Thursday, July 7, 2011

Anvil ESB, AleSmith Brewing Co.

Anvil ESB
AleSmith Brewing Co.
San Diego, CA.
5.5% ABV
22oz bottle

Color/Appearance:  The Anvil pours a very bright and vibrant copper color, almost a ruby red nearing brown. A slight haze appears as I lift the glass up to the light, but that is expected as it is a live ale, or bottle conditioned beer. The head was quite sizeable at first, maybe nearing 1-1/2 to 2 inches high and off-white in color, and rocky with a creamy top layer. The carbonation flow upwards is light. Overall, an outstanding and rich looking beer in appearance.

Aroma:  A nice malty nose up front; kind of a sweet and savory profile at the same time. Notes of tangy hops balance out the caramel and toffee aromas that mix well. There is almost a mild sour like character to the beer as well- nothing fruity, just a mild sourness....well maybe something of a dark fruit, like figs or prunes do come through. A different and very particular strain of yeast is sometimes used by some breweries for bottle conditioning. This could be the case in why the beer has a slighty sour character.

Taste/Mouthfeel:  From just the first sip there seems to be a lot going on. I don't really know how to describe it other than it tastes traditional. On the back of the bottle they describe the ales of Burton-on-Trent, England as being some of the most savory ales in the world. Thats the best way to describe it, savory. There is a mild malt sweetness there, but it is definitely more of a savory character. Just like in the aroma though, you get the tangy hops and that mild sour note. Hints of caramel and toffee also round out this medium bodied Extra Special Bitter right before it's spicy velvet rich finish.

AleSmith began back in 1995 in San Diego, CA. The Anvil ESB was the very first ale they produced and still remains their flagship beer. It has won numerous awards including both silver and gold medals at the world beer championships. The Anvil ESB is also thought to be one of the most traditional like bitters produced by an American brewer; very much similar to the traditional English bitters you find in Great Britain. I myself feel that AleSmith brews some of the most legendary beers available in the United States.
Pick up an Anvil sometime and taste the craftsmenship. Cheers!

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