About ESB

About ESB
Extra special bitters (ESB) range from golden to brown in color and are around 4.5-6% in alcohol. They feature accents of hop aromas and, despite their name, are characterized by non-bitter, fruity flavors. Of the three bitter styles, ESBs are the most malty and highest in alcohol. Bitters originated as English specialties, though they are now widely-emulated in North America, sometimes with domestically-grown hops imparting a more assertive character than in traditional English takes on the style. Noteworthy examples of this style include: Fuller’s Original ESB, Moylan’s Extra Special Bitter, Left Hand Sawtooth Ale and Rogue XS Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter.

Top Picks for ESB

Samuel Adams Session Ale
93 points
Dusty pale golden amber color. Muted, savory, earthy aromas and flavors of omelet, turnip, and orange slice with a satiny, crisp, finely carbonated, dryish medium body and a tingling, amusing, brisk finish evoking notes of greens, earth, and orange pepper finish. A crisp and refreshing very sessionable earthy ESB that is a nice American nod to the style.
Hopster’s Brewing The Englishman ESB
87 points
Hazy golden brown color. Aromas and flavors of warm butter toffee, peanut, broccoli florets, raw squash, and endive with a satiny, crisp, effervescent, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, delightful, medium-length finish that presents suggestions of dried leaves, hint of coffee, and dark toast finish. A warming, nutty ESB with a crisp and bitter finish.
Temperance Beer Co. Smittytown ESB
85 points
Brilliant deep amber color. Toasty, herbal aromas and flavors of herb toast, cocoa, black pepper muffin, and saffron with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, long finish with impressions of chocolate nuts and orange peels, dried lemon zest, and radicchio finish. A wonderfully lively and snappy ESB with a high hop impression for hopheads.