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Bitter Brewer - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,004 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,004
Reviews: 430
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 228
Gots: 75 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (43) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,004 | Reviews: 430
Photo of AirBob
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Notes from 1/16/15

A - 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Excellent lacing. Good rendition. Hazy honey-orange body.

S - Orange marmalade. Iced tea. Lemon flesh. Honey. Lemon oil.

T - Follows the nose with a sweet back and clean finish.

M - Medium-low carb

Photo of CraigP83
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bready, with a hop presence at the end. Lighter in color. A little sticky honey flavor and orange zest but the low ABV might make a good choice on the boat

Photo of TMoney2591
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served from the can in a Second City glass.

Starting the Super Bowl evening off right with some badass K-Tina K-So (patent pending) and a Bitter Brewer. This stuff pours a mostly clear brass-tawny topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises grass, sharp flowers, light biscuit, and a touch of resin for the sake of it. The taste brings in more of the same, the bready biscuit somewhat tempering the grass, but still allowing those hops to shine. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a crisp finish that keeps the grassy twang from malingering. Overall, a very enjoyable little beer, something I could easily see myself having more of in the future (if not tonight, even).

Photo of Mr_Bongard
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Not a big fan of it but for the style it is what it is billed as

Photo of mbmiche
4/5  rDev +0.3%

mmmmm... Biscuty malts

Photo of kkleu357
3.66/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light golden color. Light sweet aroma. Interesting taste. It has this buttery characteristic that reminds me of Abrasive. Also has a gritty maltyness to it. It’s decent.

Photo of WynnDavis
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

One of my favorite session ales. Right there with Day Tripper from Indeed and GO TO by Stone.

Photo of NickTheGreat
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Never heard of this beer but bought due to my other Surly beer experiences.

Aroma (5): Great aroma, made me want to drink right away
Appearance (4): Good bright orange color.
Taste (4): Good taste. Bitter enough, not much maltiness
Palate (3): Weird Palate. Not much "body" Didn't bother me, just the first thing I noticed.

I like this. I could add this to my regular rotation.

Photo of Fill_It_or_Spill_It
4/5  rDev +0.3%

So crushable. Tons of caramel and a little coffee like in the finish. Deelish.

Photo of Treyliff
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%

Canned 6/26/14, poured into a tulip

A- pours a clear, deep golden color with a small fizzy white head that reduces to a film skimming the top 3.75

S- lots of floral hop aromas up front with some earthy & herbal notes, sweet honeysuckle, orange marmalade, tangerine peel, finishing with a bready & caramel malt. Subtle overall, but complex as it warms 4

T- hop flavors of tangerine & rose hips mix with a honey-like sweetness, a hint of lemon tartness, toasted bread finish with a grainy linger 4

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a smooth finish, high drinkability 3.75

O- very flavorful session beer that emphasizes orange and floral hop notes, balanced out by some toasty malt, very good 4

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Not sure I'd call this an ESB but it's pretty good for what it is.

Photo of Alextricity
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Canned 6/26/14 and poured 9/1/14. $3.19 single picked up at Four Firkins.

Appearance: Fairly aggressive pour gives off a very short lived head with a few soapy bubbles on top. The color is orange-y with quite a bit of hop hazing. (3.5/5)

Smell: Very hoppy, surprisingly. Earthy, floral, and herbal. Not so much of a pine nose on this one though. A semi-sweet malt aroma in there as well. Pretty nice. (4/5)

Taste/feel: Huge carbonation. I've had a few English Bitters, but it's been awhile -- knowing Surly, I'd assume they got this feel of this one right. A pop/soda-like carbonation with an almost watery body, maybe a little heavier. The taste is earthy and herbal hops initially, and then a biscuity malt flavor on the finish, which is quite dry. It tastes a bit like a sessionable IPA, but with an English Bitter malt character. (3.75/5, 3.5/5)

Quite good for what it is. Has a nice, fresh hop profile throughout with a nice malt flavor at the end. Not a super bitter beer, but definitely more bitter than sweet. Bitter Brewer is pretty tasty, but it reminds me a little too much of a session IPA, which is a style that I'm rarely impressed by. Still worth checking out, though maybe not at the price of $3.19 a can.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%

Poured into an English pint glass, a massive head is produced, frothy, wispy, and leaving lace everywhere as it recedes. The body is a hazy golden color with light carbonation. 4.1

Sweet and floral hops work the nose, but they seem a but subdued. I'll attribute this to the 2 month old can. There's a sweet, slightly caramel maltiness and a bit of orange aroma. 4

