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Sierra Nevada Best Bitter Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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

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42 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 42
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.81%
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
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Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IntriqKen
4.33/5  rDev +18%

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 gory4d
4.22/5  rDev +15%

Pours a clear orange color; three-finger head made up of large bubbles; a good bit of lacing, and a thin cap all the way down. The smell is faint but nice: straw, dandelion, maybe some oatmeal. The taste is rich grain with salt, a twang of violet leaves, savory notes like blood sausage, mild sweetness that bleeds into a mellow dandelion finish. It's well carbonated without being fizzy, light in body. A very good session beer. It's certainly an American take, but manages to be true to style nonetheless.

gory4d, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of watermelonman
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%

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 sleazo
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%

On cask at Mugs Ale house in Brooklyn

A-Copper brown with a rich medium frothy head. Dissipates quickly but leaves nice lace.

S-A clean barley smell with a drop of sierra hops.

T- is nice. More hopped than most bitters which I like. Slightly roasted flavour compliments the Sierra cascade(I think or chinook) hops. Very well balanced.

M-is rich as can be expected from cask. Carbonation is low as well.

D-Very drinkable. This is a fantastic bitter, maybe too hoppy for some but I loved it. This is a treat on cask. This was especially refreshing after biking over the Brooklyn Bridge. If I didnt have to bike back I would have turned this into a session. Sierra Nevada manages to do it again. Some of their more obscure styles are done very well.

sleazo, May 26, 2007
Photo of GreenWBush
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%

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 plaid75
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

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 flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

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 TheLongBeachBum
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

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.


TheLongBeachBum, Sep 21, 2004
Photo of nezelrac
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

on tap into a shaker pint

A - pale orange; one finger of fine beaded white foam; moderate retention; little lacing

S - clean malt and hop nose; straw, grass, grain, faint bread, hint of nuttiness; simple and appealing

T - follows nose; lightly toasty and faintly nutty; rather four square; very enjoyable; would like to see a little more depth

M - firm CO2, not too high, but a little high for the style; light weight, but good body

O - very good example of American bitter; quite sessionable; the whole is greater than its parts

nezelrac, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of ThomasG19
4/5  rDev +9%

ThomasG19, Aug 17, 2012
Photo of dudecandle
4/5  rDev +9%

On tap into pint glass:

A: Nice, modestly light brown color. One-finger's head, modest retention, minimal lacing.

S/T: Hoppy primarily, banana bread, lightly toasted. Malts are a bit more present on the taste.

M: A little thin.

D: Very well-rounded, as a bitter should be. It really needs to sit a bit so it can warm up and open up, but once it does, it's rather worth it. If the body would have been just a little bit fuller, this would be great.

dudecandle, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%

Sampled this on-tap at the brewery tonight.

Served in a 20oz. imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Came out with a very loose, one-finger, off-white head that deteriorated rapidly. After only a minute it was nothing more than a mere film. Body was hazy and caramel-colored, and displayed a loose column of carbonation in the middle. Head was very clean; drug no lace.

Smell: I had to let this warm to room temperature before I really got anything out of it. (It'd be nice if this one was a regular cask offering.) Once it had warmed, I detected caramel malt, fermented grains, and Cascade-like hops.

Taste: Toasted grains, caramel malt, and woody hops. Simple, but very well done; the flavors worked together very well.

Mouthfeel: Malty, slightly chewy, and clean. Carbonation was low, as expected. Light-bodied with a pleasant malty aftertaste.

Drinkability: This was a very easy drink that I would happily order again, especially if it's on cask. This was a very easy-going ale.

ThreeWiseMen, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of Kendo
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

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 29, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

This beer sits a beautiful, full, clear, copper color in my pint glass, it is topped by a finger thick pale tan colored head. Ah the aroma is magnificent; a mix of bergamot, peach, apricot and a bit of an underlying herbal character (all of which is from the hops of course). The taste is pretty dry and quaffable, yet it has a biting bitterness in the finish which is in line with, or perhaps a bit dominating of, the quaffable malt character. With the dry finish the fruity hop notes in the nose are down played to allow the herbal hop notes to dominate in the flavor. I get notes of fresh cut herbs, and some slight menthol in this beer that is served a bit too cold.

The malt character is subsidiary to the hops, it is here but plays second fiddle / supporting role. I get hints of caramel, toasted malt, biscuits and a dry grain character. This beer hits the light, easy drinking character of a traditional best bitter, though it is perhaps a bit too hoppy and bitter (which of course I enjoy quite a bit).

Gueuzedude, Oct 10, 2005
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

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 Nickls
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

(From notes)

A - Golden brown hue with a clearly white head that held fairly well

S - Faint maltiness and aromas of fresh baked bread

T - Malty and a bit yeasty, but lacking hop assertiveness

M - Smooth and lightly creamy

D - Has all the trapping of a well-balanced bitter, and more complex than more traditional takes on the brew. Easy-drinking here

Overall, this was a pretty nice beer and nothing in particular stuck out as bad or great. Very balanced and pleasant. Would recommend

Nickls, Sep 21, 2008
Photo of bigbelcher
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%

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 Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +3%

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 Spaz7
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Spaz7, Sep 16, 2013
Photo of ac22rush
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

ac22rush, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of Vigilante
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Vigilante, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of jco3rd
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

jco3rd, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

t0rin0, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of donniecuffs
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

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 Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%

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
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Sierra Nevada Best Bitter Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.