Chester County Bitter | Sly Fox Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This traditional British Ale is authentic cask conditioned beer with a smooth malt profile balance by a subtle hop presence. Dry-hopping in the cask produces an enticing hop aroma in this quaffable session ale.

Added by corby112 on 10-14-2009

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 106
Photo of david18
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a cask pour of this at George Keeley's Pub on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Overall it was a decent beer and probably perfect as a cask ale.

Apparence was a little cloudy without much carbonation but, of course, this drawn from a cask. Color was a light to medium copper.

Aroma was a bit bready with some sweetness and citrus.

Flavor was also bready and a little weak. Not a lot going one but good for what it is.

Overall a good English bitter and if this is your style of beer it's quite a good example of it.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.16/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

More undated notes, but from a snowy day in PHL, traipsing around, giving Spanky all of my cabbage (and grief), first at Local 44 and later at Memphis Taproom. You have no idea of the joy on people's faces when they see me roll up, especially when it is part of my vaunted forays.

At Local 44, it was Kick the Christmas Beers, here at Memphis Taproom, it was Caskafternoon and they had been alerted, I mean, warned, no, advised of my pending arrival.

I was not given any choice of beers - I would start with a low ABV beer and if nothing startling or untoward occurred, I would be allowed to have another beer of my choice. Sounded good to me - I hate making decisions.

Gravity pour! No head as a result, but the color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity. BUPGOO (sans the head)! Nose had a light sweetness underlain with a mild bitterness. Mouthfeel was silky smooth with a mild bitterness on the tongue. Finish was mildly bitter with a slight caramel taste underneath. My notes have me identifying it as either and English Bitter or an American Amber. I guess that I was not too far gone, eh?

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear copper in color and has no signs of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that gradually faded away, leaving only a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of fruits and bready malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell but the flavors are stronger with some additional notes of caramel. No bitterness from the hops is discernable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and very smooth due to the lack of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and is particularly sessionable given its low alcohol content.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.8/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours as a light caramel color with a white foamy head on it. The aroma is a bit earthy and doesn't have a whole lot more coming off of it in my opinion. The taste is very lightly flavored with grains and some hops. The mouthfeel is very watery and kind of on the flat side. This beer along with a bunch of Sly Fox's releases just are not impressive to me. I feel bad saying that but I've not had a single one that really sticks out to me and makes me say "Wow".

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

Chester County Bitter has a dark golden body with a thin, spindly, tan head. Decent retention and lacing, the type you expect from a cask pour that is good, but not great.

The aroma has some fruity hops and bready malts to it.

The flavor has a noticeable hop bite to it, with zesty citrus and some other fruity hops. Slight bitterness and perhaps a touch of pine come from the hops also. The malt backbone balances nicely, and it is probably a little stronger than the hops. A very bready and grainy taste gives way to a bit of caramel-type sweetness. The beer finishes fairly dry.

The mouthfeel is light with fairly low carbonation.

I liked this one enough to have a couple pints of it. It's nice to find a tasty craft brew that is under 5% ABV, and a cask that is treated well is always a treat.

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Photo of drtth
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a nonic pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear reddish golden brown in color with a ¼" creamy head that persists for quite a while. Sipping leaves scattered legs or lacing.

Smell: The aroma is soft and pleasant and includes some malt, some citrus zest and a touch of pine. While not strong the aroma is pleasant.

Taste: The flavors include the caramel and toffee from the malt, traces of citrus zest and fruit with some light earthy character. There is quite a nice balance of malt and hops here.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth as silk with gentle but lasting carbonation. The finish is medium long with some ending hop bitterness.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I enjoyed this one, finding that each sip followed naturally from the other. I certainly would be willing to have this one again. My overall impression is of a well made, thoroughly enjoyable beer that is well worth drinking.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Served from cask at McMinimens to mug a clear light amber to golden orange color with a fluffy white one finger head.

S: Bready and roasted malt with a sweetness of vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Hops were orange peel and herbal with a touch of peppery spice in the nose. Looking for a bit more in the aroma but good.

T: Lightly toasted malt and fresh bread, some vanilla and toffee add a mild sweetness. Orange peel and grapefruit from some PNW hops with a spicy European hop finish. Chamomile bitterness is in there too which ways in more than the sweet maltiness.

M: Smooth and creamy, light to medium body. Subtle smooth carbonation as a good cask ale should have.

