Thunder Trail ESB

Maker: Arcadia, Battle Creek, Michigan, USAThunder Trail ESB

Style: Bitter Ale

ABV: 6%

Appearance: Burnt sienna with a frothy head.

Nose: Malt, yeast, hint of hops and figs.

Palate: Medium bodied and fairly sweet on entry. The bitterness grows and grows like a until it overruns the mouth.

Finish: Big hoppy bitterness. Dried flowers, grapefruit, dark toast.

Parting words: Thunder Trail is a reworking of Arcadia’s old ESB and it’s just as good, if not better (assuming it’s not just the same thing with a different name). Historically, Arcadia’s specialty is British style ales and this beer is an excellent example. It’s a classic ESB. Dark and rich with a lot of bitterness on the back end. Very food friendly and might lend itself to session drinking, even though that’s not something I really do with beer and the ABV is on the high side.

Anyway, I love this beer like I do most everything Arcadia does. Recommended.

Goose Island 25th Anniversary Ale

Maker: Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois, USA++

Style: Extra Special Bitter

ABV: 6.4%

Appearance: Golden brown with a lacy head.

Nose: Subtle but complex and malty. Breakfast cereal, charred fruit, floral hops.

On the palate: Full bodied but not heavy. Effervescent with a hardy bitterness, some fruit and a hint of spice. It’s a bit overwhelming on its own, but pairs with grilled hamburgers and BBQ very nicely.

Finish: Long and bitter with a hint of cherry or plum. Mostly bitter, though (it is a bitter after all).

Parting words: Goose Island’s Anniversary Ale isn’t a blockbuster like I was expecting, but it is very enjoyable. I love ESB and a good ESB can be hard to find these days. This is a very good ESB, one of the best I’ve had from an American craft distiller. It’s a pity it seems to be a one off. It’s delicious. Goose Island 25th Anniversary Ale is highly recommended.

Review: Short’s Autumn Ale

Short’s Autumn Ale

Brewery: Short’s (Bellaire, Michigan)

Style: ESB

ABV: ???

Color:  hazy copper

Nose:  toasted grain with a bit of sourness, like onions past their sell-by date.

Body: Medium

Taste: Bitter, toasty, with a wee tiny bit of sourness.  Bitter, but not excessively hoppy.

Finish: long dry, bitter

Parting Words: Nothing particularly Autumnal about this to me, but it’s a decent ale.  The rotten onion note was a off-putting though.  Not a bad choice, but Short’s makes much better beers than this.