‘East Side Bitter’ ESB by R&B Brewing Co

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“It’s been a while since I had an ESB.” was what I thought when I picked this off the shelf. “I have yet to try any of R&Bs beers” also factored in to my decision, which I blame on the lack of availability in the lower mainland. If I’m good at anything in life, it’s laying blame.

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Stop the victim shaming!

R&B have been playing the craft beer game since 1997, so suffice to say, they are not a new kid on the block. They are located just off of main street on the East side of Vancouver, in probably one of the city’s most infamous sections. I am mostly familiar with driving through East Van; a stumbling block in the way of the more desirable portions of the city. Of course, it’s not all bad, just mostly. If you find yourself near the giant east van cross, you’ve gone either too far, or not far enough, unless of course you live there. You poor unfortunate soul.

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This is a beware buoy for those in the know.

But hey, it’s obviously not all bad. East Van happens to have a lot of craft breweries, almost all within stumbling distance. I’ve stumbled between the various breweries a few times now, and it’s a great time that I have to try hard to actually remember. I really only remember the first three stops, then things get start to get mysteriously fuzzy. Tastily fuzzy.

The pour is an opaque, dark orange amber. No head, just a tiny collar. ESB is another notoriously ugly looking brew so this gets a pass.

The smells are strong northwest hops, with sweet apple, pine, grass, and melons, complimented with a sugary sweetness like hot cross buns with a hint of ginger. Quite the powerful, pleasant aroma.

The tastes are pine, grass, mixed nuts, earth notes, leafy herbs, sour citrus fruits, rye, and biscuits. It’s a highly complicated palate and I’m probably missing some stuff. The tastes are impacted greatly by the aroma in a beautiful way. This might be one of the best flavor/aroma combinations I can recall. The tastes are harsher against the fruitier/sweeter nose, and it works perfectly! Hot damn this is tasty.

The mouthfeel is pretty light, and surprisingly drinkable. Has light carbonation. Flavors hang around the edges of the mouth and wrap inward, leaving the bitter pine.

4.5/5 Great beer! Holy shitballs Batman! I wasn’t expecting to randomly pick up one of the best ESBs I’ve ever had, and I’m stoked that I did. The only other ESB that can compare (that I’ve tried) would be Driftwoods Hildegard, and it’s markedly different. I love this beer! I’m officially excited to try more from these guys. GET THIS BEER!

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My face when.

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