Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Moondog ESB

Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Cleveland, OH

Style: ESB
ABV: 5.0%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
I have never been to England, home of the “bitter,” a style of beer that pretty much has become the fog monkeys’ national drink. I’ve been told that in order to experience a truly good bitter, you have to drink a cellar-temperature, hand-pulled pint at a pub in England. I look forward to doing that one of these days. Until then, though, I have to settle with sampling the brews cooked up by Midwest craft brewers. Poor, poor me.

Last time I checked, Cleveland isn’t all that close to England, but the brewery there, Great Lakes, has a rep for some pretty damn good brews. Which is why I recently snapped up a sixer of their Moondog ESB.

The key to a good ESB is subtlety, and, sitting in the glass, Moondog is plenty subtle: a clear, reddish-tinged gold with a fine-bubbled, off-white head. The aroma is an enticing mix of bready malt and spicy hops. All this precedes a sharp mouthfeel atop than a fairly light body.

The mix of dryish, biscuity malt and equal parts spicy and earthy hops from the nose continues from the start of the sip through the end. The hops are the lead player (it is an extra special bitter, after all), but they certainly don’t overpower the beer. The Great Lakes folks even managed to coax some fruity/piney notes out those UK hops (unless, of course, they cheated and threw in some good ol’—or new, I should say—American varieties). Either way, this a great example of an otherwise hard-to-find style (outside of England, at least): crisp and refreshing, and, at 5 percent ABV, a perfect candidate for a session beer, which, any fog monkey in England or Cleveland will tell you, a good ESB should be.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on June 3, 2008.
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