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I'll Drink to That! What is your favorite beverage to have with a cigar? Juice? Cola? Beer? Port? Single Malt Scotch? This room is for the discussion of beverages, especially alcoholic beverages that go well with cigars!

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Old 06-09-2006, 02:42 PM   #1
Briandg
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red hook ESB

Just got a six of this. I only remember having an ESB once before, and it was really great, but I was into english and german darks almost exclusively.

I like this style. Beer probably could have been better, but I like the flavors.

I had a heavily hopped IPA once, also years ago. Is there a similarity between these types?
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:47 PM   #2
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Take a look at the sticky on beers; I think I covered this part reasonably well. Pale ale, IPA, bitter, ESB -- they're all essentially interrelated and usually, it's more a matter of what the brewer decides to call it than any clearly defined distinction. In fact, ESB is truly a brand owned by the London brewer Fuller's. Fuller's ESB, if it's in good condition on tap or in the bottle, is absolutely delicious -- very buttery and wonderfully balanced between malt and hops.

Among American craft brewers, "IPA (India Pale Ale)" is likely to be their most bitter and hoppiest beer. A local brewpub had a tasting the other night and offered FIVE different IPAs.

In England, "bitter" is basically a draught version of what they might call "pale ale" in the bottle, but even that distinction is arbitrary. You don't very often see American beers called "bitter" because it has negative connotations for some people. ESB is short for Extra Special Bitter; some brewers have a more malt-oriented pale ale and use ESB to distinguish it from their standard pale ale or the IPA.

And now, of course, American craft brewers have to screw everything up by creating something they're calling an Imperial IPA, which is a bigger, stronger, hoppier (and often, most delicious) version of an IPA. Me likee.

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Old 06-09-2006, 04:15 PM   #3
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Fuller's ESB was one of my favorite hand-pulled beers in the pubs of Oxford last year. Hoisted a few pints at the very table at the Eagle and Child where C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkein hashed out Narnia and the Ring series as the Inklings.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:11 PM   #4
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Red Hook is it's own animal. I really like it, but it has gotten stupid expensive now that it has been "discovered". $7.79@ six here is typical.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:24 PM   #5
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Yikes. That is stupid expensive. I can still get it for $10.99 / 12 pack in Boston.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:59 PM   #6
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Redhook ESB isnt really an extra special bitter, in fact i've seen musings before that it stands for 'extra special beer' instead.

It's good stuff, all in all, but a real ESB would be a much maltier, fuller bodied brew than i recall Redhook being.

As Oregone mentioned, the "bitter" in the series of so-named english ales is kindof misleading, depending on your tastes. Bitters typically make a good session beer, and if they're true to style, are well balanced and not excessively hopped.

If you liked the Redhook, you might try Pete's Wicked Ale and Sierra Nevada pale.


I like most of Redhook's offerings (except Winterhook, UGH) but since it's gotten popular it's more dollar than it's worth, especially since I can brew better for a fraction of the price (Apologies if that sounds like bragging, but it's true for my tastes anyway)
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Old 06-10-2006, 06:53 AM   #7
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FYI Red Hook is in an alliance partnership with Anheuser-Busch
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Old 06-10-2006, 07:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalkavianX
Redhook ESB isnt really an extra special bitter, in fact i've seen musings before that it stands for 'extra special beer' instead.

It's good stuff, all in all, but a real ESB would be a much maltier, fuller bodied brew than i recall Redhook being.

As Oregone mentioned, the "bitter" in the series of so-named english ales is kindof misleading, depending on your tastes. Bitters typically make a good session beer, and if they're true to style, are well balanced and not excessively hopped.

If you liked the Redhook, you might try Pete's Wicked Ale and Sierra Nevada pale.


I like most of Redhook's offerings (except Winterhook, UGH) but since it's gotten popular it's more dollar than it's worth, especially since I can brew better for a fraction of the price (Apologies if that sounds like bragging, but it's true for my tastes anyway)
The original version of Red Hook was a strange and unruly beast. It was, in fact, the first "microbrew" I ever had, during a honeymoon trip through Washington in 1983. I later had a tour of the original brewery (in 85?), which was in a converted commercial garage in Ballard, Seattle. The beer had been designed as a British bitter, but the yeast they had chosen was prone to all sorts of quirky behavior and tended to produce inappropriate flavors of banana and band-aid. When Michael Jackson politely suggested that it was somewhat like a Belgian ale, they latched onto that excuse and told people that had been their intention all along -- it's now part of their official history, and utter horseshit.

All of the Red Hook beers provide the best possible example of how brands will be compromised and "dumbed-down" in order to dramatically increase sales. Once they'd gotten that yeast under control (they added a second yeast for the rest of the beers and eventually dumped the banana yeast), they were known for some really fantastic beers in the late 80s and early 90s: Blackhook Porter, Ballard Bitter (mmmmmmm) and the early Winterhooks (using British malts, more mmmmmm). I think it was about the time they built their mega-brewery outside Seattle and the sister brewery in New Hampshire that they started dialing back the beers. IIRC, it was a Winterhook recipe that morphed into Red Hook ESB; Ballard Bitter got dialed waaaaaay back and relabeled IPA.

They had expanded too rapidly and got into financial hot water. That's when they entered into a share and distribution agreement with Anheuser Busch (who also owns a chunk of Widmer, which in turn now owns a chunk of Goose Island). I gave up on their beer a long time ago; so much beer available in the PNW that is vastly superior and it broke my heart when they gutted Ballard Bitter.

But the average sixpack of good beer is between $7 and $8 here; a grocery sale price would bring it down below $7 but not much. I'm accustomed, though, to spending $9-$15 a bottle for some of the beers I drink so $7/six doesn't seem expensive at all.
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Old 06-10-2006, 09:50 AM   #9
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It's Ok with me. The last couple of years beer has not been good to me, It puts me to sleep

I used to drink a lot of Sierra N Pale Ale & Rogues Dead Guy Ale or Sam Adams as a last resort but I just can't drink beer anymore unless I am going to take nap
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Old 06-10-2006, 01:03 PM   #10
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I still like the ESB, but lets not kid ourselves, it's not a bitter. As MX said, I can brew better, but it's summer in Tally and I can't brew now till October. I toured the best local liquor store yesterday and most of the best brews were 8-9 dollars a six. I guess gasoline has pushed them up to this price. I know if I buy a case they are a little less.
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