La Vache Folle ESB

I broke the rules printed on the back of the label and poured this into the glass you see instead of an English tulip pint or weissbier "vase" as pictured. It's rebellious but leaves me looking pretentious and snobby to some. So... it all balances out. Besides... this is just about the best type of glass to drink a beer from.

This Extra Special Bitter is my second beer from the Microbrasserie Charlevoix in Quebec. It's a cloudy, rich copper. There was all kinds of head with a bit of creaminess that lowered slowly, leaving just a bubbly skim on top. There were only odd spots of lacing.

The aroma has distinct, flowery hops (like a really muted rose variety or clover nectar). Not so much powerful (as advertised) as obvious. It blends well with the smooth, sweet undertone of caramel.

In the flavour is a bit of sweetness... slight, like a caramel wafer, not like the pure liquid or toffee. The bitterness lingers and brings to mind orange peel.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty great beer. It has the brightness and qualities of an IPA in subtle form, blended with the nice, smooth sweetness of a bitter ale. It's well-balanced, just the way an ESB should be.