91 Combined Harvest Multigrain Beer, Batemans (England). 4.7% ABV (2/09)
Brilliant pale amber color with a lacy head. Aromas of buttered multigrain toast and orange marmalade follow through on a soft, round entry to a crisp, dryish medium-to-full body with lively citrus acidity and walnut praline notes. Finishes with a tangy, palate stimulating fade of cocoa, nuts and mild citrusy hops. A superb food beer.
90 Tomos Watkin Lovely Ale, The Hurns Brewing Co. (Wales). 4.5% ABV (2/09)
Deep amber color with a frothy head. Mild toasted buttermilk biscuit and toasted grain aromas follow through on a round, supple entry to a dryish medium body with a fine mesh of nuts and dried autumn fruits. Finishes with a snappy wisp of praline and earthy hops.
90 Propeller Extra Special Bitter, Propeller Brewing Co. (Canada). 5% ABV (2/07)
Deep copper chestnut color. Dark brown sugar, roasted grain and baked lemon aromas follow through to a very soft and creamy light-to-medium body of light molasses, dark toast and tangy lemon custard flavors. Finishes with a mellow roasted nut, citrus peel and wet earth fade. Very pure and mild—an authentic British-styled ESB.
89 Tomos Watkins Old Style Bitter, The Hurns Brewing Co. (Wales). 4.5% ABV (2/09)
Hazy burnished amber color with a fine mousse. Aromas of cocoa-dusted nuts, dried apple, cooked okra and raisin toast follow through on a supple, finely frothy entry to a dryish medium body with tangy mild citrus and cream notes and a refreshing white nut-accented fade. A spot-on bitter.
89 Honkers Ale, Goose Island Brewing Co. (IL). 4.3% ABV (2/09)
Beautiful pure amber color. Lightly yeasty aromas of sourdough, roasted nuts and mild custard follow through on a supple entry to a dryish medium body with hints of dried citrus and grassy earth. Finishes with a tangy, yet round nut and unsweetened chocolate-accented fade. A nice balance of traditional bitter ale and vibrant craft ale zestiness.
88 Younger’s Special Bitter Ale, Rogue Ales (OR). 5% ABV (2/09)
Deep amber color with a fine blanket of manila foam. Roasted pecans and pumpernickel toast aromas follow through on a bright, vibrant entry to a dry medium-full body with firm tart grapefruit peel hoppiness and a nut skin-accented fade. A boisterous, West Coast hophead domestic version of bitter ale.
94 Bachelor ESB, Deschutes Brewery (OR). 5.3% ABV (3/09)
Deep amber color with a manila blanket of foam. Aromas of chocolate-dusted dried citrus and panettone follow through on a round, supple entry to a dryish medium body with great depth and balance. Finishes with a bright, crisp, grapefruit-like hop fade. A great, hoppier U.S. take on the classic British style.
91 Propeller Extra Special Bitter, Propeller Brewing Co. (Canada). 5% ABV (2/08)
Reddish mahogany color. Roasted nut, soy and smoky, seared and caramelized pork loin aromas follow through to a round, vibrant and frothy entry and a dryish medium-to-full body with a very crisp bittering hops finish. A must-try beer for BBQ!
87 Otter Head, Otter Brewery (England). 5.8% ABV (2/08)
Hazy copper color. Rich aromas of mocha, dried autumn and tropical citrus fruits and toffee. A round, supple entry leads to a dry-yet-fruity medium-full body of dry caramel, roasted nuts and tangy citrus peels. Finishes with a fine expression of classic earthy hops and a bit of pepper. A spot on ESB with well integrated flavors.