To the tongue, there's immediately fruity flavors like berry and pineapple, but they too are subdued. This leads into a more piney flavor, subtle vanilla and some sweet malt.
3.6

As far as the body, this thing is very thin and drinks light and easy, with a slight creaminess, until a wave of bitterness near the finish that lingers. 3.6

I like the fruitiness of this beer, especially fresh on tap, but the body is a bit too thin and the older can doesn't hold up quite as well. 3.65

Photo of barczar
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%

Brilliant golden brew with grassy, dank, resiny aromas that are contrasted by grapefruit add tangerine, with a hint of biscuit malt. Flavor reveals sharp grapefruit, with a touch of tangerine sweetness,a light, crackery malt backbone, and a minerally, slightly bitter finish. Would've liked more citrus than minerally notes. There's a clash between tart lime and mineral characters that doesn't suit my palate.

Photo of deedric
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At Great Taste pre party (so I won't get technical). Seems to be a nice representative of the style. Served too cold. Nice appearance, light copper. Aroma of pine. Mouthfeel is very reminiscent of the bitters do old. Lower carbonated as expected. Biscuity back flavor.

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Copper orange, clear, with a large white head that bubbled off quickly and reduces to a thin film, with mild lacing.

S - Surprisingly strong hop note, mostly of pine. Malt is also present, a quality of bread.

T - This is a subtle brew, but offers both cracker flavors and bread in the malts and an element of grass from the hop. There is a hint of citrus and pine, but it buried deep in the mix. Most important is the bitter shift at mid-point, where we get a more standard bitter.

M - For as bitter as this is, the brisk carbonation and light body and ABV keep things bright and easy. A true session beer.

O - Where I've found most bitters lack something at their core, this bitter is robust and fully realized, ultimately quite satisfying. This is not my favorite style, but this represents an exciting entry that I'd actually reach for when looking for a brew by the lake where I need to keep my edge.

Photo of barnzy78
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 05/12/14
L - hazed amber/orange color with a frothy ivory head
S - citric American hops - grapefruit and orange rind, heavy toasted grain, caramel
T - huge toasted malt, biscuit, orange and grapefruit rind, very much like toast and marmalade as the can reads
F - thinner body, refreshing, finishes more bitter than expected while being modestly dry
O - definitely an Americanized version of the style. I do like it, but it isn't going to be a seasonal purchase for me; however it was nice to come back to it after 5 years.

Photo of mfnmbvp
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 fl oz. can, with canned on date 05/12/2014 printed on the bottom of the can. So this is some pretty fresh beer right here. Expectations are high based on this beer's great ratings.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Pours a nice burnt sienna orange colored body, not unlike an IPA. Three big frothy fingers of chunky off-white foam with excellent staying power. Lots of very fine sediment lurking in the glass. Looks very nice.

S - The aroma is very pleasant also - nice and balanced crisp caramel / bready malts paired with some fresh juicy floral / citrus hops - pine, grapefruit, orange marmalade. Light yeast presence.

T - The taste is delicious; this thing is packing a ton of flavor for such a low 4.00% abv. Perfect balance of crisp dry bready malts, and citrus orange hops.

M - The feel is excellent - smooth, juicy, and creamy, with just the right amount of hop bitterness leftover on the palate. Super easy drinking and light-bodied with excellent carbonation.

Overall, a wonderful summer beer from Surly. Super clean, balanced, and refreshing, and above all it packs a ton of flavor for such a low abv. Probably the best 'English bitter' style beer I've had as of yet. Definitely an essential summer beer.

Surly Bitter Brewer ---4/5.

Photo of N_Schleret
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy amber color with a half finger head that dissipates to a sudsy top.
S: Hops as soon as I open the can with a sweet malt backbone.
T: light malt, hops, and bitter.
M: Light body, medium/light carbonation, very crips.
O: Very easy to drink for the summer. Great to bring to the camper for the weekend and drink a handful.

Photo of StoneTSR
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

APPEARANCE: Light gold in color with a nice half-finger of head foaming up on top. The lacing is pretty good, covering about 50% of the back of the glass. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Very hoppy on the nose for an English Bitter, smalls more like an APA or IPA; grass, pine, a hint of citrus.

TASTE: Wow, A LOT of bread on this one. Again, this is extraordinarily bitter by English Bitter standard. A big, grassy hop character defines the bitterness along with some citrus to tie it together. As the glass warms a lot more of the fruitiness of a typical Bitter comes through.

