1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bitter Brewer - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

844 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 844
Reviews: 415
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.19%
Wants: 220
Gots: 55 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bitter Brewer Alström Bros
Ratings: 844 | Reviews: 415 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of marcpal
marcpal

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Buckeyenation for a couple cans of these to try out on the East Coast.

Pint can poured into Weyerbacher tulip glass.

A: Amber, ice tea tinted beer with a nice foamy head. Spider lacing good and long lasting.

N: Bit of bitter hops, notes of ginseng oddly enough or a spiked herb. Spicy and grassy.

T: Like the look, had some herbal iced tea characteristics. Not a pro on this style, but the malts behind it were more than the smell. Something metallic in there brought it down while being rounded nicely by the spices and cracked pepper. Almost like this light drinker was seasoned.

M: Not a crushing bitterness, even a bit watery.

D: Tons of drinkability. Cans of these went down easy with some grilled squid and Indian curry. Thanks again buckeyenation.

Serving type: can

08-13-2008 12:52:03 | More by marcpal
Photo of Tolann
Tolann

Colorado

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very golden. Poured a big white head that left lots of lace. Kinda more caramel in color.

S - Sweetly roasted. kinda sweet bready

T - Kind of a dull big bitter at the back of your throat. Of course its a big bitter, this is a Surly. More malted than their other offerings. bit of a tingle at the front of your tongue. Most taste tho at the back of your throat and bitter.

M - Good aftertaste, not too much but its lasting. Not boozy tasting. Not too strong in any direction.

D - Quite different from Surly's other offerings. Very malty but still very Surly bitter. Enjoyable to drink. As with any of Surly's beers, this has nothing to do with style guidelines, but just enjoying the beer.

Serving type: can

07-19-2008 03:28:01 | More by Tolann
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper bronze with an off-white head, thin ring of retention, slight lacing.

S: Nectarine, tangerine and citrus rind with hints of grainy biscuit.

T: Well hopped with a nice nectarine, rind & spice flavour. It's quite grainy, plenty of bitterness.

M: Light body is a little thin.

D: Very drinkable.

Thanks Bobsy!

Serving type: can

08-16-2009 16:00:48 | More by Derek
Photo of Buebie
Buebie

Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a tulip.

Appearance is amber hazy bronze. Head is fizzy with a 3 finger white top. Medium laceing with some retention.
Smell is of prodminatly hops (citrus, pine) with a touch of malty dough sweetness.

The taste up front is an apealing citrussy hop flavor with grains and a bit of sweetness. SBittering hops come into the swallow with more pine and a lemony rind kick. Lemon lingers into the finish, as does the piney hops.

Mouthfeel was creamy with carbonation, a bit thin though, light crisp and dry on the finish.
A good dosage of carbonation zing on the tounge.

Overall a good brew, but not my cup of tea as far as beers go. It is definatly a terrific sessionable brew.
You can drive home safely after a couple of these.

Serving type: can

06-21-2008 01:35:48 | More by Buebie
Photo of RSchaeffer
RSchaeffer

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review #18
From can to pint glass.

A - Pours hazy, copper in color with 1 finger of head that quickly recedes into a thin layer. Nice lacing around my glass.

S - Orange marmalade! I really like the aroma on this one, quite citrusy with a bit of bready malts.

T - The taste doesn't deliver as much as the nose, but this is still enjoyable. Sweet orange up front with a bitter finish. Hints of bready malt again balance things out.

M - Nice carbonation, dry, light to medium bodied. Finish is a bit watery.

O - I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Very easy drinking, I could easily put down a few of these. Probably won't go too far out of my way to get this brew though, but wouldn't turn it down if offered.

Serving type: can

09-11-2011 00:38:04 | More by RSchaeffer
Photo of RoamingGnome
RoamingGnome

Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 16 oz can into Cheers drinking mug. Served chilled...

A) An attractive honey colored brew with nearly 2 fingers of rocky head reaching the top of the mug. Very nice retention, and excellent lacing.

S) Pale malt, zesty citrus aroma, with a little bit of a floral scent as well.

T) White grapefruit, a little lemon zest, flower petal, light pine and grass. This bitter for sure, but there is a little bit of caramel sweetness, and the drinkability is through the roof.

M) Fairly light body, good amount of carbonation. This is crisp and refreshing. A little dry on the finish. Very pleasant aftertaste.

O) Really enjoyed this beer. As stated above, excellent drinkability, and at 4% ABV, you could drink quite a few of them. I've really been impressed by everything I've had from Surly thus far. Glad to recommend.

Serving type: can

10-02-2012 23:36:48 | More by RoamingGnome
Photo of BobZ
BobZ

Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pint can poured into a Duvel tulip. Another thanks to roon.

Appearance: Orange/amber with a nice 1" head that shrinks a bit to 1/4" with nice sticky lacing.

Smell: Bready malt first with a little bit of hops beneath.

Taste: Similar to the nose with big bready malt up front with a bit of caramel followed by a nice floral/citrus hoppy finish with a pleasant level of bitterness. Really a nice amount of flavor here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well carbonated, and very clean on the palate.

