Fuller’s Brewery Tour: Taste London Pride in Chiswick
Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, Chiswick, London
Visit the Griffin brewery in Chiswick and take the Fuller’s brewery tour. Have a unique behind-the-scenes look at London’s last remaining family brewery and taste its iconic beer London Pride.
Taste Fuller’s full range of beer at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick
Have you ever sipped a pint of Fuller’s iconic ale in a pub and wondered where London Pride is brewed? Well, it’s in Chiswick in West London. Fuller’s landmark Griffin Brewery, London’s oldest, sits on one of the main arterial roads out of the capital next to a Fuller’s pub, The Mawsons Arms. If you’ve ever got jammed in traffic here and pondered what goes on inside, book tickets for one of their daily (except Sunday) brewery tours to find out. You’ll be one of 18,000 people who visit each year.
You won’t be disappointed. The tours have been running for over 25 years so this is one of Britain’s best brewery tours. In fact, Fuller’s brewery tour is one of the top 10 brewery tours in the world. With over 160 years of brewing experience, this is a British company with a stellar heritage.
It’s also the best place to learn about London’s brewing history and to see a large scale working brewery in action. Known for its award-winning cask beers, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to taste the Fuller’s range at the end of the tour.
I recommend following the brewery tour with a walk and pub crawl along the River Thames to Hammersmith.
The Foodie Travel Guide
One of the World’s Top 10 Brewery Tours
Walk into a London pub and one of the names you’ll see at the bar is London Pride, Fuller’s best selling beer. Every single drop of the 30 different beers created by Britain’s largest family brewer, now exported to 72 countries, is produced at Fuller’s London riverside brewery in Chiswick. An imposing red brick building, it still speaks of a time when beer was stored in wooden barrels and horses transported them to the local pub. On the tour, the guide points out a place in the brewery yard where they used to weigh vehicles to make sure that no-one had siphoned off any of the beer on board.
Have a Pint at The Mawsons Arms
Fuller, Smith and Turner began brewing here in 1845. The brewery was actually founded in the late 17th century by a man named Thomas Mawson. A testament to this is the oldest wisteria plant in the UK. It covers the front of the brewery building and is one of two specimens brought back in 1816 by plant hunters to China. It has since thrived and looks magnificent when it’s in full bloom in May. If you arrive early for the brewery tour, you can have a quick pint in brewery tap, The Mawsons Arms pub, a Grade II listed property which is conveniently located next door.
Tour London’s Oldest Brewery
As soon as you step inside the brewery building a sweet, biscuity smell hits you. Surrounded by shiny copper heritage vessels, it’s as though time has stood still. We saw the old copper mash tun last used in 1993 and the old copper, the brewery’s oldest vessel which was installed in 1823. Our guide explained that although most of these vessels aren’t used any more, the brewing process hasn’t really changed. Brewing beer is essentially similar to baking a cake. All beers have the same basic ingredients of barley, hops, water and yeast but depending upon the variety of malts and hops, very different flavours can be created.
See Modern Day Brewing in Action
On the upper level, modern day brewing takes over and the temperature rises as you stand in front of two vast computer-controlled stainless steel kettles. Each one is capable of holding 320 barrels of liquid. What strikes you most is that it’s so quiet. Of the brewery’s 400 workforce, only 15 people are directly involved in the brewing process.
Fuller’s are proudly British sourcing all of the barley used in its production from the UK as well as 95% of the 40 different varieties of hops used. On the tour, you taste different malts, smell the hops and learn about each stage of the brewing process. The brewery uses 100 tonnes of pale ale malt and racks 10,000 casks a week. We saw the huge fermentation vessels and learnt that it cleverly exports its excess yeast to Japan where it’s used in whisky production. Back in Britain, the yeast is an important ingredient in one of our national treasures, Marmite.
End Your Fuller’s Brewery Tour With a Tutored Beer Tasting
The tour continues past the fleet of delivery lorries and the cask and kegging line before ending with a tasting session in the Hock Cellar. It houses the bar but also a museum full of Fuller’s memorabilia. During WWII the cellar was used as an air-raid shelter. With no limit on the drinking, you can taste Fuller’s CAMRA award-winning traditional cask beers – London Pride, ESB and Chiswick. Uniquely, Fuller’s is the only brewer to have won CAMRA’S Champion Beer of Britain award on four occasions with these three different beers.
For a lighter drink, try Oliver’s Island with its citrusy addition of orange peel; Honey Dew that’s made using Brazilian organic honey; and Frontier, their craft lager which has quickly become their 2nd best selling beer.
Visit Fuller’s Brewery Shop
Don’t miss popping into the large and well-stocked Brewery Shop. It has an extensive selection of beers but also wines and spirits. As the owner of the Cornish Orchards, there’s cider, too. The shop is open to all regardless of whether you have done the Fuller’s tour.
Go on a Riverside Pub Crawl
After your tour, walk along the River Thames Path to Hammersmith. Elegant Georgian houses once inhabited by artists and writers, stand tall overlooking the river. It’s an area rich in English Heritage Blue plaques. Poet Alexander Pope and artist Eric Ravilious both lived here. Further along, there’s the William Morris Society with its small museum dedicated to this famous Victorian artist and designer. A walk in the opposite direction will take you to Kew Bridge where you can go for afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant in Kew Gardens.
Have a Pint in The Dove
After your culture fix, seek out The Dove pub for another pint. It was a coffee house in the 18th century but it’s now a Fuller’s pub serving their beers, excellent food and English wine produced at Chapel Down Winery. Book a table on the terrace and end your beer day out watching the rowing boats glide along the River Thames with the backdrop of Hammersmith Bridge in the distance. This stretch of river is famous for the Boat Race, the annual March rowing contest between crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities.
The Dove is one of nearly 400 managed and tenanted pubs, inns and hotels owned by Fuller’s in London and across the south of England. Many offer boutique bedrooms. These include The Mad Hatter hotel which is conveniently located close to London’s top foodie destination, Borough Market.
Hammersmith Bridge and the River Thames
- If you fancy a pub lunch before the tour, book a table at The Mawsons Arms. They serve classic pub dishes such as fish and chips and bangers and mash
- The guided brewery tour lasts 2 hours followed by a 30 minute tasting session
- Tours run from Monday to Saturday with several slots each day. If you book a Saturday tour, be aware that brewing does not take place at the weekend
- Make sure you wear suitable shoes. There are stairs to climb and the brewery floor is slippy
- Each year the Griffin Brewery holds an annual Open Day
- Nearest tube stations are Turnham Green and Stamford Brook. Parking is very limited
- Chiswick is also home to one of London’s best gin distilleries. Find out about the Sipsmith Gin Tour
Mr Hendricks says, “They tell me that Guide Dogs are very welcome.”
Where is Fuller’s Brewery?
Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, Chiswick Lane South, London W4 2QB
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The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.
Fuller's Brewery Tour and Tasting For Two
- Take a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the brewery
- Learn about London’s brewing history
- Enjoy a tutored tasting of Fuller’s ales
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