Review: Renewale '13 - Extra Special Bitter, Ninkasi

Renewale '13 - Extra Special Bitter
Ninkasi Brewing Co.Eugene, OR

  • Style:  Extra Special Bitter
  • Bitterness:  44 IBUs
  • ABV: 5.8%
  • Malts:  2 Row, Crystal, CaraPils, Munich
  • Hops:  Nugget, Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description: "ReNEWale Extra Special Bitter has smooth caramel malt notes upfront and fruity esters contributed by the yeast. Kent Goldings and Northern Brewer Hops add a deep earthy and grassy hop flavor and aroma. Extra special! Extra balanced! Extra tasty!" — Ninkasi Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Each January, Ninkasi kicks off the New Year with a brand new beer. In recent years, the Renewale series has brought us a Porter in 2012 and Mason's Irish-Style Red Ale in 2011.  This year, it's an ESB. It's been a while since I've tasted the style, so this will be a welcome change of pace. Until recently, Widmer Brothers' W' series served up a new beer each January, but that series was shelved to make way for a new spring seasonal.  I'm glad Ninkasi has continued the "new beer" tradition, and hope they keep the series going long into the future. 

The tasting:  Copper in color, clear, with an off-white head dissipates fairly slowly. Aroma of caramel, grass, and herbal notes.  Flavor mirrors the aroma with the addition of biscuit malt. It has some light malt sweetness, but is nicely balanced overall. Alcohol is not present in aroma or flavor. Renewale ESB is light to medium boded and moderately carbonated. It has an effervescent mouth feel and and finishes with caramel and a long lingering earthy hop bitterness. 
Rating: 3 star. Good. I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.  Cheers to Ninkasi for giving us an ESB this year! I wish more breweries released ESBs. Besides Redhook, I can't think of another NW brewery that produces the style year-round. Anyway, if you haven't had an ESB in a while, give this a try. The only reason I didn't rate it higher is that I'm not a big fan of grassy hop flavors—but that's just my personal preference.

Have you tasted Renewale '12 Extra Special Bitter?   Who makes your favorite ESB?

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  1. I think this sounds really good.

    I don't have much experience with ESB's, but I'd still like to give this one a try. I hope I can find it.

  2. I believe Burnside Brewing makes a year round ESB...but they call it their Stock Ale. Really good beer, too. You should check it out.

  3. MIS, Redhook also makes a good ESB which is widely available.

    Thanks Brian! I didn't know Stock Ale is an ESB. I'll check it out.

  4. I love the color!


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