Fuller, Smith and Turner…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there has never been a better time to be a lover of good beer, certainly in my lifetime anyway. We are awash with new breweries from here and another great brew from there, so much so that it is often difficult to keep up. However, it is equally easy to lose sight of some of the absolutely stunning beers that have been around for quite a while, back even before the days when “craft” only referred to the likes of knitting, crochet and making replicas of Tower Bridge from matchsticks.

Without delving too deep into the history books, Fuller, Smith and Turner, or Fuller’s as they are more commonly known, joined forces in 1845. A year familiar with most as it features as the name of one of Fuller’s more prevalent beers, available in several supermarkets. But the history of brewing goes back around 350 years in around that particular area of London. In short, they have some serious brewing heritage…

Now as you know, here at Otter’s Tears our aim is to bring beers to you that are a little bit special, beers that you can’t bag on a 3 for £6 deal at Tesco, Morrison’s and the like. It is also important to me that I am proud to have them on the shelves, so that I can feel happy in recommending them to you, so I have put together this collection from Fuller’s that I am confident you will love. Read on..

Past Masters “Every single afternoon since 1845, the Fuller’s brewing team has diligently written out the ingredients of the day’s brews – and the Past Masters series is a great example of why we do it.

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Past Masters 1926 Oatmeal Porter: “1926 Oatmeal Porter is the seventh beer revived as part of our Past Masters collection. It’s been brewed to a 90-year old recipe from the Fuller’s archives, to celebrate the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday. Well worth revisiting, this is a rich, special Porter with Northumbrian oats added to the brew, giving a smooth mouthfeel and delicious notes of coffee and dark chocolate. Fans of the Porter style, or any strong, dark beer, won’t want to miss out.”

Better with age As a bottle conditioned beer, 1926 Oatmeal Porter contains sediment that allows the flavours to develop up until the moment the bottle is opened. This beer should therefore be stored upright in a dark room, and poured carefully when served for the best possible results.”

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I’ve personally not tried the 1926 as yet, but previous Past Masters beers have been really good, a world away from the Fuller’s pub favourites you may or may not love.

Fullers’s Imperial Stout: “Imperial Stout delivers roasted dark chocolate notes against a slightly fruity acidity. Sovereign and Centennial hops, meanwhile, bring floral flavour, enhanced by dried rose buds that hint at Turkish Delight. There’s a taste of liquorice there too, ahead of a lasting finish with fairly high bitterness.”

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This is a fantastic beer, bottle conditioned too so perfect for cellaring for a while if you can resist temptation, I currently have a few tucked away out of reach..

Vintage Ale: “Fuller’s has created a new recipe of Vintage Ale every year since 1997, picking the best ingredients at the time, to make a strong beer with a complex character. Every bottle of Vintage Ale is individually numbered, making our older Vintage Ales extremely rare and sought after.”

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Vintage Ale 2015: “A beautiful beer brewed celebrating the 50th anniversary of famous British malt variety Maris Otter and brewed using exclusively British ingredients. The floor-malted Maris Otter is combined with home-grown Target, Northdown, Challenger and Goldings hops to create a best-of-British beer with complex flavours, a fruitful aroma and a bitter finish.”

I’ve been buying, drinking and saving Fuller’s Vintage Ales for years and they never disappoint. The other thing to note here is these beers are absolutely perfect to hide away for a few years, knowing that they will only be getting better and better. Take a look at the Fuller’s website and you will see vintages still on sale dating back to 1997, their value rising massively in the process year on year. So whether you are buying for pleasure, an investment or maybe to celebrate a life event, these are a fantastic choice. Had a child born in 2015 for example, why not buy a couple and store away until he or she is 21, what a way to celebrate a milestone?

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There are a couple of good reads here, showing a couple of takes on how each beer develops over time, the first by Mark Dredge the other Des de Moor, both highly respected, published beer authors.

