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

Gritty McDuff's Best BitterGritty McDuff's Best Bitter
Liked This Beer
3.61 w/ 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
Photo of lou50rp
4.67/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Good copper color, off white head, with good lacing
Smell was good, but did not reveal the great taste to come
Fruity start with a bitter finish. The hops were not overwhelming and the blending of the fruitiness and bitter in the middle was nice
Mouthfeel was a good medium-not watery or syrupy.
I was surprised by how good this brew is. Will definitely have more.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.62/5  rDev +28%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Before I tasted this for the first time, I thought Gritty's was going to be just another half-decent New England micro. Best Bitter, however, took my breath away. The taste is best described as a slightly bitter caramel. The "bitterness," though, is unobtrusive to this otherwise sweet and extremely tastey beer. Irresistable.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.6/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bomber at Gritty's in Freeport on the way home from a camping trip. The beer pours a hazy dark honey color (orange/yellow). A big frothy white head forms on top and slowly dissolves to a thick sheet and ring on the surface. A fair amount of lace is left on the glass as the beer empties.

The aroma is very malty. Hints of pine and nuts are mixed in to the dry malt smells. Each sip of this smooth medium to full bodied beer is packed with flavor. It begins with dry malt and nut flavor. Floral and citrus hop flavors move in at the middle and it finishes somewhat bitter.

This is a great tasting all around beer. An awesome balance of malt and hops to be enjoyed any day of the year.

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Photo of JasonCoop
4.6/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a clear copper/orange with nice offwhite head. lots of lace.

smells good, subtly fruity with hints of caramel and a touch nutty. very pleasant.

tastes great. malty sweetness up front. a tiny bit buttery, balanced very well with a hop kick. says they use East Kent Hops on the box, whatever it is it's great. i like the subtle caramel flavor of this one. its also pretty well balanced.

mouthfeel is light and crisp. this in combination with the great flavor make it extremely drinkable. i'm impressed with this brewery so far having never heard of it before my boss gave me the sample. great brew.

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Photo of purplehops
4.58/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gritty's Best Bitter poured an amber-yellow with an off-white head that left some lacing on the glass. The aroma was toasted malt and floral hops with some citrus notes. Taste started with a grainy maltiness followed by caramel malt and fruit flavors. The finish was smooth with a very pleasant balance between the malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and just a touch of yeasty fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body.
This is a great bitter on cask. Smooth, refreshing, well balanced, and very tasty. I could drink these all day long. Come to think of it; I have drank these all day long before. This one is well worth a trip to Maine to have on cask, IMHO.

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Photo of beernut7
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Maybe I have a bias towards cask ales, but this is a very tasty offering. The aroma is sharp and spicy with a hint of lingering bitterness. The body is full and smooth with a great malty flavor profile. Very nice.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is a clear copper hue with an off-white frothy head that maintains throughout tasting. Lacing has a medium stickiness to the glass. Smell is amazing, I love the odor of this ESB. Has a very nutty character with a bit of a raisin background. Taste follows up with the nutty smell and so smooth. A bit of a toasted corn taste with a nice malty finish. Carbonation is powerful throughout entire tasting. I find this beer to be extremely drinkable, basically a session beer. Very balanced....I find myself coming back for this beer time after time.

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Photo of oggg
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ppoitras for this one. This bottle travelled coast to coast to coast, but stayed in great shape.

This lovely brew pours an orangey brown with a thick tan head. Not much lace. Super clear, must be filtered. No sediment. Aroma is very bready with a British style floral hop aroma. Very subtle. Not quite EKG/Fuggles... Closer to Fuller's ESB hops. Mild carbonation is nice. Just a touch of bitterness, then intense bready biscuity malt. Huge malt presence. Bitterness remains low. Very smooth. Alcohol imperceptible. Surprisingly on the full side of medium to full bodied. Finish is slightly dry. A touch oily at the end.

Overall: Spot on for the style! Super malty session beer.

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Photo of Murph
4.38/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a perect copper collor with a big off white head that forms a very nice lace. Smell is of english style hops with some light toasty malt in the background. Smooth toasty malt opens up the flavor and it is in almost perfect balance with the nice subtle hopping of the East Kent hops. Extremely smooth and creamy and very drinkable. I can only imagine what this would be like on cask. Perhaps someday I will find out for myself. Thanks to the Bierman and JohhnyP for the sample.

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Photo of BostonTheseus
4.31/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Photo of puboflyons
4.29/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled in Jan. '09. Pours from a 12 fl. oz. bottle with an expiration date of May '09. The pour is a copper color with little ot no head and not a lot of lacing. However the aroma is a pleaasing mixture of malts and maybe something a little citrus like. I think its body is average to above average. The taste is kind if bitter or sour and it ends dry. This is one that I enjoy and drink it often.

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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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Photo of SheepNutz
4.27/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a medium copper color with two fingers of head. There is lots of clingy lacing left on the glass. The smell has lots of lightly toasted biscuit malt and a good hop aroma. Very well balanced. The taste also has that biscuit malt flavor, a little bit of hay in the middle, and a sharp hop finish. Nice and crisp. A bitter that's actually bitter! The mouthfeel is incredibly thick for the style. The drinkability is great too. Another nice Maine beer!

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Photo of Larrydoherty
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%

Photo of bergdj
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%

Photo of PhillyNole
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%

Photo of ppoitras
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

20ozer from an October trip up to the Freeport brewery, fridged since then. Classic label art with the Gritty's bartender.

