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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Reviews: 356 | Ratings: 1,264
Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: single finger head with excellent head on a hazy golden and crimson body.

S: nice strong aroma with floral notes and candied citrus. Aroma is both sweet and earthy.

T: what I really like about this one is how the bitterness is obvious but held at bay by the degree of sweetness. Neither dominates but rather component each other. Grassy bitterness and grapefruit and orange citrus sweetness well balanced. Light caramel Malta throughout.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this is an excellent pretty much perfectly balanced sessionale beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy honey orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is of malt, citrus zest, and some grapefruit flavors. There is a medium level of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is very tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice look clear amber color. The head is foamy and white in color. The smell of the beer as a really nice aroma of hops on the nose. There is a balance of malt there too. The taste of this beer is really quite nice, it's sweet and bitter all at the same time. The mouthfeel of the beer is light bodied and nicely carbonated. Overall this beer is exactly what they describe it as. This is one you can drink anytime and feel satisfied I think.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is crystal clear light amber in color and has a very light amount of visible carbonation. It poured into a pint glass with a finger high foamy off white head that quickly died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose.
T: Staying true to its name, the beer has a strong dose of bitterness in the taste along with flavors of grapefruit and some hints of the underlying malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a light amount of carbonation. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly; the low alcohol content makes this particularly suitable for being a session ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

With the bridge of British "session ale" to American IPA, it's easy tho think that that the two would never marry together. But in not-so-bitter fashion, 21st Ammendment's Bitter American make it look, and taste, easy.

Bitter American is a dense amber, honeylike color that projects notions of caramel, biscuit and herbal tea. Of course hops help out with that botanical blend as grapefruit, tobacco, sassafras and verbena peak through its bready-sweet upstart.

Creamy in the middle, light caramel and shortbread flavors mount even as the bottom drops out of the malty sweet taste and texture. What's left is faint impressions of malt with an arid honeycomb structure of bread and cake. That paves the way for hops to supplant the sweetness, balancing with resinous pine, citrus ribs and a dried leaf taste.

Its bitter finish comes after a quickly dissolving creamy, medium-light body to start. Trailing hop bitterness is just as broad and woody as it is sharp and citrusy, giving its final impressions as much English character as it does of American ale. Its earthen stem flavor is a curious linger as it leaves this light bodied IPA less clean and crisp as preferred, but not obstructing the likability of the beer either.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can: Poured a dark golden color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus floral hops with light dry caramel malt notes. Taste is dominated by floral hops with clear citrus presence and some semi-sweet malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Nice refreshing APA with nice citrus floral notes and limited bitter notes.

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Photo of oline73
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a Chimay goblet...that's right...a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a reddish amber color with just a small layer of off white head. The head goes away quickly.

Smell: This one is malt forward with some citrus peel hops. The hops definitely back up the sweetness.

Taste: This is a rather mild one. Some bready malt along with a citrus peel hop bitterness that builds to the finish. The flavors compliment each other well.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thinner side of medium. The carbonation is fluffy with a dry finish.

Overall: This one is better than I thought it would be. A nice session ale.

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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 superspak
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can into pint glass, canned 12/23/2011(hoping for the best). Pours slightly cloudy golden orange color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some decent spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big orange, grapefruit, pine, herbal, floral, citrus rind, caramel, light tropical, grass, and honey. Very nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of grapefruit, orange, pine, herbal, grass, bread, caramel, honey, floral, and light tropical. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, herbal, floral, rind, and light pine on the finish for a bit. Very nice balance of bitterness and sweetness; with a very nice balance of hop flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and fairly crisp mouthfeel. Zero alcohol presence as expected for 4.4%. Overall this is a really nice pale ale! Despite the age of this can, it still turned out to be a highly enjoyable brew. Great balance and a lot of flavor given the ABV.

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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 oberon
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a peach infused medium golden with a thin white head atop,citric hops really stand out nicely over top of a dryer malt base,not overly complex but the hops are nice.Citric hops are predominant on the palate with crisp dryer malt base,hops are not bitter but provide nice sweeter fruitiness.An ale I would drink all day so it is true to its sessionable name.

