Boxcar ESB – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Boxcar Extra Special Bitter – Phillips Brewing Company, 5% ABV, 355 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


on the front-right label:

“From the other side of the tracks comes a Phillips twist on a British classic. Like a freight train to your pallet this boxcar is loaded with enough hops to wake the sleepiest rail rider. A sophisticated depth of flavour all the way down the line, it’s boxcar Willie meets the Queen. Hop on!”

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  • Style: ESB
  • Taste: Citrusy almost lemony grand fir grassy sweet barley malt
  • Where I got it : exchanged with brother
  • How much: priceless, sometime in 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours dark copper brown with a lasting 1cm foamy head, micro suspended sediment, tight clustered glass of streams.

Nose: sweet toffee’d caramel barley malts, hints of brown sugar. Awesome. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, half-bodied

Mid-palate: metallic-toasted barley malt, fading flavour, (lvl-3-sweetness), residual caramel-building hopped bitterness

Finish: lingering bitter without carry, airy-bready, residual malts.

Summary: Like the majority of Phillips’ brews, slightly above average and not something you’d remember. The nose is better than the actual beer. The fullness or body is lacking in the mids and moreso in the finish.

Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #10 – Red Racer ESB

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Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #10

  • My Rating: [C+],  I gave it a (3.4 of 5) on Ratebeer.com

Red Racer ESB (Extra Special Bitter) – Central City Brewing, 5.6% ABV – 330ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“The use of crystal malt lends to this beer’s flavour and colour profile. Packed with hops from the North West and United Kingdom this is our original take on the classic English bitter.”

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  • Style: ESB
  • Taste: Toffee malt very bitter biting grapefruit hops
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not particularly

Visual: Pours cloudy light root beer brown with minimal head, a thin layer of fine retention, several streams of varied speeds.

Nose: bright grapefruit hops with some metallic muskiness, hints of jasmine (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: immediate bitter hop assault, crisp fizzy-tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee malts, citrus hops, tangerine-grapefruit peel, 

Finish: lingering biting hopped bitterness, burpy, dry finish.

Summary: To me this is like a less fruity-more malty drier IPA, but still very bitter. Not 100% my style of beer but decent nonetheless. The nose is great.

The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #2 – Hippaheikki Teerenpeli Extra Special Bitter

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The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #2

Hippaheikki Teerenpeli Extra Special Bitter (t.e.s.b.) – Teerenpeli Brewery, 4.7% ABV – 330ml., (Lahti, Finland)

  • Style: Extra Special Bitter
  • Taste: Clean malty fruity barley malt super non-hoppy bitter
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep

Visual: (Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival 2010 Winner) Pours clear golden amber with almost no head, ultra-thin ringed micro bubble retention, ZERO CO2 activity.

Nose: barley malts, hay/grain, malt liquor. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: fizzy-tingy, incoming orchard fruitiness + bitter hops

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) barley malts, non-distinct apple/lemon fruitiness, grain/grass

Finish: dry-hopped BIG bitterness, long bitter light malty sweet finish.

Summary: Overall I quite enjoyed the fruity yet bitter nature of this one. There’s not much hop aroma to the bitterness, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The bitterness is more like the bitterness you get from eating bitter melon.

Hobgoblin – Wychwood Brewery (England)

Hobgoblin – Wychwood Brewery, 5.2% ABV – 500ml, (Whitney, England)

On the back label:

“Full-bodied & well balanced with a chocolate toffee malt flavour, moderate bitterness & a distinctive fruity character & ruby red glow.”

  • Style: Premium Bitter/ESB
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Creamy airness -> sarsaparilla/malts/chocolate -> sharp lingering bitterness.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50, Summer 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Tasting notes: pours root beer brown with a hint of red, small creamy head, thin retention, tight clusters of CO2 streams. Hints of malts on the nose, but otherwise muted. Drinks with a crisp creaminess airyness up front, tastes of sarsaparilla, malts, mild chocolate, cutting quickly into a sharp lingering bitterness. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, okay carry, decent drinkability.

Duchy Originals Old Ruby Ale 1905

Old Ruby Ale – Duchy Originals from Waitrose, 5% ABV – 500ml, (Oxfordshire, UK)

On the front label:

“A deliciously robust rich blend of hops and malt, including an English barley first used in 1905 called plumage archer.”

  • My Rating: D+
  • Why I don’t like it: one-note and boring
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: NO

Tasting notes: pours copper brown, minimal head, several active CO2 streams. Medium malts, transitions into a watery body, rough finish in mouth. Finishes medium bitter. Low complexity, low-medium depth, okay transitions, not so good carry, no good drinkability. I only taste malts, quite boring.

Re-tasted (12/2012): Rating: C- Notes: Pours almost clear copper brown, almost no head, not much activity. (honesty) a bit of fart on the nose. Drinks with med malts and hops up front, sourness, dryness, finishing sharp hoppy bitter. Low-med complexity, medium depth, okay carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability.