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Chester County Bitter - Sly Fox Brewing Company

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Chester County Bitter
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21 Reviews
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Reviews: 21
Hads: 74
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 31.28%
Wants: 0
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: corby112 on 10-14-2009

This traditional British Ale is authentic cask conditioned beer with a smooth malt profile balance by a subtle hop presence. Dry-hopping in the cask produces an enticing hop aroma in this quaffable session ale.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 21 | Hads: 74
Photo of Knapp85
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours as a light caramel color with a white foamy head on it. The aroma is a bit earthy and doesn't have a whole lot more coming off of it in my opinion. The taste is very lightly flavored with grains and some hops. The mouthfeel is very watery and kind of on the flat side. This beer along with a bunch of Sly Fox's releases just are not impressive to me. I feel bad saying that but I've not had a single one that really sticks out to me and makes me say "Wow".

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Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask at Cole's cask festival. A fine bitter although a sour finish. Pros were the understated bitterness, and full mouthfeel. A faint Caesar crown an apple juice colour. Is it infection? Sourness does spoil getting it spot in, still a drinkable one.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a tulip pint.

Looks great--pitch perfect apple cider color. On the darker end of the range for the style, which is fine by me. Small ring of salmon roe popped up and popped out.

Smells pretty, too--stiff green apples, some minty notes, faint faint earthiness. Smells restrained and refined.

Taste proves the nose is false advertising. This is neither restrained or refined, and doesn't coax nearly enough out of the malt for my taste. There's a rough, unbalanced feel to the flavor profile, no doubt as a result of what seems like a heavy-handed hopping. The finish is just plain astringent, which I thought was because it was too cold, even though I didn't even refrigerate the growler. So I held it in my hands--I cradled this tender pint--but, sadly, it just became warmly astringent.

Mouthfeel, again, suffers from that astringency. Never quites attains that creamy buttery blanket for the juicy biscuit middle heaven that I like in bitters. Oh well.

It's ok for an American version of the style. But American craft brewers are showing they don't do subtlety real well. Right now the English are kicking our asses in the bitter category.

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Photo of david18
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a cask pour of this at George Keeley's Pub on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Overall it was a decent beer and probably perfect as a cask ale.

Apparence was a little cloudy without much carbonation but, of course, this drawn from a cask. Color was a light to medium copper.

Aroma was a bit bready with some sweetness and citrus.

Flavor was also bready and a little weak. Not a lot going one but good for what it is.

Overall a good English bitter and if this is your style of beer it's quite a good example of it.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy brass yellow body with foamy 1/4 inch head.

S - Fruity hops with a distinct apple aroma and yeast.

T - Mashed hard fruit with smooth malts and subtle grain undertone, sour at the back end with just a hint of hops.

M - Moderate-light feel with nil carbonation.

D - Quaffable, but I wasn't ready to session this one.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear copper in color and has no signs of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that gradually faded away, leaving only a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of fruits and bready malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell but the flavors are stronger with some additional notes of caramel. No bitterness from the hops is discernable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and very smooth due to the lack of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and is particularly sessionable given its low alcohol content.

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Photo of sliverX
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at pizza plant main st.
Thick white cap hazy yellow brown left plenty of lacking
Sweet light malt, with a prominent lemon rind character.
Sweet malt dominated by the lemon characteristic, not bad might be better a bit colder a bit on the copper metal taste going on as well medium bodied to light
This may be a bit late on this cask but still somewhat enjoyable

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%

(cask draft at Johnny Brenda's - served in a shaker glass)

First time in JB's - don't know how up on their cellar work they are...

The pour looks well enough... hardly brilliantly clear... rosy-cheeked yellow-amber liquid... foam is fine and compact, as if through sparkler - couldn't see the tap - lasts all the way down, frosty lacing

Thing that stuck out was how damn bitter it buzzed... strong, tea-like tannins, as if the tea bag was left in the water way too long, squeezed out dry... toasty pale malt treads lightly at the bottom, but can hardly be seen below the harsh hoppy fog

Well... I'll have to try this again elsewhere... one could tell the right flavors are there

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Photo of tobelerone
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Format : on cask at the Phoenixville brewpub.

