Bitter American in a monkey can: What more can you ask for? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Bitter American in a monkey can: What more can you ask for?

Rating: 9/10

For my first post, I wanted to get a special beer.  Special, not meaning my favorite beer, but just something that everyman could enjoy.

I’m not sure why, but when I first started drinking beer I somehow got it into my head that, “If it’s in a bottle, it’s better” and that can be true, as some beers may only come in bottles, but the canned beer market is really kind of awesome. Usually, it’s the beers with an interesting design on the can that also tend to be the most interesting to drink. I don’t want to disclose all the canned beers I may write about in the future so let’s just start with one.

It’s hard to branch away from your comfort zone on beer. It usually takes a hard shove from someone to make you fall face first into a new beer (at least for me that’s how it used to be) but this beer was different. For one, I have had the Brew Free or Die IPA by the same brewery, so I wasn’t too afraid, and two, It had a picture of a monkey in a spacesuit on the box and can.


Bitter American by 21st Amendment Brewery is the first beer on my list. Let’s get down to the basics on this bad boy.

Stats as defined by brewer

Type of Beer: Extra Pale Ale

ABV: 4.4%

Color: Pale Gold

IBUs: 42


Extra Pale Ale? Pale Ale? Before you dive into a beer it’s always nice to know where it came from.  So let’s do a little not-so-boring back story on what exactly a pale ale is. Simply put:  a pale ale is a beer that malts are dried/roasted with coke (not coca-cola or cocaine. It’s a fuel, kind of like a coal). The malt (pale malt) resulted in a pale color, which, in turn, result in it being titled “Pale Ale.” The Extra in the name is just another spin on the pale ale. Just as the IPA is a pale ale at its core, so is the XPA, just with a different hop to it.

Back story aside, let’s talk about the actual beer, and how it goes down.

First is the color. “Pale Gold” is how the brewer describes it, but it’s a bit darker than the word “pale” implies. Its actually a beautiful gold-amber color, with a nice solid carbonation on it. It smells as a pale ale should, beautifully floral, with mild-citrus like notes that round off its aroma quite nicely.

Based on the flavor, it is clear that it is dry hopped, as the flavor seems to be amped up but not so much the bitterness. It’s rounded out by a very nice malt at the end, leaving it relatively bite free, unlike some Pale ales, while retaining that crisp, almost dry, sensation that you get from some hoppy beers. For an experienced beer drinker its pretty easy to put back, but for those who take a bit longer, don’t worry, because when this baby gets a little less than “chill” it still retains its nice crisp flavor.  All and all, for a beer in a can, it’s one hell of a find, so if you happen to stumble upon it in your local barroom, speakeasy, or liquor store, go ahead and give it a go.

So let me get this straight — Smells good, tastes good, refreshing and Monkey can.

I’ll grade this guy in at a 9/10 on the Beer-o-meter.

So come on, grab one of these fancy cans and celebrate the 21st amendment.

If there are any beers that you would like for the “Brew dude” to try, drop a comment  and we will be sure to drink  it in the future and maybe review it too.

About the author

Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner, the 'Beer Dude' has known to taste and make some of the finest beers in Charm City. He figures he has made more beer than he drank or is that vice versa. He doesn't remember. If you catch him at a nearby Baltimore establishment drinking a beer, he reminds us sternly, it's solely for research purposes. He doesn't jot down notes. In fact, he highly recommends not drinking and writing because it interferes with the tasting. As always, he brings along a designated note-taker who also multi-tasks by driving him home. Drink and write responsibly and never at the same time is his motto. If you would like him to test out your establishment's home brew, just pretend you're at the O's game, and yell, "Beer man." He'll hear you. Contact the author.

One Comment

  1. Skip727 says:

    Nice post. I prefer dark beers but I will have to try Bitter American. Have you had the opportunity to try/taste Starr Hill Jameson Oak Aged Dark Starr Stout? I haven’t been able to find it in the Baltimore area but if you know of an establishment that serves or sells it, please pass it along.

    I look forward to your next review.



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