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 JayNH
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy, golden honey color. Not much of a head.

S- Hoppy but sweet and buttery.

T- A buttery malt with a grassy hop note. A little watery though.

M- smooth with moderate carbonation.

D- They go down easy...

A decent brew. Would make a decent session beer.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
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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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 albern
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice dry English Bitter. It pours a clear golden, slightly amber color with almost no head, lacing, retention. The aroma is English hops, cracked grains, some maltiness in the backbone, also some huskiness. The taste is pretty buttery, perhaps a tad butterscotch, but clearly with English hops, a coarse graininess, a drying finish, a tad bit caramel malt. There is a slight saltiness in the finish. This is modestly carbonated, fairly light bodied, overall not too complex, but a good English Bitter and worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

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Photo of kkosmoski
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Longneck bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Best enjoyed before February 2009 notched on the label. Airy white head atop an amber colored liquid and extremely clear. Head drops to a slight covering with a bit of stick to the sides after a short time. Buttery aroma with grain husk, caramel and esters. Flavors include toffee, caramels, light toast, butterscotch, and finishes with a moderate bitterness and appely fruitiness. Feel is medium with prickly carbonation. This is an easy bitter to drink - pleasing malt flavors balanced out by an adequate carbonation and interesting yeast character. A good bottled offering from Gritty - much better than the last two that I have tried.

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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 CaptainZingo
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
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 OtherShoe2
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice copper with a fair bubbly head that lasted about halfway down the glass.

Nice faint malt aromas with some brown sugar and a bit of hop leaf.

This is a brew I'm glad I gave a second chance. Had this before while tasting some very aggressive beers (deep, over the top flavors). It got left in the dust and really jaded my overalll outlook. I was wrong. First sip is mild smooth caramel, a little cream, then finishes with hop bitterness. A little bread crust as well. Nothing over the top. Nice balance.

Medium-light body, some carbonation. Finishes very clean. No off notes.

I'm glad I took a chance with a sixer here. Very drinkable, and good as a sipper or with food. One of those beers that this forum has actually helped me to appreciate. I looked for the good in it and it was there. This was the last of a very active beer drinking weekend (10 different total). Good way to finish.

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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 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 deltatauhobbit
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 22oz bottle

Pours a golden/amber mix with a good sized head that fizzes away fast to leave no lacing.

Smell is mostly malty with a light hop aroma, slightly sweet.

Taste is light and crisp, starts out malty then transitions into a decent bitterness, not overly offending but very easy to drink.

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Photo of Drew966
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter pours a light copper color with a thick white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is very mild, but plesant. The flavor has lots of diacetyl, it's buttery and caramel like too. The hops do a decent job of balance, but don't really stick out much. It works, worth a try.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dirty gold with a sudsy micro-bubbly white head.

S: very clean with soft malt tones and a little smokey caramel.

T: very clean as well with a great bittering and a nice caramel sweetness and toffee hints. Earthy hop tones provide a pleasant light woodiness, along with with some light pine.

M: a little thin, smooth with a strong carbonation.

D: Good drinkability making for a good session style bitter.

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Photo of erosier
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice orange amber color witha medium bodied but tall white head that sits atop the beer for a while before it fades. It laces the glass with little lacing down the glass. The aroma is of very sweet toasted malts and some faint fruity aromas and a slightly hoppy bitterness at the end of the nose. The taste is interesting. Sweet toasted malts underneath some very bitter flavors that I can't put my finger on. The aftertaste isn't as bitter as the rest of it but overall, it is a bitter beer. The mouthfeel is crisp which makes for a drinkable bitter beer. Worth a try.

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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 KOPBeerDrinker
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into the pint glass a deep copper color. A short white head quickly receded, leaving a small amount of lacing. Smells of malt, kind of bready. Tastes of bready malt with some nutiness. Mouthfeel is medium and nicely carbonated. Pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of DontCallMeSurly
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Even with a vigorous pour all I could manage to get was a thin off-white head which dissipated rather quickly. The color is a nice golden amber variety. When I first smelled this beer it reminded me of chardonnay or perhaps even a champagne. The flavor is sweet and caramel-like. I was expecting quite a bit of bread notes but they came in very faint towards the back end of the taste. Very little hops detected. The mouth feel is very light with just a touch of carbonation. Overall a nice bitter.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of nuts, caramel, roasted malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out malty with flavors of nuts and caramel. Then a good burst of hops comes in and provides a nice balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice session beer to drink for a long while.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly nice looking crisp light amber colour with a biggish frothy head that quickly dissolves to a semi-sticky lace.

The aroma is malty and bread-like, with some sweet caramel in the mix...simple, but solid for the style.

The flavour is again sweet from the caramel, but with a slight butter flavour worked into the mix as well. Bread notes tend to come through mostly toward the finish of each sip where they mix with a slight touch of hops. the mouthfeel here is light bodied and perhaps a bit overcarbonated. I would have liked for this one to have been somewhat flatter and smoother.

I enjoyed this one. It is, overall, fairly true to the style and does a lot by doing very little (if that makes sense). It's got some nice, full flavour that's simple but to the point and is just an easy brew to drink. Recommended.

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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 fitzy84
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one in their 22 oz bottle. The appearance was a golden murky amber with a decent sized head. Delicious and sharp citrus aromas with various mixes of malts and bread-like flavors. The taste has a good bitter-sweet balance going within its almost herb-like flavors. Nice, crisp mouthfeel and medium body. Overall, a very nice English-style bitter.

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Photo of rallison
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber with a 1 finger white head.

S: Bready malts are dominant here. Some diacetyl is present as well, but completely acceptable given the style and yeast.

T: Bready malts with distinctly British style hops. Simple, straightforward and tasty. I'd say this is a fair take on the style.

M: Light/medium body. Carbonation could be slightly lower.

D: Very good.


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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
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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Photo of EPICAC
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Gritty's in Portland, ME.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy copper. Topped by a fluffy beige head with good retention.

Smell: Mild bready malts, light citrus, herbal, grassy hops.

Taste: Mild, toasty, biscuity malts upfront. Moves into a light, fruity sweetness. Notes of citrus. Light bitterness in the finish that strengthens in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, smooth, light-bodied.

Drinkability: A classic session beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden color with a thin white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a smooth pale and light crystal malt scent along with a nice bitter hop aroma. It's light with some caramel notes. The taste is decent. It has a crisp pale malt flavor with a hint of caramel in the finish. It's mildly bitter with a clean aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent as well. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good drinker. I feel the CO2 is a little much for this style, but it goes down smooth nonetheless.

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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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