Beer from Here: Fortnight Brewing Company – ESB


Fortnight Brewing Company’s ESB is their first canned offering.

Fortnight Brewing Company is a craft brewery and pub located in Cary, NC. Englishman Stuart Arnold started the brewery in the thriving town west of Raleigh in February 2014. The company’s ownership consists of both English citizens and North Carolina natives and their motto is “to supply North Carolina with authentic U.K. style beers in both keg and cask conditioned forms.” A fortnight is an English term for two weeks – or how long the typical craft ale takes to fully ferment.

A majority of the American beer styles we’ve become accustomed to were originally brought over from the U.K. and are based on traditional U.K. styles. Fortnight’s goal is to take these traditional styles and introduce authentic recreations to the U.S. They also aim to keep cask-conditioned ales readily available. If you’ve never tried cask beer, you’re missing out. The brewery believes they currently serve the largest range of cask ales in the state.

While I’m not as familiar with English beers, Fortnight is my neighborhood brewery. You don’t see many of these styles around the Raleigh area. Heck, I can count on one hand how many NC breweries are committed to the British craft. I’ve been lucky to enjoy a variety of Fortnight beers on tap, but they recently started canning, so I thought I’d give the ESB (Extra Special Bitter) some attention this week.

The 5.6% ABV brew poured a copper, amber color. It was very clear with a thin, tan head that dissipated quickly. The aroma was that of malt and bread, typical of the style.

The ESB had a crisp, refreshing mouthfeel on my first sip with low carbonation. Toasted malts and figs were noticeable. The brewery’s description mentioned sweet raisins, but my tastebuds weren’t up to task. The East Kent Golding hops provided 40 IBUs of earthy tones to balance the malt with a mild bitter finish. The lace in the glass was almost non-existent. Overall, the ESB is a very enjoyable, well-balanced beer.

Beyond the ESB, Fortnight offers an English Ale, Porter, Blonde Ale, Coffee Amber and an IPA that is a fusion of English and American IPA styles. The brewery recently started canning their Blonde and IPA, in addition to the ESB. The artwork is pretty cool too. These beverages can be found in bars, restaurants, grocery stores and specialty stores in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Brewery: Fortnight Brewing Company
City: Cary, NC
Style: ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
ABV: 5.6%
Availability: Draft/ 12 oz. cans