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

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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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Reviews: 115 | Ratings: 189
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 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 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.

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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 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.

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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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Photo of EStreet20
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce brown bottle. Shaker pint glass....

A - Hard pour produces a reddish golden, tanslucent bee. A finger of white head.

S - Smells like some hops with a faint grainy smell. Some diacytel aromas.

T - A grainy taste. A lot of diacytel flavors.

M - A light feel. TONS of carbonation that is a bit much.

D - The carbonation really interferes. Otherwise a light tasthing bitter.

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Photo of rastaman
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
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 Sammy
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
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 Naes
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This bitter pours a clear amber color with a tall white head.
The aroma is typical of this style; faint hops and a slight graininess.
The flavor begins a bit sweet then becomes grainy and finishes with a mild bitter floral hop addition.
The mouth feel is light in body and nicely carbonated.
This is a good example of the style, though it was not my favorite example.
Worth a try.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden colot with a light coat of head over top. There is a good bit of diacetyl in this (as well as their other beers). This is ther first beer that it might actually work in though. I would like to see a little more hop and malt character carry through. The flavor is right with the nose. Big diacetyl with just a hint of hop hanging in the background. The feel is moderate with a light carbonation. Another brew that could use a diacetyl rest. I don't think I would try and find this one again.

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Photo of akahn
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a golden color with a half-inch frothy white head. Lots of streaming carbonation.

Crisp hoppy aroma. Tart, somewhat sweet malt flavor, crisp hops. Then, at the finish, there is a lingering grain hull flavor (tannin?), and an odd metallic flavor, similar to what I experienced in the Best Brown.

Thin bodied, weak carbonation. All in all, uninspiring.

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Photo of ABCJiugui
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bomber into shaped pint glass

A- light amber, fairly clear on first pour, hazier as it gets to the bottom (it is bottle conditioned). 1 finger of head on a semi-hard pour, consistent retention on liquid. Good lacing- big splotches and strings in a consistent ring.

S- little sweet, toasted country bread, malt, and some hop flowers. Little caramel notes as well.

T- Smooth malt/caramel flavor is quick, overtaken by surprising levels of hop bitterness, more than I'm used to in a bitter. It really lingers afterwards, but not totally unpleasantly- may be a little strong. Yeastier pour gives a little fruitiness.

M- thin, light bodied, carbonation is present but dissipates fairly quick.

D- A decent beer- I had it with a ciabatta loaf sandwich, which I enjoyed. I think it pairs better with food than on its own as a night long session beer, as I could actually tire of its bitterness since it's a bit more aggressive in that aspect than other bitters I've had. Still, a good meal brew.

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Photo of riversider76
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light copper. Thin head. Not much retention, but some lacing. Smell is grain,and some carmel. Smell is weak. Body is thin,and carbonated. Taste is sweet up front,with a hint of hops in the finish. Not great for me, but low ABV,so drink up if you like it!

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Photo of LarryV
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper hue with very little head. Carbonation is fairly still. Aroma is very light, mostly grain. Taste is sweetish malt with a bit of hop bitterness that keeps the sweetness in check. A bit of caramel flavor sneaks through as well. Mouthfeel is on the thin side. Actually a decent brew if you're not looking for something to challenge the palate. Seems like it would be good with some pizza. Yeah, gotta go call the pizza shop ...

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Photo of getalife2k5
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a nice coppery amber with about an inch head that dissipates to a thin layer of tiny bubbles. my girlfriend, who is Korean, said it looks like red ginseng tea. smells toasty and malty. quite enticing... has the slightest bit of caramel maltiness up front followed by notes of paper and cardboard dryness. whether that's good or bad is up to you. it is fairly drinkable; i could definitely imagine myself getting drunk on this in a crowded Irish bar with friends on a Sunday afternoon in late December.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.31/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a three-fingered cream head that quickly fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is sweet honey that fades to a light bitter finish. $1.75 for a 12oz bottle from Barb's Beer Emporium Concord, NH.

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Photo of SirSketch
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - An inch or two of solid, off-white head forms atop an orange brew. Fairly cloudy, but that may be because of the cold temperature.

S - Nutty, maple syrup, caramel malt aroma and signature English ale fruitiness. Nice, though I would prefer a bigger hop presence.

T - Huge malt flavor, much like the nose. Also, a bread dough and sweet wort flavor. Bitterness cuts through the sweetness nicely.

M/D - The mouthfeel is a little too thick, but otherwise nice. Not bad but not great, either.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
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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Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 189 ratings.
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