Butler’s Bitter from Niagara College Teaching Brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario has a deep amber hue with honey highlights and a moderately-sized and frothy tan head that gets retained as a small collar and spotty film. A rocky, somewhat mossy mineral-heavy aroma is prevalent in this English bitter and backed up by bready, syrupy malts that evoke molasses and accented by a note of lemon juice.
The taste of Butler’s Bitter is also syrupy and rather sweet at first, here taking on a dark toffee character. Accents of cashew and coffee lead to a bitter finish with notes of lemon, black tea and mineral water and an aftertaste that carries a mild, berry-like fruitiness. This ale is full-bodied with mild carbonation and is heavy with malt and earth on the tongue.
The rustically coloured label of Butler’s Bitter prominently displays the logo of the Niagara 1812 Legacy Council above images of a Union Jack and an American flag from the colonial period. The back describes the beer’s historic roots and the teaching brewery, with a date of bottling clearly stamped in black.
Butler’s Bitter has a solid foundation though it’s also a bit rough around the edges. I find the contrast between its bitterness and syrupy character a touch stark, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying almost a dozen bottles to date. This ale goes very well with beef dishes, mashed and roasted potatoes, fresh breads and roasted vegetables.
You can find Butler’s Bitter at almost 100 LCBO stores and the Niagara College Teaching Brewery retail store is open seven days a week.
Type: English Bitter
Region: Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Brewery: Niagara College Teaching Brewery
Format Purchased: 650 mL
Alcohol Content: 4.4%