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Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a huge 3 finger fluffy head that fades semi quickly with a touch of sticky lacing, over crystal clear orange auburn colored beer.

Nose of earthy, light floral, light pine, light citrus hops, just a touch of malt behind that.

Taste is lighter, crisp ale, some very light malts, with that decent bitterness, a slight bit of earthy, piny, and floral hops, touch of citrus fruit. A slight copper fruity flavor. The finish brings a slight more fresh bitter hop addition, and more fruit, with a crisp ale finish.

Mouth is med bodied with decent carbonation.

Drink is good, pretty crisp and light, sessionable, a bit of bittering hops but not too bitter. Decent dry finish.

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Photo of chinchill
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the NOC in Nantahala, NC.
A good looking beer with excellent clarity and a well proportioned off-white head that has decent retention. Smells fine with no particular strengths or weaknesses. The taste is more exceptional, as is the crisp and dry feel. Refreshing. Mildly bitter finish.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

21st Amendment "Bitter American"
12 oz. can, "Enjoy By: 11/25/14" - looks like I missed that by 5 days
$1.83 @ Weis Market, Conshohocken, PA

Notes: Hazy golden orange body. Pillowy bright white head drops shortly =. just good retention and lacing. Aroma displays gently resinous, leafy, softly piney, and citrusy (grapefruit, pineapple) hops as well as a gently bready malt. The flavor follows suit, giving the hops a little more emphasis over the malt; and there's a bit of yeasty fruitiness that let's you clearly know that it's an ale. It's solidly bitter, but balanced. As it warms the citrus becomes more evident and opens up displaying mango and papaya. It finishes dry as the malt recedes and the bitterness rises. Medium-light leaning towards medium in body with a crisp carbonation. Session ale? Absolutely, and yet not. Yes, because it's rich and flavorful but not overdone, but also "not really" because at 4.6% abv it's really not that much lower in alcohol. If I hadn't known it, I'd have just assumed it was a standard APA.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with several big fingers of eggshell-white head. This settles down into a soapy ½ finger and leaves behind some thick patchy swathes of lacing. The aroma is deeply floral in the nose, with bright feeling citric flavors that meld well with the grainy sweetness of the malts. Man, this has a fresh tangy pop in the nose!

The taste if all green citric bitterness, which spread out across the mouth with a fresh wave of flavor. This is very well balanced by the sweet toasty grains of the malts, yet this still keeps the focus on those hop flavors, with a finish that is moderately dry and earthy with a splash of lingering fruit and sugars. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied, with a fantastic smooth crispness that is equal parts light prickle and silky underlying slickness.

I love when a beer blows away my expectations and this beer did just that, with a ton of bright yet balanced hop flavors packed into an extremely easy drinking and approachable (I'm loving that sub 5% ABV) body. This is by far the best of these 21A canned efforts that I've had so far and a real steal out there on the shelves right now. Just a great session beer here!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, caramelized malts and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts sweeter than you would expect from a beer with the word “bitter” in its name with flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

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

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

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear deep golden orange to copper in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall fluffy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a very thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of grapefruit/citrus hops with some lighter notes of pine/resin hops and malts.

T: There is a light caramel malt body with this beer but the dominant flavors are grapefruit/citrus hops. There is a moderate amount of bitterness but it does not linger.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is very light in body for the style and quite easy to drink. Refreshing and sessionable - with the low ABV and non-lingering bitterness, it is a beer that you really want to put a couple away. Very pleasant on a hot summer day. Nice flavors and inviting aroma.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce can - Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a crystalline, dark golden body with a tall, proud, off-white head. Tiny blots of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Moderate maltiness, predominately throwing off a whiff of crisp grains followed by a fresh, inviting scent of flower petals and juicy citrus fruits.

