This marks my first review of a Russell Brewing product. This beer was brought in by my senior VP of leapbeer acquisitions from a Liquor Plus in Victoria (I’m not sure which one).
It pours to a light amber colour with standard carbonation. It smells quite hoppy, near citric. This ESB is a 50 IBU offering, making it overly-bitter in comparison to other ESB’s. After pouring the thin white head dissipated quickly.
This beer tastes thick. As you’d guess with a 50 IBU beer it is really bitter. Russell really achieved the ‘IPA-ish’ level of bitterness here. Initially the malts in the beer do a little dance on my tongue. If you really quaff it the bitter is all over you, but if you just sip it the malts come out. This is what I had expected when drinking an ESB, but traditionally ESB’s are not this bitter. Nice lacing in the glass too. This is a nice twist on the bitter style of beer making it taste more bitter (I realize how silly that sounds). I quite like it. It has a nice balance between the malty notes and the bitterness of the hops. A side note on the origin of its name, Blood Alley is an area of Gastown in Vancouver where supposedly the butchers used to wash the blood from the front of their stores down the cobblestones of the then street.
Leapbeer #140 is Blood Alley Extra Special Bitter by Russell Brewing
You can research Russell Brewing Company on their website here. http://russellbeer.com/bm_beer.asp
Thanks for reading.