I was in the mood to try a real ESB with a bit of a punch, but from somewhere outside of BC. I figure I've sampled a lot of the ESBs from around the Lower Mainland and I figured I should venture out of my comfort zone. (To the brew-newbies, an ESB is an Extra Special/Strong Bitter; Google will explain the basics ;-) )
So what did I do? Well, I went to the Hop and Vine in Burnaby and ordered an Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Boont ESB (6.8% ABV) from Boonville, California -- I got a chilled bottle on sale for $2!
|The "Boont" ESB from Anderson Valley @ the Hop and Vine in Burnaby, B.C.|
This ESB poured a dark yellow, and has a hazy translucent, almost opaque appearance. It actually had the visual characteristics of looking like a wheat beer. Every sip, the head had lots of lacing after every sip, just the way I like it.
On first sip, I could only smell hints of yeast-y smells and hops. It's not my favourite smell, but I figured it'd do.
On first taste, I got a full hit of bitter hops, a little grassy actually; quite tasty for an ESB. I don't know how to put it, it just tasted really yeast-like, almost like there was some sort of bread in there mixed with herbal fermented citrus. I know that doesn't paint the most delicious picture, but these are the words that come forth.
It's mildly carbonated, but at the same time very strong and crisp. This probably isn't a beginner brew, but if you want to allow your taste buds to "acquire" the bitter tastes of stronger tasting brews, this is one to go for. At 6.8% ABV, your taste buds will submit and your brain will buzz (just a bit).
Overall, it's an ESB that stands out in its own way. It's no Red Racer, but it scores points in its own categories. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a new ESB and don't know where their taste buds want to be.
The Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Boont ESB gets a special-in-a-good-way 8.0 / 10