Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)
818 Ratings
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)

Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Idaho, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-04-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 818 |  Reviews: 349
Photo of FanofHefe
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip; bottled on 7/7/11 - thanks for great dating! Darker than I expected, clear brown body with red tint around the edges. I increased my score for appearance because this three-finger tan head hangs around forever as a foamy cap and leaves plenty of lacing.

The aroma is also different than I expected with a good helping or hops standing by to help the malt. The malt comes in with caramel and bready notes, and I swear, I'm getting some chocolate in the background.

OK, is this an ESB or a Porter? Tastes surprisingly like a Porter, as I'm getting much more of a roasted malt flavor with bittersweet chocolate in the flavor. Still, a slight note of hops blends in and makes for a tasty brew.

Medium to light consistency in the mouthfeel that works well. Just a rock solid brew overall and I'll be looking for more beers from this brewery.

 874 characters

Photo of Philousa
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown wit a creamy one finger head. Sweet dark, nutty, caramel flavors start the nose followed by bitter, earthy hops. I get some brown sugar in the sweetness up front followed by some nutty flavors and then comes the hoppy after taste. This is on the heavy side and feels a bit syrupy, but the carbonation lightens it up a bit.

I have a hard time liking some browns, but this is a good example of an American Brown Ale. I go for the nutty English browns usually, because the hops that brewers choose for American browns just don't go together; but Grand Teton Brewing pulled it off. For some reason this reminds me of a DFH ale. Very hoppy and experimental without being an IPA. I'm going to have to remember to get a sixer of this when I want to mix it up in the winter when the malts are king.

 808 characters

Photo of welldigger888
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep garnett hue with a sticky off white not quite tan head that leaves thick lacing down the glass.

Biscuity caramel malty goodness that is substancial. An earthy type of possibly noble hop aroma that gives way to a nice touch of american hops.

Toasty biscuit with some caramel and hop bitterness that leads into a nice malty citrusy finish.

Not to dry but highly quaffable for sure,medium full body that pleases all the senses for sure.

Wow, good beer here, I like it and I got a ballcap from the rep to boot.

 524 characters

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a really dark reddish brown color with a nice foamy egg shell colored head. Head has pretty solid retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Smell is some really nice toasted and chocolate malts with a very solid citrus hop prescense as well. A touch of pine here too.

T- Not quite a Brown Ale or an ESB. Almost a perfect hybrid of the two. Taste is chocolate, toffee, and caramel malts. Piney hops, a touch of bitterness and yeast.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- Quite surprised by this one. I really enjoyed this one.

 540 characters

Photo of TheRealBigC
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 775 Gastropub

Nice deep mahogany color, pretty good head retention and lacing.

Smell has some notes of coffee and other brown things.

Taste is very robust. Coffee, a little chocolate and nuttiness and a rush of malts and hops come at you hard. It's quite a mouthful, but it's all very smooth. The serving came in a 20oz. glass and I sat at the bar for a good hour with it, taking periodic sips and appreciating the depth. It's definitely not an anytime beer, though, especially not in the summer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one so I made it a point to grab a pack at the store when I got the chance. It's definitely better on tap, but I am enjoying the pack at a leisurely pace, especially since it came off the rotating tap at Gastropub.

 752 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For an "extra special brown" ale you'd expect it to be brown. It is. For a bottle-conditioned beer you might expect little traces of yeast sediment to end up in your glass. They did. And for an English-inspired offering you might expect it to be a better drinker than it is a looker. And that is exactly what this turbid, toneless, reasonably flat beer is.

The beer figures to be quite hoppy, I can sense the bitterness just from smelling it. There is a vaguely earthy must, something not unlike pine needles or birch wood, it reminds me of the cottage. There's also what figures to be a considerably rich malt base, again if this aroma is any indication. It has a nutty, sweet note like roasted pecans and a trace of bruised fruit.

That aroma didn't steer me wrong at all - this thing is both impressively malty as well as appreciably hoppy. The taste of browned bread, softened by a dark caramel-like sweetness, is dreamy on the palate, depositing plenty of pecan and hazelnut flavours as it soothingly glides down the throat. The hops, meanwhile, provide a strong pine needle taste.

Considering the serum-y bitterness and all the toasty nuttiness, the mouthfeel can sometimes feel so dry so as to be almost woody, but the beer doesn't have the complexities to indicate barrel-aging. It seems to have been brewed with a fat Englishman in mind, who's palate was as discerning as his belly was needing to be filled. Bottle-conditioning has ensured there's lots of body and life left in it, even after unknown time on the shelf.

I promised myself I wouldn't write this when I bought the bottle, but I'm so impressed by it that I just can't help myself - Bitch Creek is one bitchin' ale! Now that I've gotten that out of my system, a more serious note: there aren't many American brewers anymore who can grasp the English pub-style ale (and most who do can't often pull it off). But this is exactly the kind of offering that tempts men to sneak out of the house for cheeky pint.

 1,983 characters

Photo of DCon
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-keg(tap) @ Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, MO during the Alpine Shop Dirt Crit MTB Series. Tapped 4 times into Mt New Belgium 12oz cup throughout the whole day.

Aroma- bit of roast and losts of malt and caramel.

Appearance- received with a 2 finger, light brown head that has good retention. Dark amber colored body that is clear. Good lacing.

Flavor- high maltiness with a nice caramel flavor. Medium hops and perfect for an American Brown. Medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel- light-medium bodied, high carbonation, refreshing, and leaves bit of caramel on palate. Feels too light here for the style.

Overall Impression- great brown like always. Wish it wasn't called an Esb... But for those who drink this know what it really is.

 744 characters

Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/10 sticker on the bottle. Pours a cloudy brown with a huge tan head that slowly fades to a constant lacing. The aroma is sweet of brown sugar, malts and multiple little nuggets of fruit... very big nose that is very good. Taste is somewhat toned down compared to the smell but still packs a punch. The malts are the main attraction here with very little hop bite. There is a sugary sweetness that isn't over powering but really adds to the overall feel of the brew.

The finish is where you get just a hint of the hops for me. There is just a touch of citrus on the finish that really completes this one. I keep licking my lips afterwards like I just took a bit of sundae. It may sound like the sweetness is over the top but it is not. This nails the line between bittersweet and over the top. Very drinkable, wish I could get it here in Texas.

 848 characters

Photo of OhSoHoppy
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- reddish brown, Lots of sediment, weak head but very lacy larger bubbles in the head.

S- sweet fruity aroma, light malt, toasted bread. nutty rum... very complex.

T- In the beginning it's sweet toasty light fermented fruit. Later taste has more of the fermented fruit and slight tartness comes out

M- light mouth feel (slightly to watered down feel in my opinion) medium low carbonation but fits very well.

O-Enjoyable beer, good taste. would recommend not taking to small of sips to get the most complex flavors.

 519 characters

Photo of calebroberts811
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark caramel brown with hues of blood orange. Khaki one-finger head with excellent lacing and alcohol legs.

S - Quite complex; prunes, apple peel, raisins, taffy, but there was also a deep meatiness, almost like beef gravy or a pot roast with broiled vegetables. I rate it high for its complexity but honestly, it wasn't the most appetizing aroma I've smelled in a beer, what with that beefy/apple juice/candy aromas all up in your nostrils.

T - Not as complex as the nose; heavy and malt-driven, it reminded me of a hopped up English rendition of a quadrupel. Great choice if you're in to rustic, old-school ales from England, but it's not my favorite style.

M - Again, heavy and full-bodied. Fortunately, the bitterness removed any cloyingness that might have been there.

O - I'm glad I tried it and the nose was impressive, but I probably wouldn't buy it again.

 872 characters

Photo of allenhoof
4.76/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not well-enough qualified to make a detailed review of this (or any other) beer, involving specific commentary on taste, mouth feel, etc., but I really like this beer. It's supposedly a brown, and in color, it is, with a nice creamy head. However, I think it's closer to what I've had in "a pint of bitter" in the UK.

I tried Bitch Creek on a trip last year--in South Dakota, I think--liked it, and brought some back to my son in Portland. He liked it as well.

By chance, I also found it on tap in Dunsmuir, CA, on a trip earlier this year.

Later in the same trip, I adjusted my itinerary in order to visit the brewery in Victor, Idaho, just to pick up a couple of six packs to take back to Oregon for my son and me. We fully enjoyed them.

