Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Bitch is Back and Bigger than Ever

You have to appreciate the entrepreneur who can create a catchy beer with a catchy name, two ways to shout from out of the great beer cornucopia to grab the attention of prospective beer drinkers. Though American brown ale has never been my favorite style in the world, I've always believed that Grand Teton Brewing has pulled off that double-double with Bitch Creek ESB.

"XX Bitch Creek Double ESB" isn't quite as simple and catchy a name. But if a rose is still a rose by any other name, as that Billy guy said, then let's call this exactly what it is: An extremely powerful and impressive beer.

Part of the Idaho company's Cellar Reserve series, this dark and jolting concoction is everything that the name suggests. Twice the malt and twice the hops of what has become the brewery's flagship beer, it is a bitch on your taste buds . . . in a good way, of course.

What impressed me about this was the enormous hops taste that pervaded its darkness. To me, it's less a double brown than an English-style pale with some real American cajones, but the complexity is exceptional all the same.

Maybe I'm a sucker for beers with melted wax lids or for limited releases that just amp up everything you know about the original beer. And yet at 7.5 percent ABV, this is a beer you could enjoy two of in one night, remember it and be feeling the lingering hop backtaste for hours afterward.

Available in 11 western and Midwestern states - plus New York, for good measure - this is one of only two seasonal releases that has really caught my eye so far. (See my last scribblings for my thoughts on Left Hand's Snowbound Ale as well). But when I find something like this, I've got to shout about it. And in this case, the name even lets me swear a little.


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