Hedgerow Bitter
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Hedgerow BitterHedgerow Bitter
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English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
3.74 | pDev: 13.9%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Hedgerow BitterHedgerow Bitter
Notes: “Hops are bitter weeds of spite, That blunt the sugars, try to bite…”

We wanted a beer that was dry and bitter, and that’s what we got. 5.4% abv with all UK grown hedgerow variety hops: Pioneer, Boadicea and Sovereign. No American hops are used in the making of this beer.

You know what? If you think you like hoppy beers, this might surprise you. It’s a different kind of bitterness to US hops. These hops are leafy weeds, very bitter and less aromatic. The overall impression left is a slightly-roasty, special bitter with an aggressive and quite “wild” bitterness with a substantial dryness that lends to its drinkability. A pint glass beer, good for dry throats after long days of work.

58 IBU
View: Beers
Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 161 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Orbfan:
Photo of Orbfan
5/5  rDev +33.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

Hopped with UK-grown hedgerow variety hops: Pioneer, First Gold and Sovereign. Somewhat hazy, dirty peach with a healthy foam head and subsequent lacing. Nose is very clean, with subtle earth and greens. The taste is bone dry and complexly bitter. Puckering citrus, green, sharp grass, aspirin, spicy, prickly, green apple skins, bark and pith. It's like thousands of dwarf hop varieties are jovially stabbing at our palates with their astringent alpha acid daggers. Any malt character has taken a backseat. No, has been gagged, duck-taped and thrown into the trunk; you think you can hear muffled noises, but did you really? Finishes dry and bitter, too. A beer that proves extremes need not rely on ABV.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$6.35 bomber from Abe's.

Hazy, slightly dark orange body, topped by a fluffly, rocky white four finger head. Good lacing.

Aroma features fresh bread, with a yeast accent.

Soft semi-sweet caramel malt beginning, followed by heaping balance of earthy English hops.Taste really is well balanced, as hoppy at the end as it was malty to start, each getting equal time on stage.

Firm light-medium mouthfeel.

Overall, a very enjoyable English Pale Ale. Pretty Things delivers again.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date. Sam Adams glass.
The color is a cloudy, orange-hued amber with a big, frothy, foamy beige head, along with loads of sticky lacing.
A just chopped green woody smell is followed closely by a resinous and slightly floral hop aroma. A whiff of tobacco and dried hay lasts throughout.
The initial flavor is of tart and resinous hops. A bit of a cutting astringent metallic bitterness mingles with a citrus rind-like bite. A yeasty bread taste is noticed more as it warms. A little more caramel sweetness would help offset the bitter-forwardness of this brew.
The mouthfeel is edgy and bright. I imagine this ale would cut deeply into a sore throat.
Despite the edgy bitterness, it's fairly easy to drink. Nice!

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

Appearance: pours a dark orange color with a two finger head that produces some nice lacing.

Smell: fruity, floral, and some citrus comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, ripe fruit, some breadiness, soft lemon zest, and a floral bitterness.

Mouthfeel : medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish. Short lasting aftertaste.

Overall: very sessionable beer. Easy to drink and nicely flavorful. Nice English styled ale worthy of a try.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

Pours hazy copper with a quarter inch head of white. Soapy lacing throughout the glass with a partial skim coat.

Aromatics are a light blend of biscuity, somewhat plump malt, chaulk, and earthy hops. The hops are quite subdued and there really isn't much enticement here.

Medium bodied with a crisp, dry mouthfeel. A crackling gypsum note leaves a slight coarsness behind.

The palate starts with a promise of toasty, ripe malt but quickly gets trounced by a massive bitterness which builds and lingers througout each sip. Bark-like and alpha-pounding in nature, the hopping is all in the bitterness with barely a trace of fruit at midpoint.

Finishes with a sustaining, drying bitterness, chaulk-dusted malt, and dried fruit pith.

The bitterness is definateley overpowering in this one. Believe me, I love a massively bitter beer, but it's got to have some flavoring and aroma hops to back it up.

A bit of a rough one here.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hedgerow Bitter pours a cloudy, dark golden. It's topped by an off-white, stiff, meringue-like head that fades leaving good lace. The aroma is mildly malty with sweet fruity esters, and grassy hops.

This beer has mildly bready and toasty malts. The finish has nice grassy, and leafy hop flavors that leave a lingering bitterness. This beer is medium-bodied, and has prickly carbonation and a nice dryness.

A very nice rendition of an English Bitter.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Cap tape says "Bottle August 2010 - 1st Batch!".

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1" light beige head above the cloudy, almost opaque orangey amber brew. Pillowy head lasts and lasts, with chunky lacing. Aroma is sedate, lightly earthy with wisps of fruit.

Taste is mildly sweet to start, some citrus in the middle, and then is dominated by bitterness through the close and beyond. Mouthfeel is smooth, with pretty good drinkability. The bitterness is odd int hat it's not the overwhelming bitterness found in some puckering brews, but it's not soft and easy either. Interesting and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of smcolw
3.22/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great start with a rocky head of three fingers. Ample, chunky ring lace. The broth is a copper color with a definitive haze.

Earthy, almost muddy aroma. No hop smells. This is not appealing.

The flavor is very bitter, especially considering the smell. The malt, while brief, is simply a delivery of the hop pop. The body is full with a lower level of carbonation. Other than the smell, it is close to a English styled ESB. It is missing the "roundness" and creamy quality of the Bitters I'm used to from the UK. Get by the smell and enjoy.

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Photo of scriabin
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a curious one. After my first sip, the hops were so strong I was ready to write it off completely. But I persisted and it quickly won me over with it's complexity and smoothness. Yes, it is a hoppy ale, perhaps a bit too much so, but it really grew on me. I'm not sure I could drink more than one in a sitting but this would be a great beer to accompany a nice dinner.

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Photo of dippy
4.72/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I want to say that I am sorry that I have rated this beer so highly. But this pretty thing id pretty awesome.

It pours a cloudy orange/brown with an off-white head.

It has a great great malty smell. One that it not telling of the hops to come.

This beer, while hoppy has a nice malt background. The hops all there. Piney and citrusy. It had a perfect bitterness to it.

Good mouthfeel and excellent drinkability.

This is one of those beers. but don't take my opinion, I am already drunk.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.53/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was down in Boston last weekend and was able to both try this on tap and pick up a couple bottles. I loved it right away on draught. When I got back to check the reviews I was shocked to see the somewhat mediocre ratings... This beer, as usual, is a little outside the style guidelines of a bitter or pale ale, and maybe that's what's throwing people off, but I think it's a great hybrid of styles and flavors that works. Anyway... my two cents:

Pours a nice bright orange amber, slightly cloudy, with a perfect white head and clumps of lace all down the glass as I drink. Nose is pale biscuity malt and a lingering hint of hops, almost soapy. Flavor profile is that of a nice English bitter, but not. First of all, it's definitely bumped up a bit in intensity. The hops are intense - not in an obvious west coast approach, up front in your face - but a nice, herbal, minty spruce flavor profile, slightly soapy, and a perfect bone dry finish. Awesome, long aftertaste. It's like the bitterness comes in several waves, finishing maybe a few seconds after the gulp with a bitter pucker. Cool. Perfect beer to drink all day. Mayhaps this beer is just misunderstood. Personally I love it.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 fl oz brown bottle, served in a tumbler.
'Bottled Aug 2010 1st batch!'

Murky, muddy camel color beneath a frothy white head that settles to a smooth sheet after a moment. Whispy, webbed lacing around most of the tumbler's sides.

Bright pine and citrus hop aromas that cover a slightly stiff, malted wheat character. Notes of mild, bland alcohol.

Pine and tropical fruit esters up front, specifically pear, pineapple, and melon. The melon adds a slight sweetness to the rough pine hop presence and the biscuity malt backbone. The middle, malt character is somewhat bland, but not offensive. A step up from moderately bitter with a dry, peppery finish.

Medium in body; pleasantly rough on the palate with just the faintest dry hop character.

