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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

40 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.04%
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: 40 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

01-20-2013 02:14:23 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2012 04:19:36 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2010 22:14:29 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

3/5  rDev -18.5%

04-29-2012 16:13:28 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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).

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2005 18:02:15 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-12-2005 03:19:09 | More by Billolick
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

11-22-2012 06:28:44 | More by drewone
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2008 18:01:00 | More by plaid75
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2010 01:42:23 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2010 22:11:57 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

09-21-2004 04:36:27 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
LilBeerDoctor

New York

3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 9/3/08. On tap at BT. Pours a clear orange with a small white head. Aroma of sweet malt, flowery hops. Flavor is bitter initial with lots of wheat. Some flowery hops but quite bitter. Blandish. I'd pass on this next time.
6/3/6/3/13 (3.1/5)

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2008 22:13:35 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2009 05:43:29 | More by flexabull
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1/2 pint at the Sierra Nevada Taproom for two dollars, consumed 8/11/08, reviewed from notes

A-Color was a mix between copper and medium brown, 1/2 inch foamy white head, some retention, nice lacing
S-English malt, lemons, grassy accents, strong hops, citrus, and roastiness
T-Hops are pretty powerful in this one, in other words the hoppiness outdoes the malt for once, bitter all the way through with some dried citrus in the finish, does not change much as it warms up other than becoming more subtle, liked the dryness in this one
M-Could use some more carbonation, bitter and dry mouthfeel, medium bodied, taste lingers a little bit
D-ABV seemed low and it was light on the stomach, went down easy and refreshing at times, taste is not complex enough to keep coming back to though

I enjoy English Bitters once in a while and this one did not measure up to the last one I drank, being the Surly brew, might drink again if I was at the brewery and in the mood for something along these lines, worth trying

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2008 19:57:38 | More by Floydster
Photo of rlee1390
rlee1390

Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2012 03:42:17 | More by rlee1390
Photo of Kendo
Kendo

New York

3.9/5  rDev +6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2011 23:17:17 | More by Kendo
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
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

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2006 00:12:50 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
ThreeWiseMen

California

3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-10-2009 05:53:46 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of sleazo
sleazo

New York

4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: cask

05-26-2007 20:08:27 | More by sleazo
Photo of chefduff2
chefduff2

New York

3/5  rDev -18.5%

04-21-2013 16:24:11 | More by chefduff2
Photo of July2Nov
July2Nov

Hawaii

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-22-2013 02:26:12 | More by July2Nov
Photo of watermelonman
watermelonman

California

4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2004 08:20:17 | More by watermelonman
Photo of donniecuffs
donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Serving type: cask

10-02-2009 06:26:12 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of Nickls
Nickls

District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(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

Serving type: on-tap

09-21-2008 20:55:30 | More by Nickls
Photo of GreenWBush
GreenWBush

Oregon

4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2004 20:55:55 | More by GreenWBush
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Sierra Nevada Best Bitter Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.