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Bitter American - 21st Amendment Brewery

Bitter AmericanBitter American

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

980 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 980
Reviews: 326
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.92%

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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 980 | Reviews: 326 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JKuras


3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, gorgeous burnt orange color. About an inch of robost, foamy head. Some carbonation present although it’s tough to see through the haze. Decent lacing on the way down.

Smell: Generous amounts of fruity, piney hops hits right away. Hints of apple and pear and a solid malt backbone.

Taste: Somewhat unexpectedly flat at first, but then the flavors develop into the sweet malts, yeast, lemon/citrus, and then a solid fruity-bitter hops. A sour, bitter aftertaste lingers for a while long after the last swallow.

Mouthfeel: A good amount of carbonation present and kind of on the thin side. It’s labeled as a session beer so I guess that’s what they were shooting for.

Overall: It’s a pretty good beer. Not sure I’d do a session with it though as the strong aftertaste and sweetness gets to me after a while. The ‘monkey in space’ art on the can is pretty cool.

Serving type: can

12-31-2012 00:15:29 | More by JKuras
Photo of buschbeer


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It has an amber body with golden highlights. A generous beige head almost overflowed my glass.

S - I get a noseful of citrus and pine with ample caramel malt to balance things out.

T - It opens up with some citrus hops. The caramel malt comes through then, and it finishes with a mild pine that lingers in the aftertaste.

M - It has a moderate mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation.

O - This is a solid everyday beer. It provides enough flavor to keep me interested, but it has a lower ABV to keep me from calling off work due to hangover.

Serving type: can

12-14-2012 21:51:53 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Offa


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good APA that actually has a bit of an English character, not complex but very enjoyable.

Deep gold, it has a medium-big off-white head slowly-steadily shrinking.

Aroma is flowery-grassy with grapefruit, apples, cheese.

Taste is dry mineral, dry bread, hints of citrus, grass, light doughiness in finish. It has very light bitterness. It's light and nicely drinkable, well-rounded. Though mild and gentle, it is not boring or bland and has a little complexity so it's not too simple or one-dimensional. It has some nice juicy yeastiness, if ill-defined in actual character.

Serving type: can

12-14-2012 00:16:24 | More by Offa
Photo of seand


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy light amber with a nice bed of white foam on top. The head dissipates to a thin but solid layer and leaves nice lacing.

S: Citrusy and slightly floral hops, with noticeable grapefruit.

T: Just slightly sweet to start, leading into a full hop flavor through the mid palate and finish. Finish is dry and the hops linger for a while on the aftertaste. Quite nice, and good flavor especially at 4.4%.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Really quite nice as a session ale. Good flavor at a low alcohol content. I'll buy a 6 pack of these again.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 22:01:30 | More by seand
Photo of DoubleJ


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at 21st Amendmet itself, on to the beer:

Looks a lighter copper color with light whips of lace leaving itself around the glass. The nose is a blend of English and American characteristics. There's the toffee, caramel, and earth, and also a good dose of floral.

It's light, but this beer packs adequte punch and offers some complexity. The flavors of toffee, floral, tea-bagged hops, earth, and a slap of lemon make this beer interesting all the way to the end. A "bubbly" carbonation works in this case, going against the stereotype of the traditional low carbonated bitter.

Easy to drink, good to enjoy. Probably the best beer of the right that I tasted at 21st Amendment.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2012 20:09:34 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of bensbeers


3.98/5  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!

Serving type: can

11-11-2012 20:58:45 | More by bensbeers
Photo of rousee


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bitter American is a beer that I hope doesnt describe me.:) I have been quite impressed by everything I've tried from 21st amendment and I do like the fact that they are in cans. You know they're bound to hold up a little longer.

Golden amber color; fantastic fresh hungry looking foam on top. When the foam looks like this- the beer is usually quite fresh
.Its a rustic cedar-woodiness type smell. Taste is similar to a Dales pale ale but I think I might find this one more sessionable. Mouthfeel is dry but pleasant. Slight elements of salt and pepper afterwards which is nice.

A fine beer. I've yet to come across one from this brewery that I didnt like.

Serving type: can

11-10-2012 05:23:59 | More by rousee
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- 42 ibus. 4.4%abv. can.

