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 greens, earth, and orange pepper finish. A crisp and refreshing very sessionable earthy ESB that is a nice American nod to the style.
Full Sail Brewing Co. ESB
93 points
ESB
Bright clear amber color. Delicate, citrusy aromas of orange marmalade and raisin scone with a silky, crisp, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an effortless, interesting, medium-length lemon cake, honeyed nuts, and kale finish. A fruity and refreshing bitter ale.
Morland Brewery "Old Speckled Hen" English Ale
90 points
Brilliant medium light copper color. Rich, peppery, toasty nutty earthy aromas of caramelized nuts, dried fruits, and honey buttered toast with an even, crisp, effervescent, fruity light-to-medium body and an effortless, interesting, breezy brown sugar, roasted nuts, arugula, and minerals finish. A spot on session bitter.
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 chocolate nuts and orange peels, dried lemon zest, and radicchio finish. A wonderfully lively and snappy ESB with a high hop impression for hopheads.