Bitter Brewer | Surly Brewing Company

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 Duder9
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of queens1130
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of eawolff99
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of thagr81us
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had during the 2nd Annual Redneck Racin’ & Tastin’ while watching the dirt track race! Big thanks goes out to marine1975 for this one! Served from can into a shaker. Poured red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, bitter hop, earth, and earth hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, bitter hop, earth, and earth hop. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I really liked the hop profile on this one as the earthiness mixed really well with the bitter hops. While it was good it definitely didn’t stand out compared to other brews I’ve had from the style. Glad I got the chance to try this one again as my review ended up disappearing…

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Photo of marine1975
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of wspscott
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of chugalug06
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very small, one finger, straw colored, foamy, head; tough to get much head to rise... Brew is murky orange with lots of reds and some yellows.

Yep, it's definitely English... Hit the scent on the nose; pun not intended. Farm-y, horse-y, bread-y, malty, and not a ton of hop character.

Yep, it's definitely English... Very bland, but refreshing. Hops are strictly bittering, no floral notes. Nothing fancy or overwhelming about this brew. Good carbonation. Fits style.

Yep, it's definitely English... Unique and stylish. Nothing memorable about this one, just refreshing. Perfect for a hot and humid day. Can't Recommend.

 626 characters

Photo of Dshiznit321
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of spark3148857
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of HoistinBrews
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of dhow4
1.5/5  rDev -62.7%

Photo of lovindahops
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

my first bitter brewer from Surly. Love the art work on this one!

A- bitter brewer pours a hazy orange with a great off white head that keeps lacing on the sides of the glass. It certainly has the look of a refreshing brew that is already making my mouth water

S- I get a good whiff of orange jam with some buttery diactyl. There is some sweet citric theme that mingles with some bitter scents as well. Very lively and refreshing

T- great orange and mango flavors that have a bready flavor and along with a spike of bitter flavor at the end. With all these aspect blended together, the taste is absolutely delicious. Even a little tropical them kicks in at the end

M- carboation and coating flavors are in sync with what you want a brew to feel like

O- Surly just delivers... plain and simple. Bitter brewer is another example of a completely drinkable beer that is full of flavor. Best english bitter I have ever experienced!

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Photo of augustgarage
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned on 4/9/2012. Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass.

Gold tinged gamboge liquid with amber highlights and a busy upthrust of off white fizz. Light soapy lacing; average retention.

Kumquat jelly, tea biscuits, and mango in the nose - delicate but complex and rich.

Mild bitterness on the palate balanced with light crackery English malt flavors. Hops are juicy and very slightly grassy in the finish. Dry mineral-laden finish.

Light bodied yet slick with moderate carbonation.

Likely my favorite example of the style I've sampled thus far, though the U.S. hops probably diverge from stylistic tradition quite a bit.

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Photo of Hopstout
3.25/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of thecheapies
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Surly beer. Cracking and pouring into a pint glass.

Copper in color, great clarity, exceptional head retention. Fluffy white and coarse on-top. 4.5

Spicy/floral hop aroma up-front. Toasty grains and a peppery/saison-like spice aromatic. Semi-dry and fresh-smelling. 4.5

Peppery yeast crossed with toasted grains, floral Euro hops paired with a more vigorous American hopping, and a faint pear fruit ester. Earthy and dry. Slight citric pith, baked earth, and a strong herbal quality. A little attenuated, but great flavor profile and complexity. 3.5

Medium carbonation is a little busy. The body is silky thin. Remarkably drinkable. 4.0

Great brew from the folks at Surly. I look forward to trying many more of their offerings. 4.0

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bitter Brewer soured my mood right up while quaffing from a shaker pint.

Appearance- A finger of chunky, bubbly foam is in off-white with shades of marmalade. I understand why the can has the golden orange color now, it imitates the color of the body. There are tons of bubbles zipping to the cap too.

Smell- Very earthy nose, it is really dirty and herbal. A little bit of toasted wheat bread in here too. I think I also am picking up some pine and starfruit. This nose is different, but very nice.

Taste- Oh yeah. This thing was born for summer sippin'. It starts heavy on the iced tea and blast of pine. The middle of the drink shows a little of that citrus zing, again mostly star fruit.

