Fuller’s London Pride VS Fuller’s Vintage Ale

London Pride

London Pride

Overall: B-

Price: B

Taste: C

Type: Draft

4.7% ABV-33 IBU

Fuller's Vintage Ale

Vintage Ale 2009

Overall: A-

Price: B

Taste: A

Type: Bottle

8.5% ABV-38 IBU

First off, you may be wondering why I don’t have real pictures for these.  In case you haven’t read already, my phone was stolen in Cambodia and I lost a lot of information, including these pictures.  However, I’m no longer focusing on that.  So, moving on…my friends and I went to this bar/restaurant in lower Harlem called Bierkraft.  I’ll write more about it when I get a chance to explore it thoroughly, but it seemed nice enough when we went that night.  It may have been a little pricey, but I liked the general atmosphere and the wait-staff seemed very knowledgable.  I ordered a bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale because I had never had it before ,and I’ve always been curious.  I’ve had London Pride several times, and while it’s good, it’s nothing to write home about.  London Pride’s a solid British beer with a lot of body, but has very little in the way of unique flavor.  Anyway, I received my glass and took a sip. I thought…”Hmm…this is alright, but it’s not great.  It’s certainly not worth the 14 dollars that I paid for it, and it doesn’t really taste like it has an 8.5 percent alcohol content.  It basically…you know, sort of tastes like London Pride.”  And that’s when the waiter walked back over.  He apologized and told me that he had noticed they had sent me a regular London Pride (not the Vintage Ale), and he was perturbed.  He let me keep the beer for free, and brought me the Vintage Ale.  It suddenly became very obvious how he could tell.  The London Pride came in a Shaker Glass by itself,  while the Vintage Ale came in a Tulip Glass with the bottle and the box.   I thought, “Awesome, now a chance to compare”.  And boy…it is a huge difference.  Where London Pride tastes good and hearty, Vintage Ale is bold, boozy, and almost Belgian.  My friends who tasted the Vintage also admired it greatly.  It’s got a lot of character, and doesn’t taste anything like Fuller’s usual fair.  Both beers pour a reddish brown, but Vintage Ale is almost a deep amber, with a “fuller” head.  On tasting, Vintage has a lot going on, with hints of deep wood, toffee, butterscotch, and even some light citrus hops. I really enjoyed the simplicity of London Pride, but the complexities of the Vintage Ale won out.  I would thoroughly recommend the pair to anyone adventurous enough to take them on.  If you’ve had a Fuller’s London Pride before, but were less than impressed, definitely try the Vintage.  It’s one of the best British beers I’ve ever had.  And if you haven’t had a London Pride before, try one.  It’s a standard of British Brewing, like Newcastle and Boddington’s.  And if you hate them both, you can always blame me.  I’m willing to take on that responsibility.

In Conclusion: Both worth trying, though I really like the Vintage Ale.  Try it if you get the opportunity, regardless of price.  It’s a great beer that must be experienced, especially by those who love strong English ales.

Food Pairings (London Pride): Chewy, hearty meats.  Game Meats, Meatloaf, and Chutney.

Food Pairings (Vintage Ale): Really fatty and savory meats.  Grilled Lamb, Kidney, and Liver.

“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”

-Charles Bukowski

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