Friday, January 25, 2008

Beer of the Week

Our beers of the week here have been heavily focused on American brewers, mainly from Wisconsin and California, but our friends across the pond invented the brewing game, and certainly can still make a proper ale.

Fuller's brewery, properly known as Fuller, Smith, & Turner, is headquartered in West London's Chiswick district on a site where beer has been produced for over 350 years. FS&T produce a wide variety of award winning British styles, including their flagship "London Pride," a "London Porter," and our BOTW, "Fuller's ESB." If you need a refreshment on ESBs, we discussed them back here.

Fuller's ESB has always been a good beer to quaff during winter, as it was actually introduced as a winter beer in 1971 to replace a now defunct beer called Old Burton Extra. ESB has all the elements of a good winter brew: a solid ABV at 5.5% (strong for a British draught), a strong malt base, and noticeable but balanced hop back (in this case the traditional Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops).

The beer pours a rich beautiful deep amber color with a minimal white head that fades away, but leaves a white ring throughout. It has a rich toasted biscuity maltiness, even revealing a hint of Oktoberfest-like caramel. For a member of the pale ale family, this bitter doesn't have much bitter bite. The hops are there, but you can tell they've been used more so for flavoring than for bittering. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with just the perfect amount of carbonation to let the flavors shine. I recommend getting it on tap when you have the chance.

Very British, and very excellent.

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