It's been a while since I reviewed any of the beers sent to me from the Adnams brewery out of England. Beer Advocate classifies most of the beers they sent me as "English Bitter", but this is the only one to actually call itself a bitter (not just "a" bitter, but THE bitter!). Thanks again to Sean for sending this to me. I still have two more Adnams beers in the fridge.
3.2AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
In England, "bitter" isn’t just an adjective, but a beer style (and for some people there - a way of life). Order a bitter in the UK and you’ll get something like Adnams’ "The Bitter," a clean-tasting ale with a mild palate and slightly bitter finish. Highly sessionable to be sure, but the mild palate leaves much to be desired.
I poured a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.
Appearance: Very dark copper/brown color with a crystal-clear body and plenty of carbonation evident. Forms a one-finger, off-white, soapy head. Doesn’t dissolve completely, but leaves only minute lacing on the glass.
Smell: This smells much more like a glass of breakfast juice with notes of red apple and white grape. There’s also a slight grainy aroma as well, but it is muted as is the entire nose here.
Taste: The first half of the palate is traditional British pub ale with a slightly sweet and tart flavor of red apple and white grape. The finish and aftertaste are much closer to a lager, though, with mild grainy flavors which impart a slight tang or sourness to the palate. There’s a slightly dry, biscuity malt taste and texture as well. The aftertaste consists of a quick kick of apple sweetness which gives way to a mild cracker-like dryness and a lager-like aftertaste.
This palate is strange since there are elements to like and dislike equally, throwing the beer out of balance in my opinion. There’s nothing overtly foul to the palate, but the good qualities just aren’t strong enough, either.
Drinkability: This beer literally tastes and feels cold and wet in the mouth. It’s initially crisp like a lager, but smoothens out to a more ale-like experience. It is noticeably thin, and I would classify this on the lighter side of medium bodied. The 4.5% ABV seems almost non-existent and would enable this beer to work well as a session beer, if only there were more taste to match.
Overall, an average beer all around and despite the name, not even the best traditional English bitter this brewery has to offer.