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 drewba
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a murky light amber with a giant four finger frothy head that looks like giant cratering cotton balls. I wouldn't even say this beer has lacing, it'd say it leaves full chunks of dense white head behind all over the glass. Maintains a finger igh chunky head for the duration.

S - Smells of pine and citrus, but both are somewhat muted. This does remind me of traditional english style hops. Fun fact: the bottle saws "with dwarf hop varieties, I wonder if these were mixed with some golding or northern. The malt is coming across with a subtle nut and bread quality.

T - The hops come out right away with plenty of lemon and subtle pine notes. The hop profile has a slowly growing bitter presence. Initially, this isn't bitter at all, but after a quarter of a bomber a fair amount of bitterness is present and moreso as the beer warms. Malt profile is great; nutty and bready. Unfortunately, the malt profile is a little overshadowed by the bitterness.

M - Thin to medium bodied with a chalky finish. Carbonation is clean and crisp.

D - Had no problem finishing a bomber of this; great interpretation of the style. My roommate called this a more flavorful and bitter version of Goose Island Honkers Ale.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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 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 scriabin
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
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 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 trbergman
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a cervoise.

A - Translucent light brown body with about a half inch of rocky taupe foam. Plenty of lace.

S - Subtle aroma of bread, tea, subtle fruit.

T - Subtle but complex character, with notes of black tea, toffee, dried apple, and orange peel. Earthy hop flavor and moderate bitterness. Well balanced with a gentle finish.

M - Medium, creamy body.

D - Not the most exciting beer, but well executed. Worth having again.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours a clouded copper color with a foamy white head with good retention. Too cloudy, but it still has a good appearance.

Scent of bread, flowery hops, citrus, toasted malt, and a hint of sugar. A sharp, refreshing scent, though nothing spectacular.

Taste of bread, zesty hops, grass, and light ash. Initially there is a surprisingly strong burst of flavor and bitterness. It quickly fades into a mild bready flavor while keeping a hint of that sharp hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and a bit of viscosity.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, Batch 1 Aug 2010 bottling. Brought by sstackho, thanks! Pours a caramel amber brown, nice soapy lacing.

Nose is quite dank, fresh and soapy, hints of lemon. Drinks similar with a real biting dank hop presence, soapy and lemon, bit of grapefruit rind, leafy hops. Caramel, bready malt which can't stand up to the hops, unbalanced, a little washed out in this department. Not bad but not very nuanced, sort of an American take on the style. Would drink again but wouldn't seek out.

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Photo of bobsy
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Easily the dankest beer I've had since Half Acre's Daisy Cutter.

Pours a hazy deep gold with a finger of white head. Nice lacing and retention. As mentioned, the nose is pretty dank, with a dry grainy malt in the background. Yup, dank flavour. Decent bitterness overlaying a strong biscuit character. A touch one-dimensional, and would have been improved with the injection of some fruity / floral character. Good drying mouthfeel.

I'm really not sure about Pretty Things. There's a lot to like in their beer, but I haven't found one they've completely nailed yet. I also object to calling a beer a bitter and then claiming its not a bitter - what's that all about?

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Photo of EPICAC
4.18/5  rDev +13%
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 MoreThanWine
3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was relieved to see the beer was averaging a B because I suspected most would like it more than me and I would stick out as a bum review. I respect this brewery, they do good things and have a good reputation, but this beer didn't wow me.

Poured a massive all head which took a while to dissipate to 1/4". Attractive hazy sienna brown color. Taste and smell was fresh, sweet, fruity, and bitter, but this was far from the more bitter of IPAs I've had. There was a definite tea aspect to the flavor. Finish was very long and the moderate bitterness persisted majorly.

Better than average, you betcha. Best of the best I don't think so. A quality product which may be right to put out your fire if you like your IPAs more like strong tea.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.53/5  rDev +22.4%
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 jneiswender
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cool in a pint glass.

A-dark yellow body (cloudy) and a thick off white head.

S-mineral, cereal, floral somewhat juicy scent

T-piney and cereal notes dominate.


D-nice and sessionable beer. Certainly better versions out there but I would drink this beer again.

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Photo of nickd717
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber via trade.

The appearance on this one is very nice. It's not clear, but I'm not so sure this style is supposed to be. Hazy amber with a thick two-finger whitish head and excellent lacing.

The aroma is like freshly fallen leaves on a brisk November morning in the British countryside after a light rain. Corny enough for you? The hops are big and bold, citrusy - mainly lemon - and leafy, with a good yeast presence and slight maltiness in the background.

The flavor is well-done for the style. Very European-tasting. The malty base lends a muted sweetness and bready notes. Besides that, the hop bitterness is intense. It starts off light, lemony and floral, but finishes strong with mouth-puckering grapefruit and enamel-ripping resins. Some yeasty bite as well.

