First off, I'd like to say Happy New Year to all readers :)
I figure I've been having a lot of stouts and winter ales lately, seeing as it was just the holiday season, but I wanted to post a review of a beer I had on tap recently. I was eating at StackHouse in Yaletown, and I decided to grab the Russell Brewing Company Blood Alley Bitter (Alc. 5.5%). It's something I've seen in BC Liquor Stores, but never bothered to pick it up for some reason. I mean, I really liked their cream ale, but I guess I just wasn't in a bitter enough mood at the liquor store to pick one up (get it?).
Nonetheless, I must have looked like a weirdo, but I picked up my glass in the restaurant, gave it a sniff, and smelled lots of hops. I was expecting an overpowering bitter flavour, so I looked my girlfriend in the eye, and said "Here goes!"
I took a sip, put down my glass, and realized there wasn't too much bite. The high tastes were pleasant, the medium was full of bitter, and the end taste was sharp and crisp. It reminded me a lot of the Red Racer ESB, but smoother and a bit more of an after taste. This brew is definitely a contender in the top 5 bitters I've had in the lower mainland.
As you can see in the picture, I took more than a sip before I realized I should take a picture of what it actually looks like so I can share it with you.
The overall taste is what you'd expect from a bitter; you get hops, something a little floral/fruity, something very slightly citrusy, and even a slight hint of caramel in there somewhere. Somehow, the fine folks at Russell Brewing Company have done a swell job with this one, making it stand out in comparison to the rest.
If you're a newcomer to bitters, I'd recommend this one to you. It's a little hard to get into at first, but it satisfies the taste buds. If you like this beer, you might also like the Red Racer ESB.
So overall, if you're in a bitter mood, grab a blood alley and make the bitter better!
The Russell Brewing Company Blood Alley Bitter gets a delicious 8.0 / 10