D: All round great session beer with a nice flavor and ease of drinkability.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask, via hand pump, @ the Sly Fox Brewing Company (Phoenixville, PA) on 12/20/10. Served in a 10 oz Pils glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a finger of tight and foamy bright-white head. This retains with a thin creamy frothiness that leaves back spotty lacing which sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is grassy and a little spicy, with some bitter smelling citric character and a touch of earth. This is set against some malty tones of fresh baked biscuits and a dash of sweeter caramel in the nose.

The taste has both a fresh citric flavor and bitterness going on here and is balanced by a sturdy backbone of bready grains, which trails some leftover light toast into the finish, along with dry spice and rind. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied, with a light prickle to the carbonation that runs through the middle of the feel, but is mostly easy on the edges and overall very smooth on the palate. This feels good on cask.

This was another pleasant enough quaff that I found on the hand pumps here at Sly Fox. This Bitter had some bite but was still mostly well balanced and the easy feel from the cask and lower ABV kept this drinking nicely. Sessionable little brew here.

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Photo of Soonami
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have not seen Sly Fox Chester County Bitter before, but since it was offered on cask at Local 44, I thought that I would give it a try since the beers they present on hand pumps are always well done. This is a beer that had a good bit of dry hopping either in fermentation or on cask, that really adds a nice woody, fresh hop aroma and flavor. The malt adds a bready character that helps ground the beer and provided the body that a smaller hopped beer requires.

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Photo of pburland23
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Teresa's Next Door.

Bright, cloudy yellow color with about half a finger of fluffy white head.

Light, fruity smell. I picked up some citrus (lemon perhaps). There's also some mild hops aroma.

Taste is a little underwhelming. It's lacking body. But there is a lemon taste to it that is pleasing, but not overwhelmingly grabbing.

The mouthfeel is nice and oily with almost no carbonation. It makes for a smooth drinking experience.

This beer is definitely sessionable, but I'm not sure I'd go that direction with this beer. It's good, but it doesn't bring enough to the table.

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Photo of weeare138
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

cask at TJ's.
Appears a transparent light gold with a fluffy white cap tht sticks around. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of citrus, pine, and cut birch bark. Very mild and enticing to deserve several more deep inhales.
Taste is of citrus, cooked cereal grain, earthy mushrooms, ripe fruit, berries, and yeast.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slick, oily, and bitter sweet in the finish.

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Photo of sliverX
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at pizza plant main st.
Thick white cap hazy yellow brown left plenty of lacking
Sweet light malt, with a prominent lemon rind character.
Sweet malt dominated by the lemon characteristic, not bad might be better a bit colder a bit on the copper metal taste going on as well medium bodied to light
This may be a bit late on this cask but still somewhat enjoyable

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Photo of philbe311
3.86/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On hand pump at Al's of Hampden...

A - One fingers worth of slightly off-white batter-like head with minmal retention... A rich caramel color... Still with limited carbonation... Leaves rings upon rings of lacing on the glass that stay throughout...

S - Loaded with bready malts... Caramel... Toffee... Some euro hoppiness... Textbook, but subdued for the style...

T - Wonderful assertive mix of malt and hops... The bready malts and caramel are at the forefront as expected, but there is a not so subtle hop kick on the finish that lingers slightly...

M - Light to medium bodied... Slightly creamy... Slightly thin... Goes down very easy, but seems mildly inconsistent from sip to tip...

D - Drinability is off the charts... A great tasting ESB that is sub 5% ABV... I could drink this all night long...

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Firkin at the Grey Lodge Public House in Philadelphia for Friday the Firkinteenth, 13 August 2010.

A. Pours amber with a thin head.

S. Peppery hops and caramel on the nose.

T. Bitter upfront with light malt.

M. Thin to medium body with low level of carbonation (firkin).

D. This is a good easy drinker that won't challenge your taste buds. Good preparation for my most anticipated firkin beer of the night: DFH's 75 min.

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Photo of Amalak
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had at the Diamond in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
A- Nice golden brown color with great head and lacing.
S- Nice lemony scent to it.
T- For a cask, the taste is kind of dull...not bold at all. Which is actually nice in this case. The lemon taste comes in. It's got a touch of sour malt to it. Nice summer cask.

