Do you remember the time before every beer style was a something-IPA? I do, but just barely.
ESB is one of the styles that have swamped by the need to make every beer unsubtly hoppy. (Or a kettle sour, but that’s another rant for another post.) The name means extra special bitter and it has a long tradition with English brewers.
Copper or gold in colour, with hops mainly for aroma and toasty, fruity malts, ESBs are made with English yeasts that grant an estery character. They are the heavier-weight version of a British-style bitter.
Not many Ontario breweries make an ESB, but the ones we have to choose from are all quite good. And Collingwood’s Kingpost is one of the best.
Kingpost is the expected dark copper, bordering on amber colour with a low to moderate amount of off-white head. The aroma has orchard fruit and lightly toasted malt with a toffee sweetness just detectable. A sip delivers more biscuity malt with a light citrus zest making its way into the picture.
Make sure you let this one warm up from fridge temperature (it does best above 8 C). For food pairings keep it simple — fish ‘n’ chips is the classic choice and melted cheese on toast will be equally good.
What does the name mean? Well, it’s an old architectural feature, but even after reading the Wikipedia article a couple times, I’m not entirely sure what a kingpost does. For much of this beer’s life, it was called Fireside ESB, but I imagine Collingwood decided Kingpost has a more all-season ring to it.
Speaking of Collingwood, they’re on the list of new breweries that will be added in the next issue of the Growler. For our fourth issue, due out in mid-February, our brewery directory will be expanded to included Northern Ontario. Grab a subscription to make sure you land a copy (issue 3 has sold out) or look for one in brewery taprooms or on newsstand shelves.
Collingwood’s Kingpost ESB (5.8% ABV) is widely available at the LCBO for $3.10.