Bailout Bitter
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Bailout BitterBailout Bitter
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Bitter - English
Ranked #12
Ranked #16,945
3.97 | pDev: 9.57%
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
British Columbia, Canada
Very Good
Bailout BitterBailout Bitter
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 37 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by lumikuuro:
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lumikuuro from Canada (BC)

4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 litre bottle, beer brewed as a gimmick for the global recession.

Appearance: Bright, transparent, golden colour with three finger white head when poured into 500ml tall central European style glass tankard, receding to heavy ring and thin layer of froth with good lacing.

Aroma: Lots of hops, satsumas, subtle alcoholic warmth.

Taste: What exactly is a golden bitter brewed in the pacific northwest? Answer: basically a very hoppy golden pale ale or smoother version of an IPA. I haven't come across any other golden bitters before, and this tastes nothing like any bitter I have had. I'm not sure that calling this a bitter is correct; but then Howe Sound already have a hoppy pale ale. All this aside, this is a tasty beer. Crisp, hoppy, fruitiness that you would expect from an IPA, but something is slightly different about the flavour in this beer. A hint of blonde ale and pilsner flavours, a lingering but not overpowering finish from the hops; and also a malty aspect that you might expect from a good central European pilsner, while still tasting like top-fermented ale. Curious beer, but interesting and very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, crisp.

Drinkability: Certainly drinkable, rewarding from the hops and balance of the beer, while leaving you wondering - what style is this? Nevertheless, it's good.

Apr 24, 2009
More User Reviews:
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canucklehead from Canada (BC)

4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got to thinking as I was drinking a pint of this that in 12 oz bottles , properly marketed and distributed this could be BC's great hoppy session beer. Lots of hops that creep up on you as the beer warms make this much more than the Golden ale advertised on the bottle. This is a ESB with a PNW twist and at 5% is a perfect session beer. Put this with Blue Buck from Phillips and Red Truck as BC's best session ales.

Dec 29, 2008
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ComradeCanadia from Canada (AB)

4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


Pours a cloudy amber with an enormous white head that absolutely refuses to go away. Lovely lacing all the way down the glass. Pretty!


This smells like Christmas. Orange peel and cloves hit my nose immediately with an undertone of hops. Very nice.


Very clean, refreshing taste with light carbonation. Backing that is a good shot of citrusy hops. Bitter, but not overpoweringly so. The malt flavours are quite subdued, but I like this. The hops really are king here.


Mouthfeel is relatively thin, but I wouldn't use nasty adjectives like watery or insubstantial. Very pleasant to drink.


This is a GREAT session beer. It has all the qualities of good beer, but doesn't overwhelm me. Both refreshing and delicious.


What a nice bitter! One sip and I imagine myself drinking this all night, arguing with people about important things.

Apr 02, 2009
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elricorico from Canada (AB)

3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Orange tinged gold in colour with a very healthy ivory head. Sticky lacing and good retention.

Lime like citrus aroma of hops with a grainy, bready malt base.

Much like the nose, flavour consists of bready malt and a lemon-lime citrus finish. Well balanced.

Medium to light bodied with medium carbonation. Made right for the style.

This is an easy drinker for sure. As sessionable as they come.

Dec 16, 2009
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BDTyre from Canada (BC)

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, at the pub this pint is $1 less than every other beer because it is a response to the current economic crisis. But when I bought a bottle...they're charging the same as all their other beers! :)

Amber-copper with a nice white head and an explosive hoppy-malt scent. The hops really dominate on this, but there still is a very strong bready nose to it.

Rich fresh-bread and bitter hop flavour. Ranks right up there with Anderson Valley and Fullers ESBs. This is a beer for Emeril - bitter kicked up a notch. For something from a recession, this is really rich.

Good mild carbonation and decent ABV make this a session beer - I hope to try it on tap soon!

Dec 20, 2008
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CrazyMike from Canada (AB)

4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber appearance with lots of head that rapidly disappears. Aroma is citrus and grainy with a hint of caramel.

Taste is similar to the smell, lots of citrus and caramel malt. Picked up bread and bitter hops. Medium bodied with good carbonation, very crisp. Aftertaste is bitter and malty.

Overall, interesting taste and drinkable. The label alone gives it character and temptation to get it. If you can pick it up before it goes off the shelves, you should experience it.

