Bluebird Bitter | Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd

very good
288 Reviews
Bluebird BitterBluebird Bitter

Brewed by:
Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-06-2001

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Reviews: 288 | Ratings: 460
Photo of JsDandy
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours exactly the way you would want a session beer to pour: the head lasts long enough to drink at a steady pace. Lacing is left on the glass exactly the way you'd expect for a beer in this style - you can practically count how many sips you've taken.

S: Vegetal in a yellow, dried sense. Neither miraculous or offensive.

T: Continued sense of sundried grasses and wheats.

F: This is where Bluebird Bitter shines. There is a certain quenching sensation on the pallette that gives way to the bittering dryness which encourages you to take another sip. Perfect for a session.

O: This Coniston Brewing Co. concoction is not the platform for an experience but rather an addition to the experience you are already having. Perfect for a session with friends.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tasted from draught in the UK and from a 1pt 9 oz bottle on several occasions. Most recently tasted in a 12 oz snifter from draught at Firkin on August 19, 2016. Look is bright gold with a creamy white head and sticky lacing. Smell is orange, grapefruit and pineapple with sweet malt aromas. Taste is bitter hops and citrus rind with biscuit and grain malt flavors. Feel is light in body with a crisp dry finish. Nice.

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Photo of HamdenHector
2.98/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A: crystal clear; medium gold in color; <1 finger white head that receded quickly to a very thin collar; lots of visible carbonation rising; little lacing;

S: earthy; a little floral;

T: malt, corn, very little hop character until mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; light to moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: not all that interesting; if not for the bitterness, I could have confused this for an adjunct lager

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at at The Owl House in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a slightly hazy, mostly clear yellow-ish amber, with a very small head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like grassy hops, fruity yeast, biscuity and crackery malts, and some light citrus.

I honestly expected a little bit better out of this one. it's got kind of a flat, stale flavor to it, behind the admittedly good background of spicy hops and fruity malts.. I also get some tea-like hop flavor, as well.

This is light bodied, with a a crisp mouthfeel, and a moderate level of carbonation.

Not bad, but slightly disappointing, unfortunately.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 10/25/2014. Pours slightly hazy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, orange, plum, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bready malt, earthy hops, and fruity yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, orange, plum, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, plum, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice robustness, complexity, and balance of bready malt, earthy hop, and fruity yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 4.2%. Overall this is an excellent English bitter. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of bready malt, earthy hop, and fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stiff leggy froth over lively tawny blonde. 4
Orange pekoe with flowers and crackery grain poking out. 4
Hay and lean Crystal toast crust, some caramel, then a big hit of grass, tangerine, and lemon barley sweets. 4
Toffee sweets to end and gentle floral linger but with real IBUs.
Soft, round, light-medium, salty. 4.25

Challenger hits hard when it starts, and throughout it play more like a malt v hops pale ale - low on any fruity esters you might expect from an English bitter. But it opens into a smooth body and understated sweetness, even if there’s a tannic edge. All about balance and nuance; I get the praises. 4.25

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

50cl bottle; F17061. No mic pint.

A: pours a very slightly hazy very pale copper/dark gold. 1.5 fingers bright white head. Decent lacing, very good retention.

S: mild hippiness, slightly fruity. Pretty mild.

T: amazing flavor for 4.2! Light, salty bitter arrival. Smooth, featherweight maltiness across mid palate. Very bitter, clean finish. Slight lingering bitterness.

M: light, clean, effervescence high at first, then settles to appropriate levels for the style. Exceptionally clean.

O: very light, hoppy, bitter, refreshing ale. Nice, but not tops in my English category. My first true bitter, though.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptionally good session bitter, proof positive that good beer doesn't depend on high abv.

Very pretty light amber-honey colored clear liquid with a nice white head.

Subtle slightly herbal aroma.

Very well balanced flavor. Nice amounts of slightly toasty malt with a decent amount of hops.

Soft smooth and full mouthfeel.

I like this one.

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Photo of KonigObHops
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a light copper color with a thin ivory head that dissipates quickly.

