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39. Fuller's Wild River

The next five beers I’ll be sampling are all from Fuller’s, London’s most famous brewer. I have to admit I feel something of a traitor whenever I enjoy a Fuller beer, because I always view them as a rival to my home town’s Greene King. In reality, Fuller’s is certainly a superior brewer with a more interesting selection of beers. They’ve won CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain with three different brews, a feat unmatched by any other brewery, so they must be doing something right.

First up is Wild River, which from the name and the art on the bottle is obviously an American style beverage. As Pete Brown discusses in Hopes and Glory (see Jan 25th), the Yanks are lucky enough to have some of the best hops in the world in their Pacific North West, and this particular beer uses four different kinds.

Perhaps as a result, US Pales are brewed to be extremely hoppy and this is no exception. This particular bev is “double hopped”, where hops are introduced twice in the brewing process, just to squeeze more bitterness into the mix.

Wild River has a nice citrusy zest to begin with but from then on in its all tounge smacking bitterness, particularly in the very strong aftertaste. It’s not nasty, and I know some people like there beer hop-tastical, but it seems a little bit one dimensional to me. The malt barely comes through and I get the impression any other aggressively hopped US style ale would taste the same.

I shall have to try a few more just to confirm that of course…

two star