Beer O’ the Moment – Brown’s Brewing ESB

While the weather is still nice, I encourage — nay, implore those of you who live in New York’s Capital District or the “Collar City” in particular, to visit the Brown’s Brewing Taproom, located at 425 River Street in Troy, NY, off the banks of the Hudson River. Not only is the atmosphere pleasant both inside and out, but the food is top notch. Oh, and the beer is pretty damn good.

One beer in particular caught my fancy, one that is only available (as far as I can tell) directly from the brewery itself: Brown’s Extra Special Bitter. As far as I can tell, it is only available from the taproom in a 22-ounce bottle, but it is worth the detour.

Before I give you my impressions, here is what Brown’s says about this beverage.

…a deliciously sturdy ale that’s dead-on true to its English heritage. Full-bodied, with a classic toasty malt palate throughout, our ESB finishes fresh and hoppy. Carbonated lightly, and poured via a slow pour tap, Brown’s ESB is an outstanding example of one of Britain ’s finest gifts to civilization.

You’ve heard an intelligent opinion. Now mine…

The color is absolutely gorgeous; a hazy, radiant dark orange. A large and fluffy head peeks over the lip of the glass. A heavy jetsam of carbonation floats to the surface. The bishop’s collar of lace around the top of the glass is big, thick and wonderful. Just a tremendous appearance.

The aroma gives initial sniffs of caramel that are a sweet balance to a nicely toasted malt. Yes, it does have some bitterness in the mild but flowery hop smell, but that is balanced by that solid malty base. The malt does dominate the nose.

As for the taste, it’s an excellent roasty — but not at all burnt — malt. Again, the caramel fulfills the promise of the aroma. Though there are some mild flowery hops, the malt really dominates, like a fine English ale. The barley is sweet but bready, like a pub ale. And just a hint of nuttyness in the malt.

The feel of this beer is smooth, but with just a little pop at the end. Not too thick or too thin, and highly guzzle-able. It’s one of those beers that is gone before you even realize you were half done with it. I have one regret about buying this bottle and that’s that I didn’t buy a case of them.


~ by William H on August 28, 2008.

One Response to “Beer O’ the Moment – Brown’s Brewing ESB”

  1. I’m pretty sure you’re right, only the Pale, Oatmeal Stout and IPA are available in 12 oz. bottles at retail outlets. So you’ll have to go to the source for more ESB. Any excuse to visit the Brown’s Taproom is a good one though.

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