wouldn't be on the list?
Enough kvetching. The beer's poured and while it's warming up a bit (I do keep the Dedicated Beer Fridge quite chilly, it's best for the little darlings and they can always warm up), let's talk about it. What we have here is a rare British pale ale. Rare because pale ale in the U.K. means bottled beer, and most of this type of beer is consumed on tap ("running ale" in the brewer's term). When it's on tap, it's called Bitter, or at this strength, Best Bitter (Fuller's Chiswick is the Bitter in their full lineup, the ESB takes the top of the line).
London Pride has won a number of awards at the Great British Beer Festival, including Champion Best Bitter twice, and in 1979 was proclaimed Beer of the Year at the GBBF. Fuller's proudly points out that Chiswick won the same honor in 1989 and ESB won it three times. Maybe you're learning something about Fuller's after all.
Anyway, London Pride is a session beer, so-called because it is well-suited for sessions of drinking. It is not overwhelming in flavor or alcoholic strength, but rather complements conversation and food with a superbly balanced blend of deep English malt character and spicy English hop.
Ah, it's warmed nicely to about 50 F. Still a bit cool, but drinkable, especially on a hot night like this. There's a tight-bubbled head of creamy white capping a bright coppery beer, and there is hopwhiff floating off the top. You can also pick up some of that characteristic English malt profile, dry and inviting.
Take a good belt of it, and feel it go down. Refreshing but not watery, bitter but not astringent, crisp but not fizzy, this is balanced beauty. The Brits and the Germans have a real feel for this kind of beer; Brits their bitter, Germans their helles and Export, beers that are just a joy to drink by the big glass, not knockouts but not dullard either.
The malt just gets better and better as it warms up, and as a few belches come up ['scuse me] I start to realize just how much hops are in here. This is great stuff, and I'd happily split a case with a friend some sunny afternoon when my wife took all my car keys away.
Fuller's tagline for this beer is "Wherever you go, take Pride." With a beer this good, it's hard not to play on the name. It's surely something the brewery must take pride in. What a gorgeous beer.
Highly recommended, four stars.
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