I must be on a roll with the ESB's. Tonight's Extra Special/Strong Bitter is from Theakston Brewery in the UK. Remember, the key to these strong English ales is balance.
That is right, my prized pint glass! I'm glad that I got one before they changed their name! I'm sorry to see them go, but I can understand the business decision. Not being allowed to advertise because of the 60 plus year old name of your business that you purchased from someone else and deciding that it's time to change the name is a no-brainer.
The beer poured a clear light brown to amber colour with a nice foamy one finger head that lasts as a full ring around the glass and leaves an nice woman's bottom pattern on the glass. I made sure that I poured this at about 55 degrees F from the bottle into the standard pint glass.
The aroma comes off to me as straightforward caramel malt sweetness with some hints of fruts (diacetyl) and not much else. My nose is stuffed so that is a hindrance. Dang sinusitis.
The taste is of caramel malt when it hits the tongue and as it rolls across towards the back the carbonation brings a nice hop taste to the top. I think that may be the bramling cross hops and they are kind of earthy and nice. The hop flavour then becomes a little bitter on the back of the tongue and leaves you very lightly dry. This is well balanced for sure.
Mouthfeel is well balanced between sweet and hop dry and a light to moderate body. The carbonation is also light to moderate and the finish is slightly dry with a hint of black pepper.
Overall, I would have to say that this is an excellent ESB! Without looking at the ratings I would have to say that it is approaching world class. I was a little disappointed in the thinness of the body, just a little more would have set me off! But it is definitely a beer to recommend and drink again! 4 out of 5 would be the very least that I would score this beer as!
Just brew it! Get out there and drink good beer because you will someday be dead!