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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: 73
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: 73
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 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 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 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 corby112
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark hazy golden yellow with some ripe banana hues and a bit of lighter golden yellow color when held to a light source. Frothy, soapy white head with excellent retention, only slowly fading to a thick lasting cap that leaves sporadic spots of lacing in it's path.

Sweet light malt aroma with some subtle spice and light floral hops.

Clean, crisp and extremely smooth creamy body. Very drinkable with light sweet English malts, subtle spiciness and a very crisp clean floral hop flavor. The alcohol is very well balanced, considering this beer is 7% which is very high for a traditional English real ale. The fact that this beer is that high in ABV disqualifies it as a session beer but it drinks like one and is a very complex with a lot of full flavors. The hops really come through in the finish, but not in an overpowering or bitter fashion. This beer is very well balanced and an excellent American interpretation of the classic British style. I will be drinking a lot more of it soon.

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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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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 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 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 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 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 scottbrew4u
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Served from cask at McMinimens to mug a clear light amber to golden orange color with a fluffy white one finger head.

S: Bready and roasted malt with a sweetness of vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Hops were orange peel and herbal with a touch of peppery spice in the nose. Looking for a bit more in the aroma but good.

T: Lightly toasted malt and fresh bread, some vanilla and toffee add a mild sweetness. Orange peel and grapefruit from some PNW hops with a spicy European hop finish. Chamomile bitterness is in there too which ways in more than the sweet maltiness.

M: Smooth and creamy, light to medium body. Subtle smooth carbonation as a good cask ale should have.

D: All round great session beer with a nice flavor and ease of drinkability.

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Photo of drtth
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a nonic pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear reddish golden brown in color with a ¼" creamy head that persists for quite a while. Sipping leaves scattered legs or lacing.

Smell: The aroma is soft and pleasant and includes some malt, some citrus zest and a touch of pine. While not strong the aroma is pleasant.

Taste: The flavors include the caramel and toffee from the malt, traces of citrus zest and fruit with some light earthy character. There is quite a nice balance of malt and hops here.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth as silk with gentle but lasting carbonation. The finish is medium long with some ending hop bitterness.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I enjoyed this one, finding that each sip followed naturally from the other. I certainly would be willing to have this one again. My overall impression is of a well made, thoroughly enjoyable beer that is well worth drinking.

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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 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 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 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 TeddyBrew
4.57/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I tried this on cask at Biercraft in Brooklyn. They had three fine beers on cask that evening, but this is the one I chose to take home in a growler. This beer was true to the style as an English Bitter, which can be hard to find here.

It was subtley hopped and that refreshing, almost watery, follow through that is distinctive of a fine bitter. There was plenty of nice malt and hop flavor, and a pleasing "bouquet" throughout, but all around it had an air of understatement.

Went you want a big IPA or a hoppy Pale Ale, they can be found, and that's great. However, IMHO the more brewers can produce beers in this style, the better!

I will definitely look for more from Sly Fox.

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