Apparently, there's a glut of Fuller's Vintage Ale on the UK market at the moment, and it's being sold in supermarkets for next to nothing. I paid something quite a distance from nothing for my bottle, but without it I'd have been lost for a special anniversary beer for this month's Session, and that wouldn't do at all.
There's no shortage of limited edition special beers covered on this blog: they're the ones I normally make a beeline for, like the superb but different 10th anniversary stouts from The Porterhouse and Carlow Brewing, or the IPA Emerson's made when they hit double figures.
But I was a bit wary when the selection on Dublin's off licence shelves left me no option but Fuller's Vintage 2007. This is another 10th anniversary beer, and I felt a little guilty at the thought of cracking it open since these bottle conditioned strong ales are known to improve for ages and ages. But no less an authority than The Zythophile said lash into the 2007s now, so I did.
It seemed a bit flat as I poured it, and the big head kinda fizzed up on me unexpectedly. It was plain even as the dark amber liquid came out of the bottle that this is a very viscous beer. Sure enough, one sip has me looking for a knife and fork. There's sugar on the nose in abundance, and hints of apple and cinnamon. The taste is as sweet as would be expected: big sticky malt, with liquorice and plums at the front followed by a spicy hops bitterness (the Super Styrians, I'd imagine) and then a lovely warming lip-smacking carmel smokiness right at the very end. And all sitting on a dirty, greasy thick body which carries a surprising amount of fizz for all that, but in a dry cleansing sparkling way.
No, I won't be shelling out another €10 for a second bottle of this. Not when I can get 75cl of O'Hara's Celebration for less than half that, but £1.39 or equivalent I could definitely countenance, and I'd love to find out how it shapes up after a couple of years' cellaring. I'll be keeping an eye out, next time I'm up north.