Early Bird
Shepherd Neame Ltd

Early BirdEarly Bird
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Shepherd Neame Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Pale Ale - English
3.46 | pDev: 13.01%
May 16, 2015
Aug 31, 2002
Early BirdEarly Bird
Notes: None
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Photo of Lemreway16
4.73/5  rDev +36.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Lemreway16 from England

Early Bird is the ideal Spring and Summer Pale Ale, the beer to beat gassy lager. Slightly chilled it is full of hops and her tastes. Suburb after taste quite simply more-ish. One down draw is that of course it is a seasonal beer and not always to be found in the darker months of the year. I highly recommend this fine English Ale.

May 16, 2015
3.5 by Evil_Pidde from Sweden on Aug 09, 2014
3.5 by BogBoyJD from Ireland on Jun 24, 2013
Photo of Stalbie
3.12/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by Stalbie from England

Served into a goblet

A - Golden copper with a hay coloured head, which doesnt stay for very long. Little to no lacing

S - Strong hops with some herbs, spice, flowers and grass

T - Hops are obviously at the forefront here with a citrusy zing and some grass/hay. Malt comes through with mild caramel. Good linger, if a little too sweet

M - Silky with little C02

O - If you like sweet, hoppy beers then grab a bottle of this

PS - This is my first review =)

Aug 24, 2012
Photo of thierrynantes
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by thierrynantes from France

Beer bottle (50 cl.), tasted in 2011.

Appearance : orange amber color with a white foamy head (not peristent).
Smell : fruity ans floral aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : malty and floral flavours with bitterhops into the finish.
Drinkability : an average beer in the style English Pale Ale.

Jul 12, 2011
Photo of mapofthedead
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by mapofthedead from England

A: A nice golden amber in colour with a decent off-white head with nice lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Hops, grass, dandelions and citrus - very pleasant.

T: Hops and grass again with quite a bitter aftertaste. Not horrible, but the bitterness does build up over the duration of the pint.

M: Light, perhaps a little thin.

D: Light and inoffensive drink, but could get quite tiresome over a session. Good for two or three!

May 20, 2010
Photo of soulgrowl
4.1/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by soulgrowl from England

Pristinely clear maple amber, capped with a delightfully ice creamy head, but unfortunately it doesn't retain particularly well. Brilliant fresh hop aroma of geraniums, carrots, sage, and good ol' freshly cut grass oozes from the glass, edged by a bit of nutty malts. Pleasant to drink for sure, but not tremendously impactful, with a surplus of softness: mild and smooth carbonation, delicately peppery (but still very floral and aromatic) hops, and mild toast-with-honey malt notes. This is a good one from Shepherd Neame, really a very nice use of hops.

Apr 21, 2010
Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
by JohnfromDublin from Ireland

I tasted this on March 19th 2010 (best by Sept 10); on special offer in LIDL at 1.86 a bottle.
Before I start, I confess to bing usually underwhelmed by beers from Shepherd Neame. This was a pleasent surprise however.

I poured it into a Streff Hendrick glass a nice whitish head on a deep copper coloured body with bubbles rising. The head thinned, but did not dissappear.
There was an instant smell of pine and citrus to the hop aroma.
The taste was quite hoppy and zesty; a great accompanyment to spicy food (even Bombay mix!). Again, some notes of pine and slight citrus.

Overall, this was a very decent beer; quite refreshing and excellent value.

Mar 22, 2010
Photo of StJamesGate
3.42/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by StJamesGate from New York

Pours reddish amber with a puffy white head that fades fast, leaving trailers. Nose is grassy and grapefruit zest, with a hint of corn silk - malts surprisingly quiet for an English beer. Golden syrup malts trumped by a lactic sting with chalky hops bitterness and lemon rind coming at the end. Dry finish, thin to medium, lively with no burn.

In going heavy on the hops, they seemed to have gotten the bitterness without the flavor. Quenching, but not altogether pleasant.

Mar 10, 2010
Photo of Sigmund
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by Sigmund from Norway

500 ml clear bottle, from Systembolaget, thanks to Ole_R! ABV is 4.5%. Deep golden colour, big white (possibly slightly off-white) head. "Skunky" aroma when opening the bottle, not unpleasant though. Nice hoppy (like the name says: Early Bird) aroma in the glass, grassy and slightly woody notes. Light mouthfeel, moderately hoppy flavour with hints of toffee. "Dusty" and moderately bitter finish. No masterpiece, but refreshing and highly drinkable.

Jul 21, 2009
Photo of ricke
2.39/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2
by ricke from Sweden

Serving date: 2009-03-09. Best before: February 2010. Served in snifter.

A: Deep golden orange. Big off-white uneven and rather thick head. Medium amount of lacings. Plenty of bubbles in the liquid.

S: Dry earth and fresh carrots. Boiled root vegetables, especially cauliflower. Chestnuts. Some hops, mostly sharp floral resins (like sucking on a newly picked dandelion) and restrained citric notes. This is not pleasant at all. Very strange and edgy.

T: Mild sweet fruit aromas up front (grapefruit, pears) This part is quite nice, then it gets worse. A weird and unpleasant mix of metallic flavors, dry loaf, some faint malts, something roasted and very strange sharp hop aromas (again, floral resins). The finish is surprisingly bitter, but there's nothing to balance it so it just feels out of place. It ends with a very long - and this is not a good quality in this context - aftertaste of dry earthy minerals and more floral resins. The finish is actually really bad, and it gets worse towards the end.