MOUTHFEEL: Bitter Brewer is very light bodied (too thin for my tastes) and very dry. The carbonation is very prickly.

OVERALL: This is a nice Session Pale Ale, but in terms of ratings it as a Bitter I have to give it lower marks. The carbonation is too much and the hop bitterness goes way beyond “assertive”, it is downright intense. Will I drink this one again, for sure, but it isn’t really an English Bitter.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can provided by Allen “Mid” – thanks brother!
Notes from 05/04/14 using my FW Imperial Nonic glass

A: Unfilitered look with a body that moves from a golden straw yellow color into some darker orange hues. A healthy whip of ivory cream settles across the top with decent retention efforts and sticky cling action.

S: Lots of toasty malts up front like nutty biscuit and toasted bread aromas with a spread of orange marmalade. Dash of caramel sweetness and some peach fruit melds into a cluster of Floral hops. Smells nice and inviting to me.

T: English malt is standout with its toasty bread and biscuit like quality encompassing candied orange peels. Super floral like Honeysuckle with a slight herbal twist to it and a dose of ripened stone fruit underneath. The beer is plenty hoppy but not sharp at all with a low amount of actual percieved bitterness. Very smooth with the alcohol completely masked throughout. I must admit this is highly quaffable stuff.

M: Moderate body on account of the more filling English malts. Low to even carb keeps it lighter with a nice creaminess and a touch of drying snap towards the finish. Comes off a little watered down at times. Slightly oily but mostly clean on the whole.

D: This is a nice little bitter and would go great if served as a Real Ale. All things considered it is well balanced and offers up some good flavor points. It is far from any type of a game changer but I don’t think of an ESB in that regards any matter. Just a really well crafted brew with no frills. Glad to have tried but not something I would probably go seeking out.

Photo of alphagnome
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Pours a rich, golden oak color - very cloudy. Crowned with a respectable, finger-thick head, off-white in color - that hangs around for awhile and leaves a bit of lacing behind. Carbonation is insane... very, very active. Making the carbonation more noticable, fine sediment caught in suspension, being pushed around by the bubbly.

Aroma:
A bit of a let down, as aroma is one area where Surly shines. That's not to say it doesn't smell delightful, it does, it just seems a bit muted. Nice (but light) tropical fruit notes mix well with equally light floral hops. Zesty tangerine and orange peel.

Taste:
Nice and sweet right front, with plenty of citrus notes. The sweetness doesn't last long though, as a pleasant bitterness sweeps in balance things out. Nice boquet of floral and citrusy hops. Nothing is overpowering, but very tasty.

Mouthfeel:
Light to medium body. Highly carbonated. Easy to drink and very refreshing. Semi-dry finish.

Overall:
Another impressive brew from Surly. Easy to drink, nice balance, and flavorful. Well worth picking up.

Photo of d5001986
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into tulip.

Pours hazy golden with small bubbly head.

Smell is tropical fruit, citrus hops, yeast, and very slight cloves.

Taste is tropical fruit and orange with a light lingering bitterness.

Feels medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation.

Overall this, as most other Surly offerings has not failed to impress. The tropical and citrus hop character was the highlight for me. Fans of Surly's IPA's will likely appreciate this one.

Photo of arc3636
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - medium coppery color with thick white head. Fairly cloudy

S - sweet aroma from the malts and the fruity/floral hops

T - mil, but solid flavor. Citrusy hops and malty sweetness that carries into the aftertaste

M - thin mouthfeel due to lower carbonation

O - first English bitter I've tried, enjoyed it

Photo of guityler83
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured a one and a half finger tall of off white head that sustained for a good minute before leaving a chunky honeycomb laceing on the edge and a small layer on the top. The color in the english style pint glass is a golden orange with a bit of haze from the sediment in the can but otherwise very clear.

S: Mild earthy and spicey hop aromoa. Slightly biscuity malt character. And sweet fruity yeast esters.

T: Crisp and mild bitterness with hop flavors consistent with the aroma. The fruity yeast esters are a big component in the flavor and meld very nicely with the sweeter biscuit and toasty malt flavors.

M: Crisp mouthfeel with a mild level of carbonation. A light body but doesn't really get wattery with the nice bitterness that is left in the aftertaste.

O: Extremely sessionable refreshing but never boring bitter. English syles arn't really my thing but this one blew me away. Drink it fresh and often.

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Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,004 ratings.