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Old 07-31-2013, 12:17 AM   #1
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Default Outstanding Bitter

Last night, while watching a replay of the Gold Cup final at the Globe Pub, I had a bottle of Samuel Smith's Organic Best Pale Ale for the first time and it may be the best English Bitter I've had. I've enjoyed Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale previously, but this beer eclipsed it. I tried an Old Brewery next to compare directly and it was eye opening. The Organic Best Pale Ale just shone, especially its English malt character. Plus its sessionable at less than 5%.

I think this beer fits in the BJCP Special Bitter category.
http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/index.html

Anyone have a Bitter suggestion? I've enjoyed Coniston, Boddington, Fullers, Tetleys, Honkers.

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Old 08-02-2013, 12:56 AM   #2
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I've enjoyed a few bottles of the stuff here in the states, although it is a totally different beast when found fresh in the UK; it has much more hop character and the malt isn't so sickeningly sweet. (Sadly, they don't seem to package many of their beers in cask form anymore... mostly just kegs).

I have yet to find a UK bottled or US commercial bitter that really compares to those cask bitters served in the UK. The good ones that is. Bitters lose so much of their hop and yeast nuances the moment they go into the bottle and then the long trip across the pond doesn't help things. Maybe you got a fresh bottle though? The coniston and T.T landlord bottles I get around here aren't half bad, but I wouldn't say they are great.

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Old 08-02-2013, 11:21 AM   #3
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Its an interesting phenomenon - when I shared this same review with our homebrew club, an ex-pat member had exactly the same response as you. I'm sure it is better fresh, just as having any cask, fresh version of a beer is good - try a fresh, cask version of an IPA and then compare it to a bottled version. The hop character, aroma and flavor will be significantly different.

But, I'm not willing to say that bottled IPA is carp - that would be wrong. And just because I'm not in the UK drinking a cask version of a bitter, I'm not willing to say that no good bitter can be found, which isn't what you were saying, of course. What you were saying is that the cask version is different, which I'm sure is true. My homebrew club friend was saying that any bottled bitter available here is carp, which is ridiculous.

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