Fullers Vintage Ale: A 15-year vertical tasting – Mark Dredge

Fuller’s Vintage Ale – Des de Moor

Brewer’s Reserve

The “Brewer’s Reserve” range is now, as the name suggests in its 5th incarnation of oak barrel aged beers. No1 was a 30 year old Glenmorangie single malt whisky Cask, No2 – Courvoisier Cognac, No3 Auchentoshan whisky and No4 – Comte de Latvia Armagnac.

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Brewer’s Reserve No5: “Aged for 18 months in 30-year-old whiskey casks, Brewer’s Reserve No.5 is a full-bodied limited-edition beer, infused with the secrets of whiskey-soaked wood. Pouring a dark brown colour, it conjures a sherry-like aroma with notes of bourbon on the nose, while on the palate, it delivers sweet biscuit, fruitcake flavours and ripe notes of cherry – ending with a warm, smooth and satisfying finish. A truly special beer that every ale lover should experience. The launch of Brewer’s Reserve No.5 marks ten years since the start of the series. To celebrate, we’ve sourced whiskey casks from Glenmorangie, the same Scottish distillery we used a decade ago.”

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As you can see from both the images and the descriptions, these are some special beers we have right here. All but the Past Masters come in beautifully finished boxes, with bottles internally tape-sealed too. I really hope you guys buy, cherish and enjoy them as much as I do.

Cheers

Phil

There’s “Norway” of telling you how good these Lervig beers are…

Screen shot 2014-10-12 at 12.09.46 PM“Nor’way” of knowing how long they will last either….. 😉

Awful puns aside, take look at our current stock of beers from Norwegian brewmasters Lervig Aktiebryggeri. We hope you agree it’s a pretty epic selection including some very rare beasts, hitting the UK in VERY limited numbers. 

We have Lervig collaborations with some of the worlds finest breweries, Hoppin’ Frog, Arizona Wilderness, Magic Rock, Boxing Cat and Way Beer, the latter joining forces to brew the superb “3 Bean Stout”, up there with any stout I’ve ever had.

Lucky Jack Grapefruit: Our Flagship beer Lucky Jack gets a kick in the ass with more fruit, we simply added Grapefruit peels and Pink Grapefruit juice for the summer beer edition. Slight more pink, slightly more acidic, a lot more fruity and fresh! Unfiltered and limited for the summer!

Sour Suzy: A thirst quenching session beer, Sour Suzy mimics a classic German brewing technique (sour mashing) to impart a light, refreshing tartness. No hop bitterness & very low hop profile. Sour Suzy is not your typical session beer – rather it delivers something a bit more obscure and intriguing. It drinks as refreshingly as a glass of lemonade. The grain bill includes a healthy portion of wheat, while citrusy hops lend bright notes to the aroma which are accentuated by the addition of Makrut lime leaves.

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*Both of the above cans, chilled to perfection, they will not fail to please in this hot weather.

Galaxy IPA: A Single Hop IPA with a golden copper colour. It’s brewed with loads of Galaxy hops from Australia giving this IPA its characteristic tropical fruit flavour. Expect a big hoppy flavour with a heavy dose of up-front bitterness.

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Farmhouse IPA: This brew is the result of our unique collaboration with Magic Rock Brewing (UK). We have combined our love of hops and funky flavours to make this Farmhouse-style IPA. Belgian yeasts and Brettanomyces will make this beer more and more spicy with time.

Konrad’s Stout: A Scandinavian inspired Imperial Stout. Konrad’s is a smooth, supple stout with lots of chocolate and coffee flavour with a touch of liquorice. At 70IBU there is more than enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

Barley Wine Bourbon BA: This is our once a year brew of Bourbon Barrel aged Barley wine. It’s brewed with Munich, chocolate and caramel malts, and hopped delicately with Golding hops. It’s aged in Jack Daniels Barrels for a year to allow the beer to mellow out and mature. The oak provides a dimension of coconut, vanilla and even a touch of Bourbon. Dark red, low carbonation and great depth, this is one of our most special beers

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Lervig – Norwegian Mauler: An Earl grey tea infused breakfast stout. This is a beer with bags of flavour all designed to bring the best out of all the facets of the brew. Brew is the best word for this beer as the Earl grey tea really comes through and out to the fore as you drink giving a unique taste to this excellently rounded, slightly sweet stout.

