Best Bitter

Best Bitter Beer Style: A Hoppy Haven for Taste Bud Thrills

Reading Time: around 8 min

Best Bitter beer. It’s like that reliable old friend who’s always there to give you a bit of balance in life. But in liquid form. With its roots deeply planted in the British brewing tradition, this beer style has become a staple for those who fancy a pint that’s hearty yet effortlessly drinkable. 

If you’re looking for a brew that hits the sweet spot…

…between flavor complexity and sessionability…

…then Best Bitter is your chap.

Picture yourself at a cozy pub; the bartender hands you a pint of Best Bitter with that perfect foamy head. And as you take a sip, the symphony of flavors hits you. The hops have enough zest to make your taste buds tingle.

But they don’t overpower the rich, biscuity malts that give this beer its body and soul. You’ll want the inside scoop on the choicest hops and malts to whip up one of these bad boys at home. Because trust me, you won’t find any hop bombs or malt mountains here.

It’s all about harmony.

Now, this isn’t just any thirst-quenching beverage. Best Bitter is an art form. Getting that quintessential balance is akin to walking a tightrope while juggling. Only the outcome is much tastier. 

You’ll get the hang of what makes a pint of Best Bitter so delightful. From its subtle fruity notes to the way it should hug your glass like a gentle reminder of all that is right in the world.

Key Takeaways

  • Best Bitter is a balanced and highly drinkable British beer style.
  • Optimal enjoyment involves a combination of quality hops and hearty malts.
  • The sensory experience includes a harmonious blend of subtle flavors and aromas.


The Basics of Best Bitter Beer

When you’re gabbing about beers at your local pub, flashing your beer connoisseur badge, you’ve got to get your facts straight about Best Bitter. Let’s crack on and explore what makes this brew stand out from its bitter brothers.

A Brief History of the Bitter Brew

You might reckon the brewing monks from the Middle Ages were just praying all day, but those holy hops handlers were the pioneers of what you now relish as Bitter. 

Launching from English tavern traditions, Bitter got its rep for being the go-to quaff for anyone who fancied a pint with robust flavor. 

But it isn’t just one-size-fits-all.

There’s a whole family tree here. At the bottom rung sits the mild-mannered Ordinary Bitter. Stepping up to Best Bitter, also called Special Bitter, that’s the talk of the town today. And finally, the burly big bro, Extra Special Bitter. Aka Strong Bitter.

Defining the Best Bitter Style

Now let’s chew the fat about Best Bitter itself. Picture this: you’re chilling with a pint, and it’s sporting a deep gold to copper color. That’s your first signpost. Peer closer, and you’ll spot a clarity that makes it downright picturesque.

Topped with a head that’s creamier than your grandma’s Sunday mash.

What’s the gab on the taste? 

Well, you’ve got a harmony of malt and hops battling it out on your tongue. Malt brings to the table the flavor of freshly-baked bread, and hops come swinging with a spicy or floral slap. It’s like a ballet in your mouth, where everyone’s tiptoeing perfectly in sync.

And let’s not be shy about ABV; this bloke struts around a modest 3.8-4.8%, enough to keep the chat lively without toppling off the stool. Your session beer just got a promotion.

Grab a notepad, because here’s your grocery list for brewing your batch of banter juice. Start with Maris Otter or Pale Ale malts. They’re as critical as a footballer’s left foot. 

To hit the high notes, sprinkle in some Challenger or East Kent Golding hops for that classic British vibe. It’s like putting on the kettle for a tea. It just feels right.

So, if you want to look smart the next time the bartender asks what’s your poison…

….throw ’em a curveball and say “Best Bitter, my good man!”

And watch the impressed eyebrows go up. #BeerGeek

The Art of Best Bitter Brewing

Roll up your sleeves, because we’re about to dive into the art of brewing the quintessentially British Best Bitter. It’s not just a pint, it’s a masterpiece packed with flavor that’ll dance on your palate. Let’s unlock the secrets to crafting your own liquid gold.

Key Ingredients for a Top-Notch Pint

First thing’s first: grab your ingredients. Quality’s king here, so don’t skimp. 

You’ll need the following.

Malts: The backbone of your brew.

  • Maris Otter or Pale Ale malt: You can’t go wrong with these classics. Their rich, biscuity flavor sets the stage.
  • Crystal malt: It’s like the supporting actor who steals the show with caramel notes.
Best Bitter Hops

Hops: Here’s where the plot thickens.