Appearance: clear gold, with a small, quickly settling head and nice lacing that clings to the glass.

Aroma: mild bready malt; lightly sweet and floral. Subtle citrus.

Flavor: also quite mild; malt has a slightly nutty toasted bread quality; very gently hopped; low bitterness; some fruity and floral notes; a bit of caramel sweetness, but finishes semi-dry.

Feel: medium light bodied with lie carbonation; smooth and creamy on cask.

Overall: easy drinking and mild on taste; fairly traditional; notbad but a bit unexceptional.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Firkin at the Grey Lodge Public House in Philadelphia for Friday the Firkinteenth, 13 August 2010.

A. Pours amber with a thin head.

S. Peppery hops and caramel on the nose.

T. Bitter upfront with light malt.

M. Thin to medium body with low level of carbonation (firkin).

D. This is a good easy drinker that won't challenge your taste buds. Good preparation for my most anticipated firkin beer of the night: DFH's 75 min.

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Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a glass on cask at Tap and Table. I always like a good bitter, but the red color is a little dark for a bitter. The flavor is dominated by crystal malts (there's the color). Really, the beer just tasted like a lighter amber/red ale on cask. That's not all bad, there was a please citrus hop note in addition to the caramelized malt, but I'd hope for more depth.

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Photo of pburland23
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Teresa's Next Door.

Bright, cloudy yellow color with about half a finger of fluffy white head.

Light, fruity smell. I picked up some citrus (lemon perhaps). There's also some mild hops aroma.

Taste is a little underwhelming. It's lacking body. But there is a lemon taste to it that is pleasing, but not overwhelmingly grabbing.

The mouthfeel is nice and oily with almost no carbonation. It makes for a smooth drinking experience.

This beer is definitely sessionable, but I'm not sure I'd go that direction with this beer. It's good, but it doesn't bring enough to the table.

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Photo of Soonami
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have not seen Sly Fox Chester County Bitter before, but since it was offered on cask at Local 44, I thought that I would give it a try since the beers they present on hand pumps are always well done. This is a beer that had a good bit of dry hopping either in fermentation or on cask, that really adds a nice woody, fresh hop aroma and flavor. The malt adds a bready character that helps ground the beer and provided the body that a smaller hopped beer requires.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask, via hand pump, @ the Sly Fox Brewing Company (Phoenixville, PA) on 12/20/10. Served in a 10 oz Pils glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a finger of tight and foamy bright-white head. This retains with a thin creamy frothiness that leaves back spotty lacing which sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is grassy and a little spicy, with some bitter smelling citric character and a touch of earth. This is set against some malty tones of fresh baked biscuits and a dash of sweeter caramel in the nose.

The taste has both a fresh citric flavor and bitterness going on here and is balanced by a sturdy backbone of bready grains, which trails some leftover light toast into the finish, along with dry spice and rind. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied, with a light prickle to the carbonation that runs through the middle of the feel, but is mostly easy on the edges and overall very smooth on the palate. This feels good on cask.

This was another pleasant enough quaff that I found on the hand pumps here at Sly Fox. This Bitter had some bite but was still mostly well balanced and the easy feel from the cask and lower ABV kept this drinking nicely. Sessionable little brew here.

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Photo of thatguy314
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dull copper color, slightly hazy at room temp, perhaps from dry hopping

Aroma: earthy, spicy hops dominates, some caramel malt. Peach and pear esters. Would like more malt to hop balance for style (hoppy for english style) but quite pleasant

Flavor: raisiny caramel malt and biscuit, typical for style. Resiny hop character from dry hop again a little out of style. Ditracs from rich maltiness. Would have preferred more end of boil hop addition as would have been less resiny.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, finishes dry. Rich cask mouthfeerl. Is there any other (good) way to drink a bitter?

Overall: one of the best american bitters I've had, but a little too much hop, particularly dry hopping. Turns a fabulous beer into a good beer by throwing balance off a bit. That said, darn tasty.

