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

193 Ratings
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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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 193 |  Reviews: 115
Photo of FFreak
2/5  rDev -45.2%

Photo of jfcaa193
2/5  rDev -45.2%

Photo of TheBigBeerGuy19
2.4/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not a fan of this beer. Was hoping for more after hearing good things from a few friends. Taste is inconsistent from beer to beer.

130 characters

Photo of bonbini26
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of patrick802
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of rderedin
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of RonfromJersey
2.61/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear shiny copper body. Mild carbonation streams. Topped by three fingers of level oatmeal colored foam. Nice lace.

Breezy lingering bready nose, as if the baker had shut down a few hours ago.

Sweet lightly malty beginning, which slides down the center of the tongue and stays right on through the entire beer. Offset by earthy English hops which balance things nicely. Unfortunate soapy finish and aftertaste detract from the entire experience.

Ok light-medium mouthfeel. Soapy finish dampens drinkability.

In the early days of American craft beer, I might have been satisfied, but the bar is much higher these days. Disappointing.

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Photo of KarlosT
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

Wow. Can't believe the high scores.

Got a flight at the Gritty McDuff's in Portland ME:
Halloween Ale
Cask Best Bitter
Maine's Best IPA
Pub Style

All were exactly the same amber color, with the same head. The aroma was exactly the same, except for the Pub Style. I also had a pint of their Black Fly Stout, which fortunately did have a different color.

I iterated between their Halloween Ale, their IPA, and their Cask Bitter. All were exactly the same, except that the Cask Bitter was slightly warmer.

When I suggested to the waitress that the beers might have been mis-poured, she said that they were correct, that she was also a bartender, and that she could tell from the color of the pours.

Assuming what I drank was correct ...

I found the beer was watery, and it was as though they used poor quality water. All their beers had an off after-taste ... as though their was a Gritty McDuffs flavor they added to all their beers (including their stout)

Mouth feel was watery. And a little evervescent ... a slight bite from the c02. Interesting, even the cask best bitter had a slight CO2 bite to it.

Very sorry I went to this pub. Food was ok. But the beers were mediocre to poor.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.78/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served on cask and poured in a true pint, the beer is a clear, pale chestnut coloring with a light, foamy, frothy off-white head of about a half an inch. Aromas of rich toffee and caramel, with a slight roasting characteristic overall. Flavors are smooth, with toffee and butter sweetness, and a kiss of chocolate. Hops presence is extremely minimal, with only a hint of bitter at the tail end. The hops presence does build as you drink, but still a minority player on the palate. The body is very light, and there is a smooth and creamy texture that completely owes itself to the cask serving. The aftertaste is a slight linger of the toffee sweetness, with a slightly drying finish. Flavors and overall experience of the beer aren't bad, but there just seems to be an overall lackluster feel to it all. Palate seems watered down throughout, and nothing really jumps out at you.

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Photo of SRFeldman79
2.91/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a copper-orange honey color, with a nice small head that didn't last more than a few minutes. Looked just the way I'd expect a bitter to look.

The aroma was a mix of good and bad. The UK East Kent Goldings hops definitely stood out as a flowery, spicey note atop bread and caramel maltiness. I don't know if this beer had spent too long in the bottle, or if I'm just learning that I'm not a super fan of East Kent Goldings, but the spicy, herbal hop smell also showed up in the flavor and disappointed me. The beer had a great malty background, but I was not a fan of the way the hops stood out on top of that.

Was nicely carbonated, but the hops flavor made me not at all disappointed that I only had one bomber of this bitter.

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Photo of TTTBeer
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Photo of ChadHanley
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of NormLobstah
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Duhast500
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Reagan1984
3.01/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer was Light Copper in color

Not too much head to speak of.

Almost no aroma detected.

Slightly sweet taste. Almost taste tobacco.?.with slight fruitiness.

Very light mouth feel.

I would have liked a litte more punch in this one.

Drinkability was fair, but not sure there is enough flavor to bring me back for more of this Gritty's staple.

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Photo of Heynau10
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of BadBadger
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

 399 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass.

Pours a slightly hazy copper with a creamy white head. Aromas of sweet malt and earthy, floral hops. Flavors of lightly toasted caramel malt and more earthy, floral hops. Nicely balanced and drinkable, with a decent bitter finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, with a medium-thin body and good carbonation. Overall a nice, drinkable Bitter, but nothing to get excited over.

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Photo of foamee
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After spending time in London this year, I found the Gritty's Bitter to be a very good example of a true British ale. The fact that it had liitle carbonation would make it like a hand pulled pint. The subtle flavors gave way to a typical finish. It's different than other american beers, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it !!

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Photo of Omnium
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From Notes on 10-17-13, On-Tap at the brewpub.

A - Clear gold with half a finger of fizzy white head no lacing.
S - Very little aroma, some light grainy scents, and sweet malt.
T - Extremely light, sweet, very little bitterness, a touch of caramel.
M - Thin, watery, bland.
O - Not and ESB at all, no bitterness, how could it be an ESB? Its style is more like an extra pale ale.

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Photo of iRun2Beer
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of indiapaleale
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean, golden color, or copper as the site says, with a half-finger foamy head. Not a lot of carbonation as this beer settles into its short, fate-filled life inside a pint glass.

Smell is familiar. Its sweet, bready, yeasty and doughy. The smells intermingle more and become stronger as this one warms a bit. This is what is to be expected from the British style ales produced on the Peter Austin open fermentation system.

One sip and I am taken back to the last time I had this on tap. Its been awhile. Its very smooth, faintly carbonated and very swiggable. Plenty of malty sweetness with not a lot of after taste notes. This is a basic beer from Gritty's. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just mean its there flagship brew that is solid, simple and easy to drink. Obviously the bottled form has nothing on the cask conditioned drafts you'll find on tap at Gritty's. If you've never had this beer, start with that option if at all possible.

 956 characters

Photo of yesyouam
3.16/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Gritty's Best Bitter is a very sparkling and clear, shimmering amber ale with a big, dense, foamy off-white head that leaves some Coptic script on the glass. There are oily bubbles. It is a very grainy and sweet aroma: muscovado sugar and sunflower seed bread are in the nose. It is soft and medium bodied. The finish is a bit sharp and metallic. It tastes very fresh and a bit like... well... a diluted ESB. The flavor is smooth and a touch top-heavy. The aftertaste is quick, faint and a little green. It's hopped very appropriately. There is a diacetyl quality to it. It's a pretty non-descript session ale-- smooth and light.
(rated Jan 8, 2008)

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to rrheisler for sending this extra. Thanks Ryan.

Pours a brown tinted orange color coming out of the bomber. A nice, two finger light tan head is produced and fueled by a decent amount of carbonation. Retention and lacing are pretty good.

The nose is very malty, with lightly toasted malts and some sweet malts in the background. A significant spicey hop character comes out as it warms.

Tastes sweeter than the nose. Caramel malt dominates with the lightly toasted malt taking a back seat. Spicey hops again come out in the finish.

Medium in body, with a moderate carbonation. Smooth and creamy, goes down easy. Drinkability is pretty good, but nothing special.

Overall, I didn't have high hopes for this going in, but it was actually a pretty decent beer. Definitely average, but not a bad session Bitter.

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Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
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