1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Best Bitter Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Best Bitter AleSierra Nevada Best Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

43 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 27
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.74%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-20-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 27 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Vigilante:
Photo of Vigilante
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Vigilante, Mar 27, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on draft at the Blind Tiger ale house in NYC, Poured light amber, clear and low head/carbonation noted. This is Sierra Nevada's take on the classic and under appreciated Bitter style. Malty nose, mellow and mild. Malty base, very smooth and subtle. Understated, reserved and smooth. Fine sessioner. Give it a try if it makes it to your local.

Billolick, Apr 12, 2005
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A dark golden color, fluffy head. Didn't really pick much up aroma wise.

Taste, not as bitter as I was expecting, this was definitely more traditional than was hoping. Pretty light but ample bitterness and light low alpha acid hop quotient to it. At times had the feel of a pale wheat. Light, but woody.

Anything drank at the bar there in Chico is always drinkable, cheap, just perfect ambiance.

Beerandraiderfan, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of watermelonman
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured with a good pale brown color with plenty of head. It left a great looking lace as it went down.

It's got a good subdued bitter flavor. It's very well balanced; no single aspect of the flavor is dominating. Each sip begs for more, and I could drink gallons of this stuff.

watermelonman, Mar 29, 2004
Photo of IntriqKen
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber with a small white head.
Aroma of malts and light hops with a tiny bit of citrus.
Taste is light on the malt and a little heavier on the hops with a bit of citrus drying on the backside.
Mouthfeel is comfortable due to the carbonation.
Aftertaste of hops and drying makes you want another sip...
..and another.
Very good take on a british bitter

IntriqKen, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of SamuelR
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

SamuelR, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of Bieniek30
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Bieniek30, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of gillagorilla
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

gillagorilla, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of Spaz7
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Spaz7, Sep 16, 2013
Photo of rlee1390
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear orange amber, two finger head, not much carbonation

S-Malt, some floral hops, not much else

T-Too much malt, floral notes are good, not much bitterness either.

M-Light, a little on the flat side, crisp though.

O-A little too much on the malt side, could have used some more bitterness.

rlee1390, May 20, 2012
Photo of plaid75
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at The Blind Tiger.

Poured a light copper hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured light grainy malt and a flowery hop.

The taste consisted of clean and full cereal malts and a balancing flowery hop. There was some light sweetness toward the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a seemingly authentic and very tasty ale.

plaid75, Oct 02, 2008
Photo of GreenWBush
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

As I pointed out in one of my numerous Sierra Nevada reviews, this company has gotten all of its beers to seem like frighteningly similar shades of the brand's rainbow. I would love to line up Sierra Nevada's beers from light to dark and see if by the end they all just ended up tasting like differently booze-and-hop spiked versions of one another. Maybe I worry about these things too much.

I found it rather funny when I ordered the "ESB" and the waiter looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe SN does do a ESB also, but the confusion seemed a bit funny in my way-past-perfectly sober point at the brewery that afternoon.

This beer, I have to say, would be the perfect wedding beer. It has more in common with Harp and Fuller's than it does Celebration. Its noble-hop quotient is obviously higher than most somewhat-similar styles but overall its light, delicate, and schwillable. Something your father in law could love. Something to let you dry out a bit from all that Celebration.

This beer most likely hits a slight niche of SN drinkers, making sense that its most likely only found at the brewery. But nice to see that the brewery can differ from the formula from time to time.

GreenWBush, Sep 11, 2004
Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at Churchkey.

Pours a dark gold to light copper color with a nice white head and a bit of lacing. Nose is light bread and some floral, herbal hops. Light bitterness and bread in the taste with a bit of hop flavor. Fairly light but nice bitterness levels and quite drinkable.

Thorpe429, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of ac22rush
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

ac22rush, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

drewone, Nov 22, 2012
Photo of flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and clear gold color, with a smaller white head.

Aromas are of light hops, an easy pine light aroma, along with some easy brewed teas.

Taste is flavorful, but not at all heavy or overpowering. Nice malt flavors, light biscuit, easy sweetness, cream, and brewed tea. Finish has a touch of hops, mostly some mineral bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. Nice carbonation, and an easy full and not overly heavy feel.

Drinkability is quite good. This is one of my favorable sessionable Sierra brews. I'd love to have a keg of this at a party. Very tasty, but not heavy, and is very easy to drink.

flexabull, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of donniecuffs
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a sampling glass. Dark copper/caramel color, with no carbonation and very little head, which wasn't surprising given the style. The smell revealed very little in the way of typical bitter aromas like caramel, toffee, and biscuit, but did reveal more of these as the glass warmed towards room temperature. The flavor though was immediately more identifiable than the aroma, with some oakiness and vanilla in it as well. Thin-bodied and no carbonation as expected. This beer did reveal more nuances as the temperature went up, but I'd like it to be more evident at the getgo, if I'm going to session it.

donniecuffs, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of chefduff2
3/5  rDev -18.7%

chefduff2, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of warmstorage
1.68/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had on tap at the brewery in Chico last night. Quite disappointing: thin, light, pours a medium straw color. Minimal aroma, likely because it was poured at about 43 degrees. Slight aroma later, appropriate to style, but still limited. If I didn't have so much respect for Sierra Nevada's history and some of their other brews, I would have been pissed to bother driving all the way to Chico. (Other reviews forthcoming: the beer was almost uniformly disappointing, thin, and bland.)

