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: 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 60
Reviews by Shovelbum:
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I used to drink a fair amount of this living in MI,poures a nice copper color with nice foamy head most of the time.Nice balancing smell with the soft maltiness coming through nicely with a small punch of hops,with sweetness very prevelant in smell and taste.Was a little citruisy in flavor though would like a more malt accentes brew for the style.Still I think a pretty well made brew from a good local brewing company.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep opaque amber orange with a nice creamy white head. Sweet pale malty nose with hints of caramel and nuts. A spicy, herbal hoppiness....a bit grassy. Fairly subdued overall...doesn't excite me much.

First sip flows with a mix of pale maltiness...the roasted barley comes out in the middle along with a smattering of caramel. A spicy, herbal hop brings a nice wave of bitterness on the way down with a light fruitiness. A bit dry with a lingering graininess and bitterness. Not bad.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice healthy bubbly factor. An easy drinking brew that is fairly uncomplicated. also lacks the qualities that intice me to come back for more.

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Photo of merlin48
3.17/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazed copper body with a small head that vanishes in seconds. Minimal patch lace. Aroma is buttery toffee with a hint of floral hops. Light to medium light body with high carbonation. Taste has a bready malt feel and some funky yeast. Minimal floral hops bitterness. Taste has a ringwood yeast note, for sure. Not very impressive.

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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 soper2000
3.4/5  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!

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Photo of cokes
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky orange caramel with a clinging bone foam.
Nose of rubber and iron and oranges.
Begins with a full bready malt canvas. English muffins, dry and toasty. Glimmers of toffee sweetness. Buttery, and Ringwoodesque. Thus far, it is fairly archetypal of style. The middle, though, sees this become disjointed. Coriander? Orange peel? Acetic Acid? Green apples and pepper. This is some funky ass yeast. Then it ends, again, per style guideline and full of rusted iron bitterness and dessicated herbs. There is a bit of noticed alcohol fume on the finish. Lingering sour fruits.
Medium hewn, low carbonation.
Decent. Wrong-seeming. Weird.

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Photo of Jon
4/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of jackndan
2.65/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lake Superior ESB, from Arcadia sampler: Copper beer, with minimal head, and what was there was kind of foamy. Kind of a brassy aroma and taste, with burnt malts that were very dominant, and not all that tasty. The hops were understated, and tasted a little flat. Not worth it.

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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 nortmand
3.76/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orangish-copper hue, thin amounts of sediment move throughout the glass, thin light tan head also noticeable. A delicate aroma, malts, hops, some fresh fruit also detected. Distinctive fuggle hops immediately on the tongue, label also states tettnang and Mt. Hood hops, lets not go overboard though. A quick blast of fresh fruit, in the way of grapefruit is welcomed, mild bitterness as expected. Thick and creamy malt based body, very well balanced, rather generous in the hops department. Becomes somewhat thin and faded towards the finish, leaving this ESB just above average.

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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 profzoom
4.15/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Lake Superior ESB pours a cloudy dark amber with a hint of head. The smell is both sweet and bitter. The most striking thing about it is its smoothness. It enters your mouth like water, spreading its wonderful bitterness. All in all, a very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft. This brew had a small white head with small bubbles that was fully diminishing. There was virtually no lacing with this brew. The body was cloudy, there was no carbonation observed and the hue was amber. It had a light hoppy aroma of citrus and the initial taste of this brew was bitter. The mouthfeel was light. All in all, I really enjoyed this brew.

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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 trumick
3.78/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber clear nice head that sticks around for a bit.
Smell is of carmel malts, and floral hops small amount of citrus.
Taste is a bit sweet for a bitter but nice. Sweet carmel malts that finishes with citrus hops slight yeast flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied nice carbination.
Drinkability is high. This is a beer I will buy regularly.

I like this beer, although it is a bit sweet for the style it is still nice.

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Photo of redmosquito
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
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

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Photo of mntlover
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear medium amber color with a small tan head that doesn't last leaves some spotty lace.
Aroma is not great some malt lightly toasted, toffee mixed with herbal hops light skunkyness almost but not quite.
Taste is like the smell lightly toasted malt some caramel and toffee flavors mix with medicine like herbal hops that leaves a less then desirable medicine aftertaste. No real bitterness to be felt here just mediocre beer that is better then swill but not much else going for it.
Mouthfeel is light side of medium the carbonation adds the only zest in this brew.
Drinkability is better then swill but wouldn't recommend this one or desire to have it again not a good example of this style. Thanks to merlin48 for the sample.

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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 Ahhdball
3.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Small white colored head tops a faded orange body that illuminates decently in the bar light.
SMelled small amounts of yeast, floral scents and lemon zest.
Tasted too smooth to be an ESB to flat for a pale and showed no signs of standing up for its style. Small amounts of honey with a little lemon and slight hints of malt and hops tried to show but nothing to write home about (so I wrote here).
Mouthfeel was abnormaly average and didn't impress. Overall i would have this again but I won't aske for it.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.27/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

barely visible best-by notch on Jan. No year. Bit of sediment at the bottom. Bottle-conditioned? or merely unfiltered?

Brilliantly clear caramel with an enthusiastic fluffy white head rushing to the top of the glass during the pour, throwing off billows of sweet floral hops. The head spends itself quickly, sighing down to a light froth skimming the surface with trails of lace on the glass.

Strong bitterness embraces toasty caramel malt with lingering resin and yet more mouth-coating tingly spice. Very yum.

Mellow mouthfeel. Easy to drink. More kind like this one, please!

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