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Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a glass on cask at Tap and Table. I always like a good bitter, but the red color is a little dark for a bitter. The flavor is dominated by crystal malts (there's the color). Really, the beer just tasted like a lighter amber/red ale on cask. That's not all bad, there was a please citrus hop note in addition to the caramelized malt, but I'd hope for more depth.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a tulip pint.

Looks great--pitch perfect apple cider color. On the darker end of the range for the style, which is fine by me. Small ring of salmon roe popped up and popped out.

Smells pretty, too--stiff green apples, some minty notes, faint faint earthiness. Smells restrained and refined.

Taste proves the nose is false advertising. This is neither restrained or refined, and doesn't coax nearly enough out of the malt for my taste. There's a rough, unbalanced feel to the flavor profile, no doubt as a result of what seems like a heavy-handed hopping. The finish is just plain astringent, which I thought was because it was too cold, even though I didn't even refrigerate the growler. So I held it in my hands--I cradled this tender pint--but, sadly, it just became warmly astringent.

Mouthfeel, again, suffers from that astringency. Never quites attains that creamy buttery blanket for the juicy biscuit middle heaven that I like in bitters. Oh well.

It's ok for an American version of the style. But American craft brewers are showing they don't do subtlety real well. Right now the English are kicking our asses in the bitter category.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy brass yellow body with foamy 1/4 inch head.

S - Fruity hops with a distinct apple aroma and yeast.

T - Mashed hard fruit with smooth malts and subtle grain undertone, sour at the back end with just a hint of hops.

M - Moderate-light feel with nil carbonation.

D - Quaffable, but I wasn't ready to session this one.

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Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask at Cole's cask festival. A fine bitter although a sour finish. Pros were the understated bitterness, and full mouthfeel. A faint Caesar crown an apple juice colour. Is it infection? Sourness does spoil getting it spot in, still a drinkable one.

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Photo of TeddyBrew
4.57/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I tried this on cask at Biercraft in Brooklyn. They had three fine beers on cask that evening, but this is the one I chose to take home in a growler. This beer was true to the style as an English Bitter, which can be hard to find here.

It was subtley hopped and that refreshing, almost watery, follow through that is distinctive of a fine bitter. There was plenty of nice malt and hop flavor, and a pleasing "bouquet" throughout, but all around it had an air of understatement.

Went you want a big IPA or a hoppy Pale Ale, they can be found, and that's great. However, IMHO the more brewers can produce beers in this style, the better!

I will definitely look for more from Sly Fox.

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Photo of thatguy314
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dull copper color, slightly hazy at room temp, perhaps from dry hopping

Aroma: earthy, spicy hops dominates, some caramel malt. Peach and pear esters. Would like more malt to hop balance for style (hoppy for english style) but quite pleasant

Flavor: raisiny caramel malt and biscuit, typical for style. Resiny hop character from dry hop again a little out of style. Ditracs from rich maltiness. Would have preferred more end of boil hop addition as would have been less resiny.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, finishes dry. Rich cask mouthfeerl. Is there any other (good) way to drink a bitter?

Overall: one of the best american bitters I've had, but a little too much hop, particularly dry hopping. Turns a fabulous beer into a good beer by throwing balance off a bit. That said, darn tasty.

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Photo of plaid75
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Brazen Head, Brooklyn.

Poured a medium copper hue with a wisp of a head.

The smell featured a lemony hop and a light malt.

The taste consisted of a smooth pale malt, a touch of crystal and a balancing dry herbal hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and easily sessionable ale.

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Photo of corby112
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark hazy golden yellow with some ripe banana hues and a bit of lighter golden yellow color when held to a light source. Frothy, soapy white head with excellent retention, only slowly fading to a thick lasting cap that leaves sporadic spots of lacing in it's path.

Sweet light malt aroma with some subtle spice and light floral hops.

Clean, crisp and extremely smooth creamy body. Very drinkable with light sweet English malts, subtle spiciness and a very crisp clean floral hop flavor. The alcohol is very well balanced, considering this beer is 7% which is very high for a traditional English real ale. The fact that this beer is that high in ABV disqualifies it as a session beer but it drinks like one and is a very complex with a lot of full flavors. The hops really come through in the finish, but not in an overpowering or bitter fashion. This beer is very well balanced and an excellent American interpretation of the classic British style. I will be drinking a lot more of it soon.

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Chester County Bitter from Sly Fox Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 106 ratings.
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