Phillips Brewing Company Benefit Brew Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary – Premium Bitter / ESB at 5.8% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Benefit Brew Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary Premium Bitter / ESB at 5.8% ABV (C$5.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 25-Feb-2018)

Appearance: clear deep amber with two fingers of rocky beige head, excellent retention and stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, pine, mild coffee. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

OK, fine, I’ll go to the Wolfdog Sanctuary. (Well… p’raps I’ll wait until the summer, considering the youngsters and the missus are probably gonna be here then – but I will go. Considering it’s all of an hour away, I feel kind of obligated at this point.) Anyway, moving on to the beer – which is nowhere near as cool as a Wolfdog, I mean, come on – but is actually pretty damn fine. It’s pretty much what it says on the label: a West Coast style ESB. Which is to say, malt doesn’t actually dominate, but doesn’t really give up the limelight either. Instead, you get a pretty decently balanced profile of citrus, caramel, and pine, with just a hint of coffee at the back end. You could do a whole lot worse with the style – and, in fact, based upon my experience, you almost certainly will. This might not be the best example I’ve ever had, but it’s right up there. (And it’s very nearly the best I’ve had from this brewery, as well!) All in all, helluva result. Wait… does this mean this actually is Extra Special and Bitter? Wow… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze