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Arcadia Lake Superior ESB - Arcadia Brewing Company

Arcadia Lake Superior ESBArcadia Lake Superior ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

61 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 15.34%

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Name was changed to Thunder Trail ESB ~2012, though the recipe is the same.

(Beer added by: Wildman on 10-03-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 58 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Thorpe429


3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderately dark copper color with an off white head and good lacing. Nose brings caramel malt and a decent dose of citrus and herbal hops. Slight bitterness. Taste is a bit more restrained with nothing really standing out. Feel is relatively light with good carbonation. Drinks quite well and was a nice find.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2010 22:29:53 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of taverncast


3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3 out of 5 stars for me - a solid and drinkable, if unremarkable bitter - an old fashioned pub staple that's more malty than bitter. Light hoppy, nutty nose, creamy mouthfeel, malt and caramel flavors and a slightly bitter finish.

This is a good beer to hang back and drink with your buddies with something fried.

The show I'm on just did a review of this beer and the ESB style - check it out! http://www.taverncast.com/shows/taverncast-on-tap-01.mp3

Serving type: on-tap

09-27-2010 14:39:38 | More by taverncast
Photo of PhillyStyle


3.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Birreria Paradiso, Washington DC:

Appeared a brown or dark red with a nice off white head that was well retained.

The beer had a nice malt aroma to it, nothing special, but OK.

Good flavor, nice bitter malty taste, well balanced. Again, nothing special, I have had better ESB's but the flavor is average.

The beer had a medium body to it; it was smooth, creamy and pretty easy to drink. I have had better ESB's, but this one is perhaps slightly better than average. Overall, a decent beer, but there are other ESB's that I would pick up first when choosing the style.

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2009 18:38:15 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of Shovelbum


3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Ashley’s, Ann Arbor, MI.

Arrives with a thin white head over a brown-amber body. The minimal head recedes fairly quickly. Aroma is of earthy and grassy hops over mild caramel malt. A medium grapefruit hop bitterness leads the taste and persists throughout. Soft malt peeks through with biscuit notes and a strange soapy taste. The mouthfeel is lean to medium.

There is a strange characteristic of the hop flavor that seems off and I can’t quite put my finger on. Otherwise a well balanced English style ale with a good hop aroma.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2007 21:59:19 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of redmosquito


3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear amber brown, served with a nice white head that left lace all along the glass. Aroma is of malt and yeast with a mild floral hop in the background. Flavor is toffee malt with significant bitterness and toasted yeast. There is some body here and definate carbonation. This is a good example of the style

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2004 23:13:43 | More by redmosquito
Photo of soper2000


3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A new tap offering at Chumley's. What kind of BA would I be if I didn't try it? Plus I could use something a tad milder after a bottle of fresh 90 minute IIPA. After a nice looking pour from my favorite barkeep, this beer arrives in front of me with a perfect 2 finger creamy off-white head guarding a copper/orange body. Smell is faint. It's hard to recognize precise aromas, but some nice malty bread scents are present. First taste reassures my nose as there is a huge bread crust taste to this brew. The bread crust eventually fades into some soft toasted malt/nutty notes with just a tad bit of hop bitterness. Not a bad ESB at all in my opinion but it's just not my style. Not a bad choice to cool down from an intense IIPA though!

Serving type: on-tap

09-16-2004 04:01:34 | More by soper2000
Photo of nortmand


3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Typically deep amber hue with an orange-white head. Nicely presented in 25 oz. mug.
Not much to the smell, not good or bad, just average. Mostly just a hint of malt aroma.
Definitely malty sweet flavor, with a mild hop-bitterness on the back of the tongue and hints of yeastiness somewhere in there.
Smooth, light mouthfeel, definitely produced for mass consumption, although I would prefer a little more hop presence.
Nicel done overall, try it on tap if you get the chance.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2004 19:56:38 | More by nortmand
Photo of putnam


3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Citrus funk to the nose.
Piles of board-like chalky, iron-dust hoppiness that parts occasionally to reveal tea ... black tea, steeped for hours with brown sugar. Very bitter and scraping tannins cleanse the finish of the artifice. I am thankful. Where's my Speckled Hen?

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2003 02:47:28 | More by putnam
Photo of Jon


4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap, I couldn't find too many flaws with this ale, even though it doesn't really conform to style. It pours a reddish copper tint with a small, but staying ring of white head. Leaves traces of lace down the glass. Bouquet is an equally inviting combination of fresh, aromatic hops and sweet, caramel malt. Actually smelled (and tasted) quite a bit hoppier than I'd expected. Taste was a two-sided attack of some mildly citric, mellow hops and caramel malt, with an herbal yeasty flavor on the finish along with notes of toffee. Smooth, easy drinking, I think this is a solid American interpretation of an Extra Special Bitter. A good beer all around. A nice find on draught.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2003 05:11:33 | More by Jon
Photo of marburg


3.13/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Darkish, clear copper color. Borderline brown. Thin white head dissipates rapidly. Carbonation is weak, and the brew is a little sloppy. Hardly an exemplary mouthfeel. Exceptionally earthy, bland aroma save some sweet bready fragrance. Flavor is sweet and dominated by the malts. A mid-sized hop presence, predominantly herbal, finishes the brew. Pretty easy, and not bad. But it's not a big winner either. You can get it some spots locally for 2 bucks a bottle at the bar. That's probably worth it. Otherwise...eh.

Serving type: on-tap

08-08-2003 19:11:58 | More by marburg
Photo of Wildman


3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a dark copper color and also didn't have much of a head when presented, but it was white and bubbly(only the stout they poured had a decent head but it was nitro). The aroma was of hops, malt and some citrus present. The flavor was of hops, malt and slightly citrus. The finish was bitter. Now with most ESBs, they tend to be a bit more sweet in the finish and less bitter. I don't mind it, but I don't know if that represents the style as well.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2002 17:08:46 | More by Wildman
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.25/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper color, average head, little lace, aroma was metallic.

Taste had enough bitterness and hopping to enjoy. Can't stand underhopped, esb's that lack bitterness. Not that this one couldn't have been better with more. No heft to the body though. Good enough. Good summer beer, won't be offensive to the majority of people not into craft beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2010 17:19:00 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of changeup45


3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this one. Received in a trade. Hazy brown color with a thick head and tons of lacing. Aroma is spiced and slightly malty. Very smooth tasting beer, although possibly lacking a little flavor. Sweet malty and spicy flavors with only slight hop bitterness. Solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2008 00:57:15 | More by changeup45
Photo of bditty187


3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from August:

Overflowing foam, there was over a fist full of white head… yikes! What liquid actually made it into the glass is very attractive, coppery with tawny influences. Slowly the head faded to something more manageable. The subsequent lacing was surprisingly sporadic. I can’t say much positive about the appearance, aside from the lovely color!

The nose is thinly malty with tropical fruit undertones. There isn’t much to this beer. I like the sweetness, I wish there was more hoppiness though. Hints of earth, wood (pine it seems), and melon rinds. Overall, the nose doesn’t say too much. I wouldn’t call the bouquet typical of an ESB but it is pleasant nevertheless.

The palate has a thin malt backbone, caramel, crackers, and toast. Hot alcohol notes! Whoa, where did these come from? I taste rubber cement and fruit candy. Melon notes try to play along. Woody at the finish, pine mainly with some earthiness as well. At least this ESB isn’t disgustingly clean. Sweet finish, messy aftertaste as it seems to be all the previous flavors smashed together. The palate is unremarkable.

Around medium in body, moderate carbonation, the mouthfeel is more cleansing than relaxing which might not be a bad thing. I found the mouthfeel to be respectable.

This ESB neither good nor bad… it is what it is. My label got messed up so I don’t know the “best by” date. Old bottle? Just flawed? Or maybe it is supposed to taste like this? Whatever. It is a decent drink but noting I’d seek out again. Nevertheless, thank you RedHaze for the sample.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2006 13:01:05 | More by bditty187
Photo of beermanbrian


1.5/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle opened with an explosive burst of carbonation. First glass poured all foam. Managed to get about 8 oz of beer in next glass with the rest overflowing foam. The head is big huge bubbles (like soap bubbles) not the nice thick foamy head you would want. It leaves behind sticky clumpy lacing that is not attractive at all. Beer is cloudy brownish amber color. Overwhelming amount of carbonation bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Lots of floaters in this one too that settle to a fine film on the bottom of the glass. This is just a mess of a beer appearance wise. Smell is metallic and harsh. Taste, what isn't covered up by the carbonation, is also metalic and earthy. Not pleasant at all. I don't rip many beers but this is just a mess in every way. Not impressed at all and you would have a hard time convincing me to try this one again. Poured most of it down the drain and it ruined the taste of the next 2 beers i had.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2006 00:27:57 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of nicholasofcusa


2.6/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$1.33 for a single at Trader Joe's
Best Before July
Pours an amber color with very small head that quickly dissapates to ring around the edges. Smells of fruit (citrus, berries) and sweet malts. Medium mouthfeel, somewhat thinner than the few other ESBs I've tried. Earthy, slight grapefruit taste with lasting bitterness. Nice balance between hops and malt. Certainly nothing special about this one. Tastes more like a Pale Ale than ESB imo. Dissappointing. Glad I just bought one.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2006 19:34:38 | More by nicholasofcusa
Photo of evanackerman


