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 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 BEERMILER12
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoy By: 01/15/15

A: Pours a golden color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a very thin cap that leaves some nice lacing

S: A good mix of malt and hops up front, with some grassy notes and light sweetness. Lightly fruity as well

T: Follows the nose. Grassy hops up front with some light malt sweetness and cereal notes. Fruitiness is light and towards the middle. Finishes with a light bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A nice and easy drinking brew that provides some nice grassy hop notes and bitterness. Quite quaffable and well priced. Definitely a nice beer to session

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Photo of fscottkey
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: [3.75] An apricot orange color. The beer is not transparent (slightly cloudy looking). After a typical pour it forms a 1 1/2 finger head. The head is pretty thick and attractive but goes away after a few minutes. The head leaves lots of nice lacing. The can lists ABV (4.4%), IBUs (42) and the Drink By (11/08/14). All good info!

S: [4.25] Nice piney nose. Not a whollop or overwhelming - but decent for a 4.4% beer.

T: [4.25] I get tropical fruits and apricot up front. There is a nice breadiness in the middle and the finish is a sligh bitter kick. The front and the mid share a pleasant sweetness too.

M: [4.25] Not bad for a low ABV beer. The carbonation is right and the beer feels a little buttery and rich on the tongue.

O: [4.00] Do not be fooled by the crazy Space Monkey on the can - or the name ("Bitter" 21st Ammendment is planning to change the name). Really nice flavor profile for the ABV - they really pack it in there. I am really impressed. This is my top 2 session beers. Kudos to 21st Ammendment.

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Photo of MNAle
2.68/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours pale, cloudy orange color. White head that fades relatively quickly. Moderate, disconnected lacing. Citrus in the aroma, otherwise faint. Some visible carbonation but not excessive. Thin, but sweet malt initial taste with bitter hops next, and lingering in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is a bit unpleasant and faintly fruity. Not much mouth feel - thin. Not well balanced; the overall impression is thin, watery and hopped. Not very impressive. Even though the brewer calls this a pale ale, with "bitter" in the name, I was expecting better balance, more malt, not watery citrus. Disappointing.

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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 patre_tim
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

A: Copper cloudy and like oxidized just squeezed apple juice. No visible carbonation, a huge 4 finger off white head leaves a chunky lacing.

S: Caramel, banana candy, jackfruit, pine.

T: Carmel, jackfruit and banana candy, hint of pine, all very light on the tongue. Much lighter than the scent and visual suggested.

M: Medium light body, little carbonation.

O: Its an APA, what can I say. Makes me think of a weak Zombie dust, yet its considered a session ale. In that case, drinking it a 5 am doesn’t seem so bad. Got it either at Wholefoods, somewhere USA, or Bruisin Ales. If it truly is a session ale, its one of the best.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
3.9/5  rDev 0%

This brew is nice. The aroma is pleasant with tropical citrus, earthy/spicy hops and finally the strong malt comes towering from behind. Taste is just as pleasant. Bready malt sweetness makes it’s stand first, then earthy/spicy hops followed by some passion fruit and some pine. Nice citrus bitterness finishes the brew with some musk. This reminds of what an "IPA Light" would taste like. This is worthy.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%

12 oz can into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color. The head is two fingers high, with a shade barely off-white. Retention is somewhat low, and the texture is a bit rough. However, it does leave behind a good amount of lacing behind. (3.5)

Smell: Grapefruit-laden hops and sweet caramel malts comprise the majority of the aroma. Touches of herbal, piny notes also come through. But come to think about it, it does a good impersonation of a standard 6% pale ale - even if it's a standard issue aroma, managing to come across larger than it really is gives it bonus points. (3.5)

Taste: The flavor profile is more in line with its actual gravity. Grapefruit and pine open it up, while some maltiness finishes it off. Holy crap, not only does the nose impersonate a bigger pale ale, the flavor also has the excessive crystal malt presence most standard pales do! I jest, I jest. This one is alright. (3)

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light and dry, but there's also some lingering sweetness which seems to beef up its body. There's also a huge amount of carbonation which is honestly distracting. (3)

Overall: This really tastes like a regular 6% pale ale - the grapefruit hops, the crystal malt sweetness, everything! It's fairly standard, but the lower ABV makes this solid for session duty. (3.25)

3.18/5: Nothing too special, but gets the job done as a session ale

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Photo of jwhancher
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome session ale with upfront American citrus hop character and supportive crystal malt. Low ABV makes this one a go to for me on many occasions. Can't believe I didn't give this one a serious chance previously. Thanks go a buddy for the heads up.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy and yellow with a lovely pastel orange blush. A fat head of off white foam that falls pretty quickly and leaves some sticky rings of lace. Nose it outrageous grapefruit! The juicy and tart fruit, the pith and the peel. Some herbal for the background and a sweet but light scent of malt. Forceful yet graceful nose. It's vibrant and enticing. The taste is fruity and lively with that grapefruit. Just enough malt to feel it on the palate more than really taste it too much. Bit it is a feather light biscuit with a bit of dryness. Lively juicy fruit and the herbal kicks in on the backnotes to make this one drink easily and with plenty of taste. Some earthy pine on the palate brings it to a dry finish with a well done bitter. it's a bitter that is not shy and it lasts and lingers a bit. Balanced to the flavors and to the drink but it does stand out. It does not succumb to the malt at all and lingers just long enough to show you the splendid crispness of the beer. It has ample carbonation and finishes tart. Really one of the best session ales.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can into pint gLASS. canned on 1/7/14, so 6 months along.

