“This classic Pub Ale has been an annual favorite at our pubs for years, and now its heading down the road in bottles. Inspired by a love for outside play (and the big truck driven by one of the beers original brewers), Big Rig balances a smooth, silky maltiness with crisp, floral notes and just the right bitterness from Crystal hops. Good time to drink? Anytime and anywhere, preferably with a side of sweet baby back ribs.”
Served in an English pint. The bright amber pour offers surprisingly good clarity. Over the top a frothy two finger head forms which gradually collapsed to a fine film with a smattering of random lace left clinging to the glass. The nose is sweet, doughy and malt-forward with an emphasis on caramel and butterscotch. The American influence isn’t far behind though as floral and herbaceous hop notes hit the olfactory’s almost simultaneously. Because it’s pretty much simultaneous the balance of sweet malt and floral hops marry together harmoniously, handing it an earthy pot-pourri like character. Not bad at all. In the mouth it’s well rounded and silky smooth with a substantial bitterness (46 IBU). She weighs in at 6% ABV, which certainly isn’t high for new world ESB’s but is for the more traditional English versions, and is quite well hidden in this particular brew. Lovely balance between the hops and malts upfront. There’s no doubt the chewy caramel and bready malts edge ahead but the combination of slightly citrusy hops and vibrant bitterness adds flare and extra character as it flows across the mid. Subtle hints of orange and pine assert themselves before leading in to a dry, bitter finish that provides reasonable length on the back palate. Midway through this beer we noticed the best by date was 19/7/16, we’re drinking this on 12/8/16 so it would be interesting to see how this ESB fares when drunk fresh. The hops are still active and flavoursome so we are only left to imagine. Still, nothing detracts from the taste and aroma so it’s just another solid offering from Deschutes.