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Bluebird Bitter - Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd

Bluebird BitterBluebird Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

340 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 340
Reviews: 270
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.63%

Brewed by:
Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Bluebird is a fine session ale with a light golden colour. The intense resinous and spicy hop character which is the beer's hallmark is derived from the use of unusual quantities of English Challenger hops, each bale being individually and personally selected by the brewer. The malt is, of course, Maris Otter fermented slightly warm to give a soft fruitiness with a faint hint of scented geranium.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-06-2001)
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Ratings: 340 | Reviews: 270 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Chuckanut pint glass. Pours a rich medium golden amber wihta fine half finger white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of biscuit malt, slightly floral, light grassy hops and a metallic hint. Flavor follows, mild biscuit malt and grassy hops with a surprisingly floral character. Finishes with mild hop bitterness and a hint of sourness. Light bodied. A fairly modestly flavoreded light bitter, but with some nice subtle elements like the hops that make it stand out. I enjoyed this bitter.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 01:19:30 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of falloutsnow


3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: None, "F14 115" stamped on label
Glass: Standard US pint glass

Bluebird Bitter is a subtle, understated version of the style with fairly clean, obvious maltiness and delicate hop nuances. Good, and interesting, but the subtlety is at times a bit too much, detracting from the characters being fully present. Further, the high price ($5 per 16oz bottle) doesn't necessarily invite repeated partaking. Probably not one I'd revisit.

Pours a generous 2cm head of off-white foam, bubbles quite small in size, lending a dense, fluffy look to the mass. Retention is about one and a half minutes, slightly above average. Lacing is excellent, a thick sheet clings, unbroken, to the entire perimeter of the glass. The body is a dark golden brown color, with light bringing out pale, golden yellow hues. Carbonation is visible through the hazy (40-50% opaque) body, rising at a moderate pace, in similar numbers, from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is very mild, requiring one to inhale somewhat deeply, of light pale malt elements that contribute sweet graininess, supported by characters of bitter and herbal hops.

Fairly simple flavor profile, very mild pale malts with a faint hint of toasted bread, diluted tea, and lightly bitter, floral, and herbal hops. Front of palate features clean, crisp pale malts lending slightly sweet grain and bread, with tea and fruity esters. Mid-palate is of simple pale malt graininess with a light caramel malt touch to lend mild toastiness, blended well with mild bittering and herbal hops. Back of palate finds pale malt sweetness with a bit of toasted malt and lightly bittering hops with a slightly leafy, herbal edge. Aftertaste is of pleasant, lightly sweetened graininess associated with Maris Otter and perhaps a bit of biscuit malt, blended with a touch of lightly bitter and herbal hop characters.

Beer is of medium-light body, with medium-low levels of carbonation. Closes dry, with modest stickiness remaining on the palate and lips.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2013 05:36:51 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

4.2% in the USA. Coniston Bluebird Bitter has a thick, creamy, off-white head and an initially clear, somewhat bubbly, orange-gold appearance, with prominent lacing left on the glass. When I aggressively swished the bottom of the bottle (16.9 oz.), the caked sediment added a tan cloud to the beer. Aroma is of light, sweet, aged toffee, sugar, and bit of citrus. The taste is of white bread, zinging yeast, a dash of citrus, subdued bitterness, and grain. Mouthfeel is mostly light and a bit watery, and Coniston Bluebird Bitter finishes wet, semi-sweet, and highly quaff-able. Overall, this is a most excellent beer, and I strongly recommend checking it out.


Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 12:09:51 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Orangish/gold; cloudy; medium head, long lasting, good lacing at first

Aroma: Floral hops; biscuity malt; strange smell after swirling yeast

Taste: Very thin mouthfeel on start; not much flavor, probably overly aged; swirled the yeast to increase the flavor, but that gave it an odd taste. Don't swirl the yeast.

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 02:20:32 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of Philousa


3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

The pour is copper, clear, with not much head. All to style. The head starts as a quarter finger and settles to just a healthy ring around the glass. No lacing. Aroma starts somewhat metallic followed by a hearty nuttiness, more of a walnut. Some stone fruit also, such as apricot or peach, maybe even some berry. Taste is clean. Nutty with some tart yeast notes that fades slowly to a grassy bitterness not unlike wheatgrass, fading more to a copper, more in your face bitterness. The feel is thin, somewhat watery because of the low carbonation.

