Tag Archives: ESB

345. Rocky Coast Brewing Red’s ESB

Stopped by Rocky Coast Brewing which is part of Post Road Tavern in Ogunquit on my way back from New Hampshire. Since it now off season for them it was almost empty which gave us a chance to check out the brew system and taste this beer on-tap. In addition to the ESB they also had a very nice line up of other craft beer including Weyerbacher, Founders, Rock Art and others.

Red’s ESB was the only Rocky Coast beer on-tap so it was my only option to bring home. The growlers are plain brown and the bartender wrote the name and date on the growler but it quickly rubbed off. The beer is a nice representation of the style with fairly low carbonation, a deep orange color and solid malt backbone. Sweet caramel and some dark fruit are the dominant flavors here.

Not a bad beer but it is a style that I don’t drink a lot of. Was nice to have with a meal and if you enjoy ESBs you will probably enjoy this beer. 
Pros:
Good representation of the style
Cons: Plain growler
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Rocky Coast Brewing
Brewers Description: A full bodied ale with a great finish. Very drinkable.

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152. Ringwood Brewery Old Thumper

I really was not sure what to expect from this one as it is an English beer brewed locally by contract with Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, ME. The beer pours a nice copper with thin white head that has great retention. Aroma has a bit of caramel and yeast. Flavor was a solid Extra Special / ESB and went very well with the pizza I enjoyed last night. This was better than I expected however not in the top tier of beers. You would not be disappointed by this beer but at the same time probably would not go out of your way to find it again.
Pros: None
Cons: None
Alcohol Content: 5.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Ringwood Brewery
Brewers Description: Ringwood’s most iconic beer was first brewed in late 1979 without a name. A competition in the local press inspired Joe Leedham from Broadstone, Dorset to come up with a suitable suggestion! It has won many awards but is best remembered for being voted Champion beer of Britain by Camra in 1988. Nose – Peppery, spicy aroma with hint of apples. Palate – Luscious balance of grain and hop in the mouth, bitter sweet finish with delicate fruit notes. Comments – Warm, rounded yet surprisingly delicate pale strong beer. Awards – The bottled version won gold at the British Bottlers’ Institute Competition in 1996 and silver in 1998.

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150. Gritty McDuff’s Christmas Ale (Growler)

For my 150th beer review I decided to purchase my first growler from Gritty’s in Auburn. They still had a bit of Christmas Ale on tap before the end of the night I was able to finish it with a couple of pints in the bar and a growler to take home with me. Enjoyed this beer while watching NFL football and while the beer may have been a bit flat, being the end of the keg it still tasted very similar to the bottle version. Christmas Ale is one of my favorite Gritty’s options so this 1/2 gallon was gone fairly quickly. If you live near enough to a Gritty’s location to pick up a growler I would recommend it.
Pros: Color, aroma, taste
Cons: Seasonal
Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 28.5
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Gritty McDuff’s
Brewers Description: If it looks like Ed just got merrier, you’re right. Every November heralds the return of our holiday seasonal, Christmas Ale – available on draft and in six-packs. Our Christmas Ale is a robust E.S.B. (Extra Special Bitter) full of holiday cheer. Christmas Ale has a lovely, dark red/amber color and a rich, full-bodied, malty taste with a slightly roasted undertone. We brew our Christmas Ale to an original gravity of 1064 (about 6.2% alcohol by volume) using only the finest English Pale and Crystal Malts, with a touch of Roasted Barley as well. A blend of Clusters, Styrian Goldings, Saaz and Yakima Goldings leaf hops round out this hearty brew. Gritty’s Christmas Ale has no additives, fruits or spices. It’s just a good honest ale, perfect for the season. And to top it all off, it’s already gift-wrapped! Happy Holidays!
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92. Redhook ESB

The first thing you notice when you buy Red Hook is the old school short bottle. Very unique and while I usually drink my beer from a glass the bottle just feels good in the hand. I had not had Red Hook in some time and was looking forward to trying it again, found a variety 12-pack in my local grocer this week so decided to stock up. The first of four from Red Hook was the ESB and while this beer is quite simple it is still a good example of ESB and very easy to drink. Great color, minimal aroma and a good balance of malt and hops. Almost no aftertaste.
Pros: Color, smooth
Cons: Simple
Alcohol Content: 5.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 28
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Redhook
Brewers Description: Brewed in the style of a traditional British ESB (Extra Special Bitter), we’ve been making ESB continuously since 1987, and it’s now the benchmark for the Amber beer category.  Despite having “bitter” in its name, Redhook ESB is really not that bitter at all.  This brew is all about the balance of caramel malt sweetness completed by spicy, citrusy hops.

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86. Gritty McDuff’s Christmas Ale

This is another solid offering from Gritty’s. One of the best things about seasonal offerings is they just taste fresh. This year’s batch of Christmas Ale has a great reddish brown color and slight head that leaves a nice lace on the glass. The beer is classified as an extra special bitter (ESB) however it does not have the bitterness of an IPA. This beer has lots of complex flavors and goes down smooth for a 6.2% ABV beer. I enjoyed this been and will certainly be having more this holiday season.
Pros: Color, aroma, taste
Cons: Seasonal
Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 28.5
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Gritty McDuff’s
Brewers Description: If it looks like Ed just got merrier, you’re right. Every November heralds the return of our holiday seasonal, Christmas Ale – available on draft and in six-packs. Our Christmas Ale is a robust E.S.B. (Extra Special Bitter) full of holiday cheer. Christmas Ale has a lovely, dark red/amber color and a rich, full-bodied, malty taste with a slightly roasted undertone. We brew our Christmas Ale to an original gravity of 1064 (about 6.2% alcohol by volume) using only the finest English Pale and Crystal Malts, with a touch of Roasted Barley as well. A blend of Clusters, Styrian Goldings, Saaz and Yakima Goldings leaf hops round out this hearty brew. Gritty’s Christmas Ale has no additives, fruits or spices. It’s just a good honest ale, perfect for the season. And to top it all off, it’s already gift-wrapped! Happy Holidays!
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40. Gritty McDuff’s Halloween Ale

If you enjoy your fall beer offering without a lot of spice or pumpkin flavor than this would be a good choice for you. Really there is nothing in this one that makes it a “fall” beer other than the very cool label and Halloween Ale name. Gritty’s makes quality beer that is best enjoyed in their brew pubs but the bottled offerings are not bad either.
Pros: Nice malt flavor – no strong aftertaste – great art on the label
Cons: Not sure what makes it a fall special – no pumpkin, spice or other special flavoring.
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Gritty McDuff’s
Brewers Description: Every fall marks the return of our legendary Extra Special Bitter for the season, Halloween Ale – the beer so good, it’s scary! From its humble beginnings in 1990 as a small-batch seasonal in our Portland Brew Pub, Halloween Ale has grown to be one of the year’s most anticipated beer releases. This robust brew has a deep amber color, a bold, malty palate and a well-rounded hop finish. The perfect beer for a crisp autumn day!

Halloween Ale is available in ominous six-packs, and on draft at frightening establishments all over the terrifying state of Maine. Be afraid, be very afraid…of running out!

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