Aug 10, 2012

Sweetwater Brewing Motor Boat Ale

Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing just announced the return (and subsequent retirement) of their ESB, Motor Boat Ale, just the other day. The brew will be replaced with the new year-round addition of LowRYEder (an IPA brewed with rye) so be on the look out for that one in the coming months.

In the mean time, you’ve got Motor Boat Ale, a not-so-traditional ESB that weighs in at 5.6% ABV and is brewed with Cascade, Sterling and US Golding hop varieties, and is further dry-hopped with Cascade. The end result is a beer that comes across more as a fairly hoppy pale ale with a little more body moreso than your traditional ESB. In short, it’s a hoptastically tasty Americanized version of a traditional style.


Motor Boat Ale pours a clear rusty copper in color with a light tan cap of foam that dropped slowly to patchy surface cover.


This brew certainly has a strong hop aroma with loads of pine resin, grapefruit and fresh cut grass. There is a biscuity malt backbone that tries to balance out the hops, but doesn’t quite make it.


Motor Boat Ale is one of the more hop-forward examples of an ESB I’ve ever had. Large doses of piney resin, grapefruit and grassy hops fill the mouth as a light caramel and biscuity malt profile rest in the background.The hop bitterness is probably a little strong for the style, but overall, it rests at a moderate level of astringency. The beers crisp carbonation only helps to boost that hop bite.


As stated in the intro, this is what I would classify as an Americanized take on a traditional beer style. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I do quite enjoy this beer — the pronounced hop character is right up my alley.

Motor Boat Ale should make any hop head’s mouth water and perhaps cause a few purists to cringe. It’s more suited for warmer months with it’s crisper mouthfeel and biting hop profile, but I’d personally want something a little more balanced in cooler months like October, when this beer is to be retired.

Rating: 3.75/5

This is a review of a promotional sample received from the brewery.

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