Redhook: ESB (USA: ESB: 5.8% ABV)

Visual:  Clear gold. Thin dash of white head.

Nose: Malt. Toffee. Cinnamon. Barley fields. Smoke and dried apricot.

Body: Robust. Cherries and cinnamon. Apricots. Fruitcake. Liquorice touches but light. Black cherry yogurt.

Finish: Cherries and spice. Spiced rum. Light dry bitterness. Biscuits.

Conclusion: It’s odd to try a non real ale ESB. I’ve always viewed the texture brought from casks as an integral part of the style.  This on the other hand is a keg non real ale ESB. From America.  Huh.

So, here we go. The fruitcake flavour and cherries that is expected from the style cuts through cleanly. It actually comes through much clearer than most UK examples of the style. Not better, not worse, but clearer and sharper, with the hop bitterness in the finish being crisper.

It’s a fresh and bloody refreshing example of the style. I had to take care on drinking it to check my expectations at the door as it was obviously going to be very different to the UK style. I had to take care to try and review it as the beer it was not the beer I expected it to be.  It’s slightly biscuity, but again in a crisper fashion that usual. It’s a hot sun refresher of a beer, but with much more weight than that statement usually attaches to beer. In fact it is an impressive balance between authenticity and taking into account the insanely warm climate the beer will be drunk in.

So overall it is a good beer. Crisp, solid fruity flavours and refreshing. It isn’t the greatest, no one part stands out as exceptional, but there’s no real element I can complain about. A little spicy, a lot fruity and a few more usual flavour elements. Fresh, easy to drink and lots of nice weight. The only thing I really noticed against it was that due to having two pints I had the chance to find out it doesn’t session too well. Just have one and it will work well enough.

Background: Had a bit of a surprise with this one.  Turns out the pub was doing two pints for one on a Sunday morning. So before lunch I ended up with two pints of this. Well, it gave me a lot more experience to review. Also, possibly a reputation as an alcoholic.  Found in a pub in Nashville, one of the only ones that didn’t seem to have live music on.  Since this was one of Michael Jackson’s 500 recommended beers I thought I’d give it a try.  If you haven’t guessed this is another beer found during the road trip of awesome