M: Medium body, plenty of carbonation (too much). It feels bland.

D: This is as close to awful a beer can get. The only positive qualities where the appearance and the fruity flavors just in the beginning. The rest ranges from weird and out of place to very unpleasant.

Maybe this was a bad bottle, I don't know, but I really did not like this one.

Mar 11, 2009
Photo of bark
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
by bark from Sweden

The colour is copper/brass; the high firm airy head is warm white.

The smell is hoppy and fresh with a note of sweet dough that I recognize from other Shepherd Neame ales. I also found a slight metallic-bitter flavour, hints of exotic spices and wort.

The taste is mildly hoppy and a bit sweet in the start. Then, drier malty flavours of brown bread and cookies emerge. The aftertaste is light and somewhat sweet with hints of spices, exotic fruits, yeast and a very fragile touch of alcohol.

The carbonation is mild, the liquid smooth.

A nice bitter, but not as balanced and gulpable as I remembered it.

Mar 07, 2009
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.52/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by BlackHaddock from England

Clear 500ml bottle with an ABV of 4.5%, best before Feb 2009, drank May 2008.

Poured into a Forbidden Fruit Chalice, just because I can!

Good clear light amber colour, not much of a head though, pity.

Floral aroma with a good hop content, also yeasts at the begining, before the pour, that aroma faded as the beer sped into the glass.

Spritzy, almost sharp. Very refreshing, ideal for a warm spring evening, luckily that is what we have at the moment in the UK, so this has gone down very well. The hops come through, but not enough to ruin the other delicate flavours that are in the beer, grapefruit and sweet citrus tones abound.

Mouthfeel isn't to strong, there is a presence of alcohol and the hops/citrus flavours do stay a while. However it doesn't have that extra feel to make me want another pint straight away. So drinkability is only average too. I drink with my eyes, the loss of any head prevented this beer getting higher scores from me.

May 13, 2008
Photo of JanM
3.42/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by JanM from Sweden

Poured with an amber color and with nice thick foam. It smelled of fruits, hops and herbs. Pretty good actually. The taste is like the smell diluted with water. I suupose the comparatively low ABV contributes to this. It has a sursprisingly thin body but on the other hand it's very British pub bitter-like apart from the carbonation. Don't think I'll buy it again, though.

Mar 03, 2007
Photo of wl0307
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by wl0307 from England

Tasted by half-pint recently at my local JDW pub, the Half Moon, in East End London.

A: dark golden or pale amber in colour, good clarity; a thin layer of sparse bubbles on the top, on top of a low carbonated body.
S: very mild citric Goldings and pale malts are backed by a fresh aroma like "spring breeze" in the field~~ followed by some earthy and sulphuric impacts after a while.
T: Goldings-hops dominated the palate, green and fresh, on top of an intriguing touch of sour, peary-like fruity note and leaf-herbal scents, before a salty-maltiness asserts itself... A crisp and clean aftertone, carrying more hoppy weight at the back; again here, SN's trademark subtle insertion of hops renders a soft and mild body, but overall it still tastes very hoppy (make sense?).
M&D: very light-bodied, rather thin actually--a bit off-balance overall. For a bitter, it's a refreshing example, not a bitter one; but just about right for a light-weight spring pale ale.

Jun 02, 2006
Photo of foamer
3.66/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4
by foamer from Virginia

Sampled at the Bon Accord, Glasgow.

Pours a rich amber with a frothy off-white head with some nice foam left on the glass after every sip. Some malt and grassy hops in the nose but not a whole lot. a nice hop twang on the outset with a faint citrusy hint to it followed by a lingering grassy hop character whilst all the while being backed up by some sweet malts which come through in the end. Incredibly smooth and heavy mouthfeel. This one was as smooth as silk. Quite marvellous. A rather drinkable ale, and being on cask avoids any problems with those clear bottles which Shepherd Neame seems to be so unfortunately fond of.

Apr 26, 2005
Photo of cypressbob
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by cypressbob from Northern Ireland

500ml bottle

Pours with a light amber body, slight foamy head with fair retention

Smell, some hint of grain, some fresh grass, some hint of english hops but also followed by a hint of off aromas

Taste, grainy and crisp. Ah jesus, another one of those shepard neame beers that is just so similar and bland it should have its own category...not bad, but tastes like a watery crisper spitfire

Fine, little else. I've only had one good beer from this brewery, the rest has been average at best. Fairly drinkable but very bland

Apr 02, 2005
Photo of GreenCard
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by GreenCard from Maryland

Appearance: light brown/amber, great clarity, medium layer of frothy white foam, scraps of lace

Aroma: light maltiness, floral hops, touch of iron, unripe strawberries

Flavor: fairly dry malt base that only gets sweeter in the aftertaste, herbal hop flavor, hint of soap, edge of grapefruit rind bitterness, residual resin and hop notes in the end

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, fine carbonation, a bit metallic on the back of the tongue

Other comments: All in all a "nice" beer. Not breaking any barriers or in danger of offending anyone. Might be scrumptious on cask.

Mar 09, 2005
Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by rastaman from England

Deep gold colour, decent head. Light hoppyness on both nose and palate, sweetish maltyness aswell, bittersweet flavour, and a bit sticky and resiny, its OK, but nothin to write home about, lightish body.

Aug 31, 2002
Early Bird from Shepherd Neame Ltd
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 19 ratings