Slightly hazy yellow with small head which maintained throughout. Light on carbonation, but decent lacing.

Only thing I was getting on the nose was a slightly mouldy smell, which for osme weird reason, I didn't find too unplesant. Here goes.

Upon tasting, there is some sour bitterness to indicate the hops are still around. A lot of sweetness from the malt, and some slightly funky barnyard hint. (From the yeast?) None of this is unpleasant, just a little odd and jarring.

Mouth is between thin and medium. Overall, has kind of a flat taste to it.

Well, guess it's okay, but not worthy of a recommendation. Can is very cool though, chimp in a spacesuit.

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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 malprep
2.94/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A - There is a nice appearance to the Bitter American. Head is a little soft and it seemed to be over carbonated.

S - I liked the smell. Nice bold hop scent.

T - Playing off of the over carbonation - little to carbonated for my liking.

M - Light on the mouth. Flavorful. The bold malt and hops had a good taste to it.

O - Bitter American was okay. I enjoyed the purchase but would have like to see it less carbonated allowing the boldness of the hops to come out.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pale gold with a finger and a half of foam that sees some nice lacing.

S - there's a nice blast of juicy, grassy, floral hops as you crack the can and pour into a glass. Smell is bright and clean, not overly dank and in your face.

T - taste-wise, this beer is everything it purports to be -- a crisp, hoppy session pale ale with a light malt backbone. The hops bring juicy, almost pink flavors -- watermelon, raspberry, guava -- plus some grassy/lighlty piney notes. Very tasty and refreshing, and highly crushable. Malts are light and cracker-y, with only a touch of caramel.

M- Light and softy effervescent on the palate. Leaving a dry, pleasantly bitter finish.

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Photo of Richardbcoffin
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Tastes very similar to an IPA. Also has considerable malty flavors. Has a beige color and a large head when poured. It seems very similar to live free or die but with more malt flavors. Not terribly complex. Has a high drinkability especially on hot days.

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Photo of stevoj
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tastes and smells like an IPA, no clue as to the reduced alcohol. Full hoppy aroma, hops and malt blend well in overall presentation. Light amber with small beige foamy head. I can see why this is a session ale, perfect, full of flavor, good looking, low alcohol. Well done!

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Photo of Badger6
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz can into a standard pint glass.

Light orangish, golden body, with a massive head that was retained well. Glass laced nicely. Really great aroma: florals, citrus, big malty aroma, and a nicely hopped note. The flavor is very drinkable: very balanced, yet light, flavor that follows the nose. Medium body, crisply carbonated, with a slight drying at the finish. Easily one of the best session beers I've ever had...I'd probably just drink it from the can next time, save a step and enjoy without pretension. Recommended.

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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 Foyle
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz can into nonic style glass
Appearance: pours a 1" cream colored head, significant lacing, color is light copper and cloudy. Aroma: citrus hops and caramel malts
Mouthfeel: medium bodied with a mostly dry finish
Flavor: delicious combination of citrus and piney hops with a malt backbone of caramel and whole wheat bread.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Been hearing about this as a comparison to session ipas so I decided to give it a try. Compared to the few session ipas I've had this surpasses them easily, and the malt makes all the difference. I find session ipas to be too dry, but this has a very good caramel malt to provide balance. In terms of hops this has a very good citrus flavor and a small amount of bitterness. Overall, as a session beer I would definitely recommend this.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at Bar of Soap Asheville. Served in a pint glass.

A- Pours a light amber color with a 3/4 inch off-white head that retains well before lowering to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full bubbly sheet of surface foam. Sudsy semi-resilient lacing.

S- Sweet, piney hop aroma that's signature 21st Amendment.

T- Big hit of hop flavor and bitterness that has a sweetness to it foowing close to the aroma but then it lets up mid-palate and turns bready, trailing off into a slight lingering hop bite. There are fruit notes of dried mango, pineapple and grapefruit.

M- Slightly sharp from the hops but has a smoothness that solidifies its categorization of "pale ale." Medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- A "Session IPA" that came out before Session IPA was a thing. Better than all the other Session IPAs I've had (With the exception of maybe Founders All Day). One of 21st Amendment's best beers IMO. Packs a punch of hop flavor/aroma without filling you up or wearing you down.

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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 bubseymour
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drinking this can on 4/17/14 but canned date is 9/25/13 (so over 7 months old). Didn't realize that when I bought it.

So it has a nice light brown color with 1 finger head but good retention and lacing.

Has a very nice hop and grain smell to it.

Taste - Darn. it has some old/staleness going on here but still very drinkable though. Has a very floral taste (sort of reminds me of 2-Hearted) and malty with some hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy for such a low ABV beer.

Overall - I think fresh, this would be a beer I would absolutely love. I still like it, but 7 months old is way past its prime and I can taste the age on it. 7 weeks or less would be alot more enjoyable.

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Photo of delta490
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a slightly cloudy orange/amber. The head is thick and creamy with great retention and soapy/sticky lacing. The aroma is mild hops, with citrus (grapefruit) and a hint of caramel malt sweetness. The taste is similarly mild, but not lacking in flavor. The malt is much more forward in the sip, but the hops kicks in almost immediately and provides a pleasant balance. It has a nice weight and a crisp finish. A great flavored session ale.

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Photo of MaddenDalyBrokaw
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pale but not particularly translucent. Lovely lace.

Aromas of resinous pine, then citrus. Then malt body.

Fairly light on the tongue. First a mild but full malt flavor, then a second or so of hops, then a short linger back on the malt.

Refreshing. Not highly alcoholic. Went well with a pepperoni pizza.

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