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Coniston No.9 named best UK beer

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted August 10, 2012
coniston home to no 9 barley wine
Coniston in Cumbria: Home to what CAMRA says is the best beer in Britain. (Check bottom for credit)

The Coniston Brewing Company's No.9 Barley Wine has been crowned the cream of British beer at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) in London.

The news follows a year of local tasting panels and regional heats conducted by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the organisation responsible for staging the GBBF at London's Olympia.

Boasting an ABV of 8.5%, No.9 Barley Wine was described by the judges whose tough job it was to drink loads of top-notch beer as "having fantastic finesse reminiscent of a fine cognac."

"The judges in the final tasting were overjoyed by the tremendous quality of the beers this year," Roger Protz, one of the said judges, reports.

"There wasn't a poor beer in the competition and they were all of the highest quality."

"It was a tough choice and the final results were very close."

"We were delighted to win the competition in 1998 with Bluebird and we are delighted to win again," says David Smith of the Coniston Brewing Company.

"We've always been at the top and we're glad to regain the recognition we deserve."

"It's an all-British beer using solely British ingredients."

According to a CAMRA press release from which we scalped the above quotes, Coniston No.9 "is best supped in third- or half-pint measures" and, being a barley wine, goes "perfectly with aged or blue cheeses".

However, Rake & Herald booze editor Dr Miltov Lamprey (struck off) disagrees.

"Pints or steins," he blurts when prodded with a knife.

"And sod the cheese."

"Crisps!" he shouts.

Trawlerboys Best Bitter, a 4.6% scoop produced by Suffolk's Green Jack Brewery, meanwhile, came second followed by the West Sussex-based Dark Star Brewing Company's 4.7% American Pale Ale.

"It's great to see a rare beer style being championed," says CAMRA CEO Mike Benner.

"Obviously, it's a fairly strong beer."

"Therefore it is a great opportunity for pubs to try third-pint glassware so consumers can enjoy this wonderful ale in moderation."

Again, Lamprey begs to differ.

"One-litre German stein glasses and nothing less!" he spits, leaking round the back.


For f--k's sake, that's the third time he's shitted himself this week.

Rake, take me off this beat.

He f--king stinks!

Anyway, here are the full results (given by beer followed by brewer and location):

Overall winners: (Gold) No.9 Barley Wine, Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria; (Silver) Trawlerboys Best Bitter, Green Jack, Lowestoft, Suffolk; (Bronze) American Pale Ale, Dark Star, Horsham, West Sussex.

Mild: (Gold) Ruby Mild, Rudgate, York, North Yorkshire; (Silver) Hobsons Mild, Hobsons, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire; (Bronze) Muckcart Mild, Son of Sid, Little Gransden, Bedfordshire.

Bitters: (Gold) Snowdonia Ale, Purple Moose, Porthmadog, Gwynedd; (Silver) Castle Gold, Tintagel, Tintagel, Cornwall; (Joint Bronze) Bitter Flowerpots, Cheriton, Hampshire; Gale's Seafarers Ale, Fuller's, London; Shropshire Gold, Salopian, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Best Bitters: (Gold) Trawlerboys Best Bitter, Green Jack, Lowestoft, Suffolk; (Silver) Hop Twister, Salopian, Shrewsbury, Shropshire; (Joint Bronze) Senior Bitter, Oakwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire; Pegasus, Milton, Milton, Cambridgeshire.

Golden Ales: (Gold) American Pale Ale, Dark Star, Horsham, West Sussex; (Silver) Langdale, Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Hawkshead, Cumbria; (Bronze) Town Crier, Hobsons, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire.

Strong Bitters: (Gold) Festival, Dark Star, Horsham, West Sussex; (Silver) Stormstay, O'Hanlon's, Whimple, Devon; (Bronze) Orkney IPA, Highland, Swannay, Orkney.

Speciality Beers: (Gold) Chocolate Cherry Mild, Dunham Massey, Dunham Massey, Manchester; (Silver) Hebden's Wheat, Little Valley, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire; (Bronze) Umbel Magna, Nethergate, Pentlow, Essex.

Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2012): No.9 Barley Wine Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria; Bottle Wreck Porter, Hammerpot, Poling, West Sussex; Black Gold, Cairngorm, Aviemore, Highlands; Alfie's Revenge, Driftwood, St Agnes, Cornwall.

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners: (Gold) Embra, Stewart, Loanhead, Midlothian; (Silver) Yewbarrow, Great Gable, Egremont, Cumbria; (Bronze) Worthington's White Shield, Molson Coors, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire.

See also Sod the Olympics, drink down Olympia, posted 6/8/12.

Picture credit

Top and thumb: The Black Bull Inn and Hotel, Coniston possibly by Strider52 if we've read it right or someone else if we haven't.

For licensing information click the above link.

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