Fuller's Vintage Ale on Cask!?

As a beer lover there's no better feeling than walking into a pub and spotting a fantastic beer on the bar. Maybe something you've been meaning to try and heard good things about, or a beer that you've had before but love. Sometimes I'm expecting it. Pretty much every time I walk in to North Bar in Leeds they've got something that I can't wait to order.

Other times you're not expecting it. The Adelphi is a great pub but their Cask Ale selection doesn't tend to set the World on fire. Always in decent condition and generally a few good beers, but hardly ever surprising. So it was with some surpise that I spotted a Vintage Ale pump clip hiding at the end of the bar. I didn't even realise you could get Vintage Ale on Cask. It's 8.5%, Limited Edition, and massively complex in terms of flavour - not exactly a beer that the "Real Ale Regulars" and "Premium Lager Twentysomethings" would be knocking back by the pint...

I'm a massive fan of Vintage Ale. Give it some sipping time and drink it at just-a-touch cooler than room temperature and it's a beer unlike anything else you'll ever try, a true classic. I've got a 1999 saved at the back of the cupboard which I keep meaning to crack open and a 2009 which I'm going to age for a good few more years yet.

The Cask Vintage Ale was this years batch as it had been left as a gift by Fullers after a meet the brewer event. They were selling it at £3.30 a pint. You read that right. Not a half, a PINT. Although I was told later on that they had only been allowing people to buy a half of the stuff at a time - very sensible.

So it was very fresh, I knew that before I drank it, but what
would the other flavours be like when served on CASK?

In short, it was fantastic. It didn't have that aged beer tang or mustyness that adds so much to really old Vintage Ales but it was still chocka full of flavour. It had a really big initial taste of raisin, that moved aside for sherry booziness, and a bit of smokey bourbon, as well as glacé cherry, brown sugar, bitter orange, ginger cake, cherry syrup and a finish that balances between sweet redcurrant jam, and bitter orange hops. A depth of flavour belying it's spritely years.

Thanks to
Fuller's for being such massively good guys to leave a Cask of this wonderful beer for me to stumble upon, and MASSIVE thanks to the manager who upon hearing me chatting with the barman about this fantastic beer produced two bottles of Fuller's 1845 from behind the bar and said "they left some of these too, you can have these for free mate if you think you'll enjoy them" (and no I didn't mention my blog and I didn't know him. He was just being nice). 1845 is a bit like Vintage Ale's little brother in taste terms, and a great beer in it's own right. What a result.

Life's all about the little treats isn't it?


  1. a) How the hell did they get hold of this?
    b) Why didn't I get any of this?
    c) Why didn't they tell anyone they had it on?

    That is all ;)

  2. An excellent find, dude - well done! I am assuming it was left over from the tasting that John Keeling did last week at the pub - I think Simon Jenkinson attended if you want more details...

  3. It was indeed left over from that meet the brewer. The barman was really friendly but almost apologetic for the beer when i asked about it at first! He said something like "We're selling it at £3.30 a pint cos otherwise we'll never get shut of it."

    Get shut of it!? It's vintage ale!

    A very lucky find.

  4. Great beer.

    I have a 2005, waiting for Christmas...

  5. Such a rare find on cask! It's a wonderful beer and I love it because whatever vintage it is and whenever you drink it it always tastes a little different. I did a flight of 15 years and it was fascinating - they age so well if left in the right place.

  6. Wow, never seen this on cask - lucky find indeed. I guess it's worth paying next-day visits to pubs who host meet the brewer nights!

  7. Excellent find. I've had 1845 on cask at a beer festival (way better than in the bottle) but never vintage.

  8. Some Fullers pubs have Golden Pride on cask at Christmas - is this the same thing?