River Horse Brewing Company Extra Special Bitter Ale
I really enjoy a good ESB. I am trying to continue to buy local beers as much as possible and buying a Jersey beer where the brew master lives in the same city as me seems about as good as I can get. This pours a full golden brown color with a great head that lingers for a long time. The aroma is rich in hops and a little bit of acetaldehyde (a crisp green apple flavor/aroma).
Flavor is great. For me there are two keys to a good ESB. The first requirement is great hopping. They need enough hops to balance the pale malt but not too much that it is overwhelming. Everything needs to be in balance. The second requirement is the acetaldehyde.
This may be considered a "defect" in many beers but I welcome it's presence in small quantities. It adds a crisp refreshing bite that adds to the complexity. Fortunately, this beer meets these requirements perfectly. There is even a bit of an alcohol bite, but nothing too much above a general pale ale.
This is a great brewing company and I will continue to support them and other Jersey brewers as much as possible. This will definitely hit the spot if you are in the mood for an English style treat. I still have yet to go to England but I can't imagine that the authentic bitters are any better than this. I am impressed. This is truly worthy of the "Extra Special" name.
Final Score: 92% (A Wonderful ESB. This Will Hit The Spot.)