East Side Beer

Brewery: Zilker Brewing Company
Style: Strong Bitter – ESB (11C)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: Specs Airport, November 2018
Packaged Date: 11/19/2018
Consumed Date: 12/10/2018

Details from the Brewer

ABV: 5.9%

Texan take on an English classic. This ale greets you with a crisp bitterness, but then quickly brings forth it’s malt complexity. Rich and toasty malts dominate and set this beer apart from its caramel driven English counterparts. Balance is always key, as this beer has excellent quaffability and plenty of flavor to stimulate your taste buds indefinitely.


Aroma – 8/12

Biscuit and bread crust jump out and hit the nose first at a medium level. There is a low-medium apple and pear ester notes that jump out as well. There’s a slight floral and woody hop character present as well.

Appearance – 3/3

Pours an intense amber, or light copper colored liquid. Clarity is fantastic, even when the entire can is poured. A small layer of ivory bubbles formed with moderate retention.

Flavor – 16/20

English malts are the star of the flavor. Shortbread and biscuit at a medium high intensity, blend with a subtler bread crust note. A low sweetness rounds out the flavor and carries a light caramel flavor with it. Low levels of floral hops are present, with an earthiness as well. Red apple fermentation esters blends into the mid palate. Malt character tapers towards the finish, leaving a slightly fruity and floral finish. Low-moderate bitterness. The finish is dry, and leaves the mouth quickly.

Mouthfeel – 5/5

Pours with a moderate-low carbonation level, good for the style. Medium bodied throughout the taste. No discernable alcohol warmth or astringency.

Overall Impression – 8/10

This is a great take on a classic English style ale. I love that this beer focuses British base malts with a touch of specialty, and doesn’t overdue it on the caramel/crystal malts. This beer was balanced really well, and drinks as a nice pale ale. I’d like to see a bit more yeast expression, particularly in the aroma to compete with the best of style examples. A touch more hop expression to nail the style as well. Overall, a darn good ESB

Rating – 40/50

We don’t see to many English bitters on draught or sitting on shelves around town. Fuller’s ESB is the quintessential example, but I honestly like this one better. The lower usage of crystal malt makes this much more drinkable. The dry finish is very inviting of another sip. While this beer probably won’t excite a lot of the beer traders, it’s a good representation of the style you often can’t try. Be warned that compared to an American Pale, this is much less bitter, and really showcases a British hops and malts.