Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter | Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

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Gritty McDuff's Best BitterGritty McDuff's Best Bitter
193 Ratings
Gritty McDuff's Best BitterGritty McDuff's Best Bitter

Brewed by:
Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Best Bitter was the first beer we ever brewed, way back in 1988 at our Portland Brew Pub. This true English classic has been the anchor of our draft selection ever since.

Best Bitter is a copper-hued and well-balanced ale with real old world integrity. We use fine Yakima Golding hop flowers in the brewing of this beer for a fine dry finish that compliments the malty palate. The taste captures the freshness of a hand-drawn ale that goes right from the conditioning tank to your glass!

25 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-26-1999

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 193 |  Reviews: 115
Reviews by ghostwalker:
Photo of ghostwalker
4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle pour.

Reddish amber body, one finger of creamy white head.

Nose is buttery biscuit malt. Mild hops there a little too. Leaves nice lacing.

Flavor is that wonderful, slightly sharp, biscuity maltiness that a good bitters/ESB should have. It is tempered with a tangy, mildly metallic hop bite at the end. Well balanced and tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium with fairly high carbonation.

Drinkability is insane. I love bitters for a session brew and this one is outstanding.

It's a staple in my beer diet. As good as Fuller's ESB, but slightly more creamy.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a amber/copper color with not much head to speak of,the aroma is of toasted malt and biscuity a nice sweeter aroma also seems to linger.Taste starts out malty crisp with some hoppy citrus tones that come in subtly to round out this beer pretty nicely.Would have liked to try this on cask.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was both a nice-looking and a nice-tasting beer. It was an amber color with a thick, sticky head and some lacing. It had a pleasant floral aroma. It tasted sweet with some great hop bitterness. Pretty good mouthfeel, and it certainly goes down easily. I'm usually not too much of a fan of cask-conditioned beers, but this was quite good.

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Photo of Todd
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown twist, no freshness date.

Appearance: Copper with a tiny touch of chill haze, nice frothy off white head.

Smell: Nutty toasted grain and fruit.

Taste: Smooth and a little crisp. Malty flavours of rustic toasted grain, sweetness, fruity esters and a hint of husk which are all cut a bit by an even hop twang bitterness, nice hop flavour also. In the after taste is some residual sweetness that goes a little caramel, drying grain and a faded hop bitterness.

Notes: I decent bitter to be had here, balanced quite well ... flavourful. Make sure you don't drink this brew cold ... it will mask all of the true Bitter Style flavours.

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Photo of Billolick
3.43/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, with best enjoyed before dating. Pours a light clear amber, fairly active carbonation with bubbles continuing to rise to the top and a medium bubble head remaining. Some lacing left behind. Semi soapy, piney nose. Medium bodied, light balanced ale. Malt is soft and nutty, minor hops balance things out but dont exert themselves. Hint of butterscotch also noted. Not a very exciting style nor version here, but this one would do in a pinch as a sessioner.

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Photo of tigg924
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: orange/brown in color, 1 inch head, moderate carbonation, clear

Smell: toasted malt and spices

Taste: honey, caramel, toasted malt, and hops throughout that are really present on the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: super smooth, sweet start with a moderately bitter finish, high carbonation, medium bodied

Drinkability: There is a nice malt and hop mix here. I could have three but not six. A nice above average bitter.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -10%

Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of CaptainZingo
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Light copper/honey, clear. 1-inch head, subsided quickly, lacing to bottom.

S: Caramel, Toast, Light Hop aroma

T: Mild sustaining hop flavor, citrusy, caramel.

M: Thin, tiny sharp carbonation.

D: Good drinkability, I'll gladly consume the six.

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Photo of Thrasher
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A straightforward, no-nonsense bitter. Crystal-clear, medium copper with smallish head that didn't go anywhere. A handful of caramel malts buttressed perfectly by a quite mild hop character. Authentically British. Lemon in the finish. Creamy, thinnish mouthfeel. Some metallic water qualities. Solidly flavorful, enough to keep me interested without inflicting palate fatigue. Brings back memories of huddling over a table in Gritty's pub in Portland Maine. Also makes me want to try Gritty's other bottled offerings. Weird to see other bottles of booze pictured on the label.

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Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear faded apricot colored with a thick and foamy head an inch high that sticks around long. Faint smell of a mix of bready malts and citrusy hops. Flavors of malt and caramel, some butterscotch and grainy light brown sugar. Some cinnamon pokes through, and the faintest of a citrus peel hop bitter emerges in the finish. Mouthfeel is full and round, low carbonation. Reminiscent of a traditional English bitter style.