Jan 15, 2011
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tempest from New York

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a 1L swing-top with a friend. Man, I wish it were easier to find beers like this. It's drinkable, balanced, fresh, and damned tasty. The malts brings dry bready toast character with light hints of caramel malt sweetness. The hops are grassy and floral with a lemony edge. This is a great full-flavored session beer. More please.

Apr 20, 2011
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Each style of beer, like our own genetics, is built on a plan coded by genes (which, for beer, could be considered the ingredients: malts, hops, etc). The nature and ratio of those ingredients (mineral content in the water, the characteristics of different yeasts, etc) determine everything that define the beer - how it looks, smells, tastes, etc.

But each recipe is liable to change every time it's copied. These slight variations distinguish one country or region's brewing traditions from the other, allow for creative interpretation and, again like our own genetics, increase the chances of survival by distinguishing itself for natural selection (which, in this case, means being selected off the shelf).

Adding copious amounts of fruity, piny hops to traditional styles is one such change to beer's "genes", and is part of a new movement that rules in many places, the United States first and foremost, although other countries around the world now too. It has yet to *really* catch on in Canada, but it seems to have in Squamish, British Columbia.

Pink, fruity bubblegum, gooey pine serum and spruce tips are sure indicators. These notes are present not only in smell but in taste as well. Accompanied by toffee and rich malts they make for a flavour that is so big it spills over into the mouthfeel, with sharp acidity and caramel sweetness sweeping over the palate like windshield wipers.

The more I drink the more I like this beer. I readily accepted its light copper colour and puffy head as attractive, but only now can I see the allurement of its intricate lacing. I wouldn't mind the entire 1 liter bottle to myself and only wish I could go back to the store for another. If I were Howe Sound I'd consider this as a possible flagship brand.

Bailout Bitter and this brewery's Devil's Elbow IPA are clearly cousins under the skin. Both are emphatically hoppy variations on classic English styles and point to a new, exciting, far more brazen character of Canadian brewing. These 'genetic mutations' inevitably give them an inherent advantage to traditional (read: less characterful, more mundane) offerings.

Nov 15, 2010
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Shadman from Canada (AB)

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice rich, large head, tiny weebs o' lacing. Light aprocot in color, hazy/cloudy. Head retention could be better then again I am a heathen and am probably drinking it too cold.

Hops tend to dominate, but some sweet bready malt is detectable as well.

If a true ESB is about balance then this is a very nice attempt, especially after the beer warms a bit and let's the toasty bready malt come through. True to form, hops, in this case closer to west coast cascade, add a nice cleansing effect. Finish is slightly dry, but not to the point of puckering.

Almost perfect mouthfeel, carbonation is bang on. Smooth, refreshing. Not to slick, not too much bite. Goldilocks would say just right.

Luckily no pub had this on tap here in Budlitelimeville on St. Paddy's day or else a 'sick' day may have been on order for tomorrow...wink wink....side note to Howe're still @ $4.49 per pint recession budget says I need a bailout.

Mar 18, 2010
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Mora2000 from Texas

3.06/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AmericanBrew for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a golden color with a large white head. The aroma is grain, lemons and oranges. There is a lot of hop aroma in this for an ESB, but it doesn't meld together all that well.

The flavor is not quite like the aroma. The two main flavor components are grain and lemons. Very low bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Dec 22, 2010
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I missed the chance to try this beer on my recent trip to Vancouver, but was pleasantly surprised to find this available in Orange County. 1 liter flip-top bottle, on to the beer:

A little darker than yellow in color. The head is small, but does have a creamy texture and good head retention. The lacing it leaves is also noteworthy; rings of creamy lace. There's some pine, a little diacetyl, fruity esters...they're there, just sniff harder.

The northwest hops are noticable in this bitter. It's a well structured beer, balanced between the malt and hops. Lemongrass, hints of citrus, floral, a little diacetyl and hop bitterness that stick to the palate and linger. It's smooth on the palate, creamy, and not flat, but you don't seem to feel the carbonation.

Good easy drinking beer right here. Expensive at $12 for one liter, but that doesn't change the fact that this is good stuff.

