Name: Alaskan ESB
Brewery: Alaskan Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Juneau, Alaska
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.00%
First Brewed: 1986
The caramel and nutty aromas and flavors suggested by a deep amber pour are quickly balanced by an equal measure of spicy hops, then bitterness that lasts beyond the finish. Medium bodied, but ready to take on the spiciest of dishes.
I really don’t like this style… At all. I haven’t met an ESB I like yet. But this bottle was a process to get. First off, this beer is apparently rare. I am sure it is now distributed here, but it was once only available in Alaska. A few weeks ago, while shopping at Total Wine & More, I grabbed a bottle of Alaskan Amber because I thought it was the last beer on the list from this brewing company. Nope. It was the ESB. I took the beer back and got the right one… But think about the work involved in that! Especially for a style I don’t like!
I am giving this beer a chance… But won’t get my hops up. [Note from the editor (aka Sheryl): I’m pretty sure he meant to type “hopes” here, but it was such an ironic typo that I left it!] I have been drinking some REALLY good beers lately. Here goes nothing. Cheers!
In the Glass: It looks pretty good in the glass, and it produced a really nice head. But the beer appears thin and almost watered down. Again, I am going to give it a chance… But this is a style that I don’t care for and a brewery that has never impressed me. The beer is producing a great lace, too. Will you shock me, Alaskan?
Nose: It smells like wet socks. I am not even kidding. I had an extra pale ale and an IPA earlier tonight, but this stinks. Ugh. See what happens when I drink with an open mind? She better taste better than she smells. Man… That sounds gross!
Flavor: It does taste better than it smells, but the hops are all that keeps me hanging on. At first it is boring, thin and reminds me of the consistency of a Bud Light. Then the hop bitterness sets in. I wasn’t aware they used only 1 yeast strain in all of their beers. That’s cool. Also, these are fresh hops…. Yet this is not a fresh hop beer.
Mouthfeel: The first half is boring and quite frankly, reminds me of water. Then, as I began to swallow, I am getting a hint of hops and a lovely spicy kick toward the back of my palate. I just asked Sheryl if she wanted what was left of mine. Nope! Ha.
Aftertaste: This is the best part of the beer. The finish is where all the hops come out. Not a ton of hop flavor, not even that of a decent pale ale, but there are enough hops that keep me coming back. I doubt I finish my pour, but am glad we got the chance to try this. It is the last beer from Alaskan Brewing Company on the list. Oh well… It’s cold in Alaska!
We are running out of beers in the fridge. Guess I need to go shopping!
Alaskan ESB – The bottle says: “NA”
We haven’t done many list beers lately. But tonight we are doing one. I don’t think this is a very impressive one, from what I know about it. It’s an ESB, and I know Ricky is not a big fan of ESBs, so I’m guessing he didn’t like it. I am actually ok with ESBs. No, they aren’t impressive, but I do think they make a decent session beer.
It looks kind of like an Irish red to me in the glass. It had a lot of foam. It really just doesn’t have a lot of smell to it. It just smells kind of wet and bread like. It looks pretty boring in the glass, and I have a feeling it’s going to taste that way too. Let’s find out.
I have a feeling this beer is even worse from the fact that I left it sitting for a few minutes. It’s not a great flavor to begin with, but it’s not as cold as it was now either, which makes it worse. It honestly tastes kind of flat. If I ordered a beer from the tap at a bar that tasted like this, I would probably send it back. As far as ESBs go, I’d pick Redhook over this any day of the week. It’s a little hop aftertaste to it, but it’s not a good flavor to leave in your mouth. I’m glass we are drinking a much better beer right after this one.
Needless to say, this is not my favorite, and I probably wouldn’t buy it again. Sorry, Alaskan, but this one is a miss.