Beers of the Week

Published on 13 February 2004 in , ,

It’s beer round up time – a few words of wisdom on some of the stuff I’ve been drinking lately.

Alaskan Smoked Porter.

For my birthday last year, Catherine gave me The Great Beer Guide by beer critic Michael Jackson. It lists some great beers (and for some reason, Bass) and I’ve been slowly working my way through it, as and when we find an entry. There’s only 500.

The book covers good quality lagers (ie not Stella), ales, bitters, stouts and more. But one of the strangest tasting ones I’ve had so far was Alaskan Smoked Porter.

I found a bottle in Ealing’s branch of Safeway on New Years Eve and Catherine brought one home tonight as well – both from the 2003 vintage (it’s brewed in limited vintages each year).

It’s a weird, yet very pleasing beer with hints of bitter chocolate, before exploding on your tongue with the taste of smoke. Very interesting, very weird, but very good.

Fullers’ Indian Pale Ale.

Bit less exotic is this lovely example of an Indian Pale Ale. Available after the success of Fullers’ Autumn Beer Festival which saw three of their bottled beers available in cask form (including the divine London Porter for a limited time, Fullers have released their India Pale Ale on handpulls for February only.

Fullers India Pale Ale hasn’t been on sale in the UK for some time – it used to be available in bottles, but around 2001 it disappeared, becoming only an export brand.

Fullers India Pale Ale logo

The lovely Fullers India Pale Ale logo. Scanned in from a beer mat

It may only be back for a month, but it’s great to taste it again! What I do hope is that Fullers will take note of how successful the release of their various special ales has been, and not only do more limited runs of beers, but bring back the bottled versions in the UK. And even more, GET THEM IN THE PUBS!

Youngs are very good at getting their full range of bottled beers in their pubs – it’s a great way of tasting something different when there might not be enough demand on the handpull, and just for offering your customers something different. Fullers take note! I can’t be the only one who wants to go to the pub and drink the odd bottle of India Pale Ale or London Porter every now and then.

Oh and if anyone from Fullers is reading… Red Fox. Now that was a beer you want to bring back.

Badger Blandford Fly.

Had a bottle of this at the wonderful Ship And Shovel pub in central London recently. What can I say, other than how surprised I was that a beer with ginger in it, could taste so lipsmackingly wonderful! Has to be tried to be believed. Even weirder than the Smoked Porter!