Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fuller's: Griffin Brewery

The journey to Fuller's Griffin Brewery has been a long one indeed. Not sure exactly when it began, but I've been drinking their beers for quite a long time and fell hard for their 2005 Vintage Ale after tasting it last year. Indeed, it was the perfect example of English beer in my mind and has remained so ever since. Fuller's has been in business for the better part of 350 years and they have been brewing at the current location for well over 150 years. Fuller's has undoubtedly grown into a commercial brewing enterprise and their beers can be found all-over the world, but this by no means dulls down the quality of their brews. I have come to appreciate a good many of them, but to find the more rare Fuller's brews one must hunt or in my case, journey to the brewery itself to find the prize of their selection: The Vintage Ale.

I tried my best to arrive at the brewery by 11 am but was unsuccessful in my bid to shoot across from North London to Southwest London in under an hour. Sprinting out of the tube stop at Stamford Brook in the grey morning drizzle, it was already half past 11. As in most cases, I could smell the working brewery before seeing it, as I always say: "All you have to do is follow your nose when there is a brewery in the vicinity." And follow it I did. Next thing I know I'm in the bottle shop perusing the selection. I found what I'd come for: The Vintage Ale. They were well-stocked with bottles from '99 to '11. For some odd reason picking up three individual bottles seemed like a good idea. I had no plan for how I'd get them home, but knew I'd figure out a way. They're here at my house, so indeed it all worked out: 1999, 2004, and 2009 all in their own personalized boxes. For the rest of the day I would be wandering around London, through tube stops, restaurants and city streets with a box full of beer; alas, the things we beer lovers do for the love of beer.

My plan was to take a Vintage Ale tour. It would cost an extra £5 from the normal tour price of £10 but I didn't make it in enough time and only had about 30 minutes to spare. I was the lone patron inside Mawson Arms (the attached and official pub of the Griffin Brewery) at 11:30. I grabbed a quick pint of Discovery Ale (their hoppy blonde ale) and snapped intermittent photos between sips. Some beers you might have seen in stores from Fuller's: 1845, London Pride, ESB, and London Porter. They brew many others, IPA's to Golden Ales, Strong Ales and Stouts, don't hesitate to pick one up. The 1845 Celebration Ale is another of my favourites. In any case, I may have missed the tour but that only gives me a reason to return. Drinking a pint of cask-aged English Ale at The Pub at Griffin Brewery on a rainy day in London, well, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks for reading!

No comments: