Bluebird Bitter
Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd

Bluebird BitterBluebird Bitter
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English Bitter
Ranked #12
Ranked #16,132
3.88 | pDev: 12.63%
Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Bluebird BitterBluebird Bitter
Notes: 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.
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Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 501 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RaulMondesi
RaulMondesi from California

3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sometimes you have to make the safe call, you know? Like going with a 5 wood over your driver, or picking the third in charge on the cheerleading squad over the captain because you know it’s a sure thing. And what we have here in Bluebird Bitter is pretty much a sure thing. It’s not a 300 yard drive, and it’s definitely not hot Natalie who runs the show at half time. Yep, just a solid one here that isn’t too bombastic. And Raul is ok with that.


May 25, 2020
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Eapressocycle from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Poured from half liter bottle. No head, light carbonation. Slightly cloudy amber hue. Less malty than it looks with a crisp, neutral bitter finish. I could drink this all day in any weather, but it's not especially interesting and Old Speckled Hen is just as good.

Dec 08, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pulled from a cask into 16 oz (473 ml) nonic at the Ginger Man in NYC.
A: Pours a near crystal clear, dark golden to amber color with a 2 finger, foamy, wheat colored head, solid retention all the way down, and sticky patches of lacing.
S: Aromas of sweet caramel malt, white pepper, grasses; also a bit of a butterscotch note at times.
T: Semidry. Flavors mirror the nose, but more peppery bitterness notable and offsets much of the other flavors.
M: Light bodied with nice carbonation early, but much lighter late.
O: Enjoyable, but I suspect I came to this well a touch late. I always try to get real cask ale, but that has a plus and minus column. In this case, the bitter monicker really applied.

Nov 22, 2019
Photo of JohnECab

4.8/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is one of my favorite brews out there. It is bitter yet smooth and full of flavor. If you don't like bitter beers, you may not go for this one, but give it a shot. It has a smoothness to it that is brilliant. The taste and feel are awesome as well. I regularly buy these from Tipple's Brews, which is a wonderful store in Gainesville, FL.

Sep 16, 2019
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$ 5.58 (Including tax and discount)/16.9 oz bottle ($ 0.330/oz) from State Line Liquor, Elkton, MD. Reviewed 7/18/19.
Bottle stamped “F20 332” on bottom of label. On shelf in store. Stored at 42 degrees and served at 58 degrees (Per bottle instructions) in a hand washed and dried imperial pint glass.
Appearance – 4.
First pour – Light yellow, clear.
Body – Amber, clear. When held to the light, bright orange.
Head – Large (Maximum 5.5 cm, aggressive center pour), off-white, initially fizzy but quickly calming, medium density, short retention, diminishing to a four to fourteen mm jagged crown and thin partial cap.
Lacing – Fair. As the level drops, irregular bands of tiny to small bubbles remain.
Aroma – 4 – Strong sweet caramel, malt, weak earthy hops.
Flavor – 3.5 – Malt forward but less caramelly than the nose suggests. Some distinct earthy hops are the aftertaste dominating my palate. No alcohol taste or aroma (4.2 % ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 – Medium, watery, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 3.5 – Decent bitter but nothing exciting.

Jul 18, 2019
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beergoot from Colorado

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber body, crystal clear; thin yet rich and creamy head. Crisp and delicate malt sweetness on the nose; light caramel; some toastiness to the grain. Warm, grainy taste; dull sweetness; suggestion of honey; strong yet balanced hop bitterness. Medium body; nice residual sugar presence; crisp with a fairly dry quality overall.

This beer delivers a very fine malt-forward experience, doing an excellent job of balancing toasted grain and hop bitterness flavors throughout the taste. I can't say I picked up on the label's descriptions of "soft fruitiness with a faint hint of geranium", but it certainly brings a nice flavorful nuttiness and bitterness to the palate. And at only 4.2% ABV, this certainly could be something to enjoy throughout the day.

Jun 30, 2019
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FBarber from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy burnished orange color. thin one finger white head lingers with good retention.

Aroma has notes of light fruit, black tea notes, lightly toasted bready malts, and some earthy fresh flowers. I can see the geranium comparison on the nose. Nice aroma.

Taste has notes of black tea - Really get a strong, albeit nice, black tea flavor with some earthiness, and a light malty backbone.

Feel is light, drinkable, sprightly moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a really nice beer. This was a fresh bottle and it really showed in how lovely this was. That being said, I can see how this beer would not hold up well for long. Enjoy fresh or not at all.

May 03, 2019
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle reads ‘F19 356’; presumably best by 12/22/19

Pours a murky brownish orange topped with a loosely-composed off-white head, which recedes fairly quickly, but leaves plenty of thicker, webby lacing and a sizeable, lasting collar of foam.

Aromas of noticeable apple core and plenty of herbal fruity esters (if a composting fruit salad could possibly smell good, this would be that case); plenty of earthy tones and a subtle black tea round out the bouquet.

Taste brings a straightforward bready malt/earthy/slightly spicy hop balance to go with minor herbal tones, bits of zesty, fruity funk, and a hard mineral component; tightly-composed, strong herbal bitterness along with the faintest berry fruitiness pop into focus as the finish fades.

Mouthfeel shows a medium-light body with lower carbonation; very dry throughout, and finishes mostly clean against only a mild bitterness.

Unique in spots, but never hits that next level; the bitterness in the profile really didn’t hang around long enough to express itself. This is incredibly drinkable, though, in spite of it lacking that punchier quality I enjoy in the style.

Mar 07, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed as part of BJCP training. 11B Best Bitter
Pours a decent foamy but smaller head, mild retention (acceptable for style), not much lacing, very clear deep golden honey color

Malty sweet aroma, mostly bready toasty malts, hops are lighter, bringing a mild herbal earthy note, just a touch of fruity esters and minerals, pretty light

Taste brings more sweet toasty bready malts that disappear quickly behind big hops, moderate bitterness, some hop flavors with earthy and mild herbal floral notes, mild herbal tea and touch of minerals, very light fruity ester notes, finishing dry and quite bitter, but not astringent

Mouth is med to lighter bod, carb on the lighter side (acceptable for style)

Overall not bad, hits style well, a little boring though

Feb 21, 2019
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IronLover from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep orange in color with a touch of haze. Poured with a moderate, soapy, off-white foam with medium low retention. Light spicy, herbal hop aromas with biscuity, bready and fruity notes. Medium light bodied with low carbonation and a delicate, creamy smooth feel. Spicy and herbal flavors from the start followed by medium bitterness that intensifies to nearly the finish. Light fruity flavors peek out from beneath the bitterness along bready maltiness. Finished with light fruity notes and spicy bitterness that lingers for a bit. Fantastic balance and feel. Complex, layered flavors with the perfect level of bitterness. 

Dec 05, 2018
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MNAle from Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma of bread/biscuit, slightly spicy/pepper, fruit, grass. Feel has moderate body. A bit hazy, orange/amber. Short white head that dissipates quickly in a bubbly ring and patchy cap. Taste is very British ale... lightly herbal, earthy, biscuit, lemon, with the hops adding just the right amount of bittering in the middle and into the clean and dry finish. Very pleasant English pale ale aftertaste. Takes me back to the English midlands! (Yes, I know Coniston is not in the midlands... but the midlands is where I first experienced an English bitter.) Even though the bottled imported version is likely not up to the pub cask experience, this is a wonderfully done English bitter.

Oct 24, 2018
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Fieceheart from Connecticut

4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the black bull in conniston, Cumbria u.k. Literally the finest pint in England. Biscuity malt with hints of orange. A delicate, ethereal melange. Bottled import version in u.s. Cannot compare. America needs beers like this. Subtle and bombastic at once. Like fine tea, you can consume as daily ritual. Amazing beer.

Aug 13, 2018
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citizencane from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale amber with slight head. Leaves decent lacing. Smell is grain and nutmeg. Taste is malt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Feel is heavy but drinkable, if that makes sense. Not light and crisp, and fills the stomach. Ok beer.

Mar 19, 2018
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Sigmund from Norway

3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, kindly shared by gunnar. ABV is 4.2%. Deep golden to orange colour, moderate white head. Moderate aroma of malts and toffee, hints of berries. The flavour has moderate malts, toffee, biscuits and nuts. Decent Challenger hops in the finish.

Jan 24, 2018
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angrybabboon from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Consumed 9/18/17

A: Medium caramel color, maybe a light amber from a distance - clear - pours with a medium sized, off-white head, fades to a wispy cap, retains a small collar and leaves some nice streaks of lacing

S: Fairly mild, even for the style - light bread, touch of toast, touch of biscuit - some grains - British ale yeast, with some fruity esters - lightly spicy and floral aromas - light minerality - light sweetness

T: Mild yet complex malt profile, with light bread, lightly toasted bread, biscuits, and crackers - spicier than expected hops - lightly grassy and floral - some fruity esters from the yeast, mostly green apple and pear - minerality, hard water - touches of tea - light sweetness - clean finish

M: Light body, smooth, medium carbonation, clean and crisp finish

O: Why no mini-cask?

It makes sense that the standard bottle here is a half liter, as this stuff just disappears. This almost tastes like an English Bitter from a cask. Except for all the cask qualities... It's great for a neglected style, as least in the US.

Sep 19, 2017
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: copper color, thin head, some lacing
S: has that British smell
T: malty, light caramel
F: light body, but decent mouthfeel
O: not what I remember from the pub, but enjoyable

Jul 15, 2017
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle marked F-18-104. Sampled on June 29, 2017.

As far as bitters go - it looks like it is supposed to with a medium amber color and a modest yet short lasting off white head. Good clarity considering it is meant to be unfiltered.

The body falls into the medium range but it is also creamy.

Big sweet caramel; character in the taste right off the bat. The malts rue the day. Low hop profile. It essentially ends clean and dry like a bitter should. This could be a great beer to down (a few times) at a Birmingham or Leeds pub.

Jun 29, 2017
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Brolo75 from California

3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a rusty clear orange color with a white, creamy head, lots of carbonation and lacing, light in color, fruity, caramel, toffee sweetness, biscuit and grainy malt aromas, touch of citrus. Very smooth and drinkable, slightly sweet with a touch of citrus, toffee, caramel, malts, little bit of lemon, slightly grassy and herbal, subtle taste, finish is dry. Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Overall: a solid beer, lots of flavor for such a low ABV, drinks and tastes like a light pale ale.

Apr 15, 2017
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DVMin98 from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this as a shelfie and decided to give it a try. This is a very nice, drinkable, light beer. Had it right after mowing the lawn and I was very refreshed. Mildly fruity. Some sweetness. Mild bitterness from the hops. I really enjoyed this.

Mar 27, 2017
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JsDandy from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Jan 17, 2017
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Aug 19, 2016
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CTHomer from Connecticut

2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
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

May 01, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 2 of 4 stars calling "flowery, clean, dry, lemony, refreshing."

As for my review, Bluebird is old enough to be a classic and is close to being one also... but needs a goose.
Clear golden Looks until I pour in the bottle-fermenting yeast and the cloudy begins. Smells a subtle floral arrangement backed by quasi-juicy malts. The same balance comes through in the Taste, then the bitter hops dominate at the finish to make the dry. Refreshing for me after a peak summer bike ride.

This was at least my second Bluebird and I've also Had their other ale (Old Man) distributed in the States by Shelton Bros. So I went on their website and discover they run an inn also. So they are this classic hospitality company who brews a few beers. Good, but not great.

Apr 27, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

3.57/5  rDev -8%
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.

Nov 06, 2015
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superspak from Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Oct 31, 2015
Bluebird Bitter from Coniston Brewing Co. Ltd
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 501 ratings