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Extra Special/Strong Bitter Reviews

Extra special bitters (or ESBs) are the strongest of the English pale ales, and also closely reflect the old ale style, though they’re paler and more bitter. Aromas are balanced in terms in strength, though hop, fruit ester and caramel-tilted malt scents all appear distinct. In the taste, hop flavor and caramel malt sweetness backs a medium bitterness, but while malt and hops should be more evident than in the special bitter style, as is standard in the English pale ale genus, the spotlight should remain on bittering hops. ESBs should present a slight alcohol flavor; ABVs span 4.2 to 6.2 percent. A medium body and dry finish maintain drinkability.

Pair: No beer better complements a chicken pot pie than an extra special bitter: The medium body stands up to the pie’s creamy stew, and the brew’s bitterness echoes in the vegetables and contrasts with the buttery crust.

Glassware: nonic or standard pint glass


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