I’d like to think of this as a fashionably late entry into the crawl of Golden Pint entries. You could say I needed to squeeze every last drop out of 2011 til I made my decision. So on with the show ….
1. Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer:
There have been so many excellent draught beers this year but for me the real stand out was Redemption’s Trinity. An overload to your olfactory bulb with a hop smack to boot. A breath taking 3% beer with aromatic US hops. Redemption, I salute you.
2. Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer (link below to Zak Avery’s quality blog on it):
Fruit salad in a glass. Apricots, peaches, apples and pears together with citrus fruits and mango. The most beautiful beer of the year bar none. Stunned. Made by Tom (@cheeseboiger) and Oliver Fozzard who are now running Roosters Brewery. Superb work lads! I was extremely lucky to get my hands on one of these (thanks Ghostie) and, though this was a one-off, it’s gone straight in at no.1.
3. Best Overseas Draught Beer (link below for info):
On draught at The Cask Pub and Kitchen. 20 mile round trip on my bike and got me a 2 pint take out. A subtle yet complex 10% coffee stout – all oxymoronic and delicious. I’ve been reminded how good this beer is by it’s availability in bottles at the Hamar Vinmonopolet – the only place to buy booze for me this Christmas. Consequently I’ve also discovered that it’s great with home-made marzipan (67% ground almonds & 33% icing sugar with egg yolks to bind). Mikkeller – good work fella!
4. Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer:
OK, strictly speaking this wasn’t bottled overseas. But this is non-linear dynamics at it’s finest. I have tried all three progenitors of this beer and the bastard offspring takes the best of all three. So good I had a pint (it was a game of two halves). Works beautifully with cured reindeer or elk – just in case you hang about in Scandinavia or know someone who does. To all who made this beer – thank you, it is superb.
5. Best Overall Beer:
This beer encapsulates all that is great about beer. It tastes magnificent, citrus hops and big spicy rye with hints of licorice and eucalyptus as it ages. Is superb with food (try it with salmon tartar) and is a collaborative brew between the beautiful people of the London and SE brew scene made at The Kernel. So, Sid, Matt, Karen, Mark, Angelo, Emma, Phil, Andy, Stig, Simon and Evin, Toby, Chrigl (and Nate?) – I would like to thank you all for making this beer. Thank you – you are all brilliant.
6. Best Pumpclip or Label:
Going controversial here and not choosing Magic Rock. Love their artwork, but Hitachino’s Nest is the bomb. Label, neck collar and cap. Stunning. There’s no one in the world whose opinion on design I trust more than Timo Arnall’s and he reckons they rule. Here’s one of Timo’s snaps.
Next year’s is in the bag. Daniel Vane’s KopiKat label is gonna take some beating. Except perhaps by other beer labels Dan designs.
7. Best UK Brewery:
A stunning array of beers. Check. No compromise on quality or sparing of expense. Check. A leading edge commitment to craft beer (sole European Host Brewery for International #IPADay). Check. And Kevin. Superb work James and Andy – here’s to a cracking 2012!
James and Andy also invited me to make beer with them. Invited me to make beer with them. Make beer. Beer. I helped make some beer. It’s called KopiKat. And it’s coming. KopiKat is coming. Yeah.
8. Best Overseas Brewery:
I hadn’t tried any De Struise before 2011. But thanks to Andy’s wallet-busting stock at The Bottle Shop, Tom and Mes’ generosity sharing some Struise Black Damnation VI – Messy at The Craft Beer Co and the availability of Pannepot at the resurgent Beers of Europe I managed to get my grubby paws on some of the finest quads and imperial stouts from these sturdy brewers of Belgium. For me they offer all that is great from traditional Belgium brewing but they are also innovative & collaborative in their approach to making great beer with a bold stance towards the future.
9. Pub/Bar of the Year:
A joint first for joint of the year. Both of these venues did something better in 2011 than any other had tried before them.
1st = The Craft Beer Co
The Craft Beer Co. opened a beautiful beer venue, with a truly awesome array of shiny taps (37 – 21 keg, 16 cask) and huge fridges stacked with an almost pornographic selection of bottles. In a great location with knowledgeable people and led by Tom Cadden with the aid of Mario (really top blokes). Congratulations – stunning first 6 months!
1st = The Dean Swift
The Dean Swift is welcoming, has a killer selection of beers, proper food and a desire to be better. It’s success can be attributed to the hard work of Max Chater, Momo, Alex, Johnny, Vanessa and the rest of the team. But it was the organising of events and the focus on food, in a way other venues can only dream of, that really separated The Dean Swift from other pubs in 2011.
Max has now moved on to pastures new, and it is now in the capable hands of Josh (ex Draft House) who has 18 years in the industry, so here’s to a blinding 2012.
10. Beer Festival of the Year:
I was a bit shit in 2011 and didn’t attend any beer festivals.
11. Supermarket of the Year:
I don’t really buy from Supermarkets. Though they have all improved none really stock the range of beers I want to drink. Pretty much what @fletchthemonkey said on his Real Ale Reviews
12. Independent Retailer of the Year:
I bought more from Utobeer and Mr Lawrence’s in 2011 (as I live in SE London) but, even as a Londoner, Beer Ritz’s impact is national. How many bloggers work in Beer Ritz? Anyone any good? Anyone work(ed) there made any good beer? Have you noticed how many bloggers live in or around Leeds? If I were a hippy I’d say Beer Ritz radiates beer love and it’s impact beyond selling great beer is in spreading great big beery love to one and all. Zak – thank you for your hard work this year, I will buy more off you in 2012. Ghostie et al. keep spreading the love.
