Wednesday 21 December 2011

Local beer review: Propeller/Hart & Thistle Imperial ESB Collaboration Ale

We're huge fans of local beer, and follow closely any developments related to new releases, especially limited releases. When one such limited release featured a collaboration between two of our favourite local breweries, Propeller Brewing Co. and the Hart & Thistle Gastropub and Brewery, well, it was on like a certain barrel-tossing simian.

Ever since embracing local growler culture (a transformative event in one's life), we've enjoyed trips to the Propeller brewery on Gottingen St. It's just over the bridge, and pretty much all of their offerings have been a 'go-to' at one point or another (the only downside is parking in the neighbouring Staples lot, then feeling guilty and ending up buying some new pens or something... which I suppose is also positive if one values having a broad selection of stationery). The Hart & Thistle is only a 12-minute ferry ride from Downtown Dartmouth, which makes it an ideal destination for post-work beer and nachos (is that a hint of cinnamon?). Their selection of craft-brewed beers varies over time, with many hop-centric offerings that are the calling-card of their resident brew master, Greg Nash.

Stay classy, empty bottle.

Which brings us to their collaborative product - the Imperial Extra Special Bitter (ESB) Collaboration Ale. First off, the bottle is amazing, with an etched, rather than paper, label. I think we actually creeped out guests at my wife's Christmas cookie exchange with our vocal admiration. Not to be outdone, the beer itself uses Propeller's excellent ESB as a foundation, then ups the malt content, increasing also the alcohol content (8.5% ABV). A balance between this increased maltiness is attained with brisk and bitter hopiness, which hits strong on the nose, and lingers pleasantly after a swig. The body is surprisingly smooth for such a strong beer, making it exceedingly drinkable. To be honest, we both had high expectations for this beer, and were still blown away.  I've heard the term 'awesome sauce' used as a verb; the Imperial ESB warrants its use as a noun.

Now the sad news - it's limited run of (badass) bottles is sold out. I believe, however, that you may still be able to find it on tap at the Hart and Thistle. And find it you should - it's awesome sauce.

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