In celebration of the London Olympics, I will talk about the first English beer on the list: Fuller's ESB. ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter, although sometimes the S can stand for Strong as well. If you have ever had an English bitter before, you know that they are subtle, easy drinking beers. I think of the ESB as the more aggressive older brother that greets the younger brother bitter by punching it in the stomach. It is higher in alcohol content, as well as hop character. Still, keep in mind that this is high in the English beer sense. It is rare to see an ESB break 6% ABV and while the hops are noticeable, they usually won't even reach American pale ale levels.
Personally I found Fuller's ESB to be an enjoyable beer. It isn't in-your-face at all, but very pleasant, typical of English beers. Most of what I tasted from the ESB was malt. There is a nice, simple hop bitterness, but my taste buds have been dulled to hops from all the American IPAs that I have tried. It is a very stereotypical English beer, with a smooth, almost velvet-like mouthfeel and very low carbonation. Since the flavors of the ESB are more pronounced than other English ales, the ESB can be consumed slightly colder (although cellar temp. is perfect) without missing too much. If you are ever in the mood for a more reserved, less intense beer, with lower alcohol content, give English ales a shot. They have been brewing for a long time, so they must be doing something right, right? Just bear in mind that the English ale styles aren't for everyone.
Glassware: Pint, Mug
Synonym Beer: Hobgoblin
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