The aroma is bitter and yeasty.

The initial taste is crisp with a bit of an acidic bite. In the middle, it is all hops as one might expect from the style, but this is a very straightforward beer. There is very little on the back end of this beer. The hops and malt do linger a bit, but no additional favors come through at the end.

The mouthfeel is crisp with a nice bite from the hops.

This is a nice session beer. It is not very complicated, and if you are looking for a beer where you can taste the hops without being overpowered by them, then this one might be for you.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Copper/amber in color and pours a thin head. Bonus points for the awesome scotch looking bottle.

Aroma- Bready malts and grassy/spicy hops.

Taste- Sweet, yet dry, caramel malts are noticeable at first. Then spicy hops come in and add a surprisingly sharp punch of bitterness. The bitterness starts to fade quickly though, transitioning to a sweet malt finish with a dry bread malt as well. As it warms up the bitterness mellows out the bready malt really comes out and amplifies the flavor of the beer.

Feel- At 4.2% this isn't thin bodied at all, but its definitely easy drinking.

Overall- This pretty much hit all the points I wanted it to. Easy drinking while having flavorful combo of spicy hops and bready malts. Solid choice for an english bitter.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an excellent bitter, a bit more hoppy than i suppose is traditional, which really works in this case. just a touchof haze to the otherwise very bright looking tan golden brew. it has a really spicy hop complexion on the nose, beyond english grassiness, it moves to almost white pepper spice, vegetal still, but dominant. the malt base both smells and tastes a lot less sweet than other bitters, less of the crystal 60 type, more straight maris or even esb type malts in this give it a delicate bready vibe, distinctly english, but quite advanced. the hops in the finish are a lot, and this is one bitter that actually is bitter, not just the word but the taste. a honey sort of sweetness hangs around, and the yeast is light for an english strain. perhaps the ultimate session beer right here. i love the affordability, and the refreshing mouthfeel. i have not been the biggest advocate of the traditional english beers, but this one goes next level, and has sparked a new interest in these styles for me. very good, very distinct.

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Photo of pat61
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: Biscuit malt with a slight skunk that swirling the glass drives off. Appearance: brilliantly clear pale gold, with a 2" very finely bubbled persistent, lacy white foam cap. Taste: starts sweet with a touch of bitterness, balanced towards the hop, has earthy floral hop, finishes dry with a little citrus peel. Citrus in the finish. Mouthfeel: real crisp, medium body, creamy Carbonation medium.

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Photo of Chico1985
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A - 500ml pours to a mug a nice darkish orange color with a thin white head. Good retention.

S - Light resiny/herbal/fruity qualities, toast, grains, paper. Pretty faint.

T - Opens up more here with with nutty tones and floral hops, still big on the toasted grain with a light buttery sweetness to it. Some pretty average subtle herbal and fruity hop. Kinda mineral-y.

M - Light but smooth with highish foamy carbonation.

O - I like a nice light English bitter/pale but this one unfortunately is lacking in flavor. Unoffensive if you're looking for an easy drinker but there are better choices in the style, probably for cheaper.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Served at cellar temperature into straight pint glass.

A) Lager-amber colour, hazy, foamy white head.

S) Light fragrant English hops.

T) Light bittering hops balanced well with light biscuity malt.

M) Light carbonation, good body to the beer, spot on for the style.

O) Good example for the style, I would wager it is very good on tap in a beer garden in the summer.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampling right now on 1/22/15. Says on the side of the bottle: "Best Served at 58 degrees F in a straight pint glass at the Black Bull Inn, Coniston, Cumbria". Well, that ain't gonna happen. LOL! :) Comes in a single 500ml (16.9 ounce) old-fashioned bottle for around $3.50. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F and poured in to a "DAB" glass-handled stein.

Pours a hazy golden-honey in color with almost a 2-finger foamy white head that settles down to just 1mm after about 15 mins. LOTS of lacing is seen when sipped. The aroma is of pine, some floral and hops for the most part. The taste has a bit more going on as the hops and sourness is followed up by the pine with some floral hops. The finish is dry and bitter but doesn't last too long. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. When this brew warms up is does taste a little better but still not a favorite.

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Photo of delta490
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a lighter clear amber with a thick cap of creamy white head. Great retention and stickier meringue-like lacing. The aroma is rich and fruity with just a hint of spice. The taste is just the way a pint of bitter should taste, with rich malt tones (caramel and fruit) and just enough hops to balance it out. The body is lighter, but feels fuller and has a nice smoothness to it. This is a bottle-conditioned ale (it says it on the bottle) so a careful pour will prevent sediment.

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Photo of busternuggz
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a shaker pint glass.

Beautiful, clear golden color with a foamy 1/4" white head. Big foamy bubbles, thick shallow lacing. Comes back nicely with a swirl.

The aroma is floral and somewhat spicy, with a soft caramel/toffee note. A little grainy. Nice.

Similarly the taste comes on with spicy, floral hops, some pleasantly sharp herbal/grassy notes, and subtle toffee. A little fruitiness I can't quite place. Ends light and dry with a bit of a grapefruit zest and pine aftertaste. There's a delicate malty sweetness in the very beginning, but it finishes lightly bitter.

Nicely textured, comes on somewhat thick and fluffy then fades away light and clean. Smooth and drinkable, it's hard to put it down.

This beer is a great example of simple but well executed English brewing. An excellent true to style bitter, with a nice hop punch to it.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle bought from The Vintage, Antrim...

Poured quite a light copper orange colour. Slightly off white head poured big, thick and foamy then faded quite quickly to thickish covering with good thick edging that creeps up the glass.... barely any carbonation bubbles.... some good lines of lacing around the glass...

Aroma - Decent juicy fruits to the fore (oranges, pears, some strawberry traces), light biscuity malts, quite grassy hops, peppey notes, some raw nuts, light marzipan traces, faint graininess, some sulphur...

Taste - Good peppery, grassy and citrusy hop bitterness up front, tart and spicy fruits (grapefuits, bitter oranges (marmalade?), apples), light biscuit malts, toasted bread notes, butterscotch, metallic traces, floral..

Feel - Quite sharp and dry... light bodied... very refreshing and thirst quenching - i could happily down a few of these in an evening...

Overall - A very good and quite hoppy British bitter... recommended...

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

First had this ontap during a Shelton Bros event in '11 - 3.6% abv, as listed. Been seeing it on cask around town quite often recently.

Refreshingly bold hop presence and herbal-medicinal bitterness - superbly balanced. Notable complexity of aromas and flavors - apple peel, grapefruit peel and spicy flesh, grassy, and tiny-flower aromas matched against a mellow toasty malt foundation.

Light honey golden color to the liquid. Soft, sudsy ring of off-white foam down to the bottom.

Quite a lovely intensity of flavor matching the aroma. Clean and crisp body, immensely quaffable (in large volume). I really must endeavor to practice coaxing such sublime taste and drinkability from lower gravity in my own brewing. Can't be too difficult, huh? This is easily in the top tier of bitters I've had so far.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my tippy-top favorite English Bitters. Had this originally on tap at the Bull's Head Tavern in Lititz. Had this again on 2015-12-30 in Columbia, PA from a 16.9 oz bottle

A - Pretty clear amber-gold with a 1-finger white head and mild lace.

S - Lightly roasted grain, nut, light fruit.

T - Biscuit, nuts, grass, white grape, citrus, tea.. Mild roast and earthy hop bitterness. Finishes dry with an excellent clean, lingering finish of all the well-balanced flavors. Delicious.

M - Light body and light-medium carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O - An excellent brew. Lots of flavor. Would have this in my fridge year round if it was available and affordable. Unfortunately, this bottle was $6.00 at Whole Foods in PA but certainly worth it as a treat.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.35/5  rDev +13%
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.


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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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

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Photo of Philousa
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

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Bluebird Bitter from Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
3.85 out of 5 based on 460 ratings.
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