Hedgerow Bitter | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

111 Reviews
Hedgerow BitterHedgerow Bitter

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
“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

Added by jamie2dope on 09-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 161
Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is dark yellow and slightly hazy in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that died down, consistently leaving lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of bready malts and floral hops in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of bready and grainy malts and has a light amount of bitterness, which persists through the aftertaste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat crisp on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink and is very sessionable.

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Photo of mothman
3.32/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into NB globe glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of white head. Color is a dark golden brown.

Aroma: Bready, pale malts, english hops, grassy/weedy.

Taste: Lots of bittering hops. Grassy, weeding. Bready, pale malts. Fairly one dimensional.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Medium carbonation with a medium body. Ends bland and sticky.

Overall, for what it is, it is fine. Somewhat drinkable. Kind of boring. It is fairly straight forward. I doubt I would venture out to try this one again.

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Photo of jlindros
3.31/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm always excited for new Pretty Things.

A nice fluffy 1.5 finger head rises up in the pour and slowly fades with a slight lacing over the hazy dark orange-peach slight reddish hue color.

The nose comes with a weird bitterness. Lots of dark earthy hops, a little spicy and herbal, and a slight plasticy like hop character. There is also a slight lime and citrus, and a bit of that musty weird hop earthy bitterness that I don't like. This is another one I will have to find the hops used and see what is the hop addition I don't like.

Taste comes on bitter, as promised, pretty bitter. Lots of various hop flavors, a little juicy even, with a slight pine, lot more earthy and herbal, slightly chewy, a little citrus, some grassy hops, and more of that musty unfavorable hop characteristic I don't like, it's almost a medicinal flavor. There is almost no malt character.

The mouth comes on medium to lighter body with decent carbonation.

It finishes still very bitter, and starts to get astringent and comes on strong with the bitterness. A strong bitterness just lingers and lingers. More of the earthy herbal and grassy hops dominate. A slight pine and grainy feel too.

I remember Dann Paquette saying he wasn't much of an American IPA style hops fan, and wanted to shy away from the crazy hop craze (I think he said that) a while back at my homebrew club. He has done a great job of innovating and making amazing beers to this point without the hops, and I applauded him. The Fluffy White Rabbit added some hops, but they were light enough to pass for Dann. I'm a big hop fan, but there are so many hoppy beers out there, and the way Dann was doing things I was happy. IMHO, this one is a little too much on the bitter side and doesn't balance or bring the hop flavor/aroma as I'm used to. The more I think about it the more I think I'm jaded by the American IPA. I already have a plan to acclimate myself to more English style bitters and learn the style a bit more, then come back and review this beer again. I do have to give him credit for going where no American brewer tends to go, and that's a crazy bitter beer without the hop profile.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a couple fingers of rich and slightly off-white looking head. This retains with a smooth creamy look, which leaves back a ton of thick sticky lacing behind. The aroma smells leafy and spicy, with a fresh green herbal character that mingles with the soft bready notes from the malt. This just has a lot of bitter spiciness to it in the nose and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that this still has some vibrancy to it considering it was bottled last July.

That same spicy citric bitterness controls the taste, spreading earthy fruit out across the palate. This is balanced by the sweet biscuit character from the malts but they mostly just act as a backbone for this, as the focus here is definitely on the hops, which finishes this strong with a dry spicy bite. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and firm feeling up front before getting much more smooth and creamy along that back, which is borderline aping a nitro feel at times and helps keep this nicely drinkable despite the assertiveness of the hops.

I thought this was pretty good. It’s more of a slightly extreme American take on an English bitter, as those hops do come on a tad strong but the it’s the smooth body here on this that I really took to. I wouldn’t mind giving this a try a little fresher on draft, as it definitely had my attention at times.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 8/31/11 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, some honey, some fruit and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel and citrus. Then a good burst of hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice beer to pound down for a long time.

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Photo of mactrail
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pleasant fresh, vegetal aroma, like fresh pea pods. Dark orangey amber in the chalice. Herbal and tea taste along with the usual piney woods hop flavors. Others have analyzed the hop notes, but it's a complexity of flavors that are hard to sort out. Some fruitiness, like pears. Some mineral taste, but clean. A rich mouthfeel, considering the light octane. While it does get down to bitterness and the damp basement after some sipping, it's quite an intriguing beer.

Thoroughly drinkable and hugely flavorful. This is one of the most bitter beers that I have found to be so pleasing that I look forward to the next sip. 22 oz bottle from Best Damn beer shop in San Diego.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -19.5%
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 mdaschaf
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes:

A: Pours a hazy orange with a chunky white head. Good retention and nice lacing.

S: On the malty side, and sweet at that. Not very hoppy, which I was expecting. I get a little bit of citrus as well, mostly lemon.

T: Lots of caramel malts and a sweetness to it. Also has a doughy flavor as well. There are a little bit of hops on the back, but again, not as much as expected.

M/D: Has a dry/bitter finish, but easy drinking. Overall its not bad, thought I was expecting more hops and less malt.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazy, light amber color that came forward rather quickly. Some nice and light carbonation could be seen bubbling up from the bottom of the glass that came to the top as a two inch layer of white foam that quickly settled down, leaving little side lace in its wake. Nice layer of sediment on the bottom was noticed after it was all said and done.

The aroma was very nice, light grains and nice bready malts that combined with a light almost pear like aroma. Hints of some citric hops dancing around in there as well as it warmed up. Much more of this continued on as the flavor started to roll across the tongue. Nice hints of grass, fresh orange peel and a good touch of light grain all blended together quite nicely. For a pale ale, it was simply splendid. I could have drank this one all day to be honest.

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Photo of smcolw
3.22/5  rDev -13%
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 womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is amber in color with a finger or two of khaki colored foam.

S: Floral hops and a bit of grass to open things up. There is quite a bit of sweet malt aroma, especially toast and toffee. A light pine note toward the back end, maybe some lemon zest as well.

T: Relies fairly heavily on the sweet bread, toast, and toffee malt flavors. The hops are there, but in true "English" fashion, are more subtle/in the background. Some hints of citrus to go with the floral and earthy hops. Just a very light bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Not a bad bitter/English pale ale. I thought this was pretty well done.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eh. I think this one is too earthy bitter with a tangy thing going on. Unusual muddled hop spices with a lot of malts on there. This is just meerely "okay'. I mean, sure, it works. But there is nothing to it that's blowing me away or impressing me.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled July 2011. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

A - Thin white foam settles to a near-complete, thicker collar, and no lace. Transparent bronze body.

S - Fruity English ale yeast, some herbal hops with a faint vomit and garbage note, and sharp toffee. Not bad, but nothing special either.

T - Taste is a little worse. Neutral bread and yeast backdrop, with a hint of honey as well. Tangy herbal hops and moderate bitterness.

M - Slightly grainy medium body, moderate carbonation, no alcohol, and a oily and resinous finish.

D - Not horrendous, but pretty dull. Perhaps this was better fresh? I'd give it another chance if it were less than a month old, but otherwise I can't see myself taking the time to bother.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Pours a light to medium orange amber, two finger off-white head with great retention and massive lacing. Active carbonation, looks great. Unusual aroma of light malt, stone fruits and tea. Flavor follows with bready and toasted malt, hay and a tea-like element. Finishes with dry grass, hint of stone fruits, non-herbal hops and maybe a hint of funk. Quite different and tasty. Medium bodied, but pleasant lively carbonation. This is unusual and a pleasure to drink. I wish this brewery was distributed in my state.

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Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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 Wasatch
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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 plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
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 rudzud
2.89/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a slightly hazy gold with a small slightly less than one finger head. Head dissolved quickly but left some nice light lacing along the side and on the brew.

S - Indistinguishably earthy. Not really citrus, or grass, just...earthy. Light bread/yeast notes but not much more.

T - Sadly, this isnt nearly as bitter as I thought it would be. Some light earthy notes and yeast flavors, much like the nose. There is some nice bitterness, but again not nearly as strong as I was led on to believe.

M - Almost rough. The medium/high carbonation, plus the dry aspects makes this rather rough around the edges.

