Showing posts with label esb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label esb. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Appleton Extra Special Bitter by Hoyne

It is hard writing a blog. Yes, I know, boo hoo, you have to do research and drink beer. Then you get to shoot your mouth off, figuratively, about what you think about this said beverage. Yes, yes you can feel my pain. Often in my blogs, I ponder food pairing options or try to give a little history. Then I think about whether this flavour is right for the style, what glassware is proper, are there any off flavours, etc, etc. The Appleton ESB halted this process very quickly. The current BJCP guidelines do not have an ESB category, it has been replaced by 11c Strong Bitter. Fullers has trademarked the term "ESB", which might have something to do with this change. Perhaps the Appleton has a little too much diacetyl and not enough hop character to really fit into this category, but that is beside the point. Flavours can be potent memory triggers of past events. The smell of pine can take you to a memorable Christmas where there was a freshly cut tree in the living room. Going to the movies can remind you of a certain place on the waterfront or a numbered pub. See, they are not always pleasant.

One sip of the Appleton pulled my memories to a recent trip to England. It took me right here.
We were walking along the river Thames and stopped off at the pub for a pint and nachos. Actually it was two pints; they were low alcohol and I was gathering Untappd badges. Now that I look back, the Runner was much tastier this the Hoyne. Regardless, the memory recall was there. The pen and notepad were forgotten and the feet rested themselves on the coffee table. A long drink of bitter blurred realities, the room temperature cooled, nostrils filled with the stench that is the Thames and the vacation mindset returned. This brief interlude was quickly dissolved by the sound of my cat hacking up a hairball in the bathroom. Although brief, it was pleasant. This beer gets an 8.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Coast to Coastless by Phillips et al.

I know what an ESB tastes like, and this is not it. The previous BJCP guidelines had a category for extra special or strong bitter. The current guidelines now call this category the British Strong Bitter. Perhaps because ESB is a trademark belonging to Fullers; news to me also. The Brewers Association still lists guidelines for an ESB, but the Coastless still does not hit these marks either.  The strong bitter should be a fruity, malty beverage with noticeable hop bitterness and low alcohol presence. Maybe at the top end of the alcohol range (4.6-6.2%) you might get some alcohol flavours. This Coastless is boozy as all get up, it tasted like a Negroni with prune juice. If I were to classify the beer, I would call it an Old Ale. So, I shall review as an Old Ale; otherwise the score would be much lower. This is not a judging contest, but a taste evaluation. Thanks to Bradley for the nice photo.

Coast to Coastless = 6/10

As mentioned above, this beer is boozy. It smells like rum soaked cherries, but oddly the mouthfeel is thin. Not really medium light as BJCP would like. It was still quite boozy in the sip like a negroni cocktail muddled with treacle, prunes and a Macintosh toffee bar. Still more warming boozy in the finish. If it wasn't such a thin beer the boozy might not as be so noticeable. Still it would make an excellent Ole Ale

Taste +3
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content +1 7.6%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (simple label are relatively good description of flavour)

Glassware: A lager glass, common pint or a dimpled mug

Food Pairings: Roasted light meats, pork, burgers, lamb. Could also work with grilled vegetables or kabobs.

Cellar: The dissolved yeast might further change the flavour, but the simple malts and low hop presence, cellaring might not be suitable.

Vital Stats: ABV 7.6% and IBU 50. According the BJCP 2015 should be 4.6-6.2%ABV and 30-50IBU. Brewers Association 4.8-5.8%ABV and 30-45 IBU. Old Ale would fit better at 5.5-9% ABV and 30-60 IBU (BJCP) similar for BA.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Naughty Hildegard (Driftwood)

I usually review new, or noteworthy, releases in Victoria. While this brew is not new, it is notable. While a ESB is usually a balanced beverage, this naughty one leans towards the hops. This seems appropriate for the hop-happy PNW palate. If someone put club soda through a hop back, locals would line up for a taste.

