Bitter American | 21st Amendment Brewery

very good
356 Reviews
Bitter AmericanBitter American

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This American session ale packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly lower-alcohol brew, making it the perfect beer to have on hand when you have a little history to make.

42 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 356 | Ratings: 1,264
Photo of mikenotchey
5/5  rDev +28.2%

A perfect session beer. The first can is great, but the ones following only improve. Aromatically balanced, a slight spiciness on the tongue, great carbonation.

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Photo of 08Deltadawn8
4.76/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served out of a growler, smell comes off with hints of caramel and light barley.
Maybe some nuts in there as well. Color is a apricot kind of reddish orange.
Mouthfeel is nice, not too heavy or too light, taste is great, really gets the gist of a bitter beer. Overall I say that this beer is a perfect session beer and that I would recommend it for anyone who likes bitter type beers.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.69/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a copper color with amber hues. The head is one inch of egg shell colored foam that recedes slowly into a quarter inch cap of lacing. The aroma is very strong. There is a very nice balance of floral, herbal, and citrus notes that creates tremendous complexity. A lover of hops could smell this beer all day without getting bored. The taste is more herbal and floral than the aroma, but there is still a noticeable citrus component in the finish. The malt plays a secondary role. Bitterness is moderate yet firm. This is a very nice tasting beer. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice light carbonation that allows the beer nuances to be more greatly appreciated. Overall, this is a great beer. I could easily session this all afternoon long without tiring of it. I will certainly drink this beer again.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Rustico a few weeks back.

Pours a nice golden apricot that was fairly light. Nice white head and some lacing as it went down. Smell is really nice strong citrus hops coming over just a tiny bit of underlying malt sweetness. Taste is similar and blew me away for a bitter. Incredible how much flavor has been packed into this uber-sessionable beer. Super hop flavor without too much accompanying bitterness. Mouthfeel really hits the spot in this regard, as there's enough bitterness--and perhaps a bit more--than is needed to counteract the sweetness, and the hop flavors really jump out. This is one exceedingly drinkable brew. Hoppy, sessionable beers are right up among my favorites, and this one is near the top.

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Photo of SwillBilly
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can to nonical pint glass.

A: Pours light copper to amber with a decent white head that fades rather quickly. Carbonation streams to the surface. Nice, sticky lacing clings to the glass.

S: Chock full of big, juicy, citrusy hops with just bit of maltiness sweetness lending to the nose. A mixture of citrus rind and apricots.

T: Wow ! Flavor explodes in the mouth with the 1st sip. Lots of of those big, juicy citrusy, hops. Malt definitely takes a back seat to the hoppiness fo the beer, though its there if you really look for it. Mildly sweet with plays in harmony with the hops. Just a touch of caramel or honey. Hoppy bitterness lingers long on the tongue after the swallow.

M: Nice body for such a low abv beer. Medium, somewhat oily with ample carbonation.

D: One of the better beers I've had in a while. Combination of citrusy hops and low abv makes this a fantastic session beer. Wish this was available year round as it has found a permanent spot in my fridge. Seek and enjoy. Highly recommended.

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Photo of nickfl
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured with a small head of white foam on top of a hazy, copper colored body. The head settles slowly and leaves great lace.

S - Pungent, fresh hop aromas of pine and grapefruit. Some bready malt in the background.

T - Clean, bready malt up front with green pine hops. Some orange and grapefruit notes come out in the middle. Finishes with more, sweeter citrus and a thicker malt profile of bread and toffee.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a really great hoppy session ale and while I have found that few of the 21a beers I have had live up to the reputation this one does and then some. really great hop aroma and flavor with a deceptively robust malt profile that makes it seem like a much strong beer than it is. There is a lot of bang for ones buck in this beer.

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Photo of ta_hagen
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good session IPA, but a little watery. Goes down well and that 21st Amendment brewery smells that it gives off, is so amazing, you will have to try it. It's on all it's beer's. Just love it. Would grab these session pack's all day long if at your liquor store. Well worth it.

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Photo of athesing10
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my "go-to" beer. While it's not the best beer I've ever tried, it certainly is my favorite beer to have in the fridge at all times. It's low in alcohol and has a perfect balance of malt and hops. It's a beer that i can drink all day and during any season. It impresses my beer snob friends and is appreciated by my Bud Light friends.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A super tall head right out of the can and a nice clear amber color. very little in way of carbonation. Aroma is fantastic with a bold citrus bouquet. Malts are secondary. Its all about the hops here. Super hop flavor while not being overly bitter. Good malts tone down the bitterness just a bit. Smooth and clean with good body. It's amazing that there is as much flavor here as one might expect from an IPA or DIPA. Easy drinker.

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Photo of Gandhified
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a German style mug. Not long into the pour I get a whif of American hops.

Color is a golden-copper, with a modest head that lasts throughout the session.

Smells like american ale yeast character, overlaid with american hops, but none being too aggressive, rather the smells mingle to form one. I get a little malt aroma mostly caramel and some bread. Balanced but slightly biased towards hops.

Taste is fairly clean citrus/pine hop character, with some light caramel sweetness, and subdued bready malt. Some light mineral snap, and light mouthfeel add to the drinkability.

A fantastic session beer. I haven't been this excited about an APA in awhile.

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Photo of Whiteweasel
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the unmistakable 21st Amendment-style can, drank from a pint glass.

Appearance: Very nice, appetizing thick rich orange/goldenrod colour, looks almost like a hefeweizen, cloudiness and all. Good amount of white head, and plenty of residual carbonation in the beer itself. Perfect score on appearance, even disregarding the awesome can design/art.

Smell: Sweet munich malt, plenty of aroma hops without being overpowering. Full and citrusy, it smells refreshing and appetizing with nothing remotely off or negative.

Taste: Munich malt really comes out here, citrusy and bitter like a grapefruit. Malty sweetness is on the higher side but still in balance. Crisp and refreshingly solid. Very well hopped without any coppery aftertaste; clean. Almost a little peppery. Doesn't get old, but could perhaps have a little more complexity (though I can't begrudge it, since it gets literally nothing wrong).

Mouthfeel: Only 4.4%, so no alcoholic burn, or any trace of it really. Right balance between heaviness/complexity and lightness/crispness. Neither viscous nor thin. Pleasantly, it retains a lot of carbonation in the glass after the pour.

Overall: Great session beer. Would love to drink this a LOT more, but sadly it's not sold where I am now living. Top, top bitter, nice American take on the style. Maybe only one other bitter keeps this off the #1 spot for me, but they're different enough.

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Photo of Johnnyfacelift
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - I can't get myself to pour this brew into a glass, there's just something about the can; I enjoy drinking straight from the container. The brew appears to be light and clear with a nice foam.

S - Great hoppy floral smell that make's this brew tempting. I can also pick up on citrus notes that are fresh and inviting.

T - Following the smell comes the great hop flavor that has all the citrus, floral and light resin taste. The bitterness is up front but not overwhelming, nicely balanced with the malt profile.

M - Exceptional mouthfeel that is creamy and delicious. I've read that beers that are carbonated with sugars rather than CO2 gas are "creamier" and wonder if that is the case here.

O - This is a great session strength beer that doesn't sacrifice taste and body to be a lighter ale. The mouthfeel is so full that it keeps you coming back for more. The rich hop profile is that of an IPA... very tasty. Great beer.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.51/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoying on-tap at Smokin' Joes in the southside of Pgh. Crystal clear orange amber with some bright golden amber highlights. The head is egg-shell white and leaves some swirling lace and sticky wisps after receding. A truly classic looking APA.

Bready biscuit malt and toffee mix with sweet and slightly piney citrus hops. Superbly well balanced. A hint of caramel but not too sweet, balanced with cereal grain and candied orange peel. A hint of pink grapefruit and cumquat. Distinctly American hop varieties but exercising restraint nicely.

Sweet biscuity malt with a tangy bight up front mix with lush citrus hops and mild floral notes. Decidedly smooth throughout and sublimely drinkable. The buttery sweetness takes a minute to fade but makes way for mellow yet pronounced floral/earthy hops kissed by a touch of citrus. The malt is lightly toasted and sticks around. This beer's flavor characterizes fluctuate and resurface; a feet few drinkable beers can accomplish.

Lighter bodied but substantial. Although the beginning is crisp, the malt backbone is substantial and doesn't thin out too much. Some lingering bitterness and toasty, raw grain breadiness leaves a hint of abbreviated sweetness behind. Remarkably drinkable yet doesn't fail to keep my interest. Flourishes in the underappreciated aspects of a stellar APA. Coupled with an ABV of 4.4%, I could drink this all day with getting sick of it for a moment.

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Photo of Double07Inc
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

21st Amendment did a great job on this beer. It clean crisp and refreshing. Its smooth and has that hoppy bitterness I love. You can smell the grapefruit aroma. The beer is a little hazy but I usually drink this one straight from the can. Great beer to have after mowing the lawn or BBQ'N with the family.

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Photo of JimKal
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Amber gold in color. The head was frothy and dissipated quickly.

Faint citrus smell with another odor I can't quite put a name to. The can has a freshness date on the bottom indicated the date it was canned.

It had some citrus taste to hit but finished with that classic bitter taste. This one reminded me somewhat of Goose Island's Honkers Ale.

This is a taste that really appeals to me. Very different from other Pale Ales.

Despite the low ABV I think the mouthfeel was quite good but I may be influenced by how much I liked the taste.

Found this a Total Wine and will be visiting again soon to pick some up.

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Photo of tmm313
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Light orange color. Poured a nice 2 finger, creamy head. Great lacing.

S- To me, it smells almost exactly like its sister beer "Live Free or Die" IPA. Big floral notes, grapefruit, tangerine, pine, fresh hop and caramel. The only perceivable difference is that the malt presence is stronger in this one, which scores it a little higher in my mind.

T- Again, it reminds me a lot of "Live Free", but the flavors are lighter, and yet somehow more pronounced. Floral notes, grapefruit, tangerine, pine, caramel, fresh hop, a dash of light pineapple, and a big punch of charred, biscuity malts in the finish. Earthy spice pops out in the aftertaste.

M- Medium body. Crisp carbonation. Slightly oily, but coats the mouth pretty well. Drying.

O- Well... I've found a new go-to session beer. Don't you just love it when that happens? One of the best session ales I've ever had.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Holland Pint glass.

Pours a deep golden color with a few fingers of creamy off white head. Lots of huge and medium sized bubbles in the foam. Head drops slowly leaving some lacing.

Aromas of light citrusy hops, lemon and orange. Some malty sweetness. Some fruit (like subdued JuicyFruit gum).

Flavors of nice malt/bitter balance. Some sweet cararmel maltiness, fruity yeast esters, and a firm, but balanced bitterness. Some lemon and tangerine hop accents.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a mouthcoating bitterness, a slight pull at the back of the teeth.

Overall, to me, an outstanding American session beer. The flavors are not aggressive. The malt and bitter are in near perfect balance. I could sit and drink this beer all day long at a ballgame or backyard BBQ. Wish I could get this closer to home. This would be my favorite everyday beer.

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Photo of mpedara429
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A slightly hazy dark amber color with a solid two fingers of off white head. Retention that won’t quit and lacing covering pretty much the whole glass.

S: Citrus and piney hops. a hint of spiciness in there too.

T: Floral and earthy hops with just a touch of sweetness from the citrus and pine in the nose.

M: Medium light body with medium carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O: Holy crap, Batman! It’s light on the ABV but this is the flavor profile I’ve alway wanted to see in pale ales. A six pack session of this would be fantastic.

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Photo of CupcakeNY
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on tap at Rattle N Hum in NYC.

Poured a dark copper color, with a small, white, fluffy head.

Aroma was piny and herbal, with light malt notes and some grapefruit.

Mouthfeel was good--this is a pretty heavy-bodied beer, with light to medium carbonation.

