Bitter is a type of ale, originally derived from pale ale. A stronger version has become a popular bottled beer. The main ingredient is malted barley, with hops only added to improve the keeping properties and give a distinctive smell and taste.
Bitter covers a wide variety of taste, aroma and appearance. These include copper, malty, dry and sweet, while some have the aroma of hops. In Yorkshire, England, the bitter tends to have a creamy head whilst in the South-East the beer is generally more hoppy and served without a head.
Brewers in England include:
- Eldridge Pope
- Gales Ales
- Hall and Woodhouse
- Harvey's of Lewes, Sussex.
- Mansfield Brewery
- Shepherd Neame - allegedly Britain's oldest brewery
- Ringwood Brewery
- Samuel Smiths
- Whitbreads including Brickwoods and many others
A good source of information is The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in the UK.
Bitter beer is produced in other countries, but is less popular than Lager beer or Stout beer (Guinness). In particular, consumers in the United States show very little demand for bitter beer; advertisements for a brand of lager beer bill the product as a "never bitter beer."