This is very to-style, but I think too metallic. I like a little more bread/biscuit in my bitter. Also, the lingering bitterness is a bit too strong for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 01:32:25 | More by Philousa
Photo of harrymel


3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On bottle: F14-275

It's golden with a center dome of white, and a brilliant clarity. Smells of sweet malt, some bits of crystal malt, a little metal and herbal hops. Flavor is delicate, malty, nice and enjoyable with just a touch of noble malts. Medium bodied with low carb and a wet finish. Nice beer. Quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2013 06:30:23 | More by harrymel
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, mild herbal hops, and a slight tea-like aroma. Taste is much the same with an earthy hop flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and super easy to drink due to how mild it is.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 03:20:02 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Half-pint, hand-pulled at the Firs Club, Codsall on 17 Nov 2012.

Although I've had this at the brewery pub years back I couldn't really remember anything about it: I still don't.

Light amber body with a thin white head.

Aroma was fairly weak: malty mostly, but after the initial caramel hints a fruity, more hoppy smell arrives.

The taste is also malts initially with a fruitier and dry hoppy underbelly. Pleasant enough and my first beer at the Real Ale Festival the club was holding. A good solid session bitter with nothing that is going to upset anyone with strong or powerful flavours.

Serving type: cask

11-21-2012 15:07:51 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of mikeg67

New Jersey

2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle. Pours orange with a long lasting white head and lively carbonation. Aroma is of perfume hops, biscuit and caramel malt, hints of fruit and yeast. Body is full and smooth. Taste is of earthy hops, sour dough, and some fruit. Finish is long and earthy. I could not drink much of it.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 23:01:52 | More by mikeg67
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale orange with a slight white head. Reduces to a skim, no lace.

Light malt and some metallic notes. Nose is very light.

A little watery, light pale malt, some mineral and light herbal bitterness, very light fruit leading to some bitterness at the end.

Medium light and a little loose.

Overall, not the best I've had. Very easy to knock these back, but this beer underwhelms on so many levels. Just ok.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 00:03:38 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of pkalix


4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

nice, clear, golden color turning hazy as i pour the final sediment-laced bit in. a little foam, interesting and even lacing, and has a very sweet smell to it. this is a new type for me and i like it a lot. i was very surprised at the very low abv, however. i get the other reviewers' 'metal' taste and it definitely fits the description. does the description of the smell being a cow pasture also resonate with other reviewers? i dont mean in a bad way, but like the grassy, highland-type of smell one gets out in the country with some distinct 'other' smells? (i'm from the city- forgive me if i come across as a moron here).
the 'bitter' didnt have a place in this until i added the sediments but i really like the flavor and the slight 'bitterness'. the liquid is full and flavorful and is filling me up. much like a heavy liquid such as milk 'fills you up', this brew seems heavy in that way after it falls to the stomach.
overall, i really like this. it is a superb new try for me and i love the flavor and the 'bitterness'. i am a bit concerned, however, that if i'm going to get this full on a beer i'm hoping it gets me where i need to be (ie. high abv) before i fill up. unfortunately, i'm not a light weight anymore..

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 23:24:29 | More by pkalix
Photo of smcolw


3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good starting head (unlike the beer tasted on tap). Doesn't leave much lace; a couple spots. The liquid is dirty gold and nearly crystal clear.

Refreshing hop background of a partially raw-grained pale malt aroma.

This is lightly sweet. Lots of pale malt flavor. Not complex. The hop finishes the beer and gives it balance. There's some sourness and a touch of metal (iron) in the aftertaste. Full like a British Pale Ale typical is.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 21:28:49 | More by smcolw
Photo of CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy golden colour with a decent looking head.

Smells fresh and slightly hoppy with some medium malts in there too.

Tastes quite hoppy for a bitter, though there is still the heavy malt presence as well balancing it out.

Overall a decent English bitter, nothing more nothing less.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2012 13:07:57 | More by CwrwAmByth
Photo of tenesmus

United Kingdom (England)

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a striaght pint glass.

Minimal head when poured (carefully, was concerned about sediment), but a generous carbonation meant the top of the pint retained a good white foam covering all the way down to the bottom, lacing reasonable. Colour is a deep brassy copper appearance, nice and clear.