The finish though, what a finish. It is not that bitter at only 37 IBU's, but it does not need to be. A big blast of buttery toast and earthiness envelope the palate and sticks around.

Mouth feel- This one is more on the watery side, and not really dry in any way, despite some hoppy characteristics. Although, it is still very drinkable and does a nice job of creating a long finish.

Overall- This is a very good beer, and one you could enjoy right after the other without fear of waking up not remembering what you did on that beautiful summer day now past.

Enjoy this herbal and buttery bitter, or three, if you can.

 1,319 characters

Photo of SaxmanRick
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of jegross2
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Bitter Brewer from the Surly Brewing Company.
Score: 87

Canned 04/05/12. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 05/28/12.

Appearance: Pours a clear and clean-looking golden color with two fingers of foamy/soapy off-white head that slowly recedes into a thin layer with clumps of foamy head splotched around. Average lacing and retention, but some residual head seems to cling for a bit. 4/5

Smell: Bread dough, wheat biscuits, floral citrus, a little lemon pine. There's grassy straw hops and a distinct white tea/iced tea aroma too. A little red apple and a hint of dried banana and fruity yeast -- but not in a hefeweizen way. 4/5

Taste: Hoppy lemon iced tea is my first impression. There's some bitter orange flavor and barley in the tea flavor too. There's almost like a crescendo of the lemon flavor at some point towards the finish with each sip. Largely crisp in flavor, but there's some residual bitter lemony grain flavor lingering in the aftertaste. There is ample fresh and bitter grassy hops flavor too, but the hoppiness is much more mellow and less in-your-face than a pale ale or IPA. 3.75/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, medium carbonation. Oily mouthfeel. Modestly dry and bitter (but not super bitter) finish. 4/5

Overall: There is not too much going on in this beer -- what you smell is what you get -- and the flavors are relatively subdued overall, but Bitter Brewer is a very nice light and refreshing sessionable summer beer that's low in ABV (4%) without being low in quality. This beer is perfect for the 90+ degree weather we are experiencing in Chicago today.

Recommendation: Fans of lagers and summer beers should give this one a whirl as an alternative reward for mowing the grass on a Sunday afternoon.

Pairings: Tangy barbeque-slathered chicken on the grill.

Cost: $8.49 for a four pack.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cyclone8 for this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 16 oz. can into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice light copper in color and is somewhat hazy. About one finger's worth of head.

S: Some hop aroma with a spicy bitter note.

T: Taste follows nose. Nice bitter flavor, smooth maltiness, with the spiciness coming through at the end.

M: Smooth mouthfeel, maybe just a little bit on the thin side.

O: Good, solid English Bitter. No real complaints here.

 462 characters

Photo of Romulux
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of VonZipper
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of s1ckboy
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint: Medium golden-orange, clear with some slow nucleation, under two fingers of loose, rising head.

Up front smell of fresh grapefruit, lime, a little dank or earthy, with a bread-crusty note that, if I were to guess, would say is rye(?). Very nice, & not overdone.

Taste delivers something different from what I was expecting, which was more fruity character & iced tea. What's there instead is a stronger bread crust flavor, a little dry, with some pepper, some milder citrus peel, & ending with a long, moderate bitterness. Again, nicely understated, & something of a surprise. Actually, bitterness is all there is after a while, not too much else going on. Not bad, but would like a little more depth, or if it's going to be one-note, pick another note to strum.

Medium-light bodied with some "stick" from the hops & bitterness. Leaves a long imprint on the mouthfeel.

Not a bad number at all. Again, would like to see a little more balance in the taste, but pretty drinkable & enjoyable.

 1,019 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a clear light amber pour with 2 fingers of fluffy white head. smells of caramel, pine, orange peel. a nice refreshing citrusy hop taste with a hint of breadyness and sweet malt. dirt, pine, caramel taste. light body with a bitter aftertaste, yet somehow nicely refreshing, soda-like carbonation, decent lacing.

this is an excellent session ale, and a great esb. perfect for the summer heat! great taste, great mouthfeel, and looks excellent.. though, not too great on the nose, session beers are very hard to get this high of a rating. job well done by surly.

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Bitter Brewer from Surly Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 1,088 ratings.
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