I love the Olympics. I love the United Kingdom. I love English beers. Fuller’s ESB is a classic British ale. I love bitter, but I still can’t parse the flavors. I get a hint of dried apple. I get some burnt toffee. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The body is a perfect, quaffable mix of light and heavy. It’s nice, but I don’t know why. As the Olympics go by, expect a lot more of these British beers; I am all stocked up.
The one problem, or benefit, of brewing is that it takes time. Everything takes hours, which made me uncomfortable for a while. I didn’t want to burn anything. But we got to drink plenty of beers.
Given the beer we were making a wheat beer, we started with a wheat beer, Pyramid Hefeweizen. Pyramid is based out of Seattle. They make a lot of wheat based beers. This beer was surprisingly German tasting, unlike other American versions. Spicy nose, a hint of banana. It was missing the phenol finish, but had an out of place bitter hop finish.
We moved on to the next lightest beer, Redhook ESB. Redhook is a sort of classic North West brewery, also founded in Seattle in 1981. This is their flagship beer a pretty traditional English bitter. It has a nice clean, easy drinking feel. It’s a little bit fruity with a dry hop finish. Not too shabby.
Followed that up with a Discord Dark IPA also from Pyramid. Delicious IPA scent, green hops and citrus, but tasted sort of like stale coffee mixed in with an okay IPA. I am getting really annoyed with these IPA color experiments.
I got impatient and poured my Nestucca ESB too soon and it was too cold. At first I couldn’t smell anything and all I could taste was bitter and something metallic. I’m sure that’s not what Pelican intended. I let it warm up and the flavors have changed dramatically. The bitterness, which had been a bit over powering, has mellowed to a nice aftertaste. The smell is a balance between vague fresh fruit and toasty malts. A hint of sweetness comes through the nice toasty flavor in the taste. A good bitter always puts me in the mood for something fried.
Amnesia ESB More bitter than the British version. It’s Still dry but not sweet. This ESB is more like a pale ale.
I feel very British tonight. Here I am holding a fresh bottle of Fuller’s ESB. It’s an Extra Special Bitter, but there is no bitterness here. It’s a surprising fruity beer, full of apples and toffee but not too sweet.