I always love getting the opportunity to try an historical beer style, and Five Barrel’s Hot Take is just that: a snapshot of what English porters were like in America in days past. (Apparently George Washington was a big fan of porters like this, but I don’t subscribe to these trendy influencers.)
To keep things authentic, Five Barrel brewed Hot Take with maize, dark wheat and blackstrap molasses (which is more bitter than molasses). The resulting porter smells very familiar – rich roast, milk chocolate, creamy mocha – but the taste hits you with a flat smack of savoury molasses. There’s also a full-on bitterness, which I assume is the combination of the blackstrap and the American hops.
Meanwhile, receiving a beer with a plague doctor on the tin while I was at home with COVID seemed a bit on the nose. But Esuna Botanical Sour is certainly a concoction designed to perk up whoever drinks it† - a Berliner Weisse with Earl Grey tea, ginger, lime and cardamom is exactly the kind of thing an apothecary would put together in the days of yore.
The smell is amazingly fresh, with ginger and lemongrass and lemon zest bursting out of the glass like it’s nobody’s business. While the ginger’s less pronounced in the mouth, there’s a soft ginger heat, a sourness that plays out as lemon juice acidity, cardamom showing up in flickers, and a grainy finish.
†The Crafty Pint makes no claims that this beer, nor any other beer, will cure you of COVID.
Published January 27, 2022 2022-01-27 00:00:00