Arcadia Lake Superior ESB | Arcadia Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 60
Photo of mjohn27603
4.52/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured bronze in color with small head. Lots of sediment floating in the glass. Smells great with aroma of butterscotch. Butterscotch present in taste as well with some subtle bitterness. With other bottles I got a bit of nuttiness but it doesn't seem present in this one. I think this beer is a good value. I had it at a beer tasting event where it was the beer served with dinner. It was paired well with salad, beef, and mushrooms. I got it for $1.35 a bottle. I enjoyed it more than some of the other reviews.

 513 characters

Photo of TheInfamousElGuapo
4.5/5  rDev +28.9%

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.

 614 characters

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!

 586 characters

Photo of GinsuDave
4.25/5  rDev +21.8%

Photo of darklager
4.18/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a reddish copper color with a nice white head. The head didn't stay too long, but it left a nice coating all the way down the glass. Looking through the glass, you will definitely see sediment floating. If you don't like sediment in your beer, forget I said that and don't look, because this is a great tasting beer. You can taste the hops for sure, but it isn't as bitter as I was expecting. I got this beer in an Arcadia variety pack, and this turned out to be a mistake since I only had two of these to enjoy. Definitely worth getting again.

 560 characters

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.

 260 characters

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the big red beer fest after a nice discussion about it with the 'pourer' I think he was a brewer, at least he knew a lot about it. He said made with all Maris Otter and the Ringwood yeast. It definately had the distinctive ringwood buttery nose. Not super appealing. But the flavor was really nice. While there was some butteryness, there were a bunch of nice really fruity flavors, really nice pear, that made this beer not only authentic but nice and complex and tasty. A beer where a little diacetyl is quite nice.

 529 characters

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.

 442 characters

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.

 677 characters

Photo of BitteBier
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A murky copper-amber color with sediment that is suspended perfectly. Topped off with an average but quickly fleeting tan head that leaves minimal lace. Sweet, caramely malts are balanced to a point with floral hops. Nose also contains a spicy-sweet hint that invokes ginger. Taste starts out surprisingly tart. The taste is opposite of the smell in that the hops are stronger on the tongue than are the caramely malts. This unexpected hoppiness makes for a lighter mouthfeel and wonderful drinkability. This is easily the best beer I've had from Arcadia.

 555 characters

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.

 369 characters

Photo of TheOtherMike
3.94/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a six in South-Western MI and then drove about 5 hours. The beer was in the camper fridge and got fairly agitated. I only let it sit for about 2 hours before sampling. I think the taste, smell, and appearance were affected by the sediment being thoroughly dissolved in the beer, but it was still good. I may need to re-review in a few days.

Appearance - hazy, hazy, hazy. Plenty of sediment to be left in the bottle. Moderate head that dissipated fairly quickly although lacing persisted to the end. Color is orangy-gold.

Smell - appealing. Obvious fruity aroma.

Taste - a good IPA taste. Well balanced.

 621 characters

Photo of ken3c
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick head with huge bubbles. Hazy Reddish brown. The big bubbles stay around in full layer and stick to the glass creating beautiful patterns.

There is an aroma of bread but also of spicy hops.

Taste is quite sweet with a noticable taste of butterscotch. The finish is only slightly bitter but it lasts a while.

Medium body and low carbonation.

I know it doesn't taste bitter enough, but I like it.

 411 characters

Photo of cretemixer
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice reddish-orange pour. One finger of thick tan head fades to a thin layer leaving a spotty lace. Some suspended sediment too.

Aroma is nicely malted, caramel tones and a mild hop presence and spiciness.

Taste is smooth and in line with the aroma. Starts sweet, bitterness comes in mid-glass, finishes dry and peppery.

Very nice mouthfeel and well carbonated. Overall an easy drinker. I may have to find more of these.

 430 characters

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.

 341 characters

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.

 476 characters

Photo of putnam
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
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?

 278 characters

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

The more I drink the ESB style, the more I like it. This one is a very nice offering from Arcadia Brewing from Battle Creek, Michigan. Proof positive that Battle Creek can be known for more than Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Hmm, maybe a little of this Lake Superior ESB on Corn Flakes...but I digress. This one pours out to a copperish-brown in the glass with a decent-sized head. The aroma is is that of malt and bread dough. The taste is very good, with the afforementioned malt, really shinining through to a finish that is easy on the palate with just a light dose of hops.

 571 characters

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.

 339 characters

Photo of Wildman
3.8/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

 464 characters

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.

 444 characters

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.

 480 characters

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.

 751 characters

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.

 359 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Arcadia Lake Superior ESB from Arcadia Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.49 out of 5 with 64 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded 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.