Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, Chiswick, London
Visit Fuller’s Griffin brewery in Chiswick to have a unique behind-the-scenes tour of London’s last remaining family brewery and to taste its iconic beer London Pride.
- Tour the brewery
- Taste Fuller’s ales
- Visit the brewery shop
- Have a pint in The Mawsons Arms
- Go on a riverside pub crawl
London’s Proud Brewing Heritage
Walk in to 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, and now exported to 72 countries, is produced at their 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. Fuller, Smith and Turner began brewing here in 1845 although the brewery was originally founded earlier by a man named Thomas Mawson. A testament to this is the oldest wisteria plant in the UK which covers the front of the building. It was one of two specimens brought back in 1816 by plant hunters from China. Given as a gift to the brewery, it has since thrived here. The other, given to Kew Gardens, was less fortunate.
See the Old World and Modern Day Brewing
As soon as you step inside the brewery buildings a sweet, biscuity smell hits you. Surrounded by shiny copper heritage vessels, it’s as though time has stood still. The guide explains 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. 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.
End Your Fuller’s Brewery Tour With a Beer Tasting
The tour ends with a tasting session in the Hock Cellar. It houses the bar but also a museum full of Fuller’s memorabilia. During WWII it 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.
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. 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.
- Have a pint or book lunch at The Mawsons Arms pub before the start of the tour
- Visit the brewery shop which has an extensive selection of beers but also wines and spirits (open to all)
- Visit in May to see the giant wisteria in full flower
Where to Stay in London
A 15-minute walk from Richmond Tube Station, the Bingham features luxurious rooms, some overlooking the River Thames.
Rooms from £92 a night.
They tell me that Guide Dogs are very welcome.