A: Rapid moving medium sense of effervesce rises within a tarnished orange body that showd a good clarity. Milky, frothy light tan head sits well enough with a foamy lace ring.

S: Dry pine underbrush for aroma, pine needles, with a light toasty touch. Nice balance between toasty maltiness and pine hoppiness, light to moderate awareness.

T: Toasty grains and pine is forefront. Small bit of toasty-grain caramel sweetness comes forefront followed by the bitterness of piney-grapefruit hops for a one-two punch. Flavor is just as good coming as going down. Sweetly-bitter harmony, piney bitterness, all served in a can.

M: Malty mouthful with a caramel body that maintains a fulless and a good level of carbonation.

O: Overall a nice balance of toasty malt meets a bittering citrus, especially for a 4.4%abv packaging which garnishes a bit of extra love and flavor in every can. Six pack worthy, session downer by style, big on flavor considering abv, brings enough bitterness for respect and worthy repeat.

Serving type: can

10-30-2012 00:53:42 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of sommersb


3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 10-27-2012
Freshness: Canned on 04-09-12
Packaging: 12 oz. can
Glassware: Perfect Pint
Purchased: Received in a trade

A: Clear and orange-yellow in color, with a white head a couple fingers high. Good retention with a decent amount of lacing.

S: Pretty hoppy citrus (grapefruit) and pine aromas.

T: No surprise here based on the smells, the taste is bitter and hoppy. The main flavor is fruity citrus hops. Malt character is low.

M: The high carbonation gives this a crisp feel, on a medium body. The finish is dry and bitter. The flavors mellow out nicely as it warms to room temps.

O: This one lives up to it's name, as a pretty bitter West coast pale ale. I had it without food, but I think this would pair well with a meal, especially due to the low alcohol, so you could have several. Glad to have tried this, my first beer from 21st Amendment.

Thanks to fLax for this one!

Serving type: can

10-27-2012 22:55:56 | More by sommersb
Photo of tobelerone


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, reddish-gold with nice clarity. Slowly settling two finger head that looks a bit sudsy and soapy; the lacing has the same soapy look and slips down the sides of the glass quickly.

Rich aroma of caramel, sweet bready malt, pineapple, pine, grapefruit, brown sugar. The taste is pretty balanced and less sweet than anticipated after smelling the beer. Assertive bitterness up front fades quickly and the finish is dry. Toasty caramel malts intermingle with pine, grapefruit, and pineapple hops, augmented by additional late-emerging floral notes.

Medium-light body with strong, slightly fizzy carbonation. Overall this tastes like a higher ABV beer; lacks a ton of complexity, but it is tasty. Put me in mind of some of Lagunitas' red/amber type brews, but dialed back a bit, if that makes any sense. In the end the aroma was the best aspect of the beer and was full of intricacy, nuance, and appetizing qualities.

Serving type: can

10-08-2012 22:55:31 | More by tobelerone
Photo of FosterJM


3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1545th Review on BA
Can to Firestone Walker Snifter

Canned 5/07/12
Purchased from Total Wine, Sacramento, CA for $1.99

App- A bit of a clearer yellow with some radiating highlights of gold. A small capped head that was about 1/2" in size and faded quickly. Some nice cling and lace but nothing special.

Smell- A small pale ale with a bit more hops added to it. I think was suffering from being almost 5 months old. A bit of a loss on the aromatics. Was a bit small and a bit musty as well.

Taste- Not a lot going on in this glass for me. It was a bit of an awkward balance of the malts and hops and even had some grassy/soapy flavors behind it. Not sure if its the age or if its the intended flavor to be more of an American bitter?

Mouth- A bit lite for me and lacking some balance. It was a lighter medium body with a lighter carbonation. Residual flavors of grass, hops, bitter, soap.

Drink- Meh. I mainly got this one because I cant get 21st in So. Cal. Way to go me on a single can.

