96 Fuller’s Original ESB, Fuller’s Griffin Brewery (England). 5.9% ABV (3/11)
Bright amber color. Aromas of buttery caramelized dried fruits, rye flour and honeyed dark raisin baguette with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, grilled root vegetable, mild coffee and sautéed escarole-like hop finish. A wonderfully balanced ESB that is world class.
88 Extra ESB, Breckenridge Brewery (CO). 7.8% ABV (3/10)
Dark copper brown color. Molasses, apple cider vinegar, sour cherry yogurt and baker chocolate aromas and flavors with a smooth creamy, dryish medium body and a tangy, roasted nut, kalamata olive and sour citrus finish. Intriguing. Pair with game BBQ.
88 Bachelor ESB, Deschutes Brewery (OR). 5.3% ABV (3/10)
Deep amber color. Bold raw honey, cocoa, roasted corn and baked peach chutney aromas follow through on a supple entry to a dryish medium body with brown sugar, sautéed kale and mint notes. Finishes with a long, tangy, slightly charred citrus and nut finish.
87 Bitter Cold ESB, Goose Island Beer Co. (IL). 5% ABV (3/11)
Bright amber color. Roasted chestnut, fig paste, cocoa and pumpernickel toast aromas with a supple, soft, dryish medium body and a very smooth, mocha cream and jicama-accented finish with mild grassy hops.
86 Ice Pick Ale, Silverton Brewery (CO). 6.8% ABV (3/11)
Reddish copper color. Bright aromas of buttery frosted peach Danish and a dash of grapefruit marmalade with a supple, finely carbonated dryish medium-to-full body and a nice mélange of grilled turnip and carrot, cocoa powder and citrus zest and mesclun-like hops. Tasty.