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Photo of BadBadger
3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

McDuff's Best Bitter was a bit of a let down, as I have found their other brews rather enjoyable. This pours a gold-amber color. There was a minimal head which went fast. The smell was nondistinct. The taste was a malty sweet and bittered mess. The aftertaste was a bit sticky on the back of the tongue, but not distractingly so. I can't recommend this bitter, with other availble options out there.

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Photo of Bhunter0812
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of briandaube
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of hitshtwithsticks
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Shovelbum
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bomber purchased at the Freeport brewpub.

Pours an admirable white head over a dark copper body. Fairly clean nose, with faint traces of caramel malt. Tastes of sweet and toasted malt balanced by just the right amount of bitterness. Medium bodied, low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a slightly drying finish.

This is a well-balanced, fairly standard bitter. Nothing that is especially outstanding, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint. An excellent session brew.

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Photo of glid02
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bukowski’s in Cambridge.

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a slightly off-white head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of grainy caramel malts with good amounts of earthy and slightly leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Mildly dry caramel malts up front are joined quickly by leafy and light citrus hops that carry through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall there wasn’t a whole lot going on with this beer but that’s fair for the style. Worth a shot.

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Photo of rastaman
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Definitely more English than American, but still maintains a sweetness that i find in most Aemrican bitters/pale ales/IPA's. Caramelly malts, citrusy bitter hops, some tea. Uncomplicated, but enjoyable cask bitter, puts a lot of english bitters to shame. (draft GBBF 03')

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Photo of ChadHanley
3/5  rDev -16.9%

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

Gritty McDuff's- Best Bitter

Appearance- Golden copper brown with frothy white head. Moderate lacing.
Smell- Strong malt. Buttery biscuits.
Taste- Big strong buttery vanilla caramel malt.
Mouthfeel- Sweet up front with a creamy yet mildly dry finish.

Overall- A very good beer here. This is a nice session beer. Could become cloying after about 6 but otherwise very tasty.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light clear copper color and white bubbly two finger head. A partial white layer remains. Smells sweet, lightly toasted, with that ringwood yeasty diacetyl, doughy and lightly oily. There's a hint of metallic that comes through in smell and taste sporadically... (perhaps a tainted bottle here). Not much for hops, some mild bittering and dryness. Nice dry carbonated mouthfeel as well and certainly flows down easy.

Alright. I which I never noticed the metallic-ness. I think I would definitely appreciate it more as an easy to pound pretty tasty beer otherwise.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a mug. Mildly vigerous pour.

Thick and bubbly 4" white head which dissipated rather quickly.. Clear, medium/Amber and some copper hues.

Smells are, sweet malt, slghtly smokey and hop bitter. Minor amounts of sour.

Taste is a clean malty sweetness, "green" hop only mildly bitter, with some smoky hints.

Feels thin, light body. Effect is smooth and clean.

Pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A great two finger head and a real rich clear amber color.This has a real floral/like hoppy smell.I don't have a great nose ,but this smells very good.I hope you like hops because this is HOPPY! This has a very dry hop taste,but not alot after that,it is mildly nutty.This has a light feel.I was hoping for more from Gritty's,but this is alittle disapointing.This is still good,but other Gritty beers are better.

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Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Initially a lot of staying power foam and good aroma of malt and hops. The initial taste was good, then harsh carbonation wore me down. Hops keeping malt in check, a serviceable bitter but not a great example. A tad of toast or butter on toast. More..ingredients.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An authentic, solid bitterness backs Gritty's amber-colored Best Bitter. That's not always something you find in American versions of this basic and very straightforward English style.

Beyond the welcome bitterness, it's basic, gently biscuity and delicately caramelish malt and yeast character. Of course, utilizing the Ringwood strain, that yeasty character is quite pronounced with lots of diacetyl backed by a touch of yeasty 'woody-earthiness' and some mild fruitiness.

It's slightly overcarbonated for the style, but when poured at the proper temperature a lot of CO2 will be given off at the pour, leaving it with a smooth mouthfeel that combines with the medium-light body to make it remarkably drinkable. Additionally, it will not really form the proper head if it's poured right out of the fridge so let it warm up a little bit. And when enjoyed at cellar temperature it's really a very solid session ale!

The bottle I enjoyed had a new label from what's currently on the site, and it reads "Gritty's Best Bitter". It has the colored illustration of the bartender passing over a pint to a customer that I've seen before (probably on t-shirts as I haven't been to the brewpub in years). The label states that it's brewed & bottled in Portland, ME.

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Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 193 ratings