Lervig – Passion Tang: A beer deliberately made not to taste like beer. Sounds fun right? This is a sour beer made with Passion fruit and ‘grains of paradise’ (This spice, commonly known as ossame, grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, fom wisa, or Guinea pepper, is obtained from the ground seeds; it imparts a pungent, peppery flavour with hints of citrus, thanks wiki.) It is a brew with a soft malt base a lovely dry tang on the tongue and then a myriad of the different flavours from the spice and fruit that has been added. Definitely a beer that can be enjoyed by those who don’t like the norm but also for those looking to expand their tastebuds to new and exciting places. This beer is the Starship Enterprise of the beer world and you can be Captain Kirk or Spock or Uhura with just 1 sip.

Lervig – Sverd I Fjell: One of the newest of Lervig’s brewers reserve beers this is a triple IPA. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water Lervig come rolling in and blast those pithy ‘Double IPAs’ away. Like a warship firing hops this brew sits in the mouth and simply blasts at the tastebuds. It never gets too overpoweringly dry as there is enough of the malt character there to hold the beer just about down but this is a dank tropical experience to behold and enjoy.

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Lervig/ Arizona Wilderness – Lawless: This is a Norwegian farmhouse ale made in collaboration with Wilderness brewery from Arizona USA. They have taken a traditionally hoppy pale ale and added in juniper berries and extra oat to give this brew a distinctive taste that you won’t find elsewhere. A big rich body is helped by the added oat and then the juniper berries give a dry sweetness reminiscent of good gins.

Lervig/ Hoppin’ Frog – Sippin’ into Darkness: A sweet imperial stout straight from the creative minds of 2 of the world’s best head brewers right now. They’ve taken a rich malty imperial stout and added in Candi syrup, Lactose, Cocoa nibs and vanilla to give this quite dry stout a fresh lick of paint in a sweet facelift. The cocoa added to the roasted dark chocolate flavours and comes out on the body whilst the candi sugar and vanilla dominate the finish of this excellent bee.

*I REALLY love the 3 Bean stout, but I am being told by “reliable sources”, that the “Sippin’ Into Darkness” is a more than worthy challenger, further testing required methinks…

Lervig/ Way – 3 Bean Stout: A few Brazilian brewers came all the Way’ to Norway to brew a big giant of a stout. Keeping in line with giants, we tossed a few magic beans in the brew for good measure. Tonka, Vanilla and Cocoa beans all do their part in making this a truly complex and unique stout while delivering the dark quality you’ve come to expect from Lervig. Plant the magic beans!

Lervig – Iconoclast Quad: A classic monk’s brew reinterpreted by heathens. This big Quad was brewed with cascara cherries to give it a nice dried fruit, spice, and tobacco characteristic. It is pleasantly dry with a great, ever-developing Brettanomyces character, coupled with classic Belgian yeast profile. This is one to drink now, or place in the cellar. Label art by Error! Design from Barcelona.

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*The Iconoclast is extremely limited, please call for stock as it will go FAST

That’s all for now, but of course there are always more new beers hitting the shelves at Otter’s Tears than I have time to write about, so come see what we have for yourselves. Cheers!

Phil

 

Tour de Trappist” with “John Clarke

 trappist_logoJohn Clarke, Editor of Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA’s “Opening Times” for over 29 years, is one of the most knowledgeable “beer people” we know, especially when it comes to Belgium.

In fact, he spends so much time in Europe, he requires a VISA to get back into Stockport and often classes Bruges ’t Brugs Beertje as his local…

John will present five samples of authentic Trappist beers, talking you through the various styles, stories and rich history of these monastic brews.

Tickets £15 each

Saturday 6th August at 7:30 PM (doors open 7pm for a 7:30pm start)

Tickets on sale now. (See note below)

*Note: This event is a rearranged date and consequently is pretty much fully subscribed already. If you have already ordered tickets they are available now. If you want to express an interest in any that may be available please let me know and I will put you on a short list for any that come up.

More event news coming very soon….