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Photo of weeare138
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

cask at TJ's.
Appears a transparent light gold with a fluffy white cap tht sticks around. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of citrus, pine, and cut birch bark. Very mild and enticing to deserve several more deep inhales.
Taste is of citrus, cooked cereal grain, earthy mushrooms, ripe fruit, berries, and yeast.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slick, oily, and bitter sweet in the finish.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich and deep golden color with a creamy foam topping and plenty of lacing. Aroma of doughy malts and lightly citrusy hops. In the taste, a firm malt foundation with earthy, rooty hop character. Firmly bitter, this fits the style quite nicely. The body is light, smooth, and gently carbonated. Refreshing and bitter. Overall, this was a really good "real ale".

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Sly Fox, Phoenixville, CASK
$ 4.00/10 oz, $ 4.50/16 oz
Aroma weak, bready malt
Head removed by bartender, white, creamy
Lacing excellent – covers inside of glass breaking into curtains
Body medium yellow, clear
Flavor light maltiness with a touch of diacetyl; no hops, no alcohol
Palate light, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of fishacura
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, it's not Fuller's IMHO but it's a very good attempt at an ESB from this local Chester County PA craft brewer.

Slyfox does a nice job branching out into the ESB world on this one. Nice blend of hops without being overbearing or too bitter.

The one slight complaint I would have would be that I felt the beer was overly carbonated. I like a little less for an ESB whereas I felt like this was carbonated like a summer pils or the like.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chester County Bitter has a dark golden body with a thin, spindly, tan head. Decent retention and lacing, the type you expect from a cask pour that is good, but not great.

The aroma has some fruity hops and bready malts to it.

The flavor has a noticeable hop bite to it, with zesty citrus and some other fruity hops. Slight bitterness and perhaps a touch of pine come from the hops also. The malt backbone balances nicely, and it is probably a little stronger than the hops. A very bready and grainy taste gives way to a bit of caramel-type sweetness. The beer finishes fairly dry.

The mouthfeel is light with fairly low carbonation.

I liked this one enough to have a couple pints of it. It's nice to find a tasty craft brew that is under 5% ABV, and a cask that is treated well is always a treat.

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Photo of philbe311
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On hand pump at Al's of Hampden...

A - One fingers worth of slightly off-white batter-like head with minmal retention... A rich caramel color... Still with limited carbonation... Leaves rings upon rings of lacing on the glass that stay throughout...

S - Loaded with bready malts... Caramel... Toffee... Some euro hoppiness... Textbook, but subdued for the style...

T - Wonderful assertive mix of malt and hops... The bready malts and caramel are at the forefront as expected, but there is a not so subtle hop kick on the finish that lingers slightly...

M - Light to medium bodied... Slightly creamy... Slightly thin... Goes down very easy, but seems mildly inconsistent from sip to tip...

D - Drinability is off the charts... A great tasting ESB that is sub 5% ABV... I could drink this all night long...

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent deep orange amber color with a full white head. The nose is pale and crystal malts, toasted grain, lightly grassy hops in the back. It tastes of pale malts, toasted grains, a nicely balanced grassy herbal hop. Subtle and balanced flavors with a light body, soft and delicate feel, creamy and low carbonation (from cask).

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask, served in a pint

The body sits a dull golden orange with a bubbly off-white cap. Huge sip marks cover the inside of the glass.

The nose has a little bit of everything from the hops. Pine needles, earth, spice, flowers, and a little bit of citrus bitterness. Bready malt and some toffee round out the nose.

Mildly hoppy, mainly earth and spice shining through before a rush of citrus and bready malt. The finish has some toffee notes with pine. The bitterness is pleasing. Never overpowering, pretty true to the style.

Creamy, full feel thanks to the cask. Low carbonation.

This was a nice little bitter that I wasn't expecting. Pretty authentic, good hop bill. Well-crafted.

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Photo of delta490
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a lighter golden-amber with a thin white head that leaves small smudges of lacing. The aroma is lighter toasted malt, with a little mild earthy hops. The taste is much the same but with just a little more depth. The body is lighter and mostly smooth throughout. A really good session bitter.

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Photo of plaid75
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Brazen Head, Brooklyn.

Poured a medium copper hue with a wisp of a head.

The smell featured a lemony hop and a light malt.

The taste consisted of a smooth pale malt, a touch of crystal and a balancing dry herbal hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and easily sessionable ale.

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Chester County Bitter from Sly Fox Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 21 ratings.