Phillips Coast To Coastless Imperial ESB

Reviewed by on July 7, 2015 in Summer Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company et al.

  • Origin: Victoria, BC, CA

  • Rated On: July 7, 2015

  • Best Before: November 9, 2015

  • ABV: 7.6%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Imperial ESB

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

This is the Phillips version of this all-Canuck, summertime brew, a so-called ‘Quad-Laboration’ beer, made in conjunction with Garrison, Flying Monkeys, and Le Trou Du Diable, for a cross-Canadian attempt at perhaps exposing a true and native style – Imperial ESB, eh?  And yeah, released for Canada Day, a whole few days before the actual occasion in this big, big (big) country of ours, hence my apparent tardiness.

This 650ml bottle pours a clear, dark red-brick amber hue, with three chubby fingers of puffy, rocky, and moderately creamy ecru head, which leaves some sudsy draped and webbed lace around the glass as it evenly bleeds off.

It smells of biscuity caramel malt, a slightly doughy breadiness, muddled dark orchard fruit (think plums and overripe apples), a twinge of peppery yeast, and leafy, herbal, and kind of perfumed noble hops. The taste is semi-sweet, bready caramel malt, wet English muffins, wanly zesty citrus and drupe fruit esters, a now faded gritty yeastiness, and more leafy, weedy, grassy, and hotly floral hop bitterness. The carbonation is good and hefty in its all-around frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and generally smooth, the hops obviously not of the egregiously pushy Yankee persuasion here. It finishes off-dry, the fluttering caramel malt doing well to not make a big deal over the cute aggressiveness of the old-world hop measures.

While not the ideal for my concept of a Canadian-bred style (some things should be left on the drawing board, but what do I know, really, eh?), this comes off as more of a slightly too hot base ESB, and not much more. That said, it is tasty enough, and actually drinkable, in that certain plain-talking Phillips manner. Nothing too crazy here, if that is your preferred stripe of Canuckitude, and worthy of a try, if only to sate one’s sense of national (craft beer) pride.

Brady White

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