Choosing the right Christmas gift can seem difficult, but Fuller’s of Chiswick, London’s only traditional brewery, has the perfect answer, with a diverse range of their specially crafted, bottle-conditioned premium ales.
“Like fine wines, these are beers designed to be savoured,” explains Fuller’s Head Brewer John Keeling, “and they will mature as they age over months and years, because they are bottle conditioned.”
“This means they will develop diverse and delicious aromas and flavours, which will change depending on how long your tastebuds can wait. They make a very special but unusual gift for both beer, wine and spirit lovers.”
Bottle conditioning is a demanding art; knowledge and skill are needed at every stage in the process. A tiny residue of yeast is allowed to ferment in the bottle, developing character and depth of flavour over time just as fine vintage wines do.
All these beers and more are now available to buy from the Fuller’s Brewery Shop and online from www.fullers.co.uk/buyonline, as well as from selected supermarkets.
Brewer’s Reserve No. 4 – £7.80 (8.5% ABV)
• Brewer’s Reserve No.4 has spent over a year gently maturing in vintage Comte de Lauvia Armagnac casks, from the Bas region of France; the oldest Armagnac producing region. The black oak casks add a spirit-like edge to the beer, particularly on the nose, with a rich spicy flavour of prunes, orange peel, and cinnamon.
• Brewer’s Reserve No.4’s extensive maturation time has infused the beer with delicious raisin, vanilla and cinnamon flavours from the rare oak Armagnac casks. These, combined with the rich malt body and pleasant sharp fruitiness derived from the beer, result in a wonderfully complex and very satisfying beer.
Vintage Ale 2012 – £5.50 (8.5% ABV) Available in selected Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores
• Fuller’s produces a Vintage Ale every year, made from that year’s very best hops and malt, as chosen by our expert brewing team,. As such, every version is different but of the highest quality – it’s a sure fire favourite for beer aficionados.
• 2012’s Vintage is a dark amber ale which has a rich blood orange sweetness followed by subtle marzipan and liquorice flavours, and a superb warming aftertaste.
• There are also other Vintage Ales available from as far back as 1997; perfect for that special anniversary, or something to remind you of a certain year.
Perfect with: Vintage Ale 2012 is a great accompaniment to a cheeseboard – particularly to strong cheeses such as a good cheddar or stilton.
Past Masters Old Burton Extra – £4.50 (7.3% ABV)
Available in selected Sainsbury’s stores
• Past Masters ‘Old Burton Extra’ is the third beer from an original recipe found in Fuller’s master brewbook, and was first brewed on Thursday, September 10th 1931.
• Each recipe of every beer ever brewed at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick has been recorded in meticulous detail in this bible of brewing, and in such detail that even the temperature was noted at 13°C the first morning Old Burton Extra was brewed.
• Included in the original recipe, which was recreated for Old Burton Extra, are Best Pale Ale malt, Crystal malt, maize and a special brewing syrup. The hops used were English Fuggles and Goldings, both in the copper and for dry hopping.
1845 – £2.59 (6.3% ABV)
Available in selected Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose stores
• First brewed in 1995 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Fuller, Smith & Turner partnership, 1845 is matured for at least 100 days before being bottled.
• During this time the rich fruity characteristics of the beer are enhanced, while the well-rounded malt flavours create a wonderfully balanced ale
• Roger Protz, beer writer and critic, describes 1845 as ‘a rich beer with a fruit cake aroma, spices and nutmeg from malt and hops resulting in a dry, fruity finish’.
All these beers and more are now available to buy from the Fuller’s Brewery Shop and online from www.fullers.co.uk/buyonline.