1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) - Grand Teton Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

708 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 708
Reviews: 329
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 10
Gots: 45 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co. visit their website
Idaho, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Bitch Creek perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor for a full bodied, satisfying mahogany ale. Like the stream for which it is named, our Bitch Creek ESB is full of character... not for the timid.

54 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-04-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) Alström Bros
Ratings: 708 | Reviews: 329 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmeves
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep amber with a rocky beige head. Aroma is lightly sweet with caramel, earthy hops, dark chocolate and light nut. The flavor is medium sweet chocolate, earthy, caramel, floral and toffee. Medium body, chewy texture. Finishes long and nicely bitter.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle served in a shaker pint glass. Poured a dark amber with a finger of tan head. Nice malty aroma with caramel/molasses and some hops. Medium bodied with a rich malt profile. More caramel and a lingering chocolate malt flavor. Dry finish from both malt and hops. Fair amount of hop bitterness for the style. Very drinkable. Great beer for malt lovers.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.53/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear, mahogany color with a tan head that thinned to a light ring.

S - sweet malts and plenty of citrus hops in the aroma.

T - well balanced brew, sweetness of malts is kicked in the pants with a fantastic hop bitterness.

F - medium bodied with a clean carbonation feel.

D - exceptional... that is if 51 IBU's does as much for you as it does for me.

Photo of julian
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up from Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA

A: beautiful brown/cherry in color with very good clarity. Head is decent but disappears pretty quickly leaving bubble mountains in random places.

S: can definitely smell the hops up front, but it's not overwhelming as there is an equal aromatic supply of malt. smells somewhat fruity also.

T: considering this has bitter in the name, it definitely does not disappoint. smooth drinking but there is a definite resiny bitterness here on the front of the tongue...moving back there is brown sugar sweetening the palate and on the aftertaste a roasted nuttiness.

M: smooth and creamy, but definitely a bitter kick up front...this does smooth out however and after a few gulps you can't even notice.

D: slightly higher than average ABV, but overall a good tasting ESB with a nice nutty aftertaste.

Photo of Winter
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark auburn with a creamy tan head. Malty nose consists of plums, caramel and piney hops. The mouthfeel is full-bodied. The front has flavors of dark fruit and malt. Actually very malty. Caramel follows as does a piney hop bitterness which arrives midway. There's a nuttiness that emerges toward the back. Then... hop burps. Slight alcohol lingers in the finish.

Wow, it's been awhile since I've had an ESB. This was really good. It's a style I've have to look into revisiting more often.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled June 2008; Sample August 2008
Pours with a frothy, four finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head into my 25cl tulip glass. Thick aromas of ample crystal malt usage and citrus-hops are noticeable as I inspect the beer. It has a dark amber, concentrated red color that shows an absolutely brilliantly clear, ruby - cranberry hue when held up to the light. There is definitely a lot of crystal malt in this beer; toasty malt aromatics and thick caramelized sugars are quite noticeable, though the hop notes are perhaps a bit more prominent. Hop aromas of candied citrus peel, grapefruit, concentrated berry notes, some caramelized & reduced tangelo notes as well as a supporting herbal note that has pine-needle leanings to it. A good aroma, even if the crystal malt plays a bit too much of a heavy handed role here.

An aggressively hoppy flavor with ample citrus notes tastes a bit tart at first. Lots of sharp pine flavors as well as a biting bitterness that takes an astringent turn in the finish. The malt character seems a bit murky here; it is definitely from the crystal malt and is a mix of toasted malt notes, caramel flavors and a bit of astringent grain husk notes. The hop character has an almost mint like quality to it at times . This has a definite fullness to it, perhaps a bit more body than one would expect in your average beer of this strength, but nothing outlandish. Lots of sweet, caramelized malt notes serve more to support the ample hop character than being overly noticed on their own (though they definitely are noticeable).

Not a bad beer, but clearly a bit too heavy handed with the caramel malts. The hop character, though fairly aggressive, just can't quite balance out the sticky crystal malt flavors.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Photo of ralree
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried at the Brewer's Fest in Portland.

A: Dark tan, decent head, decent lacing. Pretty opaque.

S: Dark fruit dominant, caramel malt backing.

T: Dark fruit, good northwest hops, caramel malt, wheat in background and aftertaste. A bit of barley and brown sugar. Alcohol noticeable.

M: Medium-bodied, non-astringent, decent carbonation.

D: Drinks good. You must not crave extreme hops for hate dark fruit, though.