Poured a coppery gold into an imperial pint glass, with a reasonable big-bubbled, albeit not terribly long lasting, head. Taste works well, with some maltiness, and then a nice well-rounded hops bite works its way around the palate. Excellent session-ability, and a great bitter all around.

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Photo of PonyBar
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was poured into a 16oz mixing glass from a 22oz bomber bottle, using two pours to complete. A: Hazy, with an unfiltered light copper appearance. Solid head retention with a nice brewer's lace along the glass during drinking. S: No overpowering nose or aroma of mention. T: Excellent, in my opinion. My impression of a session beer. Not sure on the ABV, but highly drinkable. Slightly hoppy, with a lingering citrus and piney taste. A great gateway beer to bolder or bigger brews. M: Mouthful was full, but not overly. Easy to swallow. D: This is a drinkable beer in every sense of the word. Labeled a "Bitter", maybe closer to a lighter pale ale. All around an enjoyable beer. Twenty two ounces was a perfect amount for this review!!

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Photo of williamherbert
4.19/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The look is a dark "pumpkin ale" orange. Hazy, but there are thousands of microscopic carbonation bubbles floating upward. Only a thin dishsoap film of head. It looks nice enough, although there is a paltry amount of lace.

The aroma is a bitter-malt ale smell, backed by a heavy hit of what seems to be ringwood yeast. Smells like an ale plus the dry, bready yeast. Some dry malt character and a light hop presence. Yeast is heavy, hops are estery.

Tastes like a real English bitter, *not* an IPA. Has the dry English ale taste. Hops and malt are strictly bitter, not flowery or grapefruity like an IPA. The bitterness hits the back of the tongue, and the yeast is the key element that separates it.

It's thick-bodied, nice and chunky. So very dry, so very English. Smooth, but does leave a film. It's delicious, dry, yeasty, and bitter (a bitter that's actually bitter!). Repeats more than welcome.

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Photo of MattBrooks
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Gritty's. Ah, have won me over. I am definately a true fan. This beer pours clean with a small head that does kind of fizzle away, but a classic "english bitter" aroma wafts up from within. Excellent crispness to the taste, though the mouthfeel could use just a lttle bit more. Totally a drinkable brew, enjoy five or twelve tonight!

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Photo of greybeardloon
4.13/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No date.

A: A thick, clumpy head that lasts until the end, leaving chunks of lace.

S: Bright and earthy hops that are much more pronounced than I expected with some nuttiness.

T: The malt is surprisingly rich and sweet for the style, but the earthy and bitter hops balance it nicely and keep the beer from leaving a sweet impression. Fruitiness and nuttiness comes through mid-taste. Unexpectedly, I get faint hints of chocolate.

M: A bit full for the style, but that's fine by me.

O: There are a lot of interesting things going on in this beer, and it all comes together nicely. I would gladly drink several of these. If this beer was available to me in dated sixpacks, it would be in my fridge pretty regularly.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a honeyed amber, topped with a thick ring of white head. Great sticky lace, leaving large clumps down the glass.
Aroma is dominated by malt, with some biscuity and caramel malt aromas. A touch of toasted malt, or crystal, perhaps. Moderate fruity esters, mainly apple and pear, with perhaps a touch of plum. Very light diacetyl butteriness, with mild citric hopping.
The flavor starts out with a solid toasty caramel maltiness, with a touch of biscuit malt and maybe a little crystal. Kind of bready. Moderate esters enter in the middle. Some pear and apple flavors, with a touch of diacetyl coming in. The diacetyl continues into the finish, with mild citric hopping. Very english styled. Medium body, with mild, english carbonation. Very smooth, easy drinking, and well balanced. Some bready malt aftertaste, with some floral esteriness.
A very good beer on tap. I prefer it cask conditioned, but it's pretty close on regular tap. Great balance, easy drinking, a top notch session ale.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

day 3 at NERAX 2009

classic, clear amber color. sudsy, off-white head, reduces to creamy wisps. dots of "lace" here and there.

grassy hop and hay aroma with metallic whiff. toasted caramel malt underneath, with touch of apple fruitiness.

taste: light apple and caramel upfront, with grentle grassy hop bitterness coming after for balance. apple esters underneath, with bready yeast note, all lingering together in the finish, with mineral hint.

light and smooth, touch of texture near the finish. gentle to moderate carbonation for lift and refreshment.

cask is definitely the way to have this beer. usually the bottles are just on the shelf for too long.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.07/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap in Portland, ME.
This brew is SO much better on-tap than the bottled version. They are like two completely different beers.
It pours a tannish-amber with a fast-fading bubbly head and a fair amount of sticky lacing.
The aroma is almost completely grainy malt with a light smell of tea and floral hop.
The malt is biscuity and a bit raw and grainy tasting, with just a touch of sweetness.
The hops have a sharp and edgy citrus bite, with a mild tea-like taste and faint metallic tang. It begins to sweeten a bit towards the end, but all in all, it has a fairly dry finish.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.04/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Horseshoe Pub in Hudson MA.

A-Beige shaving cream head, autumn brown body.

S-light clover smell

T-full toast malt front, lick of resin hops at the end that has a very nice lingering effect.


D-seems like a great session beer. highly drinkable. has the balance that a good bitter should have.

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Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 45.1% out of 100 with 193 ratings
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