A-Z Series

“B” is for Bitters

SP can
SP can

“B” is for Bitters

It’s another week of Beards A-Z!

Each week Mary will be diving into her own beer knowledge as well as outside research to provide us Beards Enthusiasts with more craft beer trivia and knowledge.

So this week, we are tackling the letter ‘B!’

‘B’ is for bitters. Here’s what Mary has to say on the subject:

To the beer drinker, it is simply a style of beer with a bit of hop flavor. The style is broad and can vary in color, hops, and ABV. In almost all cases, the Bitter is an ale, a beer fermented at a higher temperature than their “cool” counterparts, the lagers.

Looking at it historically: At one time, a single style of beer in Britain was referred to as both a “pale” and “bitter” ale, the only difference being a pale ale came in a bottle and a bitter was served on draft. As time passed however, the two beer styles diverged and each developed their own style and characteristics.

The bitter is a beer with more hop “bite”, but a different kind of hoppy when compared to its cousin, the India Pale Ale. These two also differentiate themselves by the types of hops used. For example, an English bitter uses hops that have an earthy aroma and flavors of tea and spice. As compared to the IPA, which tends to use hops that play up citrus, pine, grapefruit, and resin.

Different kinds of Bitters:

Michael Jackson (the British beer guru, not the musician) noted that many breweries in the UK used to offer different levels of Bitter: Ordinary, Best, & Extra Special Bitter (ESB). Starting at Ordinary and moving to Best and finally ESB, the bitters get darker in color, heavier in ABV, and stronger in malt and hop additions. **Of course, it’s all “at the brewer’s discretion”**

Here at Beards, we have our autumn seasonal ESB ale, Silent Planet, which, as an ode to the origins of English bitters, is named for one of England’s infamous authors, C.S. Lewis. It’s made with a London Ale Yeast and the English Noble hop, which both give it a caramel-reddish color, medium maltiness, and tea-like aroma and bitterness.

What can we say, Team Beards is not only nerdy about beer–we like our books and short stories, too!

Have you enjoyed a Bitter before? Did you learn something new from this post? Give us your feedback below, and if you have further questions, please comment or email us at: emily@beardsbrewery.com

***Check out our throwback pictures of Silent Planet from when we once canned it!