Bitter Brewer | Surly Brewing Company

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Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer
Very Good
1,088 Ratings
Bitter BrewerBitter Brewer

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with a significant portion of Simpsons Golden Promise, the malt character comes across as toasty, and the flaked oats provide some additional mouthfeel to offset the bitterness. The hops provide an orange aroma and flavor, almost like marmalade. The current signature hop is Mandarina Bavaria, a new aromatic varietal coming out of Germany that has distinct tangerine and orange-like notes.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-05-2007

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Ratings: 1,088 |  Reviews: 446
Photo of Localdrinklax
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Guffy
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of bashiba
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of beagle75
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, light orange-amber color with one finger of off-white foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Grainy English malt keeps a fair balance with distinct piney hops. Clean and surprisingly appropriate.

T: Begins dry, with bready malt that threatens a turn toward fermented funkiness, and austere pine/floral/herbaceous hop aromatics. Hop flavors sharpen somewhat in the middle as malt thins, but lose their early understated yet dynamic qualities. While malt remains consistently on-point throughout the profile, the hops change again in the moderately bitter finish, exhibiting a monotonous and medicinal Columbus edge.

M: Thin viscosity, balanced on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This pale ale features nuanced charms that seem a bit retro when one weighs its malt focus and hops that maintain a complimentary role. While the hop qualities are never really featured, they do vary from the beginning to the end of the flavor profile, leaving the drinker with a nagging perception of inconsistency. Its English qualities are well-cultivated, however, and at 4% abv it drinks as easily as a traditional bitter ought to.

 1,204 characters

Photo of DSlim71
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Bradbury
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ninner00
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of thebouch01
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of GreyGhost4
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Khazadum
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of piclee
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of leinie13
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of dmadsen
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

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3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

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3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of crobinso
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of ferrari29
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from can into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beer pours with a healthy and thick white colored head; very sticky lacing; clear copper colored body, with a light amount of carbonation; head holds pretty we and is about one finger in size

S - Citrus hop nose; scents of dry flowers (potpourri) and seasoning herbs; scent of dry roasted malt comes up at the end; pine combs; sugar caramel; grapefruit; herbal

T - Thin roasted malt taste; kind of watery; citrus notes and very bitter taste finishes up the drink; touch of grapefruit sourness; herb seasoned taste

M - Watery texture; very light consistency; not much a a hoppy aftertaste; slightly bitter with a low IBU, around 40; effervescent

D - Overall, an easy and light drink; not bad and very easy for the summer; I'd pass on another as the watery texture is a bit of a turn-off

 846 characters

Photo of Oboogie
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Beer Stein

Appearance - Pours a very hazy and darker orange color. Head pours around 4 inches width. Both head and lacing retention are excellent!

Smell - Rich Floral Hops, Yeasts/Biscuits, Marmalade, Toasted Malts, and a slight grassy smell. This smells very fresh!

Taste - Sweet Yeasts, Floral Hops, Oranges, Biscuits, and Toasted Malts. For a English Bitter, this is a very rich tasting beer!

Mouthfeel - Very light bodied and virtually no carbonation. It's not only smooth and easy to drink, but also crisp and refreshing!

Overall - I enjoyed Honker's Ale before as my goto Bitter Ale, but now it looks like I have a new favorite. It looks good, smells great, tastes great, and feels absolutely refreshing. What more can I say? I will miss Surly when I move to Chicago, but hopefully I will see it once I move there!

 839 characters

Photo of Humulus85
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I look forward to this every year, first time reviewing. Poured from the 16oz Surly can into my Samuel Smiths pint glass.

Pours a hazy orange with a nice, white, two-finger head. Great retention gives way to a crazy amount of sticky lacing.

Smell is unique. Marmalade upfront with a backing of bready malt, some grassy hops, and esters. Light and crisp.

That strange, but delicious, orange marmalade flavor upfront. Toffee and biscuit malt makes up the backbone. Not a big hop profile, but wonderfully bitter throughout.

Mouthfeel is light, great carbonation, and not a hint of alcohol.

Overall this is truly a world-class session beer. So much flavor in such a light bodied, low abv brew. The only draw back is that it is Surly, so it is not cheap at $9 per 4-pack. My go too brew the spring camp/boating trips. Recommended to all who can get it. Cheers!

 863 characters

Photo of kdilks
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of yamar68
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is what every session beer would offer in a perfect world...

Pours a hazy burnt gold with a half finger of white, milky head. Slow, steady beading.

The nose smells like my kitchen on a Sunday morning. Warm biscuits, cereal, subtle honey, sweet grain, wheat. Very inviting. Citrus and jam.

The taste highlights a lot of the same characteristics. Tons of biscuit and other soft, grainy bits. Buttered toast. Marmalade.

The feel is one of my favorite aspects of this beer. It's super smooth and the finish is nice and dry, leaving the slightest impression on the tongue.

Overall, I think this beer is too often overlooked. Very tasty and easy drinking.

 661 characters

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4/5  rDev +0.5%

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4/5  rDev +0.5%

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4/5  rDev +0.5%

Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 1,088 ratings
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