Flavor Fever: The Misunderstood Glory of Bitter

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by M-Fox24, Jan 14, 2022 at 11:56 AM.

  1. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,336) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey
    Trader

    New Piece from Randy Mosher on Bitter

    https://beerandbrewing.com/flavor-fever-the-misunderstood-glory-of-bitter/


    “Bitter fans are passionate about their favorites and other controversies...These controversies and others will keep the arguments going in the pubs—beer after delicious beer:”
    • Should it have a generous head, or not much?
    • Should one use a sparkler attachment on the faucet to fluff up the head?
    • Is it kosher to use a cask breather to limit the introduction of air, keeping the beer fresher for a few more days, even though it’s not traditional?
     
    OffTrail, cjgiant, o29 and 8 others like this.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    One of the reasons for cask ale’s decades-long decline may be inconsistent quality at the point of service.”

    Yes, poor cellaring of the cask at the pub is one reason for why cask ale (Bitter Ale) is losing popularity. Fortunately, this is a solvable problem.

    One of the other reasons is that younger British beer drinkers view Bitter Ale as being Granddad’s beer and they prefer to either drink the most popular beer style in the UK – Pale Lagers like Carling Lager (an AAL), Fosters Lager (brewed in Britain), etc. or the younger British beer drinkers looking for ‘more’, craft beer (e.g., American style IPAs, NEIPA,…) is what they choose to drink.

    The fellows of the Craft Beer Channel produced a muti-part video series entitled Keep Cask Alive (available on Youtube). Below is the episode discussing the history of Cask Ale:



    Cheers!
     
    OffTrail, o29, JimKal and 3 others like this.
  3. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,153) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Trader

    If you're ever in Seattle you need to hit up Machine House Brewing in the Georgetown neighborhood. Traditional British styles on cask is their MO.
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Do these use a cask breather?

    Cheers!
     
  5. AlfromPA

    AlfromPA Initiate (21) Dec 9, 2021 Pennsylvania

    Jack, many thanks for posting that fantastic video of the Hook Norton brewery. Gives a very good idea of what brewing technology was like ca. 1900--really beautiful and elegant machines--and the brewery buildings themselves are stunning. Now if only they can get that coolship going again!
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  6. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,153) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Trader

    It's all hand pumped in the taproom, other than that I don't know. Check out their website: https://www.machinehousebrewery.com
     
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  8. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,153) May 23, 2011 Washington
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    cjgiant, jonphisher and JackHorzempa like this.
  9. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,153) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Trader

  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    The cask management is discussed in the podcast, around the 10:00 mark. Machine House does not use cask breathers which will yield variability/inconsistency from a given cask over time (the brewer discusses this aspect). The 'traditional' way to serve cask ale is not using a cask breather.

    Cheers to Machine House for accepting the 'issues' that come here!
     
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  11. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,949) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society

    Fuller Smith and Turner Bitter was the best Bitter I ever had. In a 5L can.
     
  12. BigIronH

    BigIronH Meyvn (1,111) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Must have been good if this is coming from Bitter Bill.
     
    PapaGoose03, jvgoor3786, o29 and 4 others like this.
  13. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,042) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Society

    Definitely looking like another bucket list place to stop at in the UK
     
    AlfromPA likes this.
  14. jonphisher

    jonphisher Crusader (739) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Trader

    Noted :beers: loved it out there and one day, one day, we will be back.
     
  15. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (461) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I'll be brewing my bitter hopefully this weekend. It's such a great tasting, lower ABV beer that has such romanticism behind it. I love having it on tap through the winter when you don't want something with a higher abv.
     
    GuyFawkes and Rug like this.
  16. DEdesings57

    DEdesings57 Defender (686) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey
    Trader

    My local brewery Magnify made an EBS at 3.9%

    SO damn good, missed being able to try the style especially fresh.
     
  17. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,359) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    But that makes no sense, since the original ESB, Fuller's Extra Special Bitter, is a higher than normal alcohol bitter, at 5.9%.
     
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  18. jonphisher

    jonphisher Crusader (739) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Trader

    come down to Tonewood sometime, EMD (mild) or blipstream (bitter) almost always on cask and both are only 10$ a four pack to go.
     
  19. DEdesings57

    DEdesings57 Defender (686) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey
    Trader

    my bad they call it an "ENGLISH" style Bitter. I think that's why it's 3.9%
     
  20. DEdesings57

    DEdesings57 Defender (686) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey
    Trader

    sounds awesome, gotta find some time to get out there.
     
    jonphisher likes this.
  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,359) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    :rolling_eyes: Well, better than Sierra Nevada's short-lived ESB, I guess:
    [​IMG]
     
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  22. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,869) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    Bitterbill likes this.
  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,359) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I thought I remembered that (pretty common for a lot of UK brewers' bitter, too)... but once I found the bottle's ABV I went with that 'cause it made my point better at a full 2% higher than Magnify's. :grin:

    Plus when's the last time I saw cask Fuller's ESB in the US? Or any UK cask?
     
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  24. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,949) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society

    Or this one.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    If anybody is looking for an ESB served on cask (handpump), Forest & Main has one:

    “Served cellar temp from our stillage via British beer engines

    Reverse Breathing - 5.6% ESB A fat and sassy ESB brewed with British Golden Promise and Crystal malts, and hopped with Fuggles and Columbus. Notes of med well toast, some jam @pizzanickdanger unboxed, some Twizzlers or maybe it’s Swedish Fish, nearby caramel, and some kind of cool herby citrus thing.”

    https://www.forestandmain.com/draftcansbottles

    Cheers!
     
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  26. marquis

    marquis Champion (812) Nov 20, 2005 England

    To clarify some points.
    Bitter is the name given to Pale Ale when served on draught in a pub. Examination of contemporary brewery records show that the identical beer in bottle was labelled Pale Ale. Old brewery records rarely mention bitter.
    A favourite beer of the late Queen Mother was Youngs Bitter, but there is no mention of this in the brewery records.
    The reason was that up to roughly the start of WW1 , Mild was a pale beer , simply less hopped than Pale Ale.So there had to be something to distinguish between the two on the bar.Later of course Mild generally became darker.
    Bitter has become an unfashionable name in the last few years and many have been renamed.
    But it is important to know that Bitter is NOT a beer style, it is simply an alternative name for Pale Ale.
     
  27. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,869) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Well, it has been 5 or 6 years since i was pouring some ESB down my neck in London. The bottled version is pretty stale when ive I've found it in the US.
     
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  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Jeff, that was the situation for me back in the 90's. While traveling for business I would enjoy drinking cask ales at the English and Scottish pubs and I would come home to drink stale English beers. This is what 'motivated' me to become a homebrewer. My first batch was a Muntons kit branded as Traditional Bitter (augmented with EKG hops for flavor/aroma). That first batch turned out great, waaay better than the English imported beers.

    I hope to see you in Pittsburgh.

    Cheers!
     
    JimKal likes this.
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,236) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    So wait, SN has a history of brewing then cancelling beers? The horror! :wink:
     
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  30. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,869) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    That was decent at the Chico taproom.
     
    steveh likes this.
  31. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,936) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Anderson Valley had one (which was the first beer I ever badgered a beer store guy about getting for me after they stopped bringing it in) that they labeled "Extra Special Beer"
     
    Rug likes this.