Leapbeer Review #196 Extra Special Bitter by Salt Spring Island Ales
First off, let me apologize for taking such a hiatus. I went camping with some friends and needed some recuperation time after returning home. I’m glad to announce that I’m now fully rested and ready to consume and compose for your … enjoyment? (still to be seen)
This next beer is yet another from Salt Spring Island Ales. Their distribution continues to grow on Vancouver Island and I’m pleased to say that, while I originally bought this in Nanaimo, I’ve since procured it locally as well. Kudos to you Salt Spring for distribution. I know my market isn’t a ‘hotbed’ for craft beer, but I appreciate the effort it takes to get beers like this into deserving consumers hands.
Biggest stand out for me on the bottle is right below the matador and bear, where it says ‘Whole-Cone Hops’. As a fan of the hoppier fare, I’m already intrigued. Before going much further here’s what it had to say on the back of the bottle. “There are no bears on Salt Spring… Matadors? Maybe. Allow us to present our Salt Spring take on the classic ‘ESB’ style. Featuring an aromatic charge of whole-cone hops, championed by dashingly sauve organic malts, this balanced and delicious beer is excellent on its own, or pairded with classic pub fare.”
I pop the big bottle and am immediately hit by the hoppy scent. I poured a nice amber glass with a fluffy white head atop it. I notice an overly abundant carbonation to it. It smells hoppy as you’d guess, but that’s about all I smell to it. Not so overpoweringly so as you’d get on an IPA, but definitely more than your average bitter. It tastes of the bittering hops at first, but there’s a nice malt body beneath it. The finish is nice, very crisp, leading to an easy drinking beer. I can’t say that this is my favorite iteration of an ESB, I think Blue Moon Bitter takes that cake still, but it is a very nice beer.
Leapbeer #196 is Extra Special Bitter by Salt Spring Island Ales
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