20 February 2006

The Sweet Buzz of the Bee

Oh Boddington's... how I have grown to love you. But... what is a Bitter? How can I love you, and not know who you are? So, here's what I have discovered about you, my yellow friend:

Bitter is an English specialty, and very much an English term, generally denoting the standard ale--the "session" beer --in a English brewers range. They are characterized by a fruitiness, light to medium body and an accent on hop aromas more than hop bitters. Colors range from golden to copper. Despite the name they are not particularly bitter. Indeed, British brewed "bitters" will often be less bitter than US craft brewed amber ales. A fuller bodied bitter is labeled as "Extra Special Bitter" (ESB). These weightier versions of bitter often stand up better to the rigors of travel overseas than the lower gravity standard versions. An important element of faithful bitters are English yeast cultures used in fermentation. These impart a fruity, mildly estery character that should be noted in examples of the style. Bitters are now widely emulated in North America, sometimes with domestically grown hops imparting a rather more assertive character than seen in traditional English bitters.

What I do certainly know... no one will steal you away from me... if they do, they'll get a belt in the gob. So HAINDS off!

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