Aroma has a nice sniff of fresh bread, toffee, tea and some fruits - citrus and apple. Taste is very nice, soft malts, a fruityness, citrus hops come through gently, finish is a nice bitterness on the back on the tongue.

Feel is light/medium bodied, smooth and pleasing with the carbonation aiding a refreshing moreish feel. Overall its a simple beer in in its own way, but so well brewed its deserving of its low key but respectful reputation in the UK.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 18:48:37 | More by tenesmus
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear golden yellow with light visible carbonation. This beer has a half finger tall white head that dissipates quickly leaving a ring of bubbles around the edges with a very thin layer of bubbles across the rest of the beer. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of grassy/hay malts with floral hop notes.

T: Flavors are very much a grassy/hay malt up from with a lightly bitter finish. Some subtle notes of floral hops and earthiness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Very pleasant and easy to drink. I really enjoyed this beer, probably the best bottle I have had in this style - I'm used to drinking these as real ales when in the UK.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2012 02:15:43 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of keithmurray

New York

3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a mug

appearance - cloudy golden color with a bit of white head

aroma - refreshing citrus like smell, apples, pears, fresh cut grass, green tea

taste - grassy flavor, bit of citrus (apple/pear), hops in the mix as well

mouthfeel - heavy, bubbly carbonation from the bottle conditioning, medium bodied, slight hop bitterness upfront, dry finish

overall - pretty good beer, price of this makes it something I won't drink on a regular basis, worth trying

price point - $5.49/500ML bottle

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 03:13:44 | More by keithmurray
Photo of plfahey


4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Medium dark gold color and rather clear, with a generous white head. Head shows moderately high retention and some nice, sticky lacing.

Aroma-White bread, grain, and grassy, hay-like malt with a touch of caramel in the background. Hops are lightly floral and earthy-green, but present. Some light fruity esters (apple and orange) from the yeast complement the malt profile.

Flavor-Soft bread and hay-like malt quickly gives way to crisp apple esters with a touch of honey. Mid-palate has light biscuit malt and some orange notes before a firm, yet gentle moderate bitterness comes through in the finish along with herbal and earthy hop flavors. Yeasty notes with light orchard fruit and subtle hop tones carry long into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with soft, gentle, moderate carbonation. Moderately dry finish but never astringent.

Do bottled bitters from England get better than this? I'm always skeptical of bitters coming from England-since it's such a delicate style it's no wonder that so many of them don't make the journey to the US in good condition. However, this one somehow manages to preserve many of the lovely, subtle nuances that make bitters what they are-low alcohol, fruity yeast notes with a touch of earth, multi-faceted malt profile, and light but firm hop presence. Awesome.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2012 06:10:07 | More by plfahey
Photo of gkunkle


4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a goldenrod color with a rocky white head. Head settles to a thin film. Smell is of apples, some biscuit, slightly herbal. Taste is grassy, lots of malty sweetness, a little grapefruit. Mouthfeel is in the thinner side, as it should be for this style, carbonation is playful. This is a great session beer. I initially bought hit looking for a random English bitter, but I think I may come back to it again. Also, fantastically sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 02:14:05 | More by gkunkle
Photo of danieelol


3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked this up cause I remembered it having a highish rating on here

Poured into Cigar City snifter

For the appearance see: Coopers Sparkling. Quite nice head.

Aroma is muted; metal, fruity malt and toffee

Taste is more fruity barley with a bit of a hoppy bite to it.

Mouthfeel is thinnish and appropriate for the style, with a lingering bitterness.

Seems to represent the bitter genre well, but for affordability here unfortunately it's obscene. By no means a worthwhile buy at this pricepoint ($9.50 a 500mL bottle).

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 09:06:15 | More by danieelol
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan


4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beer, glorious beer. With so many ostensible session ale's out there it's great to find one that finally can be a claimant to that title while maintaining a plethora of flavors and a modicum of perfection. American imbibers be not fooled by the low ABV or the obscure style. English bitters can satisfy the craving for hops just as much as any American IPA while hydrating the body.

This beer pours a golden rod color with a huge foaming billowing egg-shell head. The brewers really got the right amount of yeast in this bottle conditioned beer. The head leaves big clouds of lacing on the side of my pint glass.

The smell is amazing. This beer does smell like tea, English tea. Then big amounts of herb and flowers waft gently from the beer. Chamomile, lavender, germanium. daffodil. Lemon zest.