Photo of SurlyDuff
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange copper with a huge rocky tan head. Sticky lacing grabs onto the sides of my glass.

Hops and an unrefined malt that reminds me of wort/homebrew. Earthy and some spicy hops.

It's a big ESB, almost along the lines of an IPA. Big malt backbone makes it almost sticky and overly bready and thick. The hops are crisp, sharp, and spicy. Somewhat of a noble twang in there. A rather odd cooked veggie taste in the background, me thinks this beer might be past its prime.

An okay ESB, certainly an american frankenstein on the style. A good enough drinker, though its so full and thick that it goes down slow.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This, and a couple others from Grand Teton, hit shelves in the Portland market within the last month. I had this beer on one other occasion, a couple years ago when a friend had a leftover bottle from a beer-of-the-month club. Why do I remember that? Who knows...the word 'Bitch' maybe... anyhow, this is a 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass, enjoyed in the backyard. Bottled on printed: 06/04/08.

After as many reviews as I've done, it amazes me that this is my first of a beer from Idaho...

A: Nice clarity, this one is a perfectly transparent ruby/amber that glows with a bright cherry redness in the waning sunlight. Decent carbonation rising to about 1.5-fingers of frothy, crackling head. This sandy tan crowns drops over a couple minutes to a creamy, rather dense film, leaves excellent wide bands of lace.

S: Toasted malty cereal grain and a generous dose of grassy, (rather pungently) herbal hops.

T: Not surprising that this takes a decidedly Northwest approach to the hopping; it does have a decidedly grassy/earthy hop feel throughout, becoming more of an acerbic lemon or grapefruit toward the finish. There are sweet grain notes squeezing through, but most of the 'Bitter' in this ESB seems to emanate from the hops.

M: Seems a little thin. Goes down smoothly enough and vanishes rather cleanly, but does build to anything. Carbonation seems mundane (despite plenty that's visible). That sharp bitter twang holds for a while on the roof of the roof before drifting away.

D: Didn't really care for this one so much. I'm not hop-averse by any means, but I do like more balance in an ESB than this one offered. Also, its 6.5% ABV raises it above being 'sessionable' (i.e. even if I really liked this one, I couldn't go for more than a couple at a sitting). May give it another try somewhere down the road.

Photo of shadow1961
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grand Teton Bitch Creek ESB pours a big stiff head over an almost opaque
amber/ruby brew. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of carbonation, but
the head seems to stand up for a pretty long time. The nose is bready and
fruity with a tang of grapefruit rind from West coast hops. The flavor is a bit
of sweetish malt quickly overtaken by an assertive herbal/grapefruit rind hop
presence. Mouthfeel is crisp with a long dry finish. This brew is an American
take on an English style that is characterised by it's sessionability and a delicate,
flavorful complexity. I have the sense (though the alcohol by volume isn't on the
label) that this brew is sessionable, it's a step or two overhopped for the style.
Since we are in a hop shortage, why not dial it back, or dry hop it for aroma?
Still and all, not a bad brew (I had one for breakfast)- it's just a bit unbalanced.
If you love the hop though, you'll be well satisfied. And you gotta love the name...

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The Bitch Creek ESB is a nice looking amber with a good 2 finger foam head that leaves some real nice lacing around the sides.

The aroma is toasty malts similar to some porters just not as toasty. It is fruity as well.

The taste is malty up front and has some good caramel tones to it. You get a very slight bitterness on the back end but not much. In the mouth it is light and carbonation is pretty low. Overall a nice beer but I will have to stick with the brutal.

Photo of bitterthebetter
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a really dark brown with amber highlights and light white head

rich, bready aroma with subtle hops and slight fruit

rich, roasty malt upfront with slight apple and lemon citrus with the piney hops and breadiness kicking in later.

starts light and the hops just continue to persist to make for a slighty dry yet fruity finish. very long for a esb and a 6er

very nice and smooth, yet with more character than most esb's I've had and much more memorable. a very tasty and different ale

Photo of prototypic
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of abankovich. Thanks man.

Appearance: The look of Bitch Creek is nothing short of a stunning surprise. I wasn't expecting this. It's relatively clear, but dark brown in color with a ruby-esque look to it. Sitting atop is a caramel colored two finger head that had good retention and left a nice lacing on the glass. Great looking beer.

Smell: Given the high expectations created by the look, the nose is weak and very disappointing. There's an initial, light citrus grapefruit and mango aroma. Hops are strong up front and are more floral in character. It's a little grainy with very faint caramel malt coming through. A little biscuity on the tail.

