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

653 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 653
Reviews: 326
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 10
Gots: 28 | FT: 3
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) Alström Bros
Ratings: 653 | Reviews: 326 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rgrace99


4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from bottle. Color was a deep copper with a one-finger head. Fine streams of small bubbles and some lacing. Aroma was mild caramel and toffee and a barely noticible hop aroma. Taste was primarily caramel malt with some hop flavor. It was very drinkable and a nice representation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2006 16:17:00 | More by rgrace99
Photo of GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

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

This could have been an excellent ESB, but it falls tragically short. Not due to lack of skill, mind you. But due to choice. More on that later.

My first impression of a beer is based on the color. A darker copper color usually tells you whether you have an ESB or a glorified amber. This one had a beautiful dark copper color.

The aroma is one of hops. The hops character seems to be dominated by Cascade, which given the West Coast origin of this beer seems right.

Now, the disappointment. I could detect the biscuity malt complexity that the excellent color pointed too. But they buried this under too much hops. ESB's are about balance. Let them be balanced. Too much hops.

Is it a very good beer? Yes. Is it a very good ESB? Almost. Could have been. Very much a missed opportunity.

Thanks to blitheringidiot for picking this up for me while on his travels.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2006 14:48:59 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of poluti


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

Pours a deep dark brown to reddish hue with a good yellowish tan head. The head is short-lived as a thin but nice lacing covers the beer.
The aroma is of caramel malt balanced with piney hops and some fruit overtones.
Initially the caramel malt stood out with a sweet follow-through. The hops are present in quantity for the style, unleashing a subtle but pleasant balance of bitterness.
It feels good and coats the palate well.
I found it to be a pleasurable experience and will refer to it the next time I pick up an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2006 23:44:41 | More by poluti
Photo of RedHaze


4.28/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy coppery brown with a very creamy one finger head that settles slowly to a thick cap, leaving behind a solid sheet of lace.

Smell; there's a very nice piney hop aroma, with some light touches of citrus, and other fruits. A solid caramel malt is definitely there in the aroma.

Taste; this is definitely on the bitter side, but I don't find it to be overwhelming. The hops lean towards the piney side wih only some hints of citrus. There's a very nice biscuit and caramel malt backbone that off sets the bitterness very well. Mouthfeel is very rich and smooth, and very drinkable.

Thanks to bditty187 for this one, it's just as good as you said it was.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2006 01:15:57 | More by RedHaze
Photo of patrick16o


4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper red hue with medium crown. It is a little bit hazy with a few rising streams of bubbles. Head retention is average. A nice hoppy aroma. The taste is good, with a bit of malt at the front and a nice hoppy finish to balance it out quite nicely. This also gives the beer a nice layering effect. It's easy to drink and refreshing, I would definately drink more but unfortunately I only have one.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2006 01:34:54 | More by patrick16o
Photo of russpowell


4.9/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep copper/brown with a rocky 3 fingers+ tan head. Average lacing and good head retention

Smell: Big maltiness, fruitty & then nutty, with chocolate notes

Taste: Huge maltiness& good nuttyness up front. Some Fruitty character followed up with strong piney hops. Finishes fruitty & malty

MF: Rich with great balance. Good carbonation levels

A super quaffable, I think this leans towards an English style ESB with American style. No matter how you slice it, one of the best ESBs I've had!

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2006 03:20:55 | More by russpowell
Photo of bditty187


4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, bronze-coppery gold in hue, what a lovely color! Creamy beige head, at the apex the foam was over two fingers tall. Excellent head retention, it took a few moments before a tight cap formed. Lacing started before I took a sip – awesome! The subsequent lacing was widespread and organized. What a great looking beer. Lovely hue, big head, and lots of lacing equals a perfect looking beer!

The first sniff was grapefruit rinds. Okay, this sets the tone, IMO. ESB, Americanized no doubt. After the grapefruit comes a hoppy fruitiness with some faint earthy undertones. I really like the caramel maltiness with kisses of cracker and biscuit. Moderate potency, inviting from start to finish… sure, at the beginning it comes across fairly Americanized but the middle and end does offer some agreeable, true ESB aromas. I’m pleased with what I am smell, no matter the style. It is drinking time!

