Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
83
good
115 Reviews
THE BROS
78
okay
Read the review
Gritty McDuff's Best BitterGritty McDuff's Best Bitter
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
115
Ratings:
189
Avg:
3.65
pDev:
15.62%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
10
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 115 | Ratings: 189
Photo of smcolw
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this beer at the Gritty's on Route 1 in Freeport, Maine.

Not much head, less lace. Dark amber in color, clear.

Good bitter aroma that is not overpowering to the malt background.

This is a very well-balanced beer and certainly refreshing after a day walking around Freeport. While bitterness is the main flavor, as expected in a Bitter. But I enjoy the subtle presence of the malt. The body is near perfect.

Perhaps it was because I was thirsty, but this was a very good beer for the moment--a hot summer day while I was thirsty.

 546 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by Sept. '07:

Pours light copper with a white head that quickly descends to a lasting, thin creamy cover.

The smell is of sweet grain, butter, mild Ringwood yeast, some hop fruitiness.

The taste is buttery and yeasty. Despite that, enough grainy malt with plenty of fruity/earthy English-type hop bitterness comes through to give it a taste fitting for the style. Sweet balanced by floral/earthy hop notes in the dry finish.

The body, which is rather thin at first, grows somewhat as it warms. A balanced flavor lingers.

The diacetyl and noticeable yeast detract a bit, but it's not a bad interpretation of the style at all. Better as it warms, but never quite enough to overcome minor irritants about it. Overall - decent.

 743 characters

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a light amber color with a lot of carbonation, not a great deal of head and very little ringing.
Smell- A subdued hoppy odor, hints of floral odors.

Taste- Hops have a strong place in this beer, but they do not smack you over the head. The subdued odor of the hops is matched by a subdued hops flavor as well with light hints of earth.

Mouthfeel- Beer feels clean on palate and leaves no unpleasant residue.

Drinkability- Very drinkable beer, definitely a classy choice.

 498 characters

Photo of williamherbert
4.19/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

 908 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a light brown/paleish color. Aroma is one of malt with some fruitiness and some detection of hops. Taste is different as there some bitterness up front that levels off with fruitiness at the back of the throat. Not too strong and seemingly smooth. There's some dryness in the finish. A fine example of a bitter and very drinkable.

 341 characters

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.

 396 characters

Photo of eberkman
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a nice honey amber producing a firm, thick off-white head that lasted a long time, leaving rings of sticky lacing.

The smell was predominantly of toasted malts with some mild hoppiness.

A very smooth-tasting ale -- mostly sweet (but not overly so) maltiness with some buttery tones characteristic of a stronger bitter like an ESB. A nice bitter finish giving way to more malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel of crisp carbonation. Very drinkable and refreshing -- pretty versatile with food.

Decent representation of the style, particularly for an American bitter.

 571 characters

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.

 263 characters

Photo of Stimack
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew pours to a copper color with a tan head that broke down somewhat slow and did leave a little lacing. The aroma is dominated by the malt, which seems to give it a caramel like scent. The taste while not seeming to complex is nice, with flavors of caramel, dough and a slight hop finish. Over all this is an easy drinking brew, simple but probably one of the better Gritty’s that I had.

 390 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 381 characters

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.

 653 characters

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with an inch worth of off-white head. Some light lacing remains.

The aroma is weak at first, but gets better as it warms up some. Nutty, earthy scent complemented by a nice floral smell.

The flavor has some buttery caramel (is this a Maine trait?) throughout that blends with a grainy taste and some bitter floral hops at the end. The closer I get to the bottom, the more that diacetyl quality starts getting to me.

Thinner body with good carbonation. Slick on the tongue. Not a bad beer, but I think the 3 that came in my mixed 12-pack will be enough for me.

 595 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
4.42/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

 606 characters

Photo of tempest
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A definate throw-back beer, but in the best sense. It tastes a little of caramel, then creamy and smooth, but there's a lingering bitterness that sneaks up on you. The hops are a bit odd for me, I can't tell if they're jujst grassy or hae been skunked. The flavor profile is a bit low, but this is a style that thrives in casks anyways. Reminds me of milder version of my local Syracuse Pale Ale but a little more delicate.

 423 characters

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!

 267 characters

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 ...

 445 characters

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.

 387 characters

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 !!

 333 characters

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 GratefulBeerGuy
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 417 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - this bitter pours a chestnut brown with a half finger thick off white head, moderate carbonation rises through the brew

S - a crisp, clean aroma nestled above the piney bitterness of quality hops, a bitterness that isnt overpowering, yet dominates the aroma

T - a nice subtle bitterness, very crisp and refreshing, at first, then the real bitterness hits in the finish, a great big bready bitter aftertaste, with perhaps a slight hint of very dark chocolate intertwined

M - bitter of course, but otherwise very palatable and smooth

D - high for the IBU-philes, average for others, very quality brew, Gritty's does it again

 638 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

 342 characters

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.

 566 characters

Photo of wedge
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper-gold hue with a frothy white head that has some nice stick to the glass and decent retention. Slight buttery aroma fades to grassy hops - a little toasted grain and caramel. Toasted grains over a soft fruity sweetness - hints of diacetyl are not as strong as in the smell. Dry, crisp, medium mouthfeel. Pretty refreshing.

Not bad overall...I could probably session this.

 386 characters

Photo of Hautacam
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle...."best by" date 12/06.
Pours a clear amber with a very lively light tan head. Head settles quickly to a film in an English pint glass.
Faint smell of floral hops and steely grains.
Flavor is a mild semi-sweet, biscuity malt balanced pretty well with the floral hops. Finishes clean and dry with a mild hop- bitter aftertaste. Doesn't gain a lot in warming.
Mouthfeel is light/medium..carbonation is medium.
Not the most complex brew, not the most intense.... but a very drinkable one...would go well with food.

 531 characters

Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter from Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 189 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe