Bitter American - 21st Amendment Brewery

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Bitter AmericanBitter American

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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
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.

Photo of Whiteweasel
4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the unmistakable 21st Amendment-style can, drank from a pint glass.

Appearance: Very nice, appetizing thick rich orange/goldenrod colour, looks almost like a hefeweizen, cloudiness and all. Good amount of white head, and plenty of residual carbonation in the beer itself. Perfect score on appearance, even disregarding the awesome can design/art.

Smell: Sweet munich malt, plenty of aroma hops without being overpowering. Full and citrusy, it smells refreshing and appetizing with nothing remotely off or negative.

Taste: Munich malt really comes out here, citrusy and bitter like a grapefruit. Malty sweetness is on the higher side but still in balance. Crisp and refreshingly solid. Very well hopped without any coppery aftertaste; clean. Almost a little peppery. Doesn't get old, but could perhaps have a little more complexity (though I can't begrudge it, since it gets literally nothing wrong).

Mouthfeel: Only 4.4%, so no alcoholic burn, or any trace of it really. Right balance between heaviness/complexity and lightness/crispness. Neither viscous nor thin. Pleasantly, it retains a lot of carbonation in the glass after the pour.

Overall: Great session beer. Would love to drink this a LOT more, but sadly it's not sold where I am now living. Top, top bitter, nice American take on the style. Maybe only one other bitter keeps this off the #1 spot for me, but they're different enough.

Photo of bubseymour
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drinking this can on 4/17/14 but canned date is 9/25/13 (so over 7 months old). Didn't realize that when I bought it.

So it has a nice light brown color with 1 finger head but good retention and lacing.

Has a very nice hop and grain smell to it.

Taste - Darn. it has some old/staleness going on here but still very drinkable though. Has a very floral taste (sort of reminds me of 2-Hearted) and malty with some hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy for such a low ABV beer.

Overall - I think fresh, this would be a beer I would absolutely love. I still like it, but 7 months old is way past its prime and I can taste the age on it. 7 weeks or less would be alot more enjoyable.

Photo of delta490
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a slightly cloudy orange/amber. The head is thick and creamy with great retention and soapy/sticky lacing. The aroma is mild hops, with citrus (grapefruit) and a hint of caramel malt sweetness. The taste is similarly mild, but not lacking in flavor. The malt is much more forward in the sip, but the hops kicks in almost immediately and provides a pleasant balance. It has a nice weight and a crisp finish. A great flavored session ale.

Photo of MaddenDalyBrokaw
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pale but not particularly translucent. Lovely lace.

Aromas of resinous pine, then citrus. Then malt body.

Fairly light on the tongue. First a mild but full malt flavor, then a second or so of hops, then a short linger back on the malt.

Refreshing. Not highly alcoholic. Went well with a pepperoni pizza.

Photo of vkv822
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz : tulip
canned: 11/07/13

Hazy, golden orange with a fizzy, whispy white head.

Resiny, piney, citric, grapefruit hops with a bready caramel malt backbone.

Medium body, fizzy, foamy mild carbonation.

A very well done lower ABV pale ale. The ABV makes it very easy drinking, while still maintaining a tasty, hoppy flavor.

Photo of Legend_of_Troybrau
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into snifter.

Upon cracking the can, a strong pineapple and grapefruit aroma is present.

A) 4-It pours a quarter inch head that settles into a fine misty layer on the surface with a bit of glass lining. The beer is an orangy-peach color, initially was very cloudy. It clarifies some, but not completely.

S) 5-It's a session, extra pale that smells like your finest double ipa. Pineapple, citrus, grapefruit and a fine pine, great outdoors rush.

T) 3.75- Bitter in the fore, and bitter in the finish. Not as sweet as was anticipated. Very piny, but more bitter than pine, with a touch of lemon in the finish. The beer boasts a modest 42ibu, but you'd guess higher.

M) 3.5- The beer is very light in its consistency. It has a fine carbonation to it . The beer has a light to medium malt profile, that goes largely unnoticed, the main focus being the hops. The beer has a dry finish, with a lingering bitter and belches that reignite the hop receptors of the brain.

O) 4.0625- Nuff said

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

12 oz can poured into snifter.

A: Slight hazy orange with a bright white head composed of small creamy to medium sized bubbles with good retention and some nice lacing. Good looking beer, glad I poured it.

