Hey guys, hope you all had an awesome week! With the weather being so great this weekend, I wandered on over to Boundary Bay Brewery in order to try some of their new selections. Just in time for Memorial Day, and Ski to Sea Weekend, I decided to try the Boundary Bay Ski to Sea ESB. Boundary Bay brewers formulated this special dry hopped ESB in celebration of the Ski to Sea Race, which traverses 7 different sports over a 100 mile course. As this event is truly something special to the town, I was expecting a beer which was also something special.
Extra Special Bitter (ESB) is typically a more aggressive, yet balanced pale ale. Slightly higher in alcohol and bitterness, though not overbearing. Color will be similar to a pale ale, a deep orange or amber hue, erring on the darker side of the color spectrum, think of copper or gold. Malts will be at the forefront, toasty and lightly rich, hop notes will be bitter and dry. Don’t be discouraged by the term “bitter” in its name, the best part of a good ESB is the balance of sweet malt with a nice dry hop note. The style should be approachable and thirst quenching, especially when the temperatures rise. Many of these signature ESB qualities can be found in the Boundary Bay Ski to Sea ESB.
Appearance – (3.5/5) Pours a deep and rich amber color with copper hues and edges, nice and bright, it looks deeply rich and malty. Head is tall and bright white in color, leaves behind nice layers of foam on the inside of the glass and has good head retention. Very true to the ESB style.
Aroma – (3.75/5) Smells of rich and sweet caramel malts, freshly baked bread, toasted malts, caramel sweetness. Light and bitter hop note balances the sweetness, little bit of spice here as well.
Taste – (3.75/5) Sweet malt notes initially, nice layers of caramel malt sweetness, it is bready, malty, rich and sweet. As it warms there is a nice bitter and dry hop note that helps bring a great balance to it.
Mouthfeel – (4/5) Medium bodied brew, a nice level of carbonation and drying bitterness helps to balance out the sweetness of the malt. Refreshing balance of sweet and dry, highly drinkable.
Overall – (3.75/5) This is a nice, easy drinking, approachable beer from Boundary Bay. This will taste great whether you are watching or participating in the race. The Boundary Bay Ski to Sea ESB is a great celebration of the warm weather we have been enjoying lately. Those who shy away from bitter beers can rejoice as this beer has found a great balance between bitterness and drinkability. Very nice balance of bitter and sweet. Thirst quenching and refreshing, this is a wonderful beer to commemorate the annual Ski to Sea Race, nicely done Boundary Bay!