Thursday, April 3, 2008

Redhook ESB Review

Brewery: Redhook Ale Brewery | Beer: ESB
Style: Extra Strong/Special Bitter | ABV: 5.8%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Redhook ESBRedhook Ale Brewery is a 360,000 barrel per year operation with breweries on both coasts. It was founded in 1981 by Paul Shipman and Gordon Bowker and is therefore one of the oldest brands in the American craft-brew scene. Anheuser-Busch (gasp!) now owns a minority share of the company, allowing for a proper distribution network. Let's hope that's all they're contributing to the company.

This extra strong (or "special," depending on your location) bitter, titled simply ESB, is their 20+ year old flagship brew. Redhook has been implementing some new marketing tactics, and this beer was not spared the designer's brush. The new label is quite a departure from the thoroughly "80's West-coast craft-brew" number it replaced. What really matters though, is what exactly is inside the snazzy new exterior. (Hint: it's beer)

Appearance: Somewhat cloudy orange/amber body with thin fizzy head and nice effervescence

Aroma: Floral hops over caramel malt with notes of crisp citrus and green apple

Taste: Bitter floral hops dominate over caramel malt, citrus, tea, and spices

Mouthfeel: Coats well with good carbonation

Drinkability: Easily drinkable and refreshing

Verdict: Redhook ESB is a very drinkable and complex bitter ale. Don't be spooked by the new packaging, this beer is still a world-class icon. I can see enjoying a few rounds of this in a beer garden during a sunny Saturday afternoon or in a pub with some mates on a Saturday night. I guess the takeaway here is that this is a great beer for Saturdays.

Grade: B


Anonymous said...

RedHook is my husbands favoroite go to beer

Unknown said...

Tried a few of these the other day, and they were delightful. For a full review check out!