Off to visit Fuller's next week, which I'm very much looking forward to. Head brewer John Keeling is a very interesting guy, a nice combination of scientist and aesthete, which in an ideal world is what a brewer should be.
Although I was looking forward to the "ordinary" tour, it turns out that I'll be touring with Melissa Cole. Wonderfully, we are in for the full experience, as I got an email from John saying "it looks like we will be tasting some of our barrel experiments that day- if you don't mind strong beer in the morning". I replied "I love the taste of strong beer in the morning - it tastes like victory". He'll either get the Apocalypse Now reference, or think I'm a tit. Oh well.
I'm looking forward to revisiting some of the beers that I wrote about here, and finding out what Brewer's Reserve No. 2 will be. To get tuned up, I broke out a bottle of Reserve No.1 tonight. A stunningly good bottle, lacking some of the bretty/barrel flora notes that I've noticed before. Lots of spicy gingerbread, parkin and golden syrup initially, fruit mid-palate (over-ripe melon, nectarines, apricots), figs and rum in the finish. Full, satisfying, with great length and complexity, beautifully balanced, with just a hint of alcohol poking through in the finish.