Ordinary Brews: Redhook ESB

The fine people at Redhook told me that the Long Hammer IPA was their best seller outside of the Seattle region but in the Seattle region, their ESB sold better. So let’s take a look at what those Seattlites apparently know that we don’t.

Redhook’s ESB has a pretty malty nose, with some uncooked bread scents there. There is a little bitterness in the finish but nothing too strong.

Nothing too strong might be a good throughline for this entire beverage. It’s got a sweetness in the back third of the drink but nothing really before that. The effervescence plays cleanup to most of the flavors and all in all, this feels like a good picnic beer. The kind I’d bring to some outdoor event, have something barbequed, wash it down with this ESB.

In this respect, I have to praise this beer for that quality. It’s a decent ‘intro to craft beer’ ale, with nothing overpowering going on to intimidate the neophyte but enough of something going on that they know they aren’t drinking a macro lager. And because I can see this in a more social setting, it’s the kind of beer that I can envision handing off to someone who might feel a bit of trepidation about beers that aren’t fizzy and yellow.

I, personally, would like just a little more malt there. This ESB isn’t soda light in the mouthfeel but a little more ooomph there and I’d probably dig it more. As it is, I still feel like I’ve got a solid little beer to bring with me to the next picnic.

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6 thoughts on “Ordinary Brews: Redhook ESB”

  1. Once upon a time I used to like this beer, a lot! It was, together with the also local Mac & Jack’s African Amber my intro to craft when I moved to the area many years ago after a short stint in Boston and mostly Boston Lager drinking. I keep liking Boston Lager, I really enjoy it when looking for a malty beer, I still love African Amber (which btw is the best selling craft beer in the region), but this one… not so much. Maybe intro to craft beer is what it’s good for, maybe my taste has changed, could be I expect too much, or perhaps the beer has changed. In any case every time I drink it I feel a huge disappointment and long time passes until I have it again.
    Cheers!

    1. Hm. It’s possible the recipe has changed; craft breweries are known for frequently tweaking recipes. But a beer like this probably hasn’t been touched in awhile. Evolving tastes, though? That’s not a bad thing!

      Part of what I’m trying to do is approach this from a ‘I don’t know what this is what should I have’ perspective so this ESB being a good intro beer, while being less appreciated by craft beer enthusiasts is an OK thing in my opinion.

      I didn’t realize Mac & Jack’s sold so well! Looks like that beer is going on the list. Thanks!

  2. Once upon a time I loved this, too! Haven’t had it in quite some time, so I might give it a go for old times sake. Thanks again for this series.

    1. This is another reason why I’ve started this series: sometimes these beers will (and should) hold up to our memories.

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