Friday, 5 October 2012

Fuller's 'Bengal Lancer' IPA

Big breweries are much maligned in beer blogs and the like, but just because a brewery is big doesn't mean it can't make interesting beer, even if far too often they don't. White Shield; 'from the makers of Carling' as the advertising slogan doesn't run,  is perhaps the most extreme example of this, but Fuller's seem to me to be one of the bigger British breweries that offer something special. Having lived most of my life north of Watford Gap it's not a brewery I'm actually that familiar with, but what beers of theirs I have tried have put many operations that espouse the virtues of their small size and flexibility as as asset to shame.

It seems to be a recurring theme of mine that when I try new IPAs I'm actually looking more for how the malt supports the hops flavours and gives the beer structure and backbone. For me far too many beers use hops rather too indiscriminately, almost forgetting that beer is a complex drink, not just a sort of one-dimensional strong hop cordial. There's plenty of leafy hop aroma, all backed up with smoky spices and that all-important biscuity malt spine. If I were to be critical, I found that there was a little too much sweetness, but I realise that's just my taste rather than a fault with the beer, some people will like it more because of that.

Celebrity endorsed, and (rather curiously) made for the Swedish market, but don't let that put you off. 5.3% abv. £1.99 from Ocado.

PS: Apparently it's vegan too, no nasty fish bits required!


  1. Try Fullers London Pride, ESB, 1845 and Bengal Lancer from Tesco on the 4 for £whatever they happen to be charging this month (i think it's £6). Also the London Porter and Golden Pride from Waitrose are really really good. If you find any of the past masters range as well, they are pretty good. My favourite Supermarket IPA at the moment is Marks and Spencers Southwold Winter IPA which is relabled Adnams Innovation. It is £1.9 a bottle 9 or 6 for the price of 5 (best part of £10).
    Mike F

  2. Spotted this in Waitrose after re-reading your review a few days ago and just finished a bottle. I really liked it. Solidly hoppy and remarkably easy drinking. Could love to try on cask where I reckon it would really come into its own.

    1. Yes, sure you're right about the cask thing! It is good to know there are some beers knocking about on the supermarket shelves worth going for in time of need.