The taste is bitter. I love the germane bitterness of the challenger hops. The bitterness comes right up front does its job and then fades gently into a nice sweetness. There is so much flavor in this little doll of a beer. Mild caramel malts, like the kind your grandmother would host in her candy bowl. Spices and fruits, particularly apple and orange.

The mouthfeel is chewy and drying while remaining hydrating ,refreshing, and sweet. The body is almost tea like with a light seltzer water fizz.

I am awed by this beer. I think it is world class. If this beer were more widely available I would drink it all the time. I wish I could go to England and try more bitters. Until then, this is the top English bitter on my list. Bravo! Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 07:14:50 | More by BerkeleyBeerMan
Photo of fx20736

New York

3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a British Pint glass.

Slightly hazy Old Gold with a thick offwhite head that leaves a nebulae of nice lacing.

Aroma of white wine, apple cider and a sage like spiciness.

Mouthfeel: soft like only English water can make it.

Taste: bready malt with a slight fruitiness followed by a sharp bitterness.

Notes: Bluebird is a bottle conditioned ale. The bottle says this was the CAMRA Supreme Champion Beer of Britain in 1998. It also says the glass that won was served at 58 degrees Fahrenheit. My glass is probably around 50 degrees. This is a well made beer but I'm not sure how much I like it. The strong hop bitterness is slightly offputting. The overall impression I have is good due to the fine aroma, nice lacing and supple mouthfeel but my tastebuds don't love this like they do for Ruddles County.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 22:29:38 | More by fx20736
Photo of EmperorBevis

United Kingdom (England)

4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm always happy when I have a bottle of this in.

Glorious, utterly glorious.

The beer pours to a pale autumnal gold with a slight but pure white head that can be summoned with a swill of the glass.

A malty biscuity smell that brings a smile and whets the thirst.

Crisp, lively, refreshing and highly palatable.
It dances on the tongue, it affirms life it gets you silly with verse.
The bite slowly fades to a warming aftertaste.

And boy its lively, really sparkling, that second fermentation must be spot on to perfection.

When a beer makes you this happy its magical :D

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2011 21:14:51 | More by EmperorBevis
Photo of Rifugium


3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Handpumped into a Troegs pint glass, Bluebird Bitter poured a slightly hazy bronze-gold color with a large rocky cap of white head that dwindled down to a patchy layer and left some nice lacing on the glass. Mild malt sweetness in the aroma, hints of citrus and toffee. Light malts in the taste, grains, bready, again with hints of citrus, slight bitterness, subdued, earthy hops. Light-medium body, a bit watery and thin (as I find most English beers to be), but generally sessionable and easily drinkable.

Serving type: cask

09-05-2011 18:32:31 | More by Rifugium
Photo of bogus564

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imbibed in a pint glass at a favorite watering hole...

A: Pretty much what I was lead to believe about this type - golden amber in color, 1 cm wheat colored head that does not last long at all. Still, a nice enough looking beer.

S: There's definitely a bitter smell to it. I sense something sweet as well, though, kind of like molasses. Interesting.

T: Well, it's definitely bitter as advertised. Very hoppy, fruity like grapefruit, kind of biscuity as well, but there is also a sweetness to it that makes it work. For its type, not bad.

M: Good, not great. Light in body, decent carbonation, but man, that bitter beer face.

O: Good, not outstanding. It's an ESB, so bitter is what you have to expect. Would have gone well with something barbequed.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 00:58:37 | More by bogus564
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing really noteworthy out of the bottle as far as the appearance. Typical amber color with a light foam ring that never really goes away.

The aroma is pretty light, but what you can get is mostly grassy and citrus hops. There is a little bit of discerned sweetness that I believe is coming from the malts, but can't be sure just yet.

Now this is really nice. The expected bitterness is there bringing grassy notes and a bit of grapefruit. The malts balance this nicely making the bitterness very bearable. The malts are responsible for the sweetness and after really contemplating that flavor element separately I find that the grains in this remind of of Sugar Smacks cereal, but not as sweet. That means that the barley is really shining here and was well caramelized.

The body is medium and it is indeed bitter, but not puckering. This beer is a classic example of this style and I'm glad that my favorite watering hole had this one in when I was there last.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 22:41:38 | More by Naugros
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Bluebird Bitter from Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
87 out of 100 based on 340 ratings.