Wednesday, August 29, 2012

XX Bitch Creek Double ESB (2012) – Grand Teton Brewing

           No, not an Extra Special Bitter, XX Bitch Creek Double ESB is an Extra Special Brown.  What makes it extra special you might ask, tons of malts and generous helpings of Centennial and Chinook hops.  So, what makes it double, you may be asking yourself?  Oh, that part’s easy, they doubled everything.  That’s right, double the malts, double the hops, double the flavor and a nice boost in ABV.  This isn’t the first time that Grand Teton Brewing has released a Double Bitch Creek, the first was in 2008 in commemoration of their 20th Anniversary.  The beer was so highly regarded that they realized a one-time release just wouldn’t cut it.

           That’s where the 2012 Cellar Reserve program comes in, for 2012 Grand Teton is bringing back the beers with the best potential for aging.  My first introduction to the 2012 Cellar Reserve program was the amazing Snarling Badger Berliner Weisse, the May 1st releases.  The most recent release is none other than the XX Bitch Creek Double ESB, the beer that was so popular at the 20th Anniversary release.

            If you are interested in reading about the history of Grand Teton Brewing, or how they practically invented the modern growler, check out my earlier post on Snarling Badge.  On to the review.

             The 2012 XX Bitch Creek doesn’t get released until Sept 1, so there are not any ratings up on either Beeradvocate or ratebeer yet.  I love being a blogger!!!

They say:
            XX Bitch Creek 2012
Double ESB Ale 

Twenty-four years ago Charlie Otto began making beer in Wyoming’s first modern brewery, a 210 square foot cabin in Jackson Hole. Since then, Grand Teton Brewing has grown into its present 11,000 square foot facility in Victor, Idaho, winning dozens of major awards and bringing innovations like the reusable glass growler to the brewing world. 
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) Ale was first brewed in 2003, and perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor to make a full-bodied mahogany ale. Southern Idaho 2-row malted barley and four German specialty malts provide massive body and flavor. Two hop varieties developed in Idaho, Galena and Chinook, balance the maltiness with clean bitterness and citrus flavors. Late additions of Centennial hops add piney, resinous flavors and aroma. 

              Bitch Creek ESB has quickly become one of our best selling and most critically acclaimed beers. At last count, it has won eleven gold medals at major national and international competitions.
XX Bitch Creek Double ESB is all that and more. To celebrate our twentieth anniversary in 2008 we took the Bitch Creek recipe and doubled everything: double the malt, double the hops, and twice the flavor. It was one of the most popular and best-reviewed Cellar Reserves we’ve brewed. It is also one of the most requested of our retired Cellar Reserves. 

               Over the years we’ve learned a lot about cellaring beers, and for 2012 we’ve refocused our Cellar Reserve program on beers that will taste great now and will lay down and mature over one or two years’ time. Now that we have a large catalog of previously brewed styles, we’ll bring back one or two of our best aging beers each year. It is fitting that XX Bitch Creek be the first to make a repeat appearance. This beer will change over time—the hops will mellow and the bitterness diminish, but the solid malt backbone will carry through, eventually taking on vinous, sherry-like notes. 

                This is a strongly flavorful beer, which should be paired with only the most flavorful of foods. Drink it alone as a nightcap, try it with the best steaks, game meats and hearty stews, or pair it with strong blue cheese or rich bread pudding. 

                XX Bitch Creek Double ESB Ale is a one time release available September 1st, 2012 in 1/2 and 1/6 bbl kegs and bottle-conditioned 750 mL cases.  

Original Gravity (Plato): 18˚
International Bitterness Units: 60
Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
Color (Lovibond): 18˚   

I say:

                XX Bitch Creek pours dark, almost opaque, mahogany with a very thick, very creamy light brown head with excellent retention and excellent lacing in the glass.  The aroma is full of roasted malts, tons of pine and resin from the Centennial hops, and just a hint of nuttiness and coffee from the dark, roasted malts.  It was a pleasure to smell and was almost soothing, something to enjoy with a steak on a cold fall night.

                The flavor was very complex with hints of citrus, resin with a dark malt backbone.  It was robust and slightly sweet, with just the right amount of bitterness.  This is quite possible the best Brown Ale I have ever tasted, it is everything a Brown should be, perhaps that’s why it was an Extra Special Brown.  XX Bitch Creek is full bodied and creamy with a moderate level of carbonation.  It is an unbelievably amazing beer!!

                I often like wheat beers, or funky beers, at times I go for a smoked or hoppy beer, but the XX Bitch Creek was truly an amazing brew, and an excellent choice for a fall night.  Heck, this beer is an excellent choice any night, if you can get your hands on it.

                Unfortunately the only bad thing about this beer is that it’s a limited release.  I would love to see this beer as a year round or even seasonal release by Grand Teton Brewing.  Unfortunately we are not that lucky, so be sure to pick up as many bottles as your local liquor store will allow.  This is certainly one beer purchase you will not regret!  I am already planning my 2 hr drive to pick up 4, 5, maybe 6 bottles of this wonderful beer so that I can age it in my cellar and periodically taste a bottle over the next few years.  You may not want to wait that long though so buy at least 2 bottles, one for now and one for later!  You will NOT be disappointed!!

                That’s all for today, check back on Friday for a review of, let’s say Frangelic Mountain Brown from Founders!

                Happy Hump Day!!

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