Schlafly Winter ESB 5.8% ABV
Extra Special Bitter
The Schlafly Winter ESB is a cosmic comedic coincidence of Schadnfreude for you the readers of my humble beer blog. As you may have noticed from the picture to your right, (or if you are reading this on an iPhone, above), the foam takes up the top 3rd of my glass. This has nothing at all to do with the Winter ESB, it has everything to do with my poor pouring of the brew. I was sick and in bed all day yesterday, therefore missing my self imposed deadline of a Friday beer review being posted at 10AM. After I got home from work tonight, I was in a rush to get my beer poured, picture taken and review begun. In my haste I dumped the contents of the bottle into a frozen glass and the beer began to foam up over and down the sides of the glass. I quickly sucked up as much of the foam as I could but to little avail. Unfortunately, I had only one bottle to drink and take a picture of so I had to make the most of my shoddy drink transfer from bottle to glass and thus here we are. The coincidence I referred to is the fact that this is the same beer that caused me issues months ago. On that occasion I made the mistake of buying an expired Winter ESB and was forced to review a Bud Light in its stead. I will now pause, for if I were you I’d be chuckling at my stupidity and deservedly so. Take your time; a hearty laugh is good for the soul.
Okay, now on to the actual review. Now that the foam has receded I can take a sip and see how it fares. This beer has a nice bitter front which flows immediately into a balanced light crisp flavor. The color and flavor remind me more of spring and is quite different from the dark hearty beers I’m used to drinking on bitter cold winter nights. It is not overly bitter as its name would suggest, and the finish actually has a nice fruity taste, though I couldn’t parse out which fruit specifically. It is a very easy to drink beer and ever so slightly reminds me of a pale ale. The blend of malts and hops produces a nice refreshing flavor. It has a different feel and taste from all the other Schlafly’s I’ve had, not in a bad way mind you, but it does stand apart from their other offerings. If you are up for a change of pace from the usual winter seasonal and the usual Schlafly, give their Winter ESB a try. The lesson I’ve learned, the hard way, with this beer is to make sure to buy a 6 pack so if you ruin one with a bad pour you have five more to enjoy appropriately. Until next time, happy drinking.