D - Not bad, but not the best. So far my least favorite of the Pretty Things. Not bitter enough to be an English Bitter (they say this isnt a bitter), yet too bitter to be an English Pale ale, this is somewhere in the not so good middle.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a copper color. My goodness, there is so much carbonation rising up from the pour. The huge, sudsy head keeps growing in stature from the seemingly infinite rush of the carbonation. One of the most aggressive heads I have seen. Leaves funny rings and splotches of lacing.

S-Interesting nose. Light and sweet malts combine with a metallic twang on the back end of the aroma. Along with the previously described scents is an aroma of tart apple juice and some light spice. Aroma is not intense but is inviting.

T-I have heard that this brew is exceptionally bitter. While it is bitter, I do not find it to be excessively bitter. Herbal and grassy hops meet the spice and light fruits. The malt is sturdy and sweet and there is definitely a tart taste.

M-Medium bodied. Bunches of carbonation. The carbonation is prickly and intense. Finish is very dry. A tad bit slick.

O/D-This beer is actually pretty bitter. The bitterness accumulates over the course of the 22 oz. bomber. A pretty tasty brew. I find it to be a unique flavor. It was enjoyable and perhaps a bit underrated. Pretty Things makes some damn good offerings.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
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 DrJay
2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
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 Jwale73
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served in a standard pint. Bottled Aug 2010 1st Batch indicated on a paper swatch covering the cap. Pours a hazy honey-gold/copper with a frothy, one inch, cream-colored head embedded with tiny pockmarks and craters. Some swaths and spots of lacing present during the session. Light fruity esters in the nose (perhaps apricots?), citrus and a slightly grassy quality. Taste reveals citric acid, followed by the fruity character in the nose interwoven with a grassy hops presence, culminating in a light, lingering earthy bitterness between quaffs. Mouthfeel us light-medium with a palate cleansing carbonation and a slight acidity that lightly stimulates the salivary glands. Maybe a little hoppy for an English Pale Ale, but quite drinkable. Not my favorite from this brewer, but would be great for washing down a pizza.

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Photo of claspada
3.31/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas begin with earthy, damp, leafy herbs and coupled with some citrus rind. Then you get the biscuity, bready, doughy, slightly sweet maltiness.
The tastes begin with semi-powerful bitterness, lingering citrus oils and lemons, a bit resinous surprisingly. There's a biscuity malt flavors, but the hops linger and dominate the aftertaste. As it warms you get more of the hops flavors including some leafy and earthy hops, a bit bready.
The mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with moderate carbonation. Finish is fairly crisp and clean but drinks a little heavy for the style.
Overall this is pretty tasty, not really to style, but still good. A little too bitter for an English Pale Ale, would def classify it more as and English IPA or a super ESB. It's good but not amazing or worth the price in my opinion.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter. Bottled July 2011, so I'm rather late to the game on this one...

A: Almost two fingers of fluffy white head. The beer is honey-clear. Clinging lace.

S: Hugely malty-sweet, with a touch of port (sticky, purple grapes). Some bitterness straddling the fence between hoppy and metallic.

T: It's...good. Tastes like an English bitter. Malty backbone, some earthy English hops, and a lingering, bitter endtaste. I never knew until now (reading the BA description) that EPAs were characterized by hard water, but that fits with the metallic nature of some beers (like this one). A bit of sweet fig in the maintaste. Not bad.

M: Meh. A carbonated session ale that reminds me too much of mediocre British ales.

O: Style points, but not really my thing. Won't have again. Pretty Things is still an excellent brewery in my mind.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.83/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Brown colored beer, no haze, small white head. Faded to a tight ring.

S - Some herbal and grassy hops, some toffee, lightly toasted malts, a smell of something a bit rotten that is slightly discouraging.

T - Boring. Has some herbal notes, bit of toasted grain and some yeast.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Not a ton to say about this beer, I didn't like it a ton but it was only mildly offensive at worst. Basically just a boring beer I won't have again.

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Hedgerow Bitter from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
3.7 out of 5 based on 161 ratings.
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