Yards – Extra Special Ale

Tasting: October 10, 2011
Style: Extra Special Bitter

With the flurry of upcoming releases, it’s time to start looking in the corners of my fridge for some forgotten singles. I recall buying this one a couple of months ago because I was intrigued about the phrase Extra Special Ale which reminded me of an English-style ale called Extra Special Bitter. Although the name isn’t exact, it is from what I understand an American version of the style. Bitter is essentially an English pale ale with additional ABV and IBU. There are a number of “Bitter” ales in England — there’s: best bitter; special bitter; extra special bitter and premium bitter.

According to the label this is the first beer brewed by Yard’s (Philadelphia). They describe it as intended for the cask-ale connoisseur. Also – 6.0% ABV.

Pours a rich brown. Not much of a nose, but the first sip reveals a very classic English style. A bit fizzy and astringent – but big malty sweetness, caramel and some honey green tea. The only thing missing is the flintiness you might get from high mineral English water. The hop character is what seals the deal with bitter ales, surprisingly potent citrus hops give you a crisp finish. That malt backbone is ever present and stands up nicely. Really nicely balanced. I’ll put 86 points on this one. I would bet this one would be awesome on cask.

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