The mouthfeel is dry and somewhat resinous with medium-plus body and fairly lively carbonation.

Overall, a quality ESB with a great hoppy bite.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
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 aerozeppl
2.81/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Really hazy orange copper color. A finger of slightly off white head with some lacing.

S: Little bit of hop bitterness. Continental hops. There is some malt there but nothing really is popping out at me. My guess is a fairly complex grain bill.

T: The malt complexity is there but it really is just too bitter for the style. A little bit astringent as well. A touch of tobacco which was nice but not to style. It is quite fresh tasting though.

M: A little over carbonated. Light body for the most part.

D: This beer was a big miss for me. The malt is interesting but the carbonation hurt it. Maybe on cask this would be something. Not that enjoyable.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes from last night.

Pours a darkish orange-amber. Good one finger foam with some nice lace. Very green aroma, hedges and shrubbery. Feels a bit raw. Not enough malt subtlety shining through...hard to say if this is classified correctly. There's some herb mid-palate with a restrained bitterness, some other yeast character overpowering. Not a fan, feels a bit out of key throughout drinking the entire glass. The flavor is dominated by this greenness. Perhaps my avatar would like it better.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
2.8/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a amber red color with a nice fluffy white head. Aroma has subtle hop character of grass, tea leaves, and floral notes. The yeast adds a fruity character, but overall gives a young, green fermentation character.

Flavor lacks the malt depth I was expecting from an English Pale. Bitterness overshadows most of the malt character, but has an overall bland flavor and edge to it. This bitterness really doesn't add much to the beer. The "green" yeast flavor comes through again, tasting like a poorly aged homebrew. Mouthfeel is moderately carbonated with an appropriate malt body, but it feels a bit bland and lifeless. Not very enjoyable.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy medium orange with a big foamy off-white head. Reduces to a skim, but still manages to wash lace down the entire side of the glass. A pretty thing indeed.

Some toasted malt in the nose, and some very light fruit. A whiff of hop leaf.

Well, this is a bitter one, and you get no reprieve. Initial sip is dry toasted malt, with some slight acid. You are waiting for the fruit or some touch of sweetness, but alas, you are out of luck. Big bitter punch, with very little character to it. Woody bitter, like a stick or a vine, not (hop) fruit or leaf. Slight sour (barely) and continued dry bitterness for a long finish that has some toasty, wet paper, and almost smoky elements.

Medium bodied, a little prickly, and kinda astringent. It works.

This is a big bottle! I need food with this one to finish it. This was a hard day at work and this was not the relaxing sipper I needed. It develops a bit of character as it warms, but not enough to make me want to get this again. Not a miserable brew by any means, just overdone and completely unbalanced.

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Photo of hreb
3.01/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Cold 22oz bottle, "bottled Aug 2010 1st batch" Served in pint glass. Beer pours a hazy orange amber with a fat white head. Faint tangy, yeasty aroma. The flavor is yeasty and bitter. Sharply carbonated. The main course of the beer is a healthy dose of hops. The label says "dwarf hop varieties", and I'm sure there are several, but the result is a muddled, mediocre flavor.

Maybe on draft or hand pump this would be a better example of the style. As it is it is overly gassed, over hopped, under clarified to be called an English Pale Ale. Sorry pretty things, this is not the most successful brew.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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 BDTyre
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
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 andrewinski1
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Nice large off white head on this one. Hazy taupe colored body. Lacing sticks all over the sides of the glass.

The aroma starts off with a nice dose of citrus. Also noticed is a bit of bready malt aroma, but too be fair I was specifically looking for it. This is a citrusy aroma first and mostly.

Nice bready start to the taste, but it is quickly covered up by a dry bitter finish. This is a little more bitter than I expected. The malt bill is as featured as I was hoping to be honest. Still, a decent balance.

Great slightly velvety mouthfeel and nice carbonation really brings out the bitterness in this one.

Drinkability is up there for sure. Another nice offering from Pretty Things, one of my favorites.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.57/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a tulip. The body is a thick murky caramel color with a good sized off white head. Pretty good head retention and leaves spotty lacing. Up front it has a bitter hoppy aroma with underlying malt aromas and hints of apples and a little bit of spice. The flavor is very bitter and dry. The hedgerow hops right up front with lots of bitterness and a malty body. The flavor on this is pretty two dimension, hops, then malts. The mouthfeel is very dry and a little lively on the carbonation. The dryness detracts a lot from the drinkability for me.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer from thebestever. Thanks Allie!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - murky burnt orange color with an off-white head that left a good amount of sticky lacing behind.

S - earthy, bitter hops with some toffee notes.

T - some toffee notes upfront before this one gets totally bitter right through to the end.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - good for a glass, a little too bitter to have more than one.

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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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