Arcadia Lake Superior ESB | Arcadia Brewing Company

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Arcadia Lake Superior ESBArcadia Lake Superior ESB
64 Ratings
Arcadia Lake Superior ESBArcadia Lake Superior ESB

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Name was changed to Thunder Trail ESB ~2012, though the recipe is the same.

Added by Wildman on 10-03-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 60
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a pint glass. The appearance had a semi - clear but decently caramel color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. There was some light lacing sticking around the sides of the glass. The smell had a nice blend of sweet caramel malts mixing with a fairly decent earthy / English crisp like atmospheric bittered malts. The taste took those flavors and added an element of nuttiness strolling into the flavoring nicely. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionability about it. The carbonation was good for the style and for me as it left a decent creamy massage rolling over my tongue. Overall, I say this was a pretty good offering from Arcadia.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.31/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Copper in color, gets to about 3/5" white head, an aroma that I can only describe as a metallic almost aluminum kind of vibe.

Taste is replete with plenty of bitterness and earthy hops. This one brought them. The body lacked a bit of the heavier woodsiness I get in many esbs. I guess you could say this one was a little Americanized via west coast ipa dryness. You can pull all kinds of different things out of the malt, an almost rye like spice to it, a mild sweetness in reverse, like the colder it is the more you pick it out.

A decent beer.

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Photo of COR8RFAN
1.75/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Photo of Peanut2074
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of GinsuDave
4.25/5  rDev +21.8%

Photo of TheInfamousElGuapo
4.5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of taverncast
3.46/5  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!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of changeup45
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of Shovelbum
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of bditty187
3/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of beermanbrian
1.5/5  rDev -57%
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.

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Photo of nicholasofcusa
2.63/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.01/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of PatYoda
2.91/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

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Photo of nota
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

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Photo of sopor
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of walleye
2.86/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

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Photo of macpapi
3.7/5  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.

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Photo of Fugazme
2.95/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

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Photo of battlekow
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of granger10
4.35/5  rDev +24.6%
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.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured into a pint. The best before month was not notched on the label.

Hazy copper-brown with a small white head. Lots of carbonation helps the retention.

Smells like bicuits, butterscoth, nuts, and light hops. There's a little sweetness from the malts. The are aromas are a bit subdued overall.

Smooth and malty upfront with some suggestion of green apple. The finish is a bit dry. Thirst quenching.

Light mouthfeel, good session brew for this time of year.

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Arcadia Lake Superior ESB from Arcadia Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.49 out of 5 with 64 ratings