Clipper City Brewing Company - Heavy Seas Winter Storm
- ABV: 7.5%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 50
- Serving Temperature: 47-52° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Pale, Caramalt, Crystal, Chocolate
- Hops: Warrior, Kent Goldings, Fuggle, Centennial, Cascade
ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is, despite how the name might sound, a very balanced English style that’s very much in line with what we might casually consider a pale ale in the U.S., albeit traditionally with British hop varieties. We can’t say we’ve had too many imperial or double ESBs, but after sampling what Heavy Seas has done with Winter Storm, we hope to encounter more. This winter seasonal beer pours a deep amber hue with crystal clarity and a robust cap of foam. On the nose, look for soft, floral notes, light woodiness, a touch of tea, and mild citrus and spice, underpinned by some lightly toasted malts. Being an “imperialized” (amped up) version of an ESB, the malt contribution has been increased, leading to big caramel and toffee character. Additionally, this beer has been well-hopped to a big 50 IBUs to provide balance to those prominent malts and the residual sweetness. As the beer climbs in temperature, we also noted a vinous, boozy quality which we find quite welcome during the coldest months. In fact, we suspect this beer may be even a bit north of the listed 7.5% ABV. Enjoy this brew with a hunk of English pub cheese like Cotswold or Cheshire, or roasted fowl. Cheers!
The history of the Clipper City Brewing Company goes back to the mid-1980s when Hugh Sisson, proprietor of Sisson's, a local restaurant and bar, first recognized the potential for a small brewery in Baltimore. Upon attempting to get a license to brew beer at his restaurant, he quickly discovered that legislation prevented brewpubs in Maryland. So he began working with Senator George Della, Jr. to successfully lobby the Maryland General Assembly to pass new legislation. In 1989, Hugh began brewing at Sisson's, Maryland's first brewpub.
The move helped usher in the wave of craft brewing in Baltimore, and Hugh engrossed himself in the development and market recognition of both Sisson's brewpub and its beers, while simultaneously serving as this pioneering facility's first Brewmaster. After five years of brewpub brewing, Hugh went through another round of legal wrangling in order to expand into a full-scale microbrewery. In early 1996, Clipper City Brewing, borrowing a Baltimore sobriquet as its name, officially began brewing on the scale Hugh was going for. In 2010 the brewery placed all of its beers under the Heavy Seas name, a brand they began in 2003. In addition to their bottled beers, Clipper City is also one of the largest, if not the largest, producer of British-style cask-conditioned beer in the U.S. For more information about the brewery, scheduled tours, or their Baltimore and Arlington Alehouse gastropubs, call 410-247-7822 or check out their web site at www.hsbeer.com.
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