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No 9 Barley Wine named best beer
An all-British beer said to be reminiscent of a fine cognac has beaten off other brews to be named best in the country.
No 9 Barley Wine, made by Cumbrian firm Coniston, was crowned Best Beer in Britain at the start of the annual beer festival in London run by real ale campaign group Camra.
The ale, which has an ABV of 8.5%, was praised by judges for having "fantastic finesse".
It was named Supreme Champion of other finalists over seven categories covering bitters, milds, golden ales and winter beers.
Coniston is a microbrewery set up in 1995 behind the Black Bull Inn in Coniston, with six beers in regular production. Around 1,600 gallons are made every week for distribution to 100 customer outlets.
Roger Protz, of Camra's judging panel, said: "The judges in the final tasting were overjoyed by the tremendous quality of the beers this year.
"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."
David Smith, of Coniston brewery, said: "We were delighted to win the competition in 1998 with Bluebird and we are delighted to win again. It's an all-British beer using solely British ingredients, very fitting for this Diamond Jubilee year."
The silver award went to Green Jack brewery in Lowestoft, Suffolk for its Trawlerboys Best Bitter.
Bronze went to Dark Star's American Pale Ale from Horsham, West Sussex.