I was admittedly in to try the winter lager brewed by Great Northern Brewing Co., but the way the bartender gushed over the Big Fog ESB, I had to try a sample. She described it as a nice amber-style beer with some great hop characteristics, and she was not wrong.
ESBs are funny beers. Rarely do you find one in the traditional British style, but then again, rarely do you need to. This classification might just need a new name, or brewers can continue to do whatever they want with the style and it’s all good.
But this particular ESB has a really nice finish, that actually reminds me somewhat of the British style. The beer was dry with a hint of pepper and a phenomenal hoppy spine. If I wasn’t so jazzed up about the winter lager, I would have really enjoyed a pint of this beer instead.
I’m usually the guy who walks in and looks for the beer list and for a beer in the 7-80 range, as in 7 percent ABV and 80 IBUs. I am admittedly and IPA and strong pale ale fan. But this ESB was such a great experience, that I’ll have to actually make sure I don’t accidentally pass over a great beer inadvertently on my way to the 7-80 beers.
If you’re in Whitefish, and you’re not standing around in sweat-soaked ski clothes looking for a winter warmer, give the Big Fog ESB a shot. I think you’ll like it.