They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Don't Forget the Classics

In our modern day beer world, with it's multitude of styles, varieties, huge amount of new breweries and beers popping up, it's easy to get a little lost or disconnected. That's when I look to the classics for a bit of perspective, or to put it another way, sometimes you need an old time champ to remind you that a beer is a beer is a beer.

My classic beer of tonight is Coniston's XB Bluebird Bitter (*waits for Tandleman to slate the glass-wear* - the bottle calls for a pint glass though...)

It's a fantastic ale. Citrusy and grassy on the aroma and in the body. Just the right amount of bitterness. Lemon, straw and a good deal of moorish dryness within a perfect amount of condition.

Check out what the bottle states:

"Bluebird XB combines two of the great themes of ale brewing to produce something distinctive and new. The fine tradition of English Pale Ale is about quaffing, refreshment and complexity of flavour without alcoholic strength.

Then throw in new wave American hop variety Mount Hood with robust citrus aromas. ... Not too much mind or we might have an American Pale Ale on our hands?

Bluebird XB familiar... but different"

Sound familiar? Well back then it didn't! Coniston started up in 1995. Back then there wasn't the beer scene we have today, quite the opposite, some would say. The beer scene has moved on though, and things have changed dramatically, but one thing hasn't; Bluebird XB.

I'm not trying to say that all this change isn't great, of course it is, but sometimes it's just nice to remind yourself of the past classics. After all, a lot of the beers today, if not all some would say wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the classics of the past. That's not to say there isn't some modern classics though. I can think of a few right off the bat now; Ilkley Mary Jane, Kernel Citra, Marble Dobber, and even Brewdog Punk IPA (say what you will about it, but it will be around for many, many years)... but this is another blogpost.

What can you think up for old classics though? I'm thinking of beers like Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Black Sheep Bitter, Timmy Taylors Landlord, Sam Smiths Imperial Stout, White Shield IPA, Batemans XXXB, Fullers Vintage Ale, Jennings Sneck Lifter and Green King Strong Suffolk, the list could go on and on.

The new brewers that are coming out and growing up fast should be praised for the things they're doing. But I rarely think that they're new things, and one would be wise not to forget the classic beers that, in some situations, probably came before you were even born, I know in my case that's rather a lot.


  1. God I'm old, but I'm not sure all your old classics are. Copper Dragon brewery has been around for ten years. Fullers Vinage Ale for 15.

    1. It was kind of more in relation to the beer scene today compared to what it was even ten years ago. With the explosion that we're seeing these days it's sometimes hard to remember that there are some fantastic ales and beers out there which have stood the test of time. (I consider the test of time for a brewery about ten years these days - in our economy if you can last that long amongst such vast competition then you're doing something right.)

    2. Has XB Bluebird been going for 10 years? I thought it was introduced sometime after that? 2004/5? Nothing wrong with that of course. Jolly nice.

    3. The guys got back to me and said they thought it was first produced in 2001/2002.

    4. I stand corrected, 2001 it was. My memory's going.

  2. Thank you :-)

  3. Not had Bluebird for an absolute age it seems, skills

  4. Ah, I was wondering how long it would take to reinvent "bitter". But wait, it says English Pale Ale on the label. So not a "bitter" then...taps finger on table...