Arkell Best Bitter | Wellington County Brewery

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Arkell Best BitterArkell Best Bitter
114 Ratings
Arkell Best BitterArkell Best Bitter

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally served as a real ale, Arkell Best Bitter has a loyal following. This delicate and well-balanced bitter is Wellington’s session beer.

Added by the42ndtourist on 11-25-2002

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 114 |  Reviews: 67
Reviews by JamesMN:
Photo of JamesMN
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A light orange/amber hue with good clarity and a thin cap of off-white foam.

Aroma: Sweet caramel and amber malts with a certain 'grainyness' about it.

Taste: Pleasant and light amber and caramel flavors at first and then lends a nice earthy bitterness in the second half and finish. At 4% ABV it has more flavor than I was expecting. A light metallic off-flavor in the aftertaste but otherwise pretty clean.

Mouthfeel: Between thin and medium in body with slightly above average carbonation and good drinkability. Sessionable if you enjoy the style.

Final Thoughts: A decent beer and a good example of how much flavor can be packed into a low ABV. Would I drink it again? Yes.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Copper-amber, with a decent foamy head, solid retention. Patches of lacing scatter the glass. Looks pretty damned good for a bitter.

Nose is malt, dark fruit, mild earthy hops.

Not a bad tasting bitter, but certainly not my favorite. Everything tastes washed out - not nearly the flavor profile I was expecting for something styled as a bitter. An English pale, perhaps, but not a bitter. Mild malt character, a touch metallic, earthy hops finish things off.

Despite this, I must say this one is a good session drinker - it's easy to get down, doesn't taste bad or anything, it's just nothing special.

Mouthfeel is watery, feels a bit thin. Okay carb for a bitter.

Decent, easy to drink, but lacks a solid flavor profile to really enjoy. I actually prefer the SPA to Arkell as my Welly sessionable.

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Photo of MJ63
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of biboergosum
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After trying a few of Wellington's offerings at a recent food and beverage show, I was curious to try more...

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium orange colour, with two fingers of creamy white head, which leaves a ring of lace as it recedes. The aroma is caramel malt, and bitter, spicy hops. The taste is bready, light caramel malt, and earthy, floral hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight and smooth, and it finishes off-dry, the malt showing up the bittering hops a bit.

A nicely drinkable bitter, light, but with decent amounts of malt and hop - an eminently sessionable beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I liked it, hop and bitter. Drinkable. my mates thought it was bitterness and water. Some sharp spice. Orange-yellow appearance and cider-spice aroma. Dry bitter aftertaste. You need some food if a meal. You need something more balanced or sweet if part of a session.

Also tried on cask and not as tasty, had on cask again 3 years later and there is a funky taste to it.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this after the waitress at the arrow and loon suggested it instead of SI Dry Hop cask which was out. She said "It's much more bitter". So I was pretty surprised when this wasn't bitter at all... AT ALL.

I get a berry-like aroma (raspberry) off the malt, I think this might be fairly characteristic of Wellington's yeast as I get it from County Ale as well. A little bit of berry in the taste but overall I get alot of grass and a truck load of hay. The wrong sip and it tasted like a barn in my mouth from the hops, but no real bitterness to be seen other than in the subtle finish.

Perfect carbonation for the style... next to none. Mouthfeel was quite thin I found. This contributes to an insane drinkability for a best bitter. I could hammer these back and at 4%, that's a dangerous beer.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 473ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a small head that is gone in 1min. Dark golden color

S- Pretty good. Lots of malt.

T- Bit of a let down. Watery bitter beer. Sorry

M- Not much here.

O- Not so good. Will not buy again. Just a watered down bitter beer that reminds me of a decent English bitter

Food Pairing

Sorry but this beer is not worth a match.

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Photo of StormAles
4.09/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Stocean1
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a one finger head on tap at the Golden Kiwi - little lacing and head dissipated quickly - nice dark amber colour - S - slightly grassy, a little caramel and light malt - the taste follows the nose - also buttery with a little spice - pleasant and very sessionable but a little understated with only a hint of hops - nice but could be more bitter - O - very decent although compared to other bitters could use a bit more punch IMO.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cask: Poured a clear brown color ale with a small head that disappeared quite fast. Aroma is quite weak with some malt being distinguishable with some light hops. Taste is refreshing but very light with some sweet malt and light hops. Body is too thin for my own liking and was expecting more bitterness. Not bad but there is some way better bitter out there.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of EgadBananas
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a tall boy can.

Pours a tawny, dark auburn color with a finger of egg shell colored head. The aroma was toasty, with doughy bread crust, crackers and a subtle herbal hop note. Tast wasn't really bitter, though by English standards, it may be great. Bits of caramel, soft sweet bread notes. Had a nice feel, light, but with a silky sort of feel on the palate. Nothing mind blowing, but a nice little session ale.

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Photo of ThinkAgain
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of ZorPrime
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Adil for sending me 3 bottles of this beer.

A: Copper looking. The head is made of big bubbles, not bad looking.