Serving type: can

10-04-2012 14:38:53 | More by FosterJM
Photo of mgironta

New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured with a pretty two finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left huge amounts of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear citrine color with lots of visible carbonation. The nose was very fragrant with lots of citrus and hops upfront. The taste was grapefruit and tropical fruits up front, followed by a touch of bready malt. It was very well-balanced. The body was on the thinner side for the style with a lot of carbonation. It had a length finish with some citrus peel thrown in for good measure. Final verdict? An easy drinking session beer that packed a lot of flavor. I would definitely have this one again. It’s a great choice for a day where you’re going to be throwing a few back.

Serving type: can

09-16-2012 22:54:19 | More by mgironta
Photo of 4000qtrap


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Source/Serving: 12oz can

S: Malt forward, mostly caramel maltiness, and lower intensity weedy, slightly herbal hops. Faints hints of pine and lemon.

T: Malt forward with a substantial, somewhat heavy-bodied which I wasn't expecting for a low gravity, 4.4% IPA. Initially the somewhat toasty, caramel malt hits firmly rounded off by a touch of orange/lemon citrus and enough balance to keep it from being all sweet. The middle has gentle, but firm bitterness keeping things crisp. Hop presence is moderate, but could be higher, with notes of pine, herbs, weeds - very 'green'. I'd like it to be hoppier though with more dry hop character and then its be a top tier beer. Has a light hop oiliness and mineraly. Unexpected body, more than most IPAs really. Finish has touches of mineral, more weedy hops, and is a touch dry.

Notes: Big bodied, balanced, substantial sessionable IPA with decent hops.

Serving type: can

09-16-2012 21:23:09 | More by 4000qtrap
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours gold to amber with a respectable 1-finger medium density cream colored head. Only a hint of retention and very faint lace.

Nose is more malt than my taste would like. Estery hops with a note of pine follow underneath the bread malt.

More hops in the flavor. Still a decent amount of bread malt, but a nice mix of pine and hop esters. Finish is a bit tart and fruity.

Feel is very nice. Remarkable, really, for only 4.4% abv.

Glad I got this one. For a session ale, this is really nice. Don't go expecting a big hop experience here, but a nice one to have on hand if you are settling in for a long night.

Serving type: can

09-05-2012 01:15:36 | More by beer2day
Photo of jwc215


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours orange amber with amber with a thin white head. Lacing slides down the glass with some stickage.

The citric (esp. orange) and tropical (some banana and pineapple) with pale malt and some bread. Slightly musty.

The taste is hoppy - bitterness balanced by a sweet touch. Same citric/tropical notes hit the palate giving an initial bitterness soon followed by and complemented by a sweet maltiness. Very well-balanced - like a hoppy English-style bitter. Fresh and refreshing.

The feel is crisp, though slightly chalky. Body holds up with a lingering fruity aftertaste.

A big taste with a mild abv. Truly a "session ale". Nice hop profile with firm malty balance. Juicy and refreshing! Easily drinkable! Recommended as a "session" brew!

Serving type: can

09-01-2012 01:51:25 | More by jwc215
Photo of oline73


3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a Chimay goblet...that's right...a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a reddish amber color with just a small layer of off white head. The head goes away quickly.

Smell: This one is malt forward with some citrus peel hops. The hops definitely back up the sweetness.

Taste: This is a rather mild one. Some bready malt along with a citrus peel hop bitterness that builds to the finish. The flavors compliment each other well.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thinner side of medium. The carbonation is fluffy with a dry finish.

Overall: This one is better than I thought it would be. A nice session ale.

Serving type: can

08-17-2012 02:04:21 | More by oline73
Photo of thecheapies


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red-amber color. Frothy topper. Blanketing lace. Some haze. A few streams of cascading bubbles.

Citrusy hops, toasty malts, and some tinniness. Unimpressive. Smells like an Anchor Liberty Lite.

Taste follows the nose. Heartily bitter, as the name suggests. All hop bitterness. Pithy and a tad piney. Not as toasty as I thought it'd might be, which works to showcase the hops. Pretty nice, after all.

Medium body... maybe a tad lighter than medium. Swishy feel with appropriate carbonation levels. Feels nice.

Liked it better this time around than when I first had it. Decent session ale.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2012 03:46:11 | More by thecheapies
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An interesting apa. I have to wonder if the whole "Bitter American" thing means it is a mesh between a pale ale and a bitter? Either way, that is what I take away from this one. It's a pale ale with bitter tones. There is hop spiciness to it with an earthen malty thing mixing it up as well. I feel like this wasn't meant to be the typical pale ale, and it comes across that way. It's a session ale, and I like it.