Taste is pretty complex; they aren't kidding, this is a bitter beer, with a lot of resinous character, coupled with a overlay of citrus and some herbal notes. Not much malt to be tasted, and it finishes pretty cleanly.

This is a really flavorful, complex beer which is an excellent accompaniment to food. Its low alcohol means you can drink it all day, though the bitterness mught get to you after a while. Pretty impressive!

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Photo of drseamus
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewpub. It had a light straw colored body with moderate white head. The aroma includes both sweet caramel and some hop aroma with a touch of citrus. The flavor is loaded with hops for a bitter but tastes balanced by sweet caramel. Great flavor. Light to medium bodied and a great session beer. You can't even tell that the ABV is so low.

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Photo of tdm168
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Village Draft House

Pours an orangish color with a soft layer of dense, white head that has good retention. The nose has intense aromas of florla and citrusy hops. The flavor has a mild note of crystal malt up front with a strong, robust hop character that features intense floral and grapefruity, citrus notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with decent carbonation.

This is a solid APA. This in my opinion rivals Dale's Pale or SN Pale Ale. It's hoppy, balanced, drinkable, and overly enjoyable. I will definitely have this again.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a crystal clear copper color with a thick foam head that settles to a thin ring. Nice lacing left behind.

S- Huge citrus grapefruit nose with some pine and a touch of caramel malt. Very hoppy aroma.

T- Ruby red grapefruit and C-hop bitterness. A bit of lemon, floral hops, caramel, candied fruits, and tons of grapefruit hop flavor. Slightly sweet finish with no detectable alcohol presence.

M- Light bodied with nice carbonation. A touch thin but that is to be expected considering the ABV.

O- Wow, this will definitely become a summer beer for me. Tons of hop flavor and light enough to drink a few. Very impressed, exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of jwc215
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours orange amber with amber with a thin white head. Lacing slides down the glass with some stickage.

The citric (esp. orange) and tropical (some banana and pineapple) with pale malt and some bread. Slightly musty.

The taste is hoppy - bitterness balanced by a sweet touch. Same citric/tropical notes hit the palate giving an initial bitterness soon followed by and complemented by a sweet maltiness. Very well-balanced - like a hoppy English-style bitter. Fresh and refreshing.

The feel is crisp, though slightly chalky. Body holds up with a lingering fruity aftertaste.

A big taste with a mild abv. Truly a "session ale". Nice hop profile with firm malty balance. Juicy and refreshing! Easily drinkable! Recommended as a "session" brew!

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear copper-orange with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some good lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of tropical and pine/grassy hops with some sweet caramel and biscuity malts.

T - Starts off with some sweet caramel malts with some grapefruit and tropical hops with some light bitterness. Through the middle some biscuit malts come through with some pine and grassy hops with a bit more bitterness. The finish is a mix of sweet malts, grapefruit hops, and some bitterness.

M - Medium-minus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, dry, and bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable. Excellent session hoppy pale ale. Really nice amount of hops for how light the beer feels, without feeling unbalanced.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12-ounce can into a plain tumbler pint glass.

A: Pale, golden amber in color with lively carbonation that builds a bubbly, one-finger head of white foam which disappears quickly but leaves a slick of creamy lace.

S: Bright, bitter hop notes prickle the nose with hints of citrus, lemongrass, orange peel and spicy white pepper.

T: Brisk flash of toasted malt sweetness up front with a fast onset of complex hop bitterness. Sweet, bitter citrus rind and hot, prickly hop acids coat the palate before washing back with a clean, crisp malt sweetness. The aftertaste has a long, lingering bitterness with an herbal, grassy finish.

M: Light and crisp up front with a stickier, more resinous hop finish. Very interesting and satisfying for a smaller beer.

O: This 4.4% ABV APA from 21st Amendment certainly packs a hop wallop in such a small package. Certainly the most hopped-out "light" beer I've ever had, this session ale would become a household staple if I could regularly get a hold of it. A session APA for the serious IPA fan.

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Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,264 ratings.
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