Wow. Impressive palate. Damn bitter for the style, IMO. I don’t get much in the way of hop flavors, a tickle of grapefruit and some earthy fruitiness but not much else. It’s bitter though. Caramel malts in the middle, slightly woody and earthy towards the back with some biscuits and juicy malt at the finish. I get hints of alcohol, this is a beefy ESB. The finish is bitter, slightly harsh with only a hint of maltiness. Overall, this is a damn fine ESB… but not in a traditional sense. I am not reviewing this beer based on style. Based on taste, this beer is very agreeable and damn tasty! It is just a tad harsh, IMO.

Medium in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel fits the flavor profile very well. I must say, the aftertaste is really agreeable, it is long and lingering with more maltiness then I first tasted.

This is extremely drinkable. Again, screw the style… I could buy a six-pack and go to town. I bet this would be great with burgers or any grilled meat. Oh my, I just thought how great this would be on cask! Lordy! Anyway, I sought out this beer because I wanted to cross-off Idaho from my “must try a beer from all 50 states list.” I did. But this beer is more memorable than that. This is really good! Thank you Bitterbill!

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2006 01:43:09 | More by bditty187
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.68/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice dark color; brown/black. Good head, foaming and lacing. Would have liked a bit more, though.
Smell of roasted malt, chocolate and citrus.
Taste was similar, nice balance. The citrus cuts the chocolate apart so that the thickness is clean. Remains a bit thin, however that adds to the drinkability. One of my favorites in the region.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2006 15:52:25 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of mynie


4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Prettu pour. Chocolate nutbrown with a large tan head.

Smells of harsh hops. Surprising. Grapefruit. Very, very dry. Burny. Nice.

A very slight note of caramel and chocolate leads into wet hops, then grapefruit hops, then dry hops, and then it ends on a sweet candy malt. This is more like a nice and balanced APA than an ESB.

Good beer, great with Italian food.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2006 06:24:41 | More by mynie
Photo of Bitterbill


4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep brown colour with a medium sized head that dissipated quickly leaving only a fine lacing around the edge of the glass.

The smell is a nice mix of hops and malt with a sweeting caramel smell that was probably the dominant note for me.

The taste is very well balanced and hits my taste buds just right. Sweet caramel tones in the malt with just a touch of bitterness with the hops. Good stuff!!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 19:31:44 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Oxymoron


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

Did they name the creek after a female dog? Pours a dark brown to amber color with stronger red hues that are noticeable in the light. A decent head which stays until then end and limited lace that doesn't.

The smell is mostly malty. A good caramel sent is very noticeable but blended well with the hop scent. A stronger earthy tone is noticeable but overall I would say the malt is a stronger aroma.

The taste is good. A limited bite with stronger English hops but smooth. First thing I really notice is a good backing from the malt. Kind of basic in flavors but a strong caramel taste comes out quickly. Limited roasted characteristics are there as well. I can taste hops on both sides with a slight bitter and a slight aroma hint. A good combo nonetheless.

The carbonation is light, which is expected. Also there was a medium body that blended well. Good beer. I should make a clone of this beer and call it Son of a Bitch.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2005 04:26:37 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of beersarang


3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice brownish auburn with a tan head that holds fairly well overall. Foamy.

Nice sweet smell with some grapefruit AND floral hop aromas.

The nose was a good indicator of the flavor. A good caramel malt presence held on for a long time but then a peculiar mix of what seemed like citric and floral hops show themselves. Bitterness is well in balance, but the hop flavor comes through in the end. American British fusion, I like it.

The shortfall of this beer is definitely the mouthfeel. Just a tiny bit too watery, unfortunately. An ESB is supposed to be more medium to full bodied.

Otherwise a good standby beer, with an interesting hop character. Go try it at least once.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2005 06:13:21 | More by beersarang
Photo of kbub6f

New York

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

One inch of dense, tan head leaves lots of small sticky spots. The beer is clear, dark red. Nice. Sweet pruney aroma: tangy, with dark malt. Almost a little barleywine-ish. Tangy and chocolatey in front. Rich, thick, big chocolate malt in the middle with a fruity, bitter chocolate finish. Overall: tasty, with very dark malt and bitter chocolate. But I don't really get the "ESB" out of this (more like a chocolate brown ale).

