Bitter - you could say that

I concede that I am more a porter than a bitter man by instinct. But it baffles me that I drink so few Bitter beers that break the 3.5 level let alone the 4.0. And that so few GB beers feature in the top 50. May be this is a measure of how far the beer scene has changed? Or maybe I am just a fossil marinated in increasingly exotic juices? Option 2 has its consolations.

I could do my whole schtick about why I think Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter is a world class beer (fantastic balance of yeast, malt and hops) but everyone’s heard it and I don’t want people to think that I like one beer, dispense method and style over any others as apparently it makes them angry as I appear to be an overbearing arse.

However, a pint of cask conditioned Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter from the brewery tap room or a pub like The Harp on Chandos Place makes me as happy as any other beer I’ve had.
The amazing yeast aroma, which at it’s mature best has a hint of brett, which then adds a dry biscuit to the sweet malt, followed by that white pepper English hop finish is just breathtaking. And of course the mouthfeel from the soft carbonation from the cask conditioning. The wide mouthfeel that allows all the other flavours to pour through. Just amazing.
Other opinions are available.
Oh I’ve missed saying that.


I love bitters, and would agree that in decent nick Harvey’s Sussex is a fantastic pint. Tend to prefer the darker, maltier ones myself - from the big regional brewers I always think Thwaites Liberation, Shep’s Kent’s Best, Waddy’s 6X and Wychwood Hobgoblin are fine beers, well worth going back to (sometimes even in preference to new rates!) and score well above 3.5 on RB for me.

I do think that the RB scoring system leads to lower scores for such beers as it doesn’t make people score on important factors like balance and drinkability, and thus tends to favour Imperial styles.

Unfortunately bitters have been overwhelmed by the influx of identikit golden ales, SIPA’s and APA’s in recent years, to the extent that I’m getting pretty bored of paler ales and am starting to actively seek bitters again. If things carry on as they are I think bitter could become a bit of an endangered style as even beers labelled as bitters become paler to compete. This would make me very, very sad.

Must be time for a CAMRA Save Bitter campaign?


Sadly my rating does not reflect that. But my memory does. Will try again in the fall.

Doesn’t cask Jaipur blow your socks off?

Yep. Whenever my local micropub has it on, I’m down there drinking as much as I can.

Chiswick Bitter cask conditioned and sourced as close to the fullers brewery as possible - happens to be one of my favourite beers on the planet. Dry hopped with that light biscuty malt…fucken hell. It’s certainly better than the more celebrated London Pride. The majority of my bitter scores are middle range. It’s a particularly hit or miss style for me…

I’m not sure exactly what this thread was about, but Bitter related . Thanks for getting me in the mood for a Chiswick

1052 Bitters rated with an average score of 3.15.

I too am guilty of not scoring them as highly as I should on occasions.


I average 3.08 for the 900 bitters I’ve had, my 383 premium bitters are higher at 3.14, for a more sensible average of basically 3.1. That’s better than IPA and IIPA, so I don’t think I’m penalising them at all, which doesn’t surprise me.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…
Ian - do your worst!

“Almost flat and stale, should have taken it back to the bar I suppose.”

Maybe we shouldn’t rate a beer when the purveyor has f…ked up the purveying? Might miss a tick, but… Just down rate the venue …

Just spitballing here.

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I will hopefully have a decent one again some day, but I rate as honestly as I can.


Been twice, surprised I have not reviewed it. I would have mentioned the beer quality if I had.


Mr 'Addock. About time you updated that rating.

Cask is all about dispense method. So many bad pubs. But I’ve had Harvey’s Best in perfect condition in Royal Oak, Market Porter, and The Harp in London. I’ve never had a bad pint in Royal Oak so you must have been very unlucky.

Royal Oak’s been a bit tired, but the Harp has been subliminal. It’s not that fragile a beer, I’ve had a beautiful pint in Cambridge too.

Sublime? I’ve had it in The Harp when it’s been like Harvey’s SBB on turbo. It’s made every atom in my body vibrate in joy and excitement.
Still the very best I’ve ever had was in the tasting room after the Harvey’s brewery tour. Sweet, sweet nectar.


Yeah, I was having an out-of-dictionary experience as I cast my mind back to those happy days!

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Just typing in my OlutExpo 2017 backlog, I’ve encountered my review of the amazing Fuller’s London Pride Unfiltered - now that’s a bitter I really enjoyed.

Reminds me:

"I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second."
Steven Wright