Bitter American - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Bitter AmericanBitter American

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,254 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,254
Reviews: 361
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.95%
Wants: 51
Gots: 121 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This American session ale packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly lower-alcohol brew, making it the perfect beer to have on hand when you have a little history to make.

42 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,254 | Reviews: 361
Reviews by juhl31:
Photo of juhl31
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-looks fine. clear, amber, off white head. bubbles lay flat across the bottom of the glass and a few float to the top every second

-bready smelling like an italian loaf. subtle hops in the back that dont necessarily give off a certain type

-just straight laid back flavor from start to finish. towards the end there is some toasted bread taste. up front and going towards the middle there is a generic type hop taste, but not much

-there is some carb bite right up front, but it mellows out quick. there is a ESB style bitterness that also lingers in the mouth after a few gulps

-this is a fine beer. nothing too fancy by any means, but tasty enough. definitely one that is good for a river float or summer porch sittin

More User Reviews:
Photo of utopiajane
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy and yellow with a lovely pastel orange blush. A fat head of off white foam that falls pretty quickly and leaves some sticky rings of lace. Nose it outrageous grapefruit! The juicy and tart fruit, the pith and the peel. Some herbal for the background and a sweet but light scent of malt. Forceful yet graceful nose. It's vibrant and enticing. The taste is fruity and lively with that grapefruit. Just enough malt to feel it on the palate more than really taste it too much. Bit it is a feather light biscuit with a bit of dryness. Lively juicy fruit and the herbal kicks in on the backnotes to make this one drink easily and with plenty of taste. Some earthy pine on the palate brings it to a dry finish with a well done bitter. it's a bitter that is not shy and it lasts and lingers a bit. Balanced to the flavors and to the drink but it does stand out. It does not succumb to the malt at all and lingers just long enough to show you the splendid crispness of the beer. It has ample carbonation and finishes tart. Really one of the best session ales.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%

12 oz can into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color. The head is two fingers high, with a shade barely off-white. Retention is somewhat low, and the texture is a bit rough. However, it does leave behind a good amount of lacing behind. (3.5)

Smell: Grapefruit-laden hops and sweet caramel malts comprise the majority of the aroma. Touches of herbal, piny notes also come through. But come to think about it, it does a good impersonation of a standard 6% pale ale - even if it's a standard issue aroma, managing to come across larger than it really is gives it bonus points. (3.5)

Taste: The flavor profile is more in line with its actual gravity. Grapefruit and pine open it up, while some maltiness finishes it off. Holy crap, not only does the nose impersonate a bigger pale ale, the flavor also has the excessive crystal malt presence most standard pales do! I jest, I jest. This one is alright. (3)

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light and dry, but there's also some lingering sweetness which seems to beef up its body. There's also a huge amount of carbonation which is honestly distracting. (3)

Overall: This really tastes like a regular 6% pale ale - the grapefruit hops, the crystal malt sweetness, everything! It's fairly standard, but the lower ABV makes this solid for session duty. (3.25)

3.18/5: Nothing too special, but gets the job done as a session ale

Photo of oberon
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a peach infused medium golden with a thin white head atop,citric hops really stand out nicely over top of a dryer malt base,not overly complex but the hops are nice.Citric hops are predominant on the palate with crisp dryer malt base,hops are not bitter but provide nice sweeter fruitiness.An ale I would drink all day so it is true to its sessionable name.

Photo of SD-Alefan
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the can into a pint glass. Pours a hazy copper-orange with an off-white head that leaves plenty of lacing.
Nice aroma full of tropical fruits and toffee.
The taste is hoppy, bitter tangerine up front backed up by a nice balance of sweet malt.
Mouthfeel is medium to thin with carbonation just right for a pale ale.
Really tasty and refreshing. Good beer.

Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz can with no freshness date.