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2005 16:39:49 | More by kbub6f
Photo of hero27


4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just got this brewery's offerings at my local beer store, so figured I'd pick up a sixer of "Bitch Creek".. gotta say, that's quite the name. I thought that might be all it had going for it when I bought it, but I was proved wrong..

Pours dark..real dark for an ESB. I guess you'd say it's a really dark amber color..nearly brown, really. Has a fairly respectable, tan, pitted head. Leaves random patches of lacing down the sides of the glass.

Gorgeous hop aroma..is that cascade? I thought there was some amarillo or crystal mixed in as well, and I wouldn't be surprised. They certainly didn't shy off the hop additions with this one. Taste is well-balanced and much more complex than I thought. I'm still blown away by this one.. I'll have to update my review on my last beer of the sixer.

Very drinkable...may rival HotShot as my favorite session ESB.

I gotta admit, I didn't expect a brew quite this good. I'd never sampled anything from this brewery before tonight, and I just had the Sweetgrass IPA followed by this impressive brew. They've left quite the good impression.. Glad my local store is going to have this on stock from now on. Well worth trying if you find it.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2005 01:59:01 | More by hero27
Photo of OStrungT


4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brownish red with a tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving thick laces. This beer smells piney. The hop aroma is strong, but not overwhelming. Behind the piney, slightly floral aroma, I detect some caramel malty aromas. This beer does not taste as hoppy as the aroma leads you to believe. It is actually rather malty. The hop flavor is there, but just not the strongest. The blend of hops and malts balance quite nicely. It has slight caramel and toasted malt flavors also. This beer is carbonated quite nicely. It goes down smooth, leaving a sweet, but also hoppy aftertaste. I think this beer would make a great session beer. It is not too high in alcohol, and the flavor is smooth and mild. I am glad that this beer has recently been made available to my area. I will more than likely buy this one again. Try it if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2005 23:59:21 | More by OStrungT
Photo of DogFood11


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a do-able beer for sure. I think this beer would be good with bar-b-q, potatoes, and some asparagus...Mmmm thats the first thing that comes to mind as I drink this beauty.

The lack of head retention wasn't a bother as it surpsingly laces the glass nicely.

Malty for sure but there is also some twisted hops that give it a nice mouthfeel and presence. I was surprised to find out that it is 6.5% as the alcohol is well hidden...some coffee taste also.

Overall a solid thumbs up....cant wait to try another from this brewer.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2005 01:51:08 | More by DogFood11
Photo of alexgash


4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, singed amber body with a small, yet persistent, guaze of light brown head. Darker than expected, and looks great. Nose is quite malty, with sticky brown sugar, and a whiff of cotton candy, mixed with toffee. Fresh hop aromas back it up; slightly citrusy, but mostly resinous and herbal. Toasted malt flavors up front. Sweetish toffee makes a fleeting appearance mid-palate, followed by swelling hops. Bitter, herbal, resinous, and slightly minty. Oh, and delicious. Medium bodied, with a minerally to slightly creamy feel. A big ESB in the vein of Belk's. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 02:02:09 | More by alexgash
Photo of BeerManDan


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

This Bitch Creek Ale was a pleasant surprise. When poured in the glass, it was an amber color with very little foam. The smell of hops and roasted malts, filled the nose with a very pleasant aroma. The taste of hops and roasted malts was very evident with a hint of a caramel flavor. Like I said, what a pleasant surprise this ale was. Watch out, here I come for a case next purchase.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2005 23:47:11 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of freed


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

Had this at a wedding reception of all places, and I honestly didn't have the option of pouring it into a glass. So the appearance is soley based on the label. I decided not to pour some out on the tablecloth as a test.

Fortunately the bottle was rather warm and i was able to get a good nose from it. Mild introduction of hops and direct malt aroma ranging from a crystal/toffee to a slightly sour brown. An interesting introduction, and welcome over the rather thin Bass.

The taste was also predominantly malted though it was complimented but a robust bitterness perfect for a summer afternoon. There was a slight sweetness to the beer but most of the profile was of older, thicker malt flavors. The malt also imparted a slightly sour, astringent you'd get with an amber, and complimented by the bitterness, it had a crisp flavor. Decent beer though, and an odd option in San Francisco.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2005 17:00:44 | More by freed
Photo of rowew


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

Presentation: 12 oz long neck botle. Great lookin label with river rocks in the background, but no information on ABV, freshness, or anything else.

