Extra Special Bitter (ESB)

You probably already suspected that the beer style “English bitter” originated in England. However, some people are surprised to discover that Bitters aren’t particularly … bitter. Certainly not when compared to the West Coast IPAs we tasted last time. This style is all about balance and drinkability. And the ESB – or Extra Special Bitter – is just an English Bitter with more of everything – hops, malt, and alcohol – while maintaining a balance of all the flavours.

With that out of the way, let’s look at our beers for today.

1. First up: Brew Revolution Rebel Rebel. This beer was included in the 2021 Beer Calendar from Nita Brewery for December 6th. This beer shows a pleasing golden honey/apricot colour in the glass. There is the slightest hint of dried fruit on the nose, but this comes through much stronger on the taste, with caramel and dried fruit complemented by a balancing bitterness. This is an easy drinking ESB with a clean aftertaste.

John’s take: Lots of caramel, but it doesn’t stick around.

2. Next we tasted Creemore Springs Urbock. This beer pours with a rich mahogany or cherry wood hue. It has strong aromas of brown sugar and maple toffee. It has a rich velvety/malty mouthfeel with hints of scorched caramel. The taste is quite dry, with just a bit of residual sweetness.

John’s take: It has a lot to like.

3. We included a true English bitter with Lancaster Bomber ale, which was dark walnut in the glass. The nose was very fruity – so much so that it almost felt like Welch’s grape juice had been added to a craft beer. This came through in the taste with malt sweetness offset by an almost artificial grape candy flavour.

John’s take: This is my least favourite … but I’m happy to have it in a flight.

4. We finished with a Brew Revolution Winter Warmer that was still in the fermentation tank. The colour was a hazy dark walnut. The taste hinted at good things to come, with elements of dried fruit, bread pudding, raisins, butter tarts, chocolate/orange and pumpernickel. We are definitely looking forward to tasting this one when it is finished.

John’s take: Too soon to tell…

Published by If It Was Today

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