Clear pale brassy color, sudsy topping ... looks like a beer! ;-) Fruity and floral hop nose with a hint of biscuit and caramel malt. Crispness over smoothness, moderate dry-ish body. Semi-pungent hop flavor lends a heavy hand of bitterness; oily, minty, orange peel, leafy / bark, sage. Dry malt character pushes through the hops a bit with bone dry biscuit flavors. Vaguely fruity and the alcohol is tame obviously.

Well within the definition of the American session beer, pretty bold with the hops ... this beer really is starting to grow on me, sadly this 12oz can is not even close to what I would want right now.

Photo of Billolick
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can with no freshness info available.

Pours clear, lighter amber, under a larger medium tan head. Thick collar, minor sheeting down low and moderate lace.

Biting citric nose, tangarines come to mind.

Hopped up ale, yet on the lighter side bodywise.

Caramel malts with more then some persistant hops. A bit watery in the mid section. Not bad, nothing special, decent session beer in a can, this stuff has its purpose....would work great at the beach, at a tail gate, music fest or for those days (rare no doubt) when you wanta have way more then one

Photo of tigg924
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1 inch head, gold in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: pine and grapefruit hops and some caramel

Taste: a sweet bready and caramel start that goes quickly to sharp pine and floral hops with a bit of melon. Grapefruit and caramel come back at the end.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, sweet start with a bitter middle and a less bitter end, high carbonation

Drinkability: It is amazing to find this many complex hops in such a low abv beer. One of the better beers I have had lately, I could easily session this. Very much a California IPA that is nice and layered. A treat.

Photo of bsp77
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into Nonic Imperial Pint. Julian code that begins with 1010 (I assume January 10, 2011).

Appearance: Clear amber-orange with foamy off-white and pretty nice lacing.

Smell: Spicy, citrusy hop aroma with an emphasis on orange. Some light biscuit underneath.

Taste: Great hop taste with orange, grapefruit and a nice spiciness. Dry malts add to the overall complexity with biscuit, tea and earthiness. Ends spicy and somewhat bitter.

Feel: Light but firm body with moderate carbonation. Very dry finish. Proper Bitter feel.

Drinkability: Fantastic session ale. Brewers really need to make more beers like this - low abv, big taste. And this is not an IPA, not an APA; it is a Bitter that uses a shitload of American hops. Otherwise, it fits the style perfectly.

Photo of MattyG85
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Canned on 12/12/11.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear amber orange with lots of rising bubbles. Big four finger white head with good retention and lots of sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Sweet bready caramel and toffee malts with some wheat grains. A nice citrus and earthy hop presence. Hints of grapefruit, pineapple, pine resin, and grassy hops. Smells nicely balanced and full for a lighter beer. Pretty nice.

Taste: Very good bite of hops upfront with some citrus grapefruit, pineapple, and orange with a little pine resin. Also some earthy, grassy tasting hops. Midway comes a good taste of bready biscuity malts with some caramel and toffee. Full flavored and well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Crisp, creamy and very easy drinking.

Overall: A pretty solid "session" beer. Nice hop presence for a smaller beer.

Photo of Doc_Hops
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a nice orange color, slightly hazy, with some towering, fluffy, cream colored head.

S- Light piny hop aroma with some smooth malt notes.

T- Bright hop bitterness in the beginning (oddly) with some nice orangey/malty notes in the middle followed by a crisp, smooth, quick finish.

M- Quite tingly on tip of the tounge. Real nice carbonation throughout as well.

O- It's nice to have a beer with actual FULL flavor that doesn't overwhelm you with alcohol, or price. This is an awesome session beer that is very approachable and a great gateway beer for someone looking to get into craft beer. Definitely an "A" in my book.

Serving Type: 12oz can poured into a pint glass.

Photo of moundbz
4.74/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

crisp bitter mouthful, great hop linger too, smells good

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden color, good head to it. Aroma was metallic and hoppy, grapefruit and a tad soapish.