Appearance: Poured a very dark red color with a nice thick tan colored head. Great head retention, and lots of lacing.

Smell: Crisp hoppy aroma with a nice malt background. Slight carmelly smell as well.

Taste: Great hops flavor throughout, with some nice malt to back it up. Carmel flavors, and almost a hint of roasted. Mouthfeel is just a little bit think - not bad, but the only thing I could find to complain about in this beer.

Overall impression: This is a bit bigger than many of the ESBs I have tried before, but it is very well done. Nicely balanced and drinkable - could be dangerous with the relatively high ABV. Definitely worth a try if you can find it!

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2005 22:40:29 | More by rowew
Photo of clvand0


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

Nice name. Thanks to kmpitz2 for this one. This one pours a light brown color with a small head that leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma is slightly hoppy, as it should be, but I think they used American hops in here. Flavor is right on. Slightly strong bitter with a good malt backing to balance out the flavors. Drinkability is good and the mouthfeel is pretty right on. Good brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2005 12:54:55 | More by clvand0
Photo of kmpitz2


4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This one was brought back from Idaho on a trip a few months back. The beer pours a slightly rubied brown color, a bit too dark for my liking. Much darker than expected. The nose is mostly grapefruity hop, with some dirty hops playing in the background as well. I think it smells nice. The flavor is a nice burst of citrus hop, followed with a touch of caramel, finishing with a nice bitter kick. I do like it. Wow. A really nice beer. The feel is a little thin, well below a moderate feel to me. Drinkability is awesome. The nice residual bitter that the hop leaves keeps me wanting more and more.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2004 23:58:39 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of BeerBuilder


3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a ruby brown color with a tan head that diminishes to just a ring. The aroma is citrusy and fruity with a sweet malt backbone. The flavor is malty and citrusy with a nice hop bitterness in the finish. It is medium in body, and easy drinking. Better than I was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2004 04:01:26 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of LarryKemp


3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a deep dark brown that is clear but the darkness masks the clarity. The head was a half inch thick and off white. The head retention was good and a thick layer of head remained for some time.

The Ameican hops came through very strong. This is NOT a traditional ESB. UK hops were not used.

Malt hides in the background from start to finish but is never totally overpowered by the hops. The beer finishes semi sweet with a strong hop bitterness. The citrus at times is replaced by flavor that approaches the sting of a strong radish particularly in the finish.

The mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and medium full. The bitterness plays with the roof of my mouth and particularly stings when the radish sensation is present.

This beer is NOT a British ESB and to my judgement leans far too heavily on the American hops. It is an interesting beer which I would call an American Brown Ale or an American IPA rather than an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2004 04:13:36 | More by LarryKemp
Photo of BuckeyeNation


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

Lucent bloody brown, at least as dark as the bottle it came in and much darker than any ESB in existence. The dark tan head displays a compact creaminess, furious surface pits and cheese cloth-like lace in the form of thin rings up top and thicker rings down near the receding surface of the beer.

Moderately hoppy nose whose intensity, unfortunately, levels off after the initial nasal rush, causing it to never really hit its stride. Something seems to be blunting it... must be that infernal malt. There's very little maltiness in the aroma though, must be some of that stealth malt that I've been hearing so much about. Fruity, earthy English-style hops (Fuggles?) are dominant with grapefruit peel playing a subservient role.

Bitter Creek is a big beer lover's ESB; Grand Teton most certainly did not skimp on ingredients. It isn't quite a bitch slap of an experience, but is more intense than your garden variety ESB. Plenty o' malt gives it a sweet caramel flavor that is beaten into submission by a few well-timed, solid, bitter hoppy thumps akin to candied white grapefruit coated with caramelized sugar and pine sap. The medium-firm, resinous body/mouthfeel leaves a pleasant bitter scum on the tongue.

I've been impressed by Grand Teton. Sweetgrass IPA was a good one and I still have Teton Ale (APA) to sample. If things hold true to form, it'll be a keeper as well. Many thanks to Ragsdale for a trio (I'm hoping) of wonderful Idaho beers.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2004 20:55:25 | More by BuckeyeNation
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 653 ratings.