Any English hops will do, but let’s drop some names: Fuggles or East Kent Goldings. Earthy, floral, and a wee bit spicy, they’re like the Sean Connery of hops. Distinguished and smooth.

ABV (Alcohol by Volume): Shoot for about 3.8% to 4.6%. Keep it sessionable. You want to enjoy several without texting your ex.

IBU (International Bitterness Units): Aim for 25-40. Not too bitter, not too sweet. Like porridge from “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.

OG (Original Gravity): What’s this, you ask? It’s your beer’s potential. Start around 1.040-1.048 to hit the right alcohol content.

SRM, so the color is between 6 and 16. That’s gold to copper.

Now that you’ve got your elite team of ingredients, let’s turn them into beer!

Hopping Recommendations

Alright, let’s elevate that Best Bitter to a “Bestest” Bitter.

With hops that’ll make your taste buds sing a rock ballad!

First off, grab East Kent Goldings, the hop that’s more British than a double-decker bus. For a 5-gallon batch, you’ll want to start with a solid 1.5 ounces of these golden beauties at the 60-minute mark. 

This isn’t just a bittering addition.

It’s the opening act to the greatest show in your pint glass.

Now, don’t leave the stage yet, because we’re going to bring in Fuggle for a duet. At the 30-minute mark, throw in another ounce. Fuggle’s the hop that’s as earthy as a rainy day in London.

And it’s here to add complexity like a plot twist in a British mystery novel.

But wait, the encore is where it’s at! With 15 minutes left, it’s time for a half-ounce of East Kent Goldings again. This late addition is like the chorus that everyone hums long after the song is over. 

It’s all about those aromatic notes that linger.

And because we’re all about that grand finale, let’s sprinkle in a half-ounce of Fuggle at flameout. It’s like the bow at the end of the performance, the final touch that says:

“Yeah, I nailed it.”

The Brewing Process: From Malt to Mug

Step 1: Mash in by mixing your malts with water at about 152°F (67°C). This is where you convert starches to sugars, so don’t mess it up.

Step 2: After an hour, when your mash says, “I’ve given you all I can,” it’s time to sparge. Rinse those grains to get all the sugary goodness out.

Step 3: Boil time! Get that wort bubbling and throw in your hops. Early adds are for bitterness, while late adds bring aroma and flavor. Balance, young grasshopper.

Step 4: Cool that wort down faster than a polar bear’s dip. Around 68°F (20°C) is your sweet spot for fermenting.

Step 5: Pitch your yeast. This is not baseball. Gently introduce the yeast to its new sugary home.

Step 6: Fermentation is where the magic happens. Let it bubble away for a week or two until the yeast has partied out.

Step 7: Cask or bottle that elixir with just enough sugar to carbonate. Remember, Best Bitter is best served with a gentle fizz, not like a shaken soda.

Now, pat yourself on the back. Because you’ve just birthed a fine pint of Best Bitter. Time to pour, sip, and revel in the fruits of your labor. Cheers to that!

Sensory Profile and Serving

Before you take that first swig, let’s decode what tickles your senses with every sip of Best Bitter.

Nosing the Aroma: Beyond the Smell of Success

Sniff, and you’ll catch whiffs of the classic hops and malt that play tug-of-war in your nostrils. This isn’t your average olfactory circus. It’s a sophisticated blend of caramel sweetness and toasty undercurrents.

Often with a plot twist of fruity esters waving hello.

The Eyes Have It: Appearance and Clarity

Cast your gaze upon its captivating hue. Best Bitter struts a palette ranging from gold to deep amber, topped with a creamy head that sticks around like a good buddy. 

Its clarity? Crystal clear, unless it’s cask conditioned. Then it’s charmingly hazy, like your memories from last night’s pub crawl.

First Sip to Last: Flavor and Mouthfeel

Take a gulp and relish the flavor parade. The bitterness of hops hits you first, then the caramel and toasty malts join the party, creating a flavorful moshpit on your tongue. 

And let’s talk mouthfeel. It’s like a hearty handshake from a burly bartender. Firm and satisfying with a body that’s medium, never wimpy.

Serving Up: Temperature and Traditions

Now, don’t botch this up. 

Serve at cellar temperature (that’s 12–14°C, in case your cellar’s a bit off). 

And tradition? It’s your cheeky mate, so neck it straight from a pint glass or, if you’re a purist, from the cask for that authentic experience. Just don’t expect a frosty reception; this brew disdains the cold shoulder.

Picture of Damian


A lifelong learner, hop enthusiast and a lover of the state of extreme exhaustion.

Finance Analyst in the Investment Bank and co-founder of