Review: Bitter American, 21st Amendment

Bitter American
21st Amendment Brewery — San Francisco, CA

  • Style:  Extra Pale Ale
  • Bitterness:  42 IBUs
  • ABV:  4.4%
  • Malts:  Simpson's Golden Promise, 2-Row Pale, Munich, Crystal
  • Hops:
    • Bittering:  Warrior, Cascade
    • Dry Hops:  Simcoe, Centennial
  • Sampled:  12 oz. can  (full disclosure — sample provided by 21st Amendment)

Description: “If you'd been rocketed into space against your will, you might be a little bitter too.  Bitter American is our long-overdue tribute to unsung, unwilling heroes everywhere.  This American session ale packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly lower-alcohol brew, making it the perfect beer to have on hand when you have history to make." — 21st Amendment Brewery

Random thoughts:  This is 21A's new late winter seasonal.  It was just released a few days ago and will be available in cans and draft through late March.  I've been sampling a lot of malt-heavy winter brews and Imperial Stouts lately so this will be a welcome change of pace.  Nice can artwork.  However, the chimpanzee doesn't look all that bitter to me...
The tasting:  Golden orange in color with a white head that dissipated slowly.  BIG aroma full of citrus hops,  tropical fruit (pineapple and guava), and toasted malts.  Very unexpected and quite nice!  Flavor is mainly grapefruit and piney hops, but it's supported by a solid caramel malt backbone.  The fruit in the aroma is not present in flavor.  Nicely balanced, but leans towards the hoppy side.  Light to medium bodied, with a slight effervescent mouth feel.  It finishes dry with mild grapefruit hop bitterness.  Very drinkable.

 Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!   I enjoyed Bitter American.  I'm normally not a fan of "session" beers because in my limited experience, I've found them to be a bit bland and boring. Bitter American has an ABV of just 4.4% and 21A is calling this a session beer.  Although it may be low in alcohol, it has loads of hop and malt flavors.  I may need to evaluate my personal definition of session beers (for the better).  As the name implies, this is a bitter beer.  Those with an aversion to hoppy brews may not be as enthusiastic. 

Have you had Bitter American or any of 21st Amendment's beers?   Let me know what you think!

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  1. Just had Bitter American for the first time - attracted by the bitter part of the name. I grew up on best bitter back in blighty and most american beers (be they light or not) are just too malty and not hoppy enough - or too rich and heavy for my taste. This is going to be my favorite beer for some time.

  2. This is a really nice beer. It was 21A's spring seasonal last year, but I just learned that it's now a year-round beer.

    If you like this, you should give Stone's Levitation Ale a try. It's light, but full of hop flavors. I reviewed it last year.

  3. I love this pale ale. One of my favorites right along with Mirror Pond. It's also great it's in a can because it's perfect for taking it to the beach or river.


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