Good bitterness, not harsh, accompanied by ample hops of the grapefruit vein. Low malt bill allows more of the bitterness and hop mouthfeel to shine. A great tailgate beer here! Don't let the low abv fool you, this packs plenty of flavor into a can. Uplifting feel, given the carbonation, light body and hoppiness of it.

One of the better pales on the market, and truly pale. Keep this one around for outdoor activities, $8 a 6 pack makes this a good score overall.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can fresh sixer from Giant Eagle Market district, pours a brilliant clear copper pale color with a nicely formed thicket of off white head...fine lacing spread sporadiacally with each sip. Smells great citrus/pine smells hoppier than their IPA. In the background I detect some caramel biscuit malts kicking around but the start of the show are the hops in this conveniently low alcohol format canned at that. Hops are blended with a nice caramel/semi glazed caramel popcorn flavor. The hops have mild pine, mainly citric notes with a bit of straight up herbal green. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with slick hop oils coating the palate, carbonation is mellow and even. Drinkability overall solid, one of best low alcohol options with some actual hop flavor great idea more people take note out there.

Photo of chinchill
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the NOC in Nantahala, NC.
A good looking beer with excellent clarity and a well proportioned off-white head that has decent retention. Smells fine with no particular strengths or weaknesses. The taste is more exceptional, as is the crisp and dry feel. Refreshing. Mildly bitter finish.

Photo of lanamj
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can into glass.

A- Amber color with a slight opaqueness to it. Half inch head that dissipates to a quarter inch that holds well with sticky lacing.

S- Faint, not pungent. Fresh hop aroma, bitter sap, biscuit, honey and light malts.

T- Bitter soap flavor meets biscuit and honey. I like it. There is a great hop presence as well as a smooth malt backbone.

M- For a session ale it drinks a lot bigger then %4.4 ABV. For me this is a good thing. Carbonation is spot on and drinkability is amazing. I have a new favorite out-door event beer.

O- This is a great session ale that although doesn't blow me away, has a great purpose. Im a big beer guy and this little ale has made me question the potential of lower alcohol beers. Well done guys.

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vibrant and hazy gold-orange on the pour, this brew settles to show a clear amber with an off-white head about a finger in height. It recedes to foam, but heavy and consistent foam that leaves itself behind in patches and legs.
Pungent citrus and floral hops balance with caramel and bready malts in the nose. It seems American, so I'm guessing 21A is going for what an American style session ale would be rather than an ESB, which was what I assumed before I picked up the can. Regardless, it works.
There's very little difference between the aroma and the flavor other than a slightly stronger display of herbal notes and pith in the hops profile.
This beer is more crisp than smooth, though smoothness isn't neglected, in a medium body with light carbonation. It goes semi-dry in the finish.
Whatever the style, this is a tasty, balanced beer that I could easily drink several of at a time without getting bored.

Photo of tastybeer
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber color and orange tinted white yummy looking head. The head hits the top of the glass at the pour and gradually settles to a patchy layer. Its one of those 'hop-oily' looking heads and it leaves nice sticky lace all around too. Aroma is super pleasant, unimposing, fresh, and brightly candy-like. Aroma includes juicy-sweet citrus, mango, light floral notes, and soft bread doughy malt. Taste is very refreshing. Lots of flavor with a deceptively light, easy going feel. Bright, Springy, mellow, and evenly bitter. Bitterness has a touch of dry grittiness to it which adds interest. This is indeed ultra sessionable, and very drinkable. I suspect I will return to this brew now and again, and again...

Photo of bensbeers
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first brew from 21st.

Finally found a hoppy, enjoyable, sessionable, beer. The closest I've found to this combo is dale's, but dale's is a little potent to be a session beer. Pours mostly clear, copper with a light 2 finger head. Smells is total hops and citrus. Taste is hoppy yet well-balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied, with a clean finish.

