Bitter American - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Bitter AmericanBitter American

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,254 Ratings
THE BROS
88
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
Photo of BergBeer
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Look: A slightly hazy golden straw with a vigorous white head.

Smell: A bouquet of citrus and bitter hops with a mild malted body.

Taste: Citrus hops greet the palate that fades to a bitter piney hops that dominates while a mild honey malt creeps into the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied. The bitterness beefs up the body a bit but it goes down smooth as the bitter hops linger on the mild finish.

Overall: Just a solid beer. Blurs the line of ESB and pale ale. The ABV suggests it would be watery like some "session ales" but I'd say it was a regular pale ale if I didn't know better. I've had 7% ipas that had thinner bodies then this. Solid beer.

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 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 Double07Inc
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

21st Amendment did a great job on this beer. It clean crisp and refreshing. Its smooth and has that hoppy bitterness I love. You can smell the grapefruit aroma. The beer is a little hazy but I usually drink this one straight from the can. Great beer to have after mowing the lawn or BBQ'N with the family.

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoy By: 01/15/15

A: Pours a golden color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a very thin cap that leaves some nice lacing

S: A good mix of malt and hops up front, with some grassy notes and light sweetness. Lightly fruity as well

T: Follows the nose. Grassy hops up front with some light malt sweetness and cereal notes. Fruitiness is light and towards the middle. Finishes with a light bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A nice and easy drinking brew that provides some nice grassy hop notes and bitterness. Quite quaffable and well priced. Definitely a nice beer to session

Photo of fscottkey
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: [3.75] An apricot orange color. The beer is not transparent (slightly cloudy looking). After a typical pour it forms a 1 1/2 finger head. The head is pretty thick and attractive but goes away after a few minutes. The head leaves lots of nice lacing. The can lists ABV (4.4%), IBUs (42) and the Drink By (11/08/14). All good info!

S: [4.25] Nice piney nose. Not a whollop or overwhelming - but decent for a 4.4% beer.

T: [4.25] I get tropical fruits and apricot up front. There is a nice breadiness in the middle and the finish is a sligh bitter kick. The front and the mid share a pleasant sweetness too.

M: [4.25] Not bad for a low ABV beer. The carbonation is right and the beer feels a little buttery and rich on the tongue.

O: [4.00] Do not be fooled by the crazy Space Monkey on the can - or the name ("Bitter" 21st Ammendment is planning to change the name). Really nice flavor profile for the ABV - they really pack it in there. I am really impressed. This is my top 2 session beers. Kudos to 21st Ammendment.

Photo of MNAle
2.68/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours pale, cloudy orange color. White head that fades relatively quickly. Moderate, disconnected lacing. Citrus in the aroma, otherwise faint. Some visible carbonation but not excessive. Thin, but sweet malt initial taste with bitter hops next, and lingering in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is a bit unpleasant and faintly fruity. Not much mouth feel - thin. Not well balanced; the overall impression is thin, watery and hopped. Not very impressive. Even though the brewer calls this a pale ale, with "bitter" in the name, I was expecting better balance, more malt, not watery citrus. Disappointing.

Photo of Mulligan
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Very, very solid session. Still plenty hoppy.

Photo of mikenotchey
5/5  rDev +29.9%

A perfect session beer. The first can is great, but the ones following only improve. Aromatically balanced, a slight spiciness on the tongue, great carbonation.

Photo of patre_tim
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

A: Copper cloudy and like oxidized just squeezed apple juice. No visible carbonation, a huge 4 finger off white head leaves a chunky lacing.


S: Caramel, banana candy, jackfruit, pine.


T: Carmel, jackfruit and banana candy, hint of pine, all very light on the tongue. Much lighter than the scent and visual suggested.


M: Medium light body, little carbonation.


O: Its an APA, what can I say. Makes me think of a weak Zombie dust, yet its considered a session ale. In that case, drinking it a 5 am doesn’t seem so bad. Got it either at Wholefoods, somewhere USA, or Bruisin Ales. If it truly is a session ale, its one of the best.

Photo of Shroud0fdoom
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%

This brew is nice. The aroma is pleasant with tropical citrus, earthy/spicy hops and finally the strong malt comes towering from behind. Taste is just as pleasant. Bready malt sweetness makes it’s stand first, then earthy/spicy hops followed by some passion fruit and some pine. Nice citrus bitterness finishes the brew with some musk. This reminds of what an "IPA Light" would taste like. This is worthy.

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 jwhancher
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome session ale with upfront American citrus hop character and supportive crystal malt. Low ABV makes this one a go to for me on many occasions. Can't believe I didn't give this one a serious chance previously. Thanks go a buddy for the heads up.

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 MikeWard
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can into pint gLASS. canned on 1/7/14, so 6 months along.

Slightly hazy yellow with small head which maintained throughout. Light on carbonation, but decent lacing.

Only thing I was getting on the nose was a slightly mouldy smell, which for osme weird reason, I didn't find too unplesant. Here goes.

Upon tasting, there is some sour bitterness to indicate the hops are still around. A lot of sweetness from the malt, and some slightly funky barnyard hint. (From the yeast?) None of this is unpleasant, just a little odd and jarring.

Mouth is between thin and medium. Overall, has kind of a flat taste to it.

Well, guess it's okay, but not worthy of a recommendation. Can is very cool though, chimp in a spacesuit.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

With the bridge of British "session ale" to American IPA, it's easy tho think that that the two would never marry together. But in not-so-bitter fashion, 21st Ammendment's Bitter American make it look, and taste, easy.

Bitter American is a dense amber, honeylike color that projects notions of caramel, biscuit and herbal tea. Of course hops help out with that botanical blend as grapefruit, tobacco, sassafras and verbena peak through its bready-sweet upstart.

Creamy in the middle, light caramel and shortbread flavors mount even as the bottom drops out of the malty sweet taste and texture. What's left is faint impressions of malt with an arid honeycomb structure of bread and cake. That paves the way for hops to supplant the sweetness, balancing with resinous pine, citrus ribs and a dried leaf taste.

Its bitter finish comes after a quickly dissolving creamy, medium-light body to start. Trailing hop bitterness is just as broad and woody as it is sharp and citrusy, giving its final impressions as much English character as it does of American ale. Its earthen stem flavor is a curious linger as it leaves this light bodied IPA less clean and crisp as preferred, but not obstructing the likability of the beer either.

Photo of malprep
2.94/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A - There is a nice appearance to the Bitter American. Head is a little soft and it seemed to be over carbonated.

S - I liked the smell. Nice bold hop scent.

T - Playing off of the over carbonation - little to carbonated for my liking.

M - Light on the mouth. Flavorful. The bold malt and hops had a good taste to it.

O - Bitter American was okay. I enjoyed the purchase but would have like to see it less carbonated allowing the boldness of the hops to come out.

Photo of Mongrel
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pale gold with a finger and a half of foam that sees some nice lacing.

S - there's a nice blast of juicy, grassy, floral hops as you crack the can and pour into a glass. Smell is bright and clean, not overly dank and in your face.

T - taste-wise, this beer is everything it purports to be -- a crisp, hoppy session pale ale with a light malt backbone. The hops bring juicy, almost pink flavors -- watermelon, raspberry, guava -- plus some grassy/lighlty piney notes. Very tasty and refreshing, and highly crushable. Malts are light and cracker-y, with only a touch of caramel.

M- Light and softy effervescent on the palate. Leaving a dry, pleasantly bitter finish.

Photo of Richardbcoffin
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Tastes very similar to an IPA. Also has considerable malty flavors. Has a beige color and a large head when poured. It seems very similar to live free or die but with more malt flavors. Not terribly complex. Has a high drinkability especially on hot days.

Photo of stevoj
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tastes and smells like an IPA, no clue as to the reduced alcohol. Full hoppy aroma, hops and malt blend well in overall presentation. Light amber with small beige foamy head. I can see why this is a session ale, perfect, full of flavor, good looking, low alcohol. Well done!

Photo of Badger6
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz can into a standard pint glass.

Light orangish, golden body, with a massive head that was retained well. Glass laced nicely. Really great aroma: florals, citrus, big malty aroma, and a nicely hopped note. The flavor is very drinkable: very balanced, yet light, flavor that follows the nose. Medium body, crisply carbonated, with a slight drying at the finish. Easily one of the best session beers I've ever had...I'd probably just drink it from the can next time, save a step and enjoy without pretension. Recommended.

Photo of tmm313
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Light orange color. Poured a nice 2 finger, creamy head. Great lacing.

S- To me, it smells almost exactly like its sister beer "Live Free or Die" IPA. Big floral notes, grapefruit, tangerine, pine, fresh hop and caramel. The only perceivable difference is that the malt presence is stronger in this one, which scores it a little higher in my mind.

T- Again, it reminds me a lot of "Live Free", but the flavors are lighter, and yet somehow more pronounced. Floral notes, grapefruit, tangerine, pine, caramel, fresh hop, a dash of light pineapple, and a big punch of charred, biscuity malts in the finish. Earthy spice pops out in the aftertaste.

M- Medium body. Crisp carbonation. Slightly oily, but coats the mouth pretty well. Drying.

O- Well... I've found a new go-to session beer. Don't you just love it when that happens? One of the best session ales I've ever had.

Photo of Foyle
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz can into nonic style glass
Appearance: pours a 1" cream colored head, significant lacing, color is light copper and cloudy. Aroma: citrus hops and caramel malts
Mouthfeel: medium bodied with a mostly dry finish
Flavor: delicious combination of citrus and piney hops with a malt backbone of caramel and whole wheat bread.

Photo of CTbrew32
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Been hearing about this as a comparison to session ipas so I decided to give it a try. Compared to the few session ipas I've had this surpasses them easily, and the malt makes all the difference. I find session ipas to be too dry, but this has a very good caramel malt to provide balance. In terms of hops this has a very good citrus flavor and a small amount of bitterness. Overall, as a session beer I would definitely recommend this.

Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at Bar of Soap Asheville. Served in a pint glass.

A- Pours a light amber color with a 3/4 inch off-white head that retains well before lowering to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full bubbly sheet of surface foam. Sudsy semi-resilient lacing.

S- Sweet, piney hop aroma that's signature 21st Amendment.

T- Big hit of hop flavor and bitterness that has a sweetness to it foowing close to the aroma but then it lets up mid-palate and turns bready, trailing off into a slight lingering hop bite. There are fruit notes of dried mango, pineapple and grapefruit.

M- Slightly sharp from the hops but has a smoothness that solidifies its categorization of "pale ale." Medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- A "Session IPA" that came out before Session IPA was a thing. Better than all the other Session IPAs I've had (With the exception of maybe Founders All Day). One of 21st Amendment's best beers IMO. Packs a punch of hop flavor/aroma without filling you up or wearing you down.

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