First up, I’ve selected a beer that is indicative of our entire purpose – Fullers Wild River. But before I get to the good stuff, it seems appropriate to cover some background on Fullers as a brewer…
I respect Fullers a lot; being the last remaining historic independently owned family brewer in London, they’re a brewer with real heritage. For more, they appear to represent a perfect balance between representing British brewing history and not being afraid to embrace the future. They own a well-kept pub estate throughout London, and they’re a very solid bet if you’re looking for a consistent, well run example of a traditional British pub in our capital.
However, this does not mean they’re stuck in the past. Unlike many traditional brewers in the UK, Fullers were quick to embrace the craft beer movement in the US and put their stamp on it. As a result, their range of beers are now pretty diverse: from US hop inspired brews – such as the one we’ll look at today – to their Past Masters range of archived beer recipes. All of which sit perfectly alongside regular favourites, such as London Pride to make for a substantial, and eclectic mix. Now on to our beer of the week:
Fullers Wild River Reviewed
Here’s how Fullers describe the beer on their website:
“A hoppy, craft-inspired IPA. Riding the wave of the US craft beer movement, Wild River is an exciting take on American Pale Ale. It’s a double-hopped brew made with several Californian hops – a golden beer inspired by The Golden State.”
On the label, is written the following:
“Inspired by the American craft brewery movement, this double hopped pale uses a unique blend of the finest American hops including Liberty, Willamette, Cascade and Chinook, giving a wonderful zesty beer bursting with citrus flavours and a satisfying bitter finish.”
All in all, you begin to get the picture, and on tasting, this beer certainly lives up to the label. It’s got everything you’d expect from an American style pale ale:
It pours a beautiful, attractive pale straw colour, with a thin but ample head. On the nose – the first thing that hits you is the fresh, bright, citrus hop aroma that’s so classic of new world hops. On first taste, Wild River delivers a malted milk biscuit style sweetness – quickly followed by spice, zest, and then grapefruit bitterness. The aftertaste of fresh citrus fruit then lingers long in the mouth – as you’d expect from an IPA/Pale Ale style.
It’s worth noting that drinkers looking for the ‘larger than life’ hop quantities typical in US IPA’s/Pale ales might be left slightly underwhelmed. Wild River is without doubt a toned down British take on the style – in keeping with our taste for understatement perhaps.
Either way, when taken for what it is (a British take on an increasingly popular American take on a classic British beer style – yea, I know – go figure) it’s pretty damn good. By British brewing standards, this is pretty hoppy beer, and it’s great to see a bolder style making a name for itself and becoming readily available in mainstream supermarkets such as Tesco and ASDA. Well done Fullers for pushing the envelope.
Wonderful fresh, zesty new world hop profile
Not really an IPA by US standards, but certainly worthy of the Pale Ale category.
Time of year
I could drink this all year, but it is particularly good in the Summer.
TA Brews rating 4/5