Jun 20, 2010
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hefty 1L bottle, which I avoided picking up while in Van City last winter, due to its, well, heft. Now that they're available here, I have no such problem indulging their somewhat amusing endeavor...

This beer pours a clear, light golden colour, with a fair amount of soapy white head, which leaves some sparse lace as it takes its time melting away. It smells of crisp biscuit grain, and mild floral hops. The taste is more biscuit grain, and earthy, grassy hops. The bubbles are considerate (but not quite burst...), the body is smooth, and a bit oily (not quite AIC-like, though...), and it finishes dry, and decreasingly bitter, over time. Yup, the metaphor works.

A decent bitter for indecent times.

Sep 08, 2009
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DaveHS from California

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange/apricot with a big, billowy head. Decent retention and lacing. The nose is bright, with light traces of yeast, grains, fresh bread and dry, grassy hops. ESBs are all about balance, and this beer gets it. Grassy and floral, with a mild, thin line of yeast in the back palate. Touches of lime play nicely against caramel malts. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and crisp. The end result is a beer that is alternately bitter and smooth, with a clean, crisp finish.

May 22, 2010
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LilBeerDoctor from New York

3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours a clear deep yellow with a small head. Aroma of grassy hops, sweet fruits, and pale malts. Flavor of sweet pale and toasted malts, with more sweetness in the finish. Overall, I found this to be a decent bitter.

Jul 11, 2009
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nickd717 from California

3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1L swingtop thanks to Nanoslug.

Pours a great clear golden color with a large creamy white head that lasts.

Slightly grainy aroma with floral hops and pale malt.

Not too sweet on the flavor. Pale malt, grain, floral hops, and a little earth.

Medium-light bodied with high carbonation. A little hoppy bite.

Drinkable. Another good beer from an unheralded style.

Jul 20, 2010
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froghop from Washington

3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a hazy yellow-orange with a large white foamy head, some sediment, and great lacing.

smell is of grain, some citrus, a touch earthiness, and dry grass.

taste is dry, a touch of grain, bitter, a little caramel, and some citrus, ends dry and somewhat bitter.

overall the beer gets better as you drink it, very nice.

Aug 08, 2009
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prosper from Canada (AB)

3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes in a 1L growler combo-bottle - has a swing-top cap, AND a crown cap. Interesting bottle.

Pours an orangey-gold, slightly hazy, with an orangey-tan head.

Smells like tart malts, with slight fruitiness - tangerine/apricot.

tastes of light caramel malts, with a distinct biscuit/toastyness to it. Pleasantly bitter - definitely balanced toward the bitter. Candy-like fruitiness - orange marmalade from the hops and juicy-fruit from yeasty esters.

Mouthfeel is medium full, and slightly sticky. Seems like this one was mashed warm and fermented with a relatively low attenuation yeast.

Drinkability is pretty good. Tasty and satisfying. It's a good bitter, but - not really very 'british' in character. It has all the right elements - british hops, biscuitty malts, flavourful yeast - but something's just missing. It's still an excellent beer nonetheless

Apr 30, 2010
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EskimoDave from Canada (BC)

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Nov 21, 2011
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1L swing top bottle poured into 400ml dab glass oct7 2009

A cloudy golden yellow with an off white two finger head that left decent lace while it existed

S sweet grains, caramel, a little hops and some bread

T as it smelsl really, and this is a good thing

M not that bitter but a nice bite nonetheless, its crisp and has nice carbonation makes for a nice one

D I'm feeling this one, a good blend and a nice balance I'll have seconds thank you

this might be the best Howe Sound brew so far, well brewed and a pleasure to drink. I have to admit I like the simple yet suiting bottle well marketed for the times

Oct 08, 2009
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Dawkfan from Canada (AB)

3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm probably in the minority on this site when it comes to big bottles, but I love them and I think the 1L swing top is something more breweries should look in to. They'd also be great if your into home brewing.

A- Pours a clear light golden color with 4 fingers of white head with plenty of lace.

S- Grassy & floral hops hit the nose first followed by some bready and yeasty notes, a touch of caramel malt round this one out.

T- Exactlt like the nose, except I get a little lemon/lime as well. A lingering bitterness is left in the mouth the more you get through this.

M- Light-medium body, crisp, finishes dry.