Serving type: can

08-07-2012 05:46:12 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of kylehay2004


4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger head with excellent head on a hazy golden and crimson body.

S: nice strong aroma with floral notes and candied citrus. Aroma is both sweet and earthy.

T: what I really like about this one is how the bitterness is obvious but held at bay by the degree of sweetness. Neither dominates but rather component each other. Grassy bitterness and grapefruit and orange citrus sweetness well balanced. Light caramel Malta throughout.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this is an excellent pretty much perfectly balanced sessionale beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2012 03:23:05 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of nickfl


4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured with a small head of white foam on top of a hazy, copper colored body. The head settles slowly and leaves great lace.

S - Pungent, fresh hop aromas of pine and grapefruit. Some bready malt in the background.

T - Clean, bready malt up front with green pine hops. Some orange and grapefruit notes come out in the middle. Finishes with more, sweeter citrus and a thicker malt profile of bread and toffee.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a really great hoppy session ale and while I have found that few of the 21a beers I have had live up to the reputation this one does and then some. really great hop aroma and flavor with a deceptively robust malt profile that makes it seem like a much strong beer than it is. There is a lot of bang for ones buck in this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2012 03:15:31 | More by nickfl
Photo of JRed

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours transparent orange in color with white head that stays around. Aroma of citrus, slight bubblegum, grass and lemon and some caramel. Tastes of citrus, grass, pine, lemons. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Tasty session, goes down easy but pretty big on flavor. I love sessions.

Serving type: can

07-26-2012 23:18:49 | More by JRed
Photo of Tucquan


4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-07-25 in Columbia, PA. It smells and tastes just about the same as it did on-tap yesterday.

A - Clear new-penny-copper with a 2-finger head and good lacing.

S - Floral and lightly dank hops, touch of citrus and biscuit. A little more aromatic than from a fresh can.

T - Lots of flavor for a low ABV brew. There's a tang of hops up front followed by biscuit, citrus flesh, pale and caramel malt and reasonable citric bitterness. It dries nicely.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation with a crisp feel. Quenches the thirst nicely.

O - Lots of flavor, refreshing and enough bitterness to suit my hop demon. Satisfying without packing on the calories.

Serving type: growler

07-26-2012 20:08:28 | More by Tucquan
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear deep golden orange to copper in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall fluffy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a very thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of grapefruit/citrus hops with some lighter notes of pine/resin hops and malts.

T: There is a light caramel malt body with this beer but the dominant flavors are grapefruit/citrus hops. There is a moderate amount of bitterness but it does not linger.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is very light in body for the style and quite easy to drink. Refreshing and sessionable - with the low ABV and non-lingering bitterness, it is a beer that you really want to put a couple away. Very pleasant on a hot summer day. Nice flavors and inviting aroma.

Serving type: can

07-24-2012 20:18:01 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Gobzilla


3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured orangish yellow in color with pale yellow highlights and a nice finger worth of foamy head that left plenty of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: citrus hops were apparent in the aroma with slight grassy, lots of sweetness from the malts, detected a little caramel, and was pretty grainy.

T: mostly it was sweetness from the malts paving the way alongside a mild hop profile, citrusy grassy character and grainy accents.

M: the brew was medium in body with plenty of carbonation which had a sweet, citrusy, grainy, very mild hoppy, and faint bitter finish.

O: honestly its just ok but expected more from a hoppy west coast beer. Can't win them all I guess

Serving type: can

07-17-2012 09:56:24 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of Knapp85


3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice look clear amber color. The head is foamy and white in color. The smell of the beer as a really nice aroma of hops on the nose. There is a balance of malt there too. The taste of this beer is really quite nice, it's sweet and bitter all at the same time. The mouthfeel of the beer is light bodied and nicely carbonated. Overall this beer is exactly what they describe it as. This is one you can drink anytime and feel satisfied I think.

Serving type: can

07-07-2012 01:01:18 | More by Knapp85
Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 980 ratings.