Overall: Extremely flavor packed and sessionable take on the style,I had this beer outside on an early summer day and it was a great fit.

Serving type: can

06-24-2013 01:03:34 | More by BobZ
Photo of arc3636
arc3636

Kansas

4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
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

Serving type: can

10-12-2013 01:35:45 | More by arc3636
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

4/5  rDev -0.5%

07-07-2014 03:36:37 | More by tectactoe
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue VI:

Hmm ... brewed in the tradition of a traditional English Bitter, but made with American hops. Guess that makes this an American Bitter? Love that angry brewer on the back of the can! Anyway ...

Hazy amber, with bright orange hues and a solid white foam lace that gently clings to the glass. Aroma is oh so pleasing on this one. Floral, woody, dense with jam-like oranges and a light grainy note in the back. Body is very light and fluffy with a lively level of carbonation that complements a prickly hop presence that's snappy, bitter, but clean and crisp. Not sharp. Full of complexities, like pithy, coarse wheatgrass, floral bouquet, rosemary and bitter orange peels, with a grainy breadiness beneath and some mineral notes. No real sweetness to speak of, it's all about the raw hop bitterness. Bone dry finish, with a strong biscuit flavor in the linger. Some bicarbonate, too.

We need more beers like this. Session beers, that are moderate in alcohol, packed with flavor and keep you grabbin' for more. Get bitter!

Serving type: can

09-10-2010 14:01:04 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of supa0525
supa0525

Michigan

4/5  rDev -0.5%

07-12-2013 17:04:14 | More by supa0525
Photo of danthehopslamman
danthehopslamman

Illinois

4/5  rDev -0.5%

05-26-2014 00:56:20 | More by danthehopslamman
Photo of DaftPatrick
DaftPatrick

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.5%

03-01-2014 03:15:15 | More by DaftPatrick
Photo of Guinnsslvr
Guinnsslvr

Illinois

4/5  rDev -0.5%

10-26-2013 01:43:27 | More by Guinnsslvr
Photo of ryancl
ryancl

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.5%

05-28-2013 19:28:14 | More by ryancl
Photo of mjtiernan
mjtiernan

New York

4/5  rDev -0.5%

11-15-2011 05:10:57 | More by mjtiernan
Photo of warmbier804
warmbier804

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.5%

03-16-2013 21:50:17 | More by warmbier804
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

Hazy, dark burnished orange and light brown, with a thick off-white head that eventually leaves spots of lace down the glass.

The aroma is interesting and distinct: fresh honey, lemon citrus, and freshly baked bread combine for a robust, pleasant, appropriate aroma.

The flavor follows the aroma similarly, though the sweet honey characteristics are lost, with the lemon citrus flavors from the hops and bready, caramel malt flavors pushing through more aggressively. Moderate bitterness. Incredibly drinkable.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

A delicious bitter. I would love to have more of this.

Serving type: can

01-08-2012 19:41:49 | More by ehammond1
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

4/5  rDev -0.5%

10-10-2013 02:50:24 | More by chinchill
Photo of sgttibbs
sgttibbs

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.5%

06-25-2014 01:02:45 | More by sgttibbs
Photo of richkrull
richkrull

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -0.5%

12-02-2012 20:29:57 | More by richkrull
Photo of Tarks
Tarks

Manitoba (Canada)

4/5  rDev -0.5%

07-13-2014 20:03:52 | More by Tarks
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rusty orange that sports a huge fluffy head, although it doesn't last as long as hoped. But all of it looks nice, there's some good lace stickage too; so far, so good.

Aroma is a fresh citrus explosion with herbal, flowery edges and something I can only ever describe as "dryer sheet." Vibrant and breezy, a wonderful little smell that I doubt recalls any true English Bitter. But Surly are forever style-iconoclasts rather than followers, and that's just fine.

Flavor isn't quite the fantastic hop-laden wallop that the aroma is, but it does deliver in the bitterness promised in its name. Toasty, with lots of unripe orange; grassy astringency; English malts are obvious in that they're on the gentler side. This makes for an interesting contrast between dominant hops and timid malts, but don't read "timid" as "meek"--they're just really soft and mellow, but they do have character. Unique, to say the least.

Mouth is about as it should be--fairly prickly yet with an underlying softness. That contrast reflects the two-headed flavor. Light to medium body.

Bitter, yes. English, not really. Drinkable? For sure, but the bitterness lasts long enough that one pint of this seems plenty. Yet another Surly beer that tastes 10 times bigger than its modest ABV, although with this one there are more than enough clues that it is indeed a mere four-percent. Wish this stuff was available in all 50 states, but that's silly Utopian longing, isn't it?

Serving type: can

07-08-2009 21:35:16 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Beezee
Beezee

Illinois

4/5  rDev -0.5%

02-17-2012 04:43:45 | More by Beezee
Photo of jkroese
jkroese

Iowa

4/5  rDev -0.5%

06-28-2014 23:40:57 | More by jkroese
Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 844 ratings.