River Rock Bitter
CANOE Brewpub

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English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #178
Ranked #31,321
3.7 | pDev: 11.62%
CANOE Brewpub
British Columbia, Canada
Notes: A true British style E.S.B. Copper coloured. Impressively hopped. Beautifully balanced. Bold robust pronounced taste.
Reviews: 7 | Ratings: 13 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ritzkiss
3.16/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint on tap. Arrives a nice golden caramel orange which plays with ruby as you gaze into it. Sticky head leaves rings down the glass. Nose is light bite of grassy hops and a hit of diacytle which increases as it warms. Caramel, biscuit and hint of mineral malt in the taste, more of that buttery diacetyl. Hint of earth and cocoa, light bittering, would love more bite. Hint of lemon. Just not that great, butter is distracting and not enough bitter bite. There's better offerings here.

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Photo of josiahschlender
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canoe was my first stop on a tour of the three brewpubs in Victoria. While I was slightly disappointed with the number of brews they had on tap (five), I was pleasantly surprised by their ESB.

ESBs aren't a style I go out of my way to get, or even have easy access to many in my neck of the woods in Portland. Victoria breweries had a pretty strong bent toward British beers, so I saw ESBs and brown ales at every establishment. This particular beer makes me want to try more.

Very pretty golden amber, happily served in a 20oz pint. Dense white cap left a little lacing.

Aromas are full and balanced, with slightly citric, grassy hops and bready, caramel malts. Did they use Noble hops? Not what I'd expect, but that would be my guess of one of the varieties they used.

Malt flavors are very full, I love the almost sticky caramel and doughy bread. Just enough bitterness, and more of the citric hops I notice in the flavors. Nice medium-full body that keeps the flavors mixing for a while.

I definitely came away thinking River Rock was one of the best bitters I have ever drank. Why can't more beers be like this one? Good work, Canoe.

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Photo of ryane
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A nice copper color, quickly diminishing head, and small amount of lacing

S: smells like ekg's and caramel

T: carmelly, can definiately taste the ekg's, wouldve liked more of a malty backbone, assertive bitterness

M: moderate body, a bit too carbonated in my opinion, I prefer bitters cask though

A decent bitter, could be a lot better if it was offered cask, but then most bitters would

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of JanM
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

River Rock Bitter is, together with Red Canoe Lager, the Canoe Club's most popular beer. Attractively copper coloured and with little foam in a pint, medium carbonated. Not much smell except for the bitterness, though. Maybe a served a bit too cold? The taste was very fresh with a slight sweetness and very grassy hops. After a few seconds strong bread notes started to emerge. Much more bread notes than a usual English bitter which makes the brew lean a bit into pilsener territory. All and all a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Derek
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brew pub.

A: Bronze, white head, very little retention, nice lace.

S: Very floral, earthy, bready/biscuity, light caramel.

T: Floral, earthy and a touch of light caramel. Nice, assertive bitterness.

M: Moderate body is somewhat creamy; lightly carbonated.

D: Fairly good.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another excellent beer by Canoe. I'm inclined to agree with Canucklehead in this being too malty, but other than that this is a well done ESB. Nice copper colour, with a good hop bite to the scent.

Taste is up to standard with an ESB, albeit a bit on the malty side as previously mentioned. Fairly rounded hop bitterness does bring the matiness down a bit and makes this a smooth, sippable brew.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very malty ESB to point where it really does not fit the style but this is however a great beer. In you face malt nose and a big midbody with a slightly sweet finish. I found this food friendly and very well made. These guys are really impressing me as their pale ale and brown are also great.

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River Rock Bitter from CANOE Brewpub
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 13 ratings