I wish we could get Bitch Creek ESB without first taking a trip of several hundred miles.

 838 characters

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.44/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown with a slight amber tint to it and solid brown in the the glass. Head is a very light tan with no retention or lacing.

Nose is exceptional. Very nice hits of dark malt, dark rum, bourbon, roasted peanut, toffee, caramel, chocolate.

I was really hoping the flavor was as bold and delicious as the nose. That being said the flavor is still good, just not as rich as complex as the nose. Hints of dark malt, toffee, bourbon and a hint of almost a cracker jack flavored aftertaste. Balanced very well with the defining slightly bitterness.

Light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall this a Great beer. Very easy to drink. I could crush a six pack easy. This is an everyday beer that should be at every bar.

 757 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, rich caramel brown. Hard to see through. Thick, creamy 1-finger head. Very little retention. Sparse, thin lace on all sides of the glass.

Nutty, earthy nose. Light, spicy hops back up the malt and actually start to overtake mid-glass.

Nutty, sweet caramel flavor with a decent kick of spicy hops in the finish. Light chocolate malt in there, gives this a bit of a brownie taste. Hops in the finish are a really nice surprise and match up with the chocolate/caramel flavors really well.

Feel is slightly sticky and syrupy. Not over the top, but a little on the heavy side.

Overall, a very nice glass of beer though maybe a bit out of place in the heat of NC right now.

 677 characters

Photo of ChimRichels
4.18/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep glowing red/ruby color. A good 2-finger head forms, and it is of very creamy texture. Head retention is exceptional, as is the lacing.

S - Fresh dough, some toasted bread. Toffee. Citrus aromas come through in the hop profile. A very balanced nose.

T - Rich flavors of cocoa and bread. Hops lose their distinctiveness that they had in the aroma and lend bitterness with just a touch of flavor.

M - Extraordinarily smooth. Carbonation is perfect.

O - Very impressed by this beer. Would definitely buy again.

 520 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a cloudy brown color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and limited lacing. Aroma consists of dry caramelized sugar with nice notes of biscuit. Taste is dominated by a solid malt backbone of dry caramelized sugar with a nice biscuit finish. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed though it doesn’t really fall close to a particular style.

 425 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A: Hazy, light brown color with one finger of persistent copper-tinted foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Mild dark fruit, butterscotch, and whole grain bread, with a whiff of carbon dioxide leaving thinning out what is an otherwise full and interesting smell.

T: Begins moderately sweet, with toffee, faint plum and cherry fruit, hard minerality, and very earthy hop flavors. Umami and diacetyl develop in the middle, complementing some restrained charcoal that transitions into a mildly bitter and roasty finish. Chile spice lingers on the palate, along with cooked sweet-apple esters.

M: Thin to medium viscosity; wet in the front, acidic in the middle, sticky in the finish; with low carbonation.

D/O: This is an interesting brown ale that serves as Grand Teton's work-horse dark beer. Its combination of qualities give the impression of a blend between an English-style pale ale and a really good American porter. It is full-flavored and obviously well-crafted, but it may struggle to stand out amongst their strong series of seasonal offerings and one-off bottlings.

 1,147 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

great to have grand teton on the shelves and taps in south carolina. gave me a great chance to run through some o their offerings.

dark brown, with a touch of a ruby tone filled up the glass rather quickly. A smallish head was lifted up onto the top, but this was quickly replaced by a thin layer of film across the top. Carbonation was visible in the very clear brew. Lots of bubbles working their way up. A bit of lace was left down the glass, but nothing spectacular or particularly noteworthy.

The smell was rich and sweet. Predominant aroma was a caramel with a touch of an earthy malt. A light feeling was released by this, so you really did not think you were going into anything too terribly heavy. As it warmed you could pick up a roasted or burnt smell coming though as well as a touch of a hop note rounding out the back.

Biggest flavor right off the bat was a caramel that you caught right up front along with a burnt or roasted wood flavor. Almost had a touch of oaked flavor in it. Some hoppiness in the finish, but nothing distracting from the primary notes. A good solid brown ale flavor as best as I can describe it. Finish was a little nutty and dry.

 1,174 characters

Photo of Bung
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. Kind of murky amber/brown pour. Full finger of off white head.