4.08/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark hazy amber with a huge billowing head that is in no hurry. aroma is citrus pacific northwest hops.

taste is dominated by hops first followed by a toasty tasting malt backbone, very nice flavor.

mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth, low carbonation, very nice.

drinkabilty is fairly high, i could drink several of these in one sitting.

overall, another fine Michigan beer, a lovely ESB, not much to complain about here.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2006 20:43:33 | More by evanackerman
Photo of PatYoda


2.98/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy Orange with a dying head. Smells metallic and a little sweet. Taste is a little better. Creamy sparkly mouthfeel brings along some malty sweetness and a fair amount of bittering hops to balance. This is nothing groundbreaking, but I'd drink it more than once.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2005 01:01:05 | More by PatYoda
Photo of nota


3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber/copper and holy cow what a head! You need to be careful when pouring this one. There was a mixer of tastes such as caramel, rum, butterscotch, green apples. All in which was pleasent to my palate. The finish was bitter which left an aftertaste that cause my mouth to beg for another swallow. I cannot wait to buy this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 23:35:35 | More by nota
Photo of sopor


3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper with a small fizzy cola head that quickly leaved just a lily pad of film. Just a hint of buttery smell. Samll caramel and even lighter bread noted acoompanied by a buttery overtone. A balanced kiss of hops goes well with this light-malted brew. Mid-light body is a nice slightly slick treat with mid to light carbonation. Very drinkable, good session brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2005 16:38:43 | More by sopor
Photo of walleye


2.83/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

from the bottle. poured a dark copper with a off white head that left a small amount if lacing. aroma hops grapefruit and oranges, caramel malts. flavor not mush going on but did get some toasted malts, and caramel was looking for the hop bitterness but I couldn’t find it in this bottle. but it was a drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2005 18:12:05 | More by walleye
Photo of macpapi


3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lake Superior E.S.B. pours a nice amber-copper color with an impressive tannish head. Nice lacing as well. Smells like malt, barley, with a piney/floral aroma. Not very well balanced though, just a bunch of different things going on. Taste is sweet and pretty bitter. Hops are slightly noticeable. Citrus dominates the sweet portion. Overall a nice mix of bitter and sweet. In the mouth it is medium body, with a pretty good deal of carblnation. This is not a bad little E.S.B. It has many fine attributes of the style, but a little lacking in other areas. Probably not a beer I would call sessionable, but pleasant none the less.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2005 23:52:47 | More by macpapi
Photo of Fugazme


2.95/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a big, mountain head... a little too aggressive. Color is nice with a reddish/copper hue.
The head melted down and kept about 1/8 of an inch throughout.

Smelled malt. A sweet smell... some fruits and even evergreen. I picked up some light alcohol as well.

Taste is malty and average. Some slight hops are present and a bit of citrus. Doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on with this beer. I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers, but it might have to talk itself in, in the first place.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2005 07:37:52 | More by Fugazme
Photo of battlekow


3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm having an ESB contest, featuring this, Great Divide HotShot ESB, Great Lakes Moondog Ale, Lakefront's Organic ESB, and the famous Redhook ESB.

Appearance: Wow, I'm not sure what happened to this beer--it was stored right along side the other four--but as soon as I popped the cap, foam came pouring out like a science-project volcano. As I write this review, the beer has been sitting in its glass for at least fifteen minutes and there's still a big, frothy head on it. Colorwise, it's similar to the rest, a dark gold, but is noticeably cloudier than its brethren.

Smell: Overpoweringly of green apples, with a little rummy alcohol mixed in. It doesn't smell bad, just odd.

Taste: Apples and rum, strongly, with a little bit of a bitter finish. The upfront flavors are a little shocking.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, not nearly as assaulting as I'd figured it would be with the carbonation level.

Drinkability: Well, I haven't had THAT many ESBs, but this is definitely different from the rest. It's bitter at the end, sure, but the thing that will stick in your mind is that it's like taking shots of apple-flavored rum. So, if that sounds delicious, go for it.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2005 05:29:42 | More by battlekow
Photo of granger10


4.38/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer so many times yet I guess I have never reviewed it. It's a shame to have learned that Arcadia will soon be discontuing this beer. I really do think its their best offering. There's nice fruity malt tones in here yet they're not too sweet. Very, very smooth mouthfeel. A buttery slickness which must be from the yeast gives this beer a velvety feel and works beautifully for the malt hop transition. Caramel works as the base flavoring agent. The hops are slightly spicy and a little floral and they linger on the tongue in the finish. Beautifully crafted. A great ESB that will surely be missed.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2005 00:54:21 | More by granger10
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Arcadia Lake Superior ESB from Arcadia Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.