13. Online Retailer of the Year
Am I the only one who’s noticed that Beers of Europe upped their game this year? Admittedly you had to be pretty damn quick to snaffle up some of their goodies but Jason et al offered a veritable smorgasbord of Nøgne Ø, Mikkeller and De Struise beers at insanely low prices.
14. Best Beer Book or Magazine:
It’s not a beer book or a beer magazine and it was published in 2010. It was also my choice last year. But I lost my original copy and had to buy another in 2011. For me it is the most important book for understanding complimentary and contrasting flavours and opening your ideas of what may pair well together. If you’re interested in pairing beer with food you must buy this. Now.
15. Best Beer Blog or Website:
For Ghostie it’s all about the joy of beer. I found that over the year I read more interesting posts about how a beer smells & tastes on Ghosties blog than on any other. Other’s blog on the the politics of taxation, smoking ban, dispense and CAMRA, and there’s something refreshing on staying away from the mire and just focusing on drinking the stuff. Nice one Ghostie.
16. Best Beer Twitterer:
Scoop all the way. Simon H. Johnson . Inspired nonsense and logical tangents taken in the most amusing directions. All whilst consuming vast quantities of beer. Really entertaining – thanks Simon.
17. Best Online Brewery Presence:
No winner here.
The most obvious use of online media by a brewery is by BrewDog. But their presence this year has been a fucking shocker. I’m not talking about their campaigns aimed at steering teenagers towards BrewDog over Stella as I’ve long since chosen to ignore that noise, what I’m talking about here is fessing up when you’ve got problems with quality control and your eCommerce business. Their apology over their online deliveries is therefore most welcome. Thanks. Now to sort out the bad batches…
18. Food and Beer Pairing of the Year:
Only one? Damn. Ok – I’m gonna cheat here and say the IPA Day feast. I know it’s more than one pairing (and one course didn’t work). But my list – so my rules. If I had to choose one of these. Stone Ruination IPA and Tandoori Chicken.
19: In 2012 I’d Most Like To:
i. Learn how to brew. I’d like to learn by brewing beer with the good and great of the brewing world. If they’ll have me.
ii. Organise more food and beer (and other drink) events. Devising menus that showcase how symbiotic beer and food can be.
iii. Spend more time on my blog – it’s a bit shit and embarrassing.
20. Open Category:
AWOL beer personality
Max Chater – get yourself back in the game dude.
I also thought it would be useful to collate a list of other Golden Pints nominations. If you read this and I’m missing yours – please let me know:
Big Ade’s Ale&stuff
Alcoholic Chap’s Adventures of an Alcofrolic Chap
Arn’s Blood, Stout and Tears
Zak Avery’s Are You Tasting the Pith
David Bishop’s broadfordbrewer
Sid Boggle’s The Boggle Awards 2011
Danny Brown’s added in the comments section of Beer Reviews Andy’s
Mark Charlwood’s Beer. Birra. Bier.
Chris’s Beer and Life Matching
Rob Derbyshire HopZine
Mark Dredge’s Pencil and Spoon
Pivní Filosof Pivní Filosof – Beer Philosopher (yes I know Filosof is not his last name – don’t go there)
Barl Fire’s …With The Grain …
Mark Fletcher’s Real Ale Reviews
Tom Fozzard’s aka @Cheeseboiger
Craig Garvie’s Make Mine a Half
Ghostie’s Ghost Drinker’s
Matt Gorecki’s New Briggate Beer Blog
Phil Hardy’s Beersay
Billy Hall’s The Folding Reality
Kieran Haslett-Moore’s Beers from the Motherland‘s
Michael Ironside’s Diary of a Hop Head
Gregg Irwin’s A Beer on The Downs
Simon Johnson’s Reluctant Scoper
Gareth Jones’ Beeradvice
James Kemp’s @kempicus
Tyler Kiley’s Its Just Beer Dont Argue Just Enjoy!
Steve Lamond’s Beers I’ve Known
Leigh Linley’s The Good Stuff
Louise @BeerTalk Beer Talk
David Lozman’s Taste Sensations
Andy Mogg’s Beer Reviews
Neil’s Eating isn’t Cheating
Nick Mitchell’s The Beer Prole
Andy Parker’s Musing’s of an elusive beer geek
Jeff Pickthall’s it’s just the beer talking
@pintsandpubs Pints and Pubs
@rhodeshannah ‘s the beer monkey
Glyn Roberts’ Rabid About Beer
Alex Routledge’s Beer Twaddle
Sam’s and Stu’s yeastieboys’s posterous
Adam Shafi’s Walking and Crawling
Rob Sterowski’s I might have a glass of beer
Matt Stokes’ Beerandfoodandstuff
@ToonBeerChris Another Drinking Blog
Paul Tuffnel’s It’ll Beer Alright
Tulleehoo’s Tulleehoo Beer Blog
Ed Wray’s Ed’s Beer Site