A very flavorful, robust English Pale. The hop profile is very flattering and surprisingly balanced.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter
22 oz brown bottle
Bottled Aug 2010 - 1st Batch
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours a murky and cloudy orange with a yellow tint on the botom of the glass. Decent head that quickly turns to a thin lace.

Wow, an interesting nose that is floral, earthy and hoppy.

A slightly sweet and toasted malt flavor up front and an aggressive hop finish. The hop bite is significant and different. I can't help but think how uneven this beer is. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate how hoppy of an interpretation this is for an English Pale Ale, but I find mysef ambivalent overall.

The biting hop finish profiles an earthy and mouth puckering metallic punch. With all of this being noted, I still find it quite drinkable and can "make it work."

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Photo of DrJay
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1st batch, bottled Aug. 2010.
A fluffy eggshell cap left tons of clumpy lacing on the glass. The beer was a bit cloudy, amber in colour. Good head retention. Hoppy aroma, not overly aggressive but certainly pungent. Notes of citrus zest, a bit powdery, fruity and earthy with mild caramel malt character. Powerful bitterness, lingering citrus oil and lemons, a bit resinous. There's a biscuity malt flavour present, but it's completely overpowered by the hops. Other flavours include some fruit and veggies, leafy and earthy hops, a bit bready. Medium to light bodied with moderate carbonation, fair texture, but seemed a bit thin in the finish. I'm not sure what happened here, but this seems out of balance to me.

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Photo of JayfromBoston
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a hazed, burnished gold body with a sudsy, white head. Satisfactory lacing.

Smell: An earthy nose of dank, damp, leafy herbs and a small sprinkling of citrus pith atop some simple biscuit-scented malts underneath.

Taste: Brief biscuit-toned maltiness, relatively light, and with a restrained level of sweetness before you're off to puckering bitter lemons, white willow bark, oil of rue, and spicy, dried, resinous herbs squeezing and smothering the tongue like the gnarled, thorny vines featured on the label. Cutting bitterness lasts through to the dry finish and beyond.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight oiliness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Sorry, but I'm just not seeing or tasting much cohesion among the various elements. Very meager malts set against particularly weedy, earthy hops akin to make a tea brewed of random roots, herbs, grass clippings, and barks found in one's backyard. While I've been keen on their other brews, I did not care for this one. Ah well.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice bitter from Pretty Things. Slightly cloudy copper colour and a very pillowy off-white head. Sweet malty scent with a mild hop bite to it. Significantly hoppier in the flavour - almost closer to an English IPA I think, as the bready character is almost overwhelmed by the hops.

Nice carbonation, a good beer with a meal. The flavour could be developed a bit more with an aim to being more balanced.

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

Interesting and unusual. Nominally, this is an English pub bitters, and it does pay homage to its origin, but it has behind it a sneaky phenolic edge that suggests a Belgian brewer has sneaked into the English brewer to work his mischief.

Pours a hazy golden with a medium white head, slightly sticky. The aroma is sprightly and phenolic, with apricot and a whiff of clove. The flavor is toasty and lightly caramel, but with that fruity, apricoty edge of a light Belgian ale, with a healthy dose of what tastes like Wheat. There is a satisfying bitterness on the end.

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Photo of plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured waves of herbal and grassy hops, apricot-like esters and a grainy doughiness.

The taste consisted of full on herbal hops with a taste of metal and a lingering ester. The malt was grainy and crisp.

The mouthfeel was crisp with a lingering bitterness and vigorous carbonation.

Overall a very quaffable hop forward refresher.

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Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of jamie2dope
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hedgerow Bitter pours out a nice looking hazed orange color, with two fingers of white heading. Green apple and melon come through in the nose, along with some fresh grains. The Dwarf hops being used here definitely seem to give it an English type of ale nose. Incredibly fresh tasting this brew is. The hops are very noticeable, and earthy, leaving a bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and somewhat prickly on the palate. Although the ABV is not listed, I would imagine that it is not very high. It seems like a hoppy session beer to me. Another well made and unique brew from Pretty Things. Cheers

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

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Bottled: July 2011

Pours a very nice cloudy golden yellow/orange color, nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger creamy off-white head, with lots of very nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, with some nice hop notes, very slight citrus. The taste is very nice, mostly malty, but a nice touch of hops, slightly citrusy. Medium body, with a nice dry/bitter finish. A pretty tasty brew from PT.

