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Presented by Consumer Beverages


ABV: 5.5%

>by Willard Brooks

To certain software geeks, ESB means enterprise services bus. To beer geeks, however, especially to those who appreciate brews from the United Kingdom, ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter and is one of a range of English pale ales (often also called simply “Bitter”). Bitters should be well balanced between malt and hops and are not to be confused with hop forward American Pale Ales with less evident malt character—with Bitters, expect the use of distinctive English malts and hops. When served at a slightly warmer temperature from a hand pumped cask—these beers can be sublime as well as highly drinkable and not too high in alcohol. The Pearl Street Grill and Brewery has produced a fine example served up on CO2 at the pub. It sports a fruity ester nose—has a deep golden copper color with nice lacing of the head on the glass. The fruity flavor pairs with a light velvety mouthfeel upfront and a mild mid-palate hop bite that lingers very nicely. The telltale biscuit flavor of the English-made Maris Otter malts and a wholly appropriate smidge of crystal malt play their parts in this band well. At 5.5% ABV it’s a bit stronger than its English mates—but at 40 IBUs it stands up nicely. I had two and wish I had one right now. The beer would be amazing on cask. Pair with fresh bread & butter with a cheddar cheese soup or with fish tacos. Belly up and try this beer while it lasts—it is excellent! Visit


ABV: 8.8%

>by Paul Marko

TThe newest entry for Southern Tier in their experimental Belgian series is the multi-layered and flavorful Tripel Cafe. From the series that brought us Tier de Garde and Sonnet comes this uniquely labeled, large format bottle (750ml) that doesn’t need a giant “2X” on the front to announce it’s intentions. OK, it does have Tripel in its name, so we should expect a bigger beer (8.8% ABV), but there’s nothing in the Southern Tier lineup anything like this complex Belgo-Tropical mash up. Like a traditional Belgian Wit (white ale) this beer is brewed with orange peel and coriander, but ST added a tropical twist by adding unroasted green coffee beans to the kettle. But don’t expect the typical heavy, cup ‘o joe coffee beer here. Not even close. Instead, the natural bean combines with the spicy and floral yeast to unlock a light, fresh bell pepper note that tricks the drinker into expecting a hot Serrano punch—but never fear, just a citrusy bitterness bubbles over. Triple Cafe is bottle conditioned, meaning additional yeast and sugar was added just before it was capped, creating a secondary fermentation inside the glass. When compared to the draught version, the bottle version is fresher with a more pronounced pepper note. Try them both and decide for yourself. The swinging monkeys on the label say this effervescent beer pairs well with soft cheeses and dark chocolate. No matter what you enjoy it with, let’s hope for more like this from our friends in Lakewood, NY. Visit



ABV: 5.3%

>by Chris Groves, Certified Cicerone®

If we’re talking about love this week, I have to profess my sincere and deep affection for Firestone Walker Pivo. I could go on a road trip with this beer as my companion and never get lost. I could take this beer on a date and it would pay for everything (don’t worry, I got you next time). I could make a decision to quit drinking for a month and it would be right there with me. I mean it. Pivo, you have everything I look for in a Pilsner. Herbal and floral hop aromatics hover above your stark white head and straw colored body. Your clean and crisp malt character gives me chills, not just ‘cause you’re cold. Your finish is the sentence I started; concise and to the point. You’re a breath of fresh air in a smog of boldly hopped dominance. Sometimes, I can’t describe how much I want you to be in me. I love you, I need you, I’m glad you’re here. See you soon. Visit

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