Naughty Hildegard (2012) = 8/10

Once the nose hits the glass, you know your hophead cravings will be satisfied. It is all here: floral, sweet ruby red grapefruit and pine hop nasal offerings. At the start, hop astringency alerts you as to its intentions. It is not gripping like an IPA; more like a hernia exam. Hops start with an even mix of cedar/pine, sweet grapefruit and hidden bubblegum. This yields to a malt middle of caramel/toffee and bread. After the liquid descends with a warm passing, the vapours reincarnate the hop invitation. It is a vicious palate circle that we are all doomed to repeat. This brew excels in its simplicity but enjoyable predictability.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1

Naughty 2011
Naughty 2010

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harvest Moon ESB and Learning

I have learned a lot from my little girl. Rarely do my reviews start with fatherly wisdom crap, but I will have a point soon. One day, my little girl's classmates were sitting around their teacher talking about what they liked, and disliked, about school. The usual opinions came up: I like storytime, I hate math, I like recess and so on. All the little ones adamantly agreed that they liked recess and lunch break the best. That is until my girl raised her hand and said that she did not like recess.
The teacher was puzzled and asked why? It was hard to find my classmates on the busy playground, my little one mentioned. Slowly, other hands went up. Her fellow classmates had the same issue with this (supposed) unanimously fun event. The teacher was puzzled, but worked out a solution to help them find each other on the playground.
I am getting closer to my point - pinky-promise. At a CAMRA beer judging event, I was seated with two elder statesmen of the Victoria craft beer scene. After a respectful kowtow, I quietly sat down and awaited the first beer to judge.
It arrived and was sampled by all of us. They talked about the interesting flavours of the beer, it's richness, complexity and how it was a good example of the style. My sip gave me pause; this beer was clearly infected and tasted like crap. A moment of doubt was focused on my palate. Then I remembered my brave little daughter. Out of my mouth blurted the words,"Yuck! This beer is off. Can you not taste the vinegar?" The honourable others were perplexed, but took another sip. They too agreed with my opinions of this beer and proceeded to document their ill findings.

This brings me to the review of the new beer my Salt Spring Island Harvest Moon ESB.

Harvest Moon ESB = -2/10

Perhaps I got a bad bottle, but others have confirmed my thoughts from other bottles in different cities. This beer is bad. I hate to say anything bad about anybody, but I gotta tell it like it is. The aroma comes across with hints of vegetal (DMS) and caramel. It is actually boardering on butterscotch. A medium to full mouthfeel was oddly creamy and slick for an ESB. Perhaps I had not tasted an ESB in a while. Nope, I had sampled a Fuller's ESB at Clive's Lounge earlier that evening. BTW the Fuller's is absolutely delicious. Each sip was disappointing, this was not an ESB. There was no rich fruit/berry flavours. Nor was there any nuttiness nor caramel aromas. It actually tasted like a plain golden ale, except the vegetal and butterscotch ruined it. There was also no hop presence to speak of. Half the bottle was dumped down the drain. Perhaps the bottle should have been returned to the store; I'm not confrontational enough. It is not as though I have not tasted an ESB in my life. Boundary Bay ESB, Naughty Hildegard, and Anderson Valley ESB share no similarity to this beer. I`m sorry, but I didn`t like it.

Taste -2
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%
Value -1
Appearance +1 (nice label with good description)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ski to Sea ESB (Boundary Bay)

Boundary Bay is located in Bellingham, Washington. I always grab something by this brewery when traveling to Seattle. It is nice to see these beers available in Victoria; Rain City Brands brings these guys in.

Ski to Sea ESB (Boundary Bay) = 7/10

Ratebeer 3.55/5 no percentile
Beer Advocate B+

An unexpectedly strong aroma rises from the glass of this extra special bitter. It is floral, citrus and quite bready. At the start of the sip, a prominent hop tingle meshes well with the ample carbonation. This could be called a mellow IPA. The hop tingle never leaves; floral, citrus and pine are the flavours of the day. In the background, toasted caramel malts are begging to be loved. Love them I do. Sadly the toasted pine tingle fades too quickly leaving a slight astringency. A great ESB.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice and descriptive label)

Driftwood Naughty Hildegard and beer snobbery at its best
Belk's ESB Anderson Valley

Friday, April 1, 2011

Naughty Hildegard and beer snobbery at its best!

I read the blog of my nemesis yesterday and thought very hard about beer snobbery. Many people have called me a beer snob; some have gone so far as to call me a 'beer prick'. This is something I relish. So with this posting I shall fully unleash the beer snobbery within my (sadly-lacking) soul.
DISCLAIMER: I don't really think Brendan in my nemesis, but the illusion seems fun. Dan has actually called me a 'beer prick'. He even suggested that we have a T-shirt made stating his opinion of me. It was loud in the room when we called me this. Maybe he actually called me a ... nevermind.

