On Valentine's Day this year the lovely Willow bought me two beers and so I thought it was dadgum time that I tried one. Of course, them being new beers means that I am duty-bound to tell you all about them. Or I'm just that boring. Still have the beard and I am putting on weight, a beer gut cannot be far away. If I do join CAMRA I suspect my beer boring will know no end. In fact, I suspect it already does.
Anyway, tonight I am drinking Fuller's 1845. Brewed in celebration of the brewery's 150th anniversary to one of the early beer recipes of that brewery so it promises a great deal. Even the label is gold and it claims to have been bottle conditioned for 100 days. Now, that's probably a bit longer as I don't know when it was bought or when they measure the 100 days from.
It's a different bottle, very tall and straight with brown glass. No obvious whiff of carbonation upon opening but it is clear that this plays a part. Mind you, there is sediment in there that suggests most of the carbonation is imparted by sugar and yeast. It smells old and bitter, in a good way, like the snug in a mouldering bar off the beaten track that has regulars hunched and talking animatedly to one another in the way that only old friends can. First sip is actually very interesting. It was hard to separate the Amber malt from the Goldings hops in that they worked so well transferring the flavour between smooth and bitter I couldn't really say which dominates when. There's a spicy hit to it and it tastes like it's an old recipe. I have no problem believing that this is from 1845!
At 6.3% ABV this is no slouch and the strength shows through very quickly. It's a strong bitter too, easily enough to stand on its own, and that allowed it to beat all the tastes from our takeaway - including the rather spicy chicken. Impressively, that taste remained almost undented until the end of the meal and then managed to wash that meal away at the end. If you're looking for an ale to dominate your evening then you could do worse than check this out. I had been avoiding this one as I felt that it was a bit corporate and mass-produced. And it is, don't get me wrong, but it's nice too and that makes it worth a hit.
Enjoy on pretty much any evening with or without food. This is not a lunchtime beer. You could maybe have more than one but I wouldn't session this ale. Equally, if you can get it on draught, do it! I imagine that this is smoother, spicier and all round better from a pump.