Light malt, nut and brown sugar. More herbal hops, fig, leather. Plum, maybe a little more fruity aroma than some, but good.

Taste, fairly balanced, but more tea and plum, date, rainsin than I would prefer for a brown. Malt, choc, and other sweeter tones are not there or very muted. Some hay and grassiness. Finishes with some nice hopping, herbal and pine.
Almost like a brown Kolsch or something.

A bit on the thin side. Alcohol is not present, but it really doesn't present itself in much form at all mouthfeel wise. Carbonation is lively but can't overcome the almost wateryness.

The mouthfeel brings down what started very well. Still worth trying, but I would rather see something this light more towards 5 percent.

 796 characters

Photo of bpgpitt10
3.18/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light copper color and has a very floral aroma. This doesn't remind me AT ALL of a brown ale. I guess that's cool and all, but not sure this should even be considered one. This beer is an adventurous take on brown ales that combines the malt/roasty flavors of a brown ale with the light hoppiness of a pale ale. Has some notes of caramel but most of the traditional brown ales flavors get wiped out by the hops that kick in at the end.

Definitely worth a try but more for curiosity than to fulfill your brown ale fix. Low score mainly because this isn't even close to what a brown is. It tastes decent, but it's just an odd combination in my book.

 667 characters

Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this bad boy into my snifter and was greeted by a wonderful brown color and a nice off white brownish head. The aroma was the typical malty smell of a brown ale. What made the greatest impression was the taste of this beer. There was a tantalizing chocolate taste in the malt profile that left me wanting another sip. The finish was balanced as was the body of this brew.

I really enjoyed this beer and would happily drink it again.

 440 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.82/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass.

A: It pours a cloudy dark brown with a finger and a half of tan head that does not hold up well but laces okay.

S: Loads of maltiness, caramel, nuttiness, toffee, and some backing hoppiness.

T: It begins like a regular brown ale; caramel, toasted nuts, a little cocoa powder and toffee but gradually become hoppier as it rests on the palate.

M: It has a bit of stickiness with average carbonation and medium body thickness.

O: I expected a blend between ESB and brown ale and ended up with a hoppy brown ale - think a slightly sub-par DFH Indian Brown Ale.

 608 characters

Photo of Rizalini
3.56/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass...

A - Pours a slightly cloudy redish brown color, with a foamy 2 finger light brown head leaving great lacing.

S - Has a yeasty, almost bready aroma, with some careml and toffee notes.

T - Nutty and toasty, but not a very strong taste. Leaves a rather pleasant aftertaste of hops.

M - Has a pretty light mouthfeel, leaning towards medium with average carbonation.

O - I was kinda dissapointed with this one. The whole "Extra Special" name kinda got my hopes up, but really, it's just a pretty descent brown ale. I do like how the hop tastecreeps up in the aftertaste. That was kinda special.

 655 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown colored ale with a medium sized tan colored head.

Smells bitter with a strong patent malt aroma. Little bit of caramel and a lot of chocolate in this. Some bread and a little carrot smell from the hops interacting with the patent malt. Mostly though I smell chocolate here.

Starts out Neutral and mostly patent malt taste. Coffee and chocolate with a medium strong level of bitterness. Lots of patent malt flavor lots of charred grain flavor.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Drinkability is OK. Not outstanding though, just OK.

 528 characters

Photo of centbeerfest
4.53/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.
Great looking beer. This pours big and bold with a hearty strong head. Nice deep brown color with a hoppy aroma.

Taste begins in the front of the tounge and finishes with a stong bitter toasted nut on the back. Just a bit heavy on the hops, but an extraordinary pleasant long finish.

On the take home scale a six paxk on hand for all occasions.

 387 characters

Photo of jyuhas
2.99/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a - very healthy cream-colored lasting head, deep amber brown, just a tiny bit hazy, nice layered lacing

s - caramelly, nutty, bready, light floral hop aroma, nice malty aromas dying off quickly leaving behind some harsh hop aromas, but that dissipated towards the end

t - toasty, suprising bitterness and spicy hop flavor, a bit caramelly

m - medium to medium low body with sharp slightly high carbonation

o - decent beer, pretty attractive, aroma a bit lacking, but an easy drinking beer

 493 characters

Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 818 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.