Rogue Brewing Company should consider themselves very lucky indeed that they live in a country where strong beer that is cleverly marketed is not seen as a worrisome thing which will result in the inevitable destruction of the very moral fabric of society. Of course there are parts of America where alcohol of any description is decried - Alabama comes to mind, but generally you will not note the level of hypocrisy that is levelled in Britain when it comes to sharply marketed strong craft beer. After all wine is lauded in every foodie supplement and not a mention of the mind bending alcohol levels is made. I find it very strange indeed that wine is thrown back by the half bottle by many people without a second thought, while the mention of a beer that weighs in at 9% sends the very same people scurrying under the table. Nobody would drink 750ml of 14% ale by themselves, yet the same volume of wine disappears with little thought or effort at all. I'm sure a beer like Brutal Bitter would get the same reception from the hand wringers as Orkney Brewery's Skull Splitter - it sounds aggressive and nasty and totally unsuitable for the public to cope with. No doubt they would want to drink pints and pints of it with the intention of getting smashed. Perhaps millionaires might enjoy getting hammered on craft beer, but let's face it, if the average person wants to drunk he/she grabs numerous tins of something cheap and nasty and gets on with the job. They are not going to spend 3 or 4 quid on a sufficient number of 330ml bottles of craft ale to do it. Why the hand wringers at The Portman Group and other nanny state organisations don't see this I have no idea.
The beer itself is typical Rogue with plenty of orange/citrus notes, an intense bitterness and a substantial rich malt backbone to bear the strain of the hops. The alcohol is evident but only in the background where is warms nicely, but otherwise lets the malt and hops get on with the show. Why it is called a Bitter I don't know. It's not Bitter as I and a couple of million British beers drinkers know it, but that's not a problem. My only sadness about discovering its true nature was a fleeting thought that an American brewer was attempting to brew this classic beer style because it is always fun to see what Americans make of a straight up interpretation of old beers styles rather than pimping them to extreme levels that are so common at the moment.