It's #FloridaBeerFriday. Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft beer movement of Florida.
The English bitter is a beer style that hits close to this beer reviewer's heart: for a while, every Friday, I'd hang out all afternoon and evening at the Blue Anchor in Delray with coworkers pounding British beers by the Imperial pint.
It's a style that isn't too well represented in the American craft beer scene. After all, it's seemingly the antithesis of what is 'hip' in beer parlance. The current dose of big flavorful beers with some extreme aspect to them is admirable, but sometimes there just needs to be a recipe that combines uncomplicated flavors in a well made package.
That's where the straightforward English pale ale comes in.
The Funky Buddha Brewery, probably most known for its off-the-wall culinary creations like the raspberry habanero Fire In The Hole or the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, has been on a kick lately to find a stable of sessionable beers... glasses of cold fermented goodness that is drinkable for a pint or two without knocking you out.
It was with excitement that I noticed their version of the humble English bitter was on tap. It is presented a vibrantly clear orange with a thin white head that leaves a lot of lacing down the glass. The aroma is mildly wet grain and some toffee, which meets with the flavors of toast, caramel, and dryness. It's also got some earthy bitterness to it, though in no way close to an American pale ale or IPA, just enough to give some balance to the mild malt bill. Oh yeah, this is only a 4% abv. beer. Definitely sessionable.
The beer finishes off with some maltiness and is a bit thin on the mouthfeel owing to the lower alcohol content. It comes a bit more carbonated than a traditional English bitter would, but they're pushing this one out of their regular beer lines and not using a beer engine (wherein the bartender literally pulls beer from a keg by hand pumping it out), a standard English way of pouring a beer of this style. While I prefer it with a lower carbonation, it doesn't detract too much from the appreciation.
Overall, if you're looking for a maltier way to drink without getting completely hammered, or are looking for an alternative to the already sessionable Crusher by Funky Buddha, their Ordinary Bitter is currently on offer and awaiting quaffing.
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Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.