Taste: It's primarily malty in character. Loads more caramel malt comes through in flavor and provides a sweet, very stable backbone. There's some citrus flavors lingering, mostly grapefruit and mango. Hops are floral and give it an earthy taste. Slightly grainy. There's a nice piney, hoppy bite in there that's surprising considering it eluded the nose. It's a nice touch here and really livens up the flavor quite a bit. It finishes sweet, bitter, and a little biscuity.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light and has a very smooth, unimposing feel. I like it. Carbonation is good and it's very drinkable. Just light enough and strong enough for sessionabilty.

This is my first Grand Teton experience and it's been a good one. I honestly didn't know what to expect from an ESB crafted in Idaho. But, it's good. The nose could stand some work. Other than that, it's a fine effort. It's a little left of center from most ESBs out there and I'm a fan.

Photo of Rayek
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep red amber color with decent clarity. Firm pale tan head has good retention. Tiny bubbles from carbonation. Leaves a small amount of lace.

S: Heavy citrus aromas of grapefruit and lemon. Wood scents of pine and spruce.

T: Toasted grain notes up front. Followed by citrus hops that have a strong grapefruit component. Finishes somewhat dry with a mild lingering bitterness.

M: Medium body has a little too much carbonation.

D: Nice as a session beer or with food.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, nice amber color with some ruby hints. Tan head on top with a nice retention level. Bitch Creek has a bitter hoppy aroma, which smells like Kent Goldings. Along with this is slightly sweet apple aroma from the malts. As for taste, very nice malt backbone, followed by some great mild bitters from the hops. Some apple flavors, but mostly just a well-balance of English hops and crystal malts. Mouthfeel is very smooth and damn near perfect for this style. In my opinion, it is a very nice drinking ESB and a good representation of the style.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Chestnut body, thick light tan head is quickly reduced to just a thin layer. Nice patches of lacing.

s: Toasted caramel malt and hops.

t: Earthy hops rest atop a toasted sweet caramel malt base. Hop bitterness creeps in at the finish. Hoppier than most ESBs.

m: Nice resiny chew from the hop oils, medium bodied, smoother than many ESBs.

d: I like it. I would say its growing on me. My initial impression was just another ESB. But I now feel it is solidly above average. Nice hop kick, the malt and hops pair well together. Highly drinkable.

Photo of dnichols
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Reese5150 for sharing this brew. I poured the 12 ounce capped bottle into a chilled tulip.

A: An aggressive pour resulted in a dark ruddy body that when back lit was revealed to be a hazy cherry hue. There was a modest off white head that did not stay around but left a stingy sparse lacing.

S: It had aromas of sweet roasted malts tinged with caramel, as well as citrusy, floral hops. There were also hints of dark ripe fruits and as the beer settled in the glass and warmed it gave of a more pronounced smell of roasted malts including hints of coffee and bitter chocolate.

T: It began with a burst of roasted malts spiced with bitter hops. The bitter hops dominate but the taste of caramel, black pepper, and sweet malts are evident as is the taste of alcohol. It was a bit more bitter than I expected but overall the malt to hop balance was solid.

M: It is a hoppy bitter brew that is light bodied and has balanced carbonation and a dry nearly clean finish. There is a tad bit of lingering bitterness that stayed until I finished the beer.

D: It was a pleasant brew that was a bit hoppier than I anticipated but reasonably well balanced and a pleasure to sample. I could easily see spending some time drinking this brew.

Photo of bennetj17
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is dark brown with an amber hue. Fairly cloudy. I get a clean grassy hop aroma with some light bready malt and a hint of caramel. Decent smell at best.

The taste is initially fruity, followed by a strong earth and grass character with a decent bitterness. Slightly dry and toasty, mild on alcohol. The carbonation is a bit overpowering.

I don't know how well this fit the style but it was interesting enough to be enjoyed. Worth a try...

Photo of joe1510
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle

Received Bitch Creek as an extra from the excellent trader known as BitterBill, thanks Bill. Bitch Creek pours murky amber with very few carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. A two finger dirty beige head appeared on the pour but fell to a half finger crown leaving some sheet lacing on its way down.

This beer is packed to the gills with toasted grain. There's some of that faint powdered iced tea aroma floating around in there as well but the toastiness takes the cake. With a little warming there's some caramel coming through. Bitch Creek is enjoyable but somewhat one dimensional.

The big toastiness is upfront and leads throughout. Some mild caramel comes along just before a subtle floral hoppiness comes along to create a perfect balance. Some fruity esters are present on the backend. All this comes together to create an enjoyable highly drinkable ESB.