Kept this one short because it's a no-frills beer. If you want to drink a lot of something hoppy that won't get you too buzzed, this is your beer. Will definitely try this again, and I look forward to trying some other offerings from this brewery. Cheers!

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours copper with an orange hue. The head is 2 fingers thick with good retention, resulting in a thick semi-sticky lacing.

Smell - Malts are earthy grains and sweet bready notes, with a healthy dose of citrus hops.

Taste - Slight Caramel with notes of red apple, and a pleasant citrus bitterness to bring some balance. A slight metallic twang as well.

Mouthfeel - Light in body. The carbonation lends to a slightly crisp bite, but it goes down smooth and velvety.

Overall - If I didn't know any better, I'd say this was Stone's Levitation ale; the characteristics are nearly identical. Regardless, this is the 3rd beer I've had from this brewery, and by far the best of the three.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge, fluffy, slightly off-white head. It lasts forever and paints thick web-like lace on the glass. Liquid is bronze, clear and beautiful.

Aroma gives clean hops mostly, veering between citrus and pine resin, with just a kiss of caramel underneath.

Taste-wise, hops are still the main focus, and are more herbal on the tongue than what the aroma hints at. There's a pleasant, bready graininess at its foundation. Almost-rough bitterness hangs out for a long time in the finish. It's simple, but successfully straddles the simple old-school pale ale style and the more hop forward offerings of cutting edge new school brewers.

Feel is very nice, achieving smoothness and softness despite very healthy carbonation.

Hugely drinkable. Love these kinds of beers that don't KO the liver after two or three servings, yet bring with them plenty of pizazz and flavor, as this one does.

Photo of tdm168
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Village Draft House

Pours an orangish color with a soft layer of dense, white head that has good retention. The nose has intense aromas of florla and citrusy hops. The flavor has a mild note of crystal malt up front with a strong, robust hop character that features intense floral and grapefruity, citrus notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with decent carbonation.

This is a solid APA. This in my opinion rivals Dale's Pale or SN Pale Ale. It's hoppy, balanced, drinkable, and overly enjoyable. I will definitely have this again.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

21st Amendment "Bitter American"
12 oz. can, "Enjoy By: 11/25/14" - looks like I missed that by 5 days
$1.83 @ Weis Market, Conshohocken, PA

Notes: Hazy golden orange body. Pillowy bright white head drops shortly =. just good retention and lacing. Aroma displays gently resinous, leafy, softly piney, and citrusy (grapefruit, pineapple) hops as well as a gently bready malt. The flavor follows suit, giving the hops a little more emphasis over the malt; and there's a bit of yeasty fruitiness that let's you clearly know that it's an ale. It's solidly bitter, but balanced. As it warms the citrus becomes more evident and opens up displaying mango and papaya. It finishes dry as the malt recedes and the bitterness rises. Medium-light leaning towards medium in body with a crisp carbonation. Session ale? Absolutely, and yet not. Yes, because it's rich and flavorful but not overdone, but also "not really" because at 4.6% abv it's really not that much lower in alcohol. If I hadn't known it, I'd have just assumed it was a standard APA.

Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Why on earth is this classified as an IPA? It's 4.4% and my can calls it an extra pale ale? Moving on...

This is an excellent example of what's becoming the substyle of the American bitter. It has a rich bready biscuit flavor character without being too thick or sweet. The malts are backed by a peppery citrus hop character. There's a satisfying bitter herbal fruit rind finish. And the body is light enough I could easily drink too much. My only complaint is that the aroma is a bit simple with a focus on the malt.

Go buy this by the case or keg.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a finger of head on a clear straw colored body.
The smell is amazing: rich caramel malt with a wonderful blend of citrus.
The taste has a moderate bitterness throughout with a backbone of malt, but the sweet never shows through.
The texture is softer with moderate carbonation.
Its aroma blew me away, the taste was a backup player but it's still a tasty drink with a low ABV.

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Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,254 ratings.