D- I wasn't that impressed with this beer when I started, but it definitely got better near the end, still not quite what I'm looking for in an ESB though. It was refreshing and I had no problem getting in down.

Dec 30, 2009
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - I bought this bottle totally off the label. "Bailout Bitter." Love it. Poured into a stein, golden to copper color, transparent with a quarter inch of head that quickly sank into the beer.

S - Malty smell, wet hay and honeysuckle.

T - Slight sweetness and quickly followed by a moderate bitterness. Well balanced.

M - Light body and moderate carbonation that dances in the mouth.

D - Very drinkable and sessionable bitter. Nothing fancy, just a good beer.

Feb 23, 2011
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pnkHoody from Canada (BC)

4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Now and again a beer comes along that you feel you could settle down with for good. Fill a liter-sized sippy cup with Bailout Bitter and wheel me off to the retirement home, please.

Gimmicky the label is, but it made me chuckle and buy a bottle out of curiosity's sake. And truth be told I've always been attracted to beers that come in vessels bigger than my head. Though Bailout comes with a Grolsh-esque reusable stopper, I've yet to actually use it - and neither will you.

It pours light for a bitter, but my idea of bitter is forever tainted by the murky-brown pints of John Smith's and Webster's ubiquitous to British pubs in the 90s. Bailout is a frosted, honeyed gold, with a lively effervescence as it slides into the pint glass.

The aroma hits with a fresh blast of yeast and hops, zesty and uncomplicated. Upon raising the glass hints of hefeweizen-style citrus burst under your nose.

The beer is immediately refreshing. It is tartly bitter yet clean, with perfectly judged hops for its modest strength. The body is round enough to be pleasing, yet never bold or committal. Its biggest charm is its ability to enliven at every sip and never grow tiresome.

While not a great beer in the sense of having unmistakable character, this is comfort-brewing at its best. For me, cracking one open is like putting Goodfellas into the DVD player, or opening a worn Bukowski novel. A reliably brilliant experience.

Nov 17, 2009
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4000qtrap from Missouri

3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Source/Serving: Bottle

S: Straw and corn husk, fields of wild greens, fruit stems, fresh light toast, punky wood.

T: Smooth and pure bread notes up front with a touch of floral and herbal notes. Neither sweet nor bitter. Fairly thick body and slightly oily. In the middle it has a deep, but not too intense, resiny, oily, grassy, herbal bitterness. Malts sweeten to match maintaining the bread but adding a touch of caramel. Some yeastiness comes in which continues to the finish which is a little dry and grassy bitter with lingering oily/musky herbs.

May 01, 2011
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andrenaline from Canada (ON)

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this once before, but hadn't reviewed it. Looking forward to re-living the experience, as it was quiote memorable the first time I tried it.

A - Pours a hazy golden colour, thumb of head with great retention and a nice amount of bubbly lacing left behind.

S - Scents are nicely balanced between hops and malts, bit of citrus and pine notes with a brown sugar and caramel finish.

T - Hops are very nice on this one, and stronger than I remember from the past. Pine and citrus are quite prominent, and the malts are nicely balanced with some candy apple flavours coming through. The finish is a bit woody, and lingers for a while.

M - Very light and bubbly, and goes down smooth. Nice carbonation level, doesn't explode into large bubbles, rather it bubbles finely on the tongue.

D - This was even better than I remember, and it was a truly memorable drink. Will definitely be getting this again, and it's the perfect bevy for sharing coming in the trusty flip top 1L bottle.

Jul 11, 2010
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joemcgrath27 from Canada (AB)

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this a long while back but didn't take any rating notes, but I know its a tasty treat so got another big bottle
A - clear golden with a tall fluffy white head, left some random sticky lacing
S - smells of a distinct crips pilsner hop odour, light orange citrus, toasty grains, and a peppery note
T - a very saaz hop taste of crisp grassiness, moves to a more herbal hop taste with a toasty and toffee malt character, with the grassy hop taste lingering
M - light with medium carbonation, thin smoothness, finishing dry and nicely bitter
O - it starts like a pilz and ends with a very ESB character, and that mix makes it both very tasty, drinkable, and interesting. I hope that they have decided to keep this in the regular rotation.

Apr 22, 2011
Bailout Bitter from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 37 ratings