The mouthfeel is spot on. Medium body comes through the mouth with an incredible velvety texture; smooth and creamy all the way. This ESB is a pure pleasure in the mouth.

With the subtle well balanced flavors and the silky smooth mouthfeel this beer goes down incredibly easy.

This beer continues to grow on me as I drink. I don't visit this style too often and truthfully I'm not sure why. This is an excellent beer that would make a great quaffer if the abv wasn't so high. The 6.5% is unnoticeable.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz from the Boise Coop for about $1.50... shared with a buddy... my half from a shaker pint... I am not rating this brew as an ESB.

Nice 1" lite tan head... chunky.. drops quickly leaving nice lacing... brown body until its held up to the light.. dark cherry juice red... Definately dark for the style, but very pretty nonetheless.

Aroma is toasted malts and piney hops.. brown malts are in the middle.. clean without a whole bunch of yeasty fruitiness... nose falls slightly short but is vastly different than most ESB's.

Flavor is nothing like an ESB... American Brown through and through... caramel and toasted biscuits.. more brown malts with grassy American hops. Big medium body.. and light carbonation... very lite diacetyl (and I hate butterscotch) mixes very nicely with the brown malts...

Given the style, I would not even put this in the top 20 of ESB's I've enjoyed, but again, this is no ESB. Much more akin to a West Coast take on an English Brown.... "What if Alesmith made a novel New Castle clone?"; that would be Bitch Creek. Drinkable proven by my beer budget.. Bitch Creek is pretty much a staple in the fridge.. even the fiancee loves it.

Edit: As it warms, it is really reminding me of recent tasting of Stone's 8th Anniversary (an aged Imperial Mild?)... simply very good and very balanced.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to younger35 for this one.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark ruby amber with a nice tan two finger head that slowly dies down. Stickiness is great, very full all over the sides. Smell is a big caramel malt with an earthy hop mix. Great nose for this style, very inviting. Taste is quite bready with good malt flavors of caramel, chocolate, and a bit of licorice. Could use some more hop flavor, but pretty good balance overall. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied for this style, I'm liking it. Carbonation is fairly mild as well. I was very surprised by this brew, I really look forward to trying more from this brewery. I have the waxed flip-top Maibock waiting for a special occasion. Thanks again Dan!

Photo of Vancer
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks be to unclejedi for a great treat via CEO BIF !

I would’ve popped this one a 5 for presentation, IF the label had some dating or alcohol %. But anyway, what a gorgeous pour of deep mahogany brown. Persistent tan head that left ring laces all the way down.

Classic English PA type aroma, woody and caramel dominated. Taste was superb too, the sweet caramel mixed nicely with the resinous hops – almost barley wine in nature.

Tangy with shades of an oily finish, this was a great way to start off the 2007 NFL season! This would be a great six pack afternoon sipper.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Dark brown, with a thick, white head, looks great in a mug.

S: Very fragrant, very malty, caramely, some butterscotch, and molasses, with a bit of fig, and dark fruits, very complex.

T: Tastes great, a malty bitter, quite robust, with some earthy hops in the balance.

M: Smooth, neat, a very clean mouthfeel, not overbearing.

D: A great ESB, came right out of left field, I never had anything from this brewery before, so I continue to look forward to trying more of their brews in the future, thanks to Hi-Times for finally having some of their brews in single bottles, so I can try them. A great find if you are in the West.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Beer is a dark amber color with a generous, white head that leaves nice lacing and remains on the beer for quite a while after initial consumption.

Aroma is beautifully earthy and buttery and nutty. I would say it is nearly perfect for the style. Fruitiness, nuttiness, plenty of caramel malt with slightly citrusy hops. Right on.

Full flavored ale. Slightly sweet with a great caramel malt backbone and perfect hops to balance out the slight sweetness. This is a great ESB. Nearly full bodied with decent drinkability. This was a pleasant surprise. Glad I picked up a sixer and will be even happier to finish all six.

Reviewed from notes.

Photo of ChrisA
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a stellar brew. I always wondered about this style. I used to feel that pale ales and IPA's really covered the necessary requirement for these beers and that ESB's just blended in either way. Boy was I wrong. This ESB is definitely hoppier than a pale ale, and has much better malt background than most IPA's. Furthermore, it pours a dark caramel color with a fluffy two inch head. I had this about a year ago at a friend's house in Denver, but couldn't find it here in the Springs. I finally was able to acquire a handful and will savor each and every one.

Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 708 ratings.