S: A very nice mild and slight dank hop aroma right off the back with with some good malt and citrus to hold things together.

T: Not so much like the nose, much more maltier but I do get some citrus and dryness, finished nice and dry.

M: Dry and a refreshing lingering bitterness that leaves you wanting more, and at 4.4% abv you can pretty much have as much as you want...

O: A great and sessionable APA that I wouldn't mind drinking everyday, especially during summer or at a bar trying to keep a hold of myself while surrounded by 8% abv + DIPAs while still having some good flavors.

Photo of anarchia
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pale orange ale with moderate carbonation, sticky lacing on the glass. Strong pine / grapefruit hop aroma. Thick body with citrus hop flavors and Caramel/English-y malts. Firm hop bitterness with a dry finish. Definitely what it says it is, excellent American-style session ale.

Photo of Omnium
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can > Pint Glass

A - Murky gold with two fingers of big fluffy white head, silky patches of lacing.
S - Grapefruit, pine, grass, some grains.
T - Taste follows the aroma, light bitterness, some pine and grapefruit juice, cut grass, a little floral.
M - Crisp, light feel.
O - Decent session APA, but there's better out there for the price you'd spend.

Photo of walkinginplace
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Golden orange with a decent head

S: Pine hops and citrus, pretty standard for a pale ale.

T: It has an easy citrus taste with a strong and bitingly bitter hoppy finish.

F: Fairly light and crisp. A thin and refreshing feel.

O: Bitter and very hoppy but easy to drink. Sessionable as hell.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz can dated 01/26/13 – purchased at Boynton Liquors San Jose, CA
Hotel tumbler glass – 11/20/13

A: Golden amber body with brilliant clarity. Has a straw gold like appearance. Thick staying khaki cream top that never fully subsides leaving a film of sticky lace down the glass.

S: Smells of bread and grains, lightly toasted. Not particularly sweet. Grassy hops with a dash of citrus and melon fruit. Earthy minerals on the finish. Nice and pleasant nose for a Bitter.

T: Bready cracker malt is prominent with some light grassy floral and piney citrus hops underneath. Faint buttery flavor there with a noticeable mineral quality presenting towards the finish. The malt stays dry rather than sweet and there is a low level of actual bitterness to this Bitter. Alcohol is all but completely masked in flavor. Nice and drinkable from the can.

M: Frothy cream like texture. Lower moderate filling and a touch watery thin. Finish is dry and crisp with a very clean departure.

D: A nice session from the can this American style Bitter offers up some favorable American hop flavors over a classic ESB style malt base. Nothing of major significance however well balanced with nice drinkability.

Photo of mpedara429
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A slightly hazy dark amber color with a solid two fingers of off white head. Retention that won’t quit and lacing covering pretty much the whole glass.

S: Citrus and piney hops. a hint of spiciness in there too.

T: Floral and earthy hops with just a touch of sweetness from the citrus and pine in the nose.

M: Medium light body with medium carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O: Holy crap, Batman! It’s light on the ABV but this is the flavor profile I’ve alway wanted to see in pale ales. A six pack session of this would be fantastic.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can, canned on 9/05/13 stamped on bottom.

pours a hazy golden color, slightly orange. bright white head - great head retention and lacing. smell is a bit hoppy. earthy with a bit of citrus. taste is mild biscuity bready malt. herbal, slightly bitter hops. medium body and moderate carbonation, easy drinking. overall - a good everyday beer, goes well with food.

Photo of tkelley
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into a shaker pint.

A - medium orange bronze. Slightly hazy. Light tan head. Good lacing.

N - light hops and malt. A little citrus.

T - bitter and tasty. Hoppy and malty backbone.

M - very drinkable. Solid level of carbonation.

O - really enjoyed this. Very solid, drinkable beer.


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

Cans purchased at Wegmans.

This one pours a slightly hazy orange, with a half inch head, and a bit of lacing.

This one smells like citrus, bready malt, and some pine.

This is definitely an American style bitter, what with the big American fruity hop flavor you get out of this. This really does have a solid amount of flavor in a small ABV package. The malt character is there, providing some breadiness, and some weight behind the beer.

This is medium bodied, with a very crisp mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

One of the best session beers made in the US, good stuff here.

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