Thin start, fairly high carbonation. Weak, thin, limited hop presence, and body is thin and bright. Only balanced in the sense that there is no significant hop or malt presence, so it's a balanced blandness. Mouthfeel is crisp and bright, notably carbonated. Finish has distinct hints of cheap grain/cheap adjuncts, like an American style lager.

I echo GreenWBush's sentiments in a prior review of this beer, to the extent that many of SN's brews seem to all be on the same base, and just have minimally varying flavors added. This beer varied MINIMALLY from the Blonde, the Pilsner, the Wheat, the Crystal Wheat, and the Extra Special Pale Ale.

I definitely wouldn't bother again, and barely finished this pint, even though I got it for free! (I ordered the Extra Special Pale Ale, and the bartender accidentally poured 3/4 of a pint of this, so when I asked if it would just go to waste anyway, she laughed/grimaced and gave it to me.)

warmstorage, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of DefenCorps
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at churchkey

A clear, burnished copper with a dense white head with good retention and lacing, this looks great. The nose is decent. A moderate, earthy, leafy hop character is immediately noticeable, along with a light toast and toffee character. For a bitter, it's a little lacking. The palate opens with a nice bitterness, with the english hop character pleasant, along with a mineral character. Not really fruity. Malt character is not particularly true to style either, with insufficent depth, there's not enough nut, toffee , just some toast. The carbonation, while typical for a tap beer, is more than i like for a bitter. Light in body with a bitter, drying finish, this is decent.

DefenCorps, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: Sampled on draft at Lucky Baldwin’s, Pasadena, CA on Saturday 18th September during the Sierra Nevada Beer Festival and a mini-BA Gathering. Served in a Sierra Nevada Pint Glass, $3 for the Pint.

Generic Sierra Nevada Tap Handle that is Dark Blue and has the words ‘Best Bitter’ in White text, nicely accompanied by a Union Jack which hints at the style.

Appearance: Golden color with a few coppery hints at times, though in the darkness of Lucky Baldwin’s it was difficult at times to work out what the exact color was, this one didn’t last too long to examine it either. Nice white head on this one from the off-set, and it lasted. Excellent conditioning.

Nose: Some grain, light toasted malts, fresh hops, and a delicate herbal spicy character at the back end with some lemon essence. Bitterness and hops start to shine through in the latter third. Decent nose, average strength but interesting.

Taste: Average malt background, light hoppy middle, dry bitter finish. Lemony with some fresh zest from the smooth carbonation that dissolutes nicely on the tongue allowing the flavors to reveal themselves. Not a big beer by any stretch of the imagination. What it does have, it uses extremely well and to full potential.

Mouthfeel: Slightly above average feel, but perfect for the style, at least for me. Solid carbonation really helped to bolster the creamy feel and smooth texture that this exhibited. A great body that is just right for the style and allows the flavors to escape in all the right proportions and at the right times.

Drinkability: I was pointed towards this one by drewbage, and may I say right here and now this was one of my favorites, probably the least complex aside from the Blonde Ale, but it had perfect balance and a *seriously* inviting quaffability that would make this an excellent Session brew for me. I could manage a Gallon (UK that is) very, very easily - too easily!!

Overall: Not the biggest, boldest, rarest, strangest or most complex of the Sierra Nevada Fleet on offer at Lucky Baldwin’s this weekend, which just goes to show that a great Beer can often be the simplest. Superb balance and a damn tasty libation. A solid effort from Sierra Nevada, so why the hell don’t they make this one more widely available!? Definitely one of my favorites from the portfolio on offer during the LB's Sierra Nevada Festival.

Recommended!

TheLongBeachBum, Sep 21, 2004
Photo of bigbelcher
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Fathers Office. I am really surprised at Sierra Nevada for making this beer. While most breweries are coming out with big hoppy beers, Sierra Nevada has turned back the clock and made an English Style Bitter. The beer goes well with a Fathers Office burger but by itself it wasn't much to speak about. It was good for the style I guess but in this day and age I feel that bigger is better.

The beer had a nice light gold color with a white head. A light hoppiness was there but you had to dig a little for it. This would be a good begginers beer for those wanting to ween themselves off of Bud and Coors.

bigbelcher, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwins Trappiste in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a murky light orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and some tea-like aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

UCLABrewN84, Sep 22, 2012
Photo of Kendo
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blue Tusk in Syracuse on 6/28/11; served in a mug.

A: Body is light golden in color with a small white head on top. Carbonation is visibly low. Good rings of lacing left behind.

S: Faint fruitiness and bread-doughy malt.

T: First impression: "light." A light malt foundation, reminds me of a pilsner malt, actually (though the color may be responsible for that impression, due to the power of suggesstion). Touch of bread or toast-like malt and some fruity sweetness underneath. Balanced somewhat by a touch earthy, herbal hops.

M: Carbonation is low, as expected given the lack of visible bubbles. Call it light-to-medium in heft, shading towards the light side.

O: If this were the older "Drinkability" category, I'd give it a 4.5, since this one was an easy drinker. However, as an "Overall" category, I'm only giving it a 4. Decent beer, lighter than expected and sweeter than expected, but I could have a few.

Kendo, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of July2Nov
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

July2Nov, Apr 22, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Sierra Nevada Best Bitter Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.