S: The intensity is average. Caramel malts with some hops behind. I very well balanced english bitter I would say. I get some earthy notes (from Northern Brewer hops maybe. I'm learning the different hops styles... don't quote me on that hops choice!!)

T: The bitterness is light. I wish it would be bigger. Earthy notes in the taste too. I don't get caramel as I find in the aroma.

M: Thin bodied. Refreshing.

D: A good beer for hot summer day. I'm a little bit disappointed due to the lack of bitterness... Maybe not out of style, but I prefer my bitter to be more bitter.

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Photo of PEBKAC
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Sealed six pack smuggled across the border. Snazzy-looking Duke portrait bottle caps to add to the collection.

Pint glass pour. A somewhat dull, filtered amber-colored body. An inch of thin, eggshell head. It looks bored.

Not a whole lot on the smell. Toasted brown bread crust, some caramel, glassy pine. Smells a bit of leather too.

Taste is mild & doughy. A touch muddy/minerally, with a so-so bite of grassy hops. Dry, yeasty, peppery finish.

Lackluster carbonation. Tacky mouthfeel. Dusty going down.

A decent thirst quencher. Not something I'd buy again though.

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Photo of WillAndSarah
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of irishkyle21
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of tatterdash
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a coppery burnt orange with a white head that dissipated relatively quickly. Smell well rather floral and nutty, with a touch of citrus. Taste was some malts and quite hoppy for an ale, with a smooth mouthfeel and nice dry finish. Bitters are known for there drinkability, and this is no exception. I could drink this all day, and I probably will...

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Photo of CurtisD
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of the42ndtourist
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep golden hue, light and short-lived head that leaves a little lacing. Smell is fairly typical - a little hoppy, a little sweet. Taste is solid, well hopped and with a dryish bitter finish. Feels light, but substantial (kind of an oxymoron, but I'm sure most people know the feeling). Certainly a fine and solid brew that I may come back to when I want a session drinker.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed this in a six pack at the Beer Store. 4.00% abv, 341mL bottle. Fridge temp into a wine glass.

Body is orange, light. Small white head - little to no retention as expected. A handful of streaming bubbles.

Fruity, sweetish grainy nose. Yeast. Very pungent. Leafy hops.

Palate is a bit too carbonated at first, then drops off quickly to something a bit watery. Not sweet at all. Surprisingly hard to pick out flavours here.. a bit of spice, bread, yeast. Simple. Rather dry. More leafy hops.

My first English Bitter. I like this beer quite a bit, it's nice to have a lower abv quaffer to fall back on when desired.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.51/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pint at The Only. Arrives a clear golden hue with hints of mahogany. Finger of head fed by lots of rising bubbles, maintains a head.

Nose has a slight mineral character, bready malt, caramel, light fruitiness. Flavor is more fruity, pretty sweet for a bitter, honey bread, light grassy bitterness gives a drying finish, light lemon, a bit of butter, caramel. Definitely over carbonated, a little thin in this format, even for a bitter. It's not bad but we do some better bitters than this in Ontario.

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Photo of MaxwellSchaefer
2.8/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

3rd Review on BA
473mL can to bolleke globlet

Purchased at a downtown Toronto LCBO for $2.60

App-A medium amber color to a pale amber color, no cloudiness, and a nice light carbonation.

Smell- Nothing too exciting here, the label on the can says it best, it's a subtle, well-balanced, sessionable beer and the nose definitely alludes to that. Nothing overwhelms you but the caramel of the malt definitely comes to the forefront of the first whiff.

Taste- very, very, very drinkable. The taste here is very light, subtle, and nothing is off-putting about it. But, at the same time--nothing is exciting about it either. There is a simple yet distinguishable malty character to the beer but despite what the label says I can't really make out the hoppy after-taste. Maybe it's because I enjoy my super-hoppy IPA's but nonetheless I just don't see it.

Mouth-I'd call this mouth taste light, at least as far as the category for bitters goes. The carbonation, like everything else with this beer, is subtle. Overall, in the mouth, the subtlety makes you want to swallow.

Drink- If this was my local microbrew I'd buy it constantly to keep them in business. The beer has an ease of drinkability that makes it so simple to finish a six-pack. Plus, on this trip to the LCBO, out of all the local craft brews I purchased it was buy far the cheapest (even per mL, I nerdily felt the need to work it out.) Despite all of these facts, I live in Toronto and have so many small microbrews on tap from all over Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area that I probably won't pick up Wellington's Arkell Best Bitter again, but I'd tell a friend to pick it up when exploring the craft scene here in Ontario.

Serving type: Can

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Photo of baiser
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a vibrant amber/orange, with a tan head and impressive lacing. Appearance reminds me of a west coast american style pale ale. Very light and flavourful bitter. Tonnes of hop aroma and flavour. Also a light fruitiness. Pine, nuts, floral. One of my favourites from Wellington. A great session beer.

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Arkell Best Bitter from Wellington County Brewery
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 114 ratings