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Photo of kkipple
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated July 2011. Poured in stages in my trusty Tripel Karmeliet goblet. Big thanks to Jlindros for hooking me up with Pretty Things on a regular basis.

A. Clear, filtered orange-rust with a small white, lacy head that has real staying power.

S. Very green and floral. There's a strong lemongrass note, as well as some youthful, mildly sticky hop resin. Extremely fresh and bright smelling, yet not sharp. Sweet and steady English malt with caramel hints hides behind. If you sniff hard, you may find a little bit of a musty, dried apple. Just fun stuff, simple, basic, fascinating.

T. As is now expected with Pretty Things, this goes in odd diversions from the start. Hedgerow bitter uses a bunch of "Dwarf" English hops both of us have never heard of: Pioneer, Sovereign, and Boadicea. That's nice, but the result is a fairly bitter, almost unripe hop flavor - extremely herbal in the finish, reminding me of cinnamon basil, lemongrass, hay and maybe, just possibly, Cascade hops. There is an element of pine here, but it's quite reserved. Mildly astringent, this has an oversteeped green tea element. Hedgerow ultimately works, albeit oddly, and is both more bitter and characterful than your usual ESB. There is a very "foreign" hop element here that reminds me of the wonderful Southern Hemisphere from SN.
I like it, but I can see why people may not.

M / O. Medium full carbonation, medium-thin body, everlasting herbal / hop / toasty malt finish that tends towards dryness. Exhaling produces more nuance - this is a lovely beer for fans of hop varietals. At 5.4%, a bomber was no problem alone.

Hedgerow Bitter is an oddity, but a lovable one at that.
I enjoyed this foray into new territory, and once again have to give a hearty cheer to Pretty Things who consistently makes unique, worth-trying beers that shine out like a beacon amid a sea of boring, by the numbers ales from the competition.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A 22 oz. bottle, poured to an Adnams imperial pint glass - as an EPA deserves, even if not actually English. Sent by an excellent BA, charliedvrs.

'Bottled Aug 2010 1st Batch!' on the aptly 'pretty' paper strap over the cap; another eye-catching main label (Pretty Things has a knack for this stuff), a tangle of vines wrapping a red shield on a lime background.

'With Dwarf Hop Varieties' - Cool!

A: Milky/murky breadcrust orange pour - one of the haziest I've seen this side of a yeast-stirred hefeweizen. A few sporadic bubbles, but that's about it for visible carbonation. What captivates (and upgrades my score) is a billowing 2-finger pile of khaki froth, dimpled by small air pockets, holding steady then falling slowly over a matter of minutes. Terrific sheeting lace in sticky webs and daubed chunks. Overall, love the look.

S: Started strong, a drifting graham cracker-y sweetness and grassy hops. Caramel malt and dry spicing. With warming and time out of the bottle, scent fades away, picking up a little fruitiness, but losing some complexity/intrigue.

T: Sort of like the scent, this impressed more initially than later. Early sips are fresh and bright with green hops, zesty spice and balancing sweeter malts/cereals and slips of honey and apple. Midway through, this 'Bitter' (despite an 'English Pale Ale' tag by the brewer) gets... well... bitter. And I mean BITTER: chalky, mineral/medicinal dryness (even a little brassy/metallic) that pummels the now-timid grains like a schoolyard bully. Huh, strange twist. Still pretty likable - the flavor is BIG for the style - but balance is eschewed in the process.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a hop-oiled coating that lasts and lasts; end result: cannot stop salivating. 'Juicy' is an understatement. Not a ton of carbonation, so the feel is on the smoother side - though the ample spice of hops tends to enliven/crispen each sip as well as any carbonation could.

D: Thought I would rave about the drinkability, then found mid-bottle that this one would be tougher to finish, even with its sessionable-ish ABV. 12 oz. seems about right for a serving. If dry and bitter is your thing, here's your beer.

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Hedgerow Bitter from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 161 ratings