Beer. Coniston Brewing Company

It took Ian Bradley only three years in business before his Coniston Brewing Company’s Bluebird Bitter was pronounced Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at CAMRA’s 21st Great British Beer Festival in 1998. 

That was an extraordinary achievement in itself but then a few years later, in 2012, his No.9 Barley Wine won exactly the same accolade at the 35th Great British Beer Festival. Ian’s beers have also won numerous Society of Independent Brewers’ awards.

The brewery’s certainly a great location, close to the Old Man of Coniston (fell) and just behind the Black Bull Inn, run by the Bradley family for many years and the place where you can savour the full spectrum of Coniston beers. 

They are Bluebird Bitter, Bluebird X Bitter, Oliver’s Light Ale, Old Man Ale, Blacksmith’s Ale, Special Oatmeal Stout, Thurstein Pilsner (Thurstein was the Norse name for Coniston) and No.9 Barley Wine, the latter brewed once a year and ‘best served by a log fire at the Black Bull, with snow on the ground outside’. 

The beers range in strength from 3.4% ABV for Oliver’s Light Ale to 8.5% ABV for the barley wine and are available in many pubs in Cumbria and elsewhere. A number of them are bottled as well. Coniston Brewing Company: 015394 41133. www.conistonbrewery.com

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