Naughty Hildegard ESB 2011 (Driftwood)

Ratebeer rating: Who cares? It is all about my discriminative palate.
Beer Advocate: ditto!

Driftwood's yearly release is a welcome glassful to local beer connoisseurs. The Hildegard is a West Coast interpretation of the English extra special bitter style (ESB). It should be noted that this beverage is 0.3% above the BCJP guidelines for alcohol content of an ESB. The appearance is spot on with excellent clarity and only the faintest hint of cloudiness. A colour of tarnished copper and lightly roasted russet potatoes is pleasing. Low carbonation is permissible and welcome as it lends itself to the ease of consumption.

The aroma is refreshingly West Coast and moderate in hop intensity. No one hop dominated the bouquet: pine, faint citrus, herbal and slightly resinous hints nested together nicely. Not to be forgotten was the slightly subdued fruity, caramel and alcohol accompaniments.

Mouthfeel is a little more full than medium-full. This was expected with the slightly higher ABV content. The astringency was wonderfully restrained and set the stage for a pleasant alcohol warmth.

At the upfront taste, the first thought was overly hoppy for an ESB. Normally a more malty profile is presented. It is energizing to see Driftwood break the style and provide a hoppier version for Cascadian palates. The hop assault was earthy, piney (spruce), lightly citrus and spicy. It was been a long time since I have detected black currants in an ESB:well done! Once the hop wash evaporated, caramel coated pecans became present in the malt linger. A mixed fruit ester made is difficult ascertain a particular emphasis.

The finish was dry, mineraly, dusty and coated the tongue with long lingering resinous hops. There was no sulfur detected in the aftertaste. Overall I found the Driftwood 2011 release of the Naughty Hildegard to be F'IN AWESOME. April fools everyone. I know it is after noon, but I worked all day and never had a chance to trick anyone.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1 Certainly a recommendation but not suitable for cellaring
Appearance +1 Driftwood has some of the nicest artwork in the biz.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Driftwood Naughty Hildegard

Driftwood Naughty Hildegard

Ratebeer not up
Beer Advocate not up
Taste +4

Yup this is an English style bitter for sure. The nose is right with toffee malts, pine, spicey resin hops and a lot of them. The mouthfeel is medium to full and surprisingly creamy. Your taste is just like the nose. It is very hop assertive is the pine and resiny department. The bitterness is barely balanced by the big toffee and bare biscuit malts.

Aftertaste +2

This is oddly clean, but about 30% of the bitterness lasts a long time. The palate is cleansed and coated with a goo of resin and pine malts. It is only slightly astringent.

Alcohol Content +1 - 6.5%


Value +1

If you like your English style bitters and you know who you are. You can come out of the closet; it is OK to love a bitter. This is a bitter you will like. Take Fullers ESB and then intensify the flavour.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was the perfect refresher after a morning at the gun range. I was mislead; Meterman promised handguns and rifles. They were there but they were AIR RIFLES. It was still a good time.

Overall 9/10

This will please all English bitter lovers. All the flavours were there: pine, spicy, resin and toffee. It was a palate slap of hop happiness.

Howe Sound Baldwin and Best Bitter

Belk's ESB
GI Bitter

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Belk's ESB Anderson Valley

Belk's (Boont) ESB

Ratebeer 3.44 84th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +4

The nose is very IPA-like with citrus and floral hops. It is halfway between a hoppy IPA and a true English style bitter. This creamy brew still has the caramel malt sweetness with a little roast of a bitter but is enhanced with a strong citrus and floral hop ending of an IPA. Well done.

Aftertaste +2

The hops leave a very dry and astringent finish with a subdued grapefruit accent.

Alcohol Content +1 6.8%
Value +1

This was a new style to me and thought it was well done.

Ingame Enhancement +1

NFS-Shift is the newest driving game for PS3. I'm a sucker for a good driving game and this one does not disappoint. Who needs sunshine? Just take a vitamin D tablet.
Overall 9/10

This one has a bigger hop profile than your standard bitter. Like I said above, it is sort of a mix between and bitter and an IPA.