Fuller's London Pride

Review Date 2/19/2021 By John Staradumsky

Friends, I am here today to right a great wrong. Every now and then, you see, I discover that I have never put my thoughts on a classic beer to paper or, more accurately, to electronic medium. Such is the case today as I come to you, ready to speak of a classic English ale of high regard: Fuller’s London Pride. I don’t recall the first time I enjoyed this wonderful beer, but I do know when I first enjoyed it in cask form: May of 1998. Here is my account of my visit to the New England Real Ale Exposition during that month.

The New England Real Ale Exposition, 1998 edition, seems to have been a great success. Though I unfortunately missed the Thursday and Friday sessions and consequently Long Trail's Cask IPA and Hopback's Summer Lightning (both kegs had kicked by Saturday, along with the Emerald Isle Porter), and a few good speeches, I did arrive in time on Saturday morning for the UK's Brewlab Dr. Keith Thomas's excellent tutored beer tasting and lecture on taste perceptions and flavor components in beer. After the lecture, the first session began at 1:00PM, and it gradually built to a respectable crowd by session end at 4:00. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the beers and having a jolly good time when I managed to sneak out near the end of the first session for a few pints at Redbones.

One of the great things about beer festivals is the truly nice people you run into, and this weekend was not an exception. I managed to meet rfdb contributor Paul Blackburn, whom I enjoyed chatting with throughout the weekend. Paul accompanied myself, fellow Rhode Island beer enthusiast John Sherman, Martha's Exchange brewers John Jepson and Brett Marcy, and Emerald Isle Brewer Mike McConnell over to Redbones for a few pints: I enjoyed Grimbergen Double, Berkshire Brewing's delicious porter, and the Modern Brewer's Fact Cat ESB.

By this time, we had worked up an appetite (Redbones delicious barbecue would be attacked the next day), and John and Brett steered us to the Kendall Cafe, a charming establishment with excellent food and a very good draft beer list. The Tucher Kristall-Weizen was very refreshing, and the Cambridge Porter sublime.

We barely made it back to the second session at 7:00, but we did make it. I had to start pacing myself a bit, alternating water with beer, but I did enjoy several more pints and had an interesting discussion with Dr. Thomas about the essential nature of diacetyl in many British ales and the corresponding tendency for many New England ales to be very English in nature.

The last session was held from 1:00PM to 4:30 Sunday, and I had the honor of standing behind the bar to pull pints for the patrons. It was a great experience, suggesting beers, chatting beer, answering questions, observing the enthusiasm of neophytes and experts, and occasionally drinking some myself.

Now, the beers themselves. Bank Street Ale was fruity and delicious as always, Young's Ordinary Bitter refreshingly bitter in the finish, Fuller's Extra Special Bitter packed with malt and alcohol warmth, Young's Dirty Dick's Ale slightly sweet, brown and malty, Commonwealth's Stout a huge, roasty delight, Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter balanced, subtly pungent with Ringwood and packed with hop bitterness, Todd Mott's Back Bay IPA delightfully grapefruity and bitter, etc.

Other great brews included:

Brooklyn Brown Brooklyn Pennant Pale Ale Young's Special Bitter Fuller's London Pride Orkney Dark Island Tremont Winter Spice Tremont Porter People's Pint IPA McNeill's ESB McNeill's Dead Horse IPA Commonwealth Yorkshire Special Bitter Shipyard Old Thumper

It was a great time indeed. I can't wait until NERAX 99.

And there you have it. My first documented encounter with London Pride, a wonderful beer indeed. Recently, I picked up a four-pack of London pride in bottles at Sherlock’s in Kennesaw, and oh the memories it brought back. Fuller’s says:

Brewed under the watchful eye of our Griffin since the 1950s, London Pride is unmistakably London's beer. With its well-rounded flavour and rich history, everything about this authentic, characterful beer binds it to our capital city and the people who love it.

Not just the iconic ale of the capital, London Pride is an all-British affair that unites a nation of beer drinkers. It’s brewed with entirely home-grown hop varieties - Target for bittering and Northdown, Challenger and Goldings for aroma - but the soul of the beer is unquestionably in the malt.

Crystal malts combine with spring-harvested Pale Ale varieties Concerto and Propino, to give Pride its inimitable depth and balance.

Fuller’s London Pride has an alcohol content of 4.1% by volume in the cask, and 4.7% by volume bottled, canned, and kegged. On tap, this is an English Bitter (a pint of bitter, please), which is, as we all know, pale ale in bottles. I paid $7.98 for 4 11.2-ounce bottles. The beer has 30 IBUs.

Fuller’s London Pride pours to a deep amber color with a thick fluffy white head and a delightful nose of crisp malt, soft butter, and herbal hops. Taking a sip, the beer is medium in body and smooth on the tongue, with butter and flinty notes against a hint of caramel and a permeating grassy hop aroma. It finishes with a gentle bitterness and begs you to take another pull off your pint immediately.

Fuller’s London Pride is truly sublime in its delicate, buttery maltiness. A beer not to be missed.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.