Taste: A light treacle-like sweetness given to the grainy maltiness, scantly toasty, chased by floral hops, citrus tastes of citric lemon and grapefruit juices. Medium-plus bitterness. Drying, lemony finish with a lingering citrus presence.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Bitter American is somewhat along the lines of the Stone session ale awhile back. Somewhat. Always happy to see some lower alcohol options.

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Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden amber color and crystal clear. Modest head that settles to a thin layer of bubbles. Leaves some streaky lace on the glass.

Biting grapefruit-ish and peppery hop smell.

Starts with largely pale ale malt. The body is relatively thin for the style. But the hop jumps in with a vengeance--spicy and raw. The best part of this beer is the balance with a flavorful contrast between the dry, almost grainy malt and the bitter bite in the swallow and lasting aftertaste.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of the can - a deep copper with light cream color, lace stickage is good. The smell is fruity with a mild hop scent that seems to be more herbal than citrus with some apple notes. The feel is moderately bitter and smooth without any real course bitterness, and mild malt sweetness, finish is long and semi-dry.

The taste is very pleasing with some nice english hop flavor with subtle citrus tinges which were not really present in the aroma, the slight sweetness is gentle and fully supports the hops which seem spicy in the finish and mild astringency lingers. This is a very decent beer to have for sessioning a nice amount of hop flavor in a a low abv beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz can with no freshness date.

Clear pale brassy color, sudsy topping ... looks like a beer! ;-) Fruity and floral hop nose with a hint of biscuit and caramel malt. Crispness over smoothness, moderate dry-ish body. Semi-pungent hop flavor lends a heavy hand of bitterness; oily, minty, orange peel, leafy / bark, sage. Dry malt character pushes through the hops a bit with bone dry biscuit flavors. Vaguely fruity and the alcohol is tame obviously.

Well within the definition of the American session beer, pretty bold with the hops ... this beer really is starting to grow on me, sadly this 12oz can is not even close to what I would want right now.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/27/12 notes. Had on tap at Bier Baron in DC. Served in a pint glass.

a - Pours a clear yellow amber color with moderate carbonation evident and one inch of white head.

s - Smells of citrus hops, fruity malts, herbal notes, tea, wheat, and light earthy notes.

t - Taste of citrus hops, fruity malts, pale malts, tea and herbal notes again, bread, and some oranges. Very nice.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink.

o - Overall a very nice beer, and a great, easy drinking APA. Some definite citrus hops to it, though it isn't overly hoppy. Could definitely see myself having a few of these.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at Paradiso.

Even the tap handle was a can. Nice. It pours a clear straw topped by over a finger of white foam. The nose comprises citrus hops (heavy on the grapefruit), stinky flowers (now, that's what my notes say, and I think I can explain: you know those stenchblossoms that show up every now and again? Smells like those, a combination of sweet petals and death...something like that...), and a very light caramel. The taste consists of a mostly floral, only partially citrus-y bitterness mixed with a light, sweet toffee. The body is light, with a heavy-moderate carbonation and a crisp finish. Overall, a nice bitter, easy to drink and definitionally sessionable.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another CAN from Sean O' and the rest of the 21st Amendment crowd! I CAN't wait to get started on this one, plus I have some for all of my usual CANTrade partners.

The Crack revealed another CAN filled nearly to the brim with beer. The Glug resulted in a finger-and-a-half of rocky tawny head with moderate retention. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. BUPGOO! Nose was rich with pine hops and my mouth began to water. Mouthfeel was slightly thin but it had a nice admixture of pine hops and caramel malt on the tongue. Finish was lightly bitter initially with a wash of malt on the extreme finish. I really liked this and I agree with earlier reviewers that it should either be brewed year-'round or made for the summer instead. This is definitely cooler-space worthy, especially given its low ABV.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bright mandarin orange. Almost no head.

S - Nice citrus aroma. Clementine. Lightly floral.

T - Sweet orange with a dry, woodsy, citrus bitterness. Nice malt mid profile with a light floral sweetness. Apricot tang on the back end the profile.

M - Medium-light body with a relatively clean dry finish.

D - Great drinkability with a touch of lingering bitterness.

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