I am fascinated by breweries that seek out and attempt unpopular styles. Sometimes it is back of house getting a dunkelweizen hall pass, other times it’s a smaller place that’s content to have a mild on tap for nine weeks. That stubborn dedication fuels me. It’s never spots that have taken on leveraged debt or needlessly expanded into saturated markets that are the ones churning out Baltic porters.
Wren House has seized upon the sizzling hot hypestyle of ESBs for their summer crushers. Part of me wonders if that rare Phoenix Arizona water somehow mirrors the Burton upon Trent profile. This is not bland enough for the “AARP My Pillow Reverse Mortgage” Scottsdale subset, they love amber ales. It also isn’t crushable enough for dudes who roll through for Spring Training and absolutely destroy their air Bnbs.
ESBs are for guys who own a boat and regret it. People who guffaw at Bill Burr and go “he gives it to both sides!” and take a deep sip of that coppery, ester wash. Pierced nipples taste like coins and ESBs provide that refreshment.
In 2018 memes were deep fried, had no punchlines, and were forgotten. That’s how this style exists. You get the malty refreshment of wheat toast, scones, minerality and currency, with a marmalade closer. It’s a beer for someone who has not read a book since the middle of undergrad buy wants to talk about Kleiner’s laws and film theory. People who either genuinely do not care, or who once cared too much and now don’t have cares to give.
Modern craft beer is predicated on styles like this, because this is what homebrewers dabble in. Landing the red fruit and merging it with the grassiness in a low abv context is hard. As a result homebrewers are a more worn out punchline than “Ska” and “NICKELBACK.” Listen, it’s fine to have nothing to contribute.
This beer is good and no one will care about it. If you send it as an extra, they’ll be confused. That fine because somewhere, there’s a leathery skinned, recently divorced guy climbing out of a GMC Acadia who loves them enough for everyone else. He sends me Biden gas memes and that is pretty okay.