Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer
I normally tweet a Top 10 countdown of my best beers of the year, this year I’ve jumped onto the Golden Pints Awards bandwaggon. I hope you enjoy riding it with me.
My Number 1 is Brodies Pink IPA – I’ve only had it once in The Bacchus, Newcastle city centre on a summer evening. Fabulously fresh and fruit laden. I wasn’t sure why it was called Pink IPA but the immense hop hit has stuck with me, nothing has matched it in the UK this year.
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
In future years I would love to be racking my brains over what can of UK craft beer is best, alas I can’t think of anything other than BrewDog in that sector at the moment.
So a cold bottle of Kernel Brewery / Brodies Beers collaboration IPA Scanners hits the mark perfectly here.
Best Overseas Draught Beer
One of the reasons I wanted to blog a Golden Pints for 2012 was to put the word out on Piece Brewery from Chicago. A micro brewer/pizza restaurant which just about covers off heaven in the form of food and drink. Huge oven trays of deliciously topped pizza covered the bar intermingled with tall glasses of the local brews all in a thoroughly convivial atmosphere. When I visited there were at least 6 different beers on tap, all brewed on site.
“The Weight” Pale Ale wins this category hands down. I’m certain the beer that night had just been delivered fresh from the conditioning tank. In a bustling bar you could smell the citrus juice hopiness hitting you even when the bartender was pouring the beer from 3 feet away. A stand out from a 5 day beer tour of Chicago. Some reviews here.
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
I’ll go for a can here. Revolution Brewery on the outskirts of Chicago have a BrewPub of amazing quality and character, modern and stylish but with a good traditional feel. They can their amazing brews and they are available all over town.
Thanks to Andy for the photo off his Instagram feed (that was a canny night).
Best Overall Beer
This category is too hard to call for me, instead I will just list what beers stuck in my mind (or iPhone notes) this year!
Anything from Brodies
Tyne Bank – Southern Star (the first batch of 2012)
Moor Beer – Hoppiness
Brew Dog – Dead Pony Club
Left Hand Brewing – Nitro Milk Stout
Allendale Ale – Sauvin 800
Oakham – Green Devil IPA
Best Pumpclip or Label
Jeez, there are some bad ones out there!
I’m sure you’ve seen it before but Pumpclip Parade has some of the best of the worst
Best for me – Magic Rock Human Cannonball Keg.
The silver and green just works so well.
Best UK Brewery
You people down London are so lucky to have so much choice. There’s a multitude of days out in the capital on the ale, one day you can take in all the stuff going on South of the river, be it Meantime, Kernel, Borough Market and a sneaky half in The Rake. Next time you can follow the Craft Beer Co’s spread from Pimlico through the City to Islington. How about an East End wander through Shoreditch and a Hackney hike taking in the likes of the brilliant Beavertown Brewery or The Cock Tavern.
Wherever you end up you’re likely to see a Brodies Beer, if you’re into treacly stouts, scrapings from a fireplace porters or citrus zing-bombs they will tick off your taste buds.
Pub/Bar of the Year
If you know good beer and you know Newcastle upon Tyne then you know The Free Trade Inn. A haven of artists, solicitors, journo’s, charvers, dogs, fashionistas, dole wallers, students, pie lovers and beer geeks all corralled and wrangled expertly by Mick, who I consider a mate rather than a manager. If you’ve been – pop back, if you haven’t been – go!
Beer Festival of the Year
For the last few years I have worked at the Tyneside & Northumberland CAMRA Beer festival in Newcastle, held in April each year.
Yeah its not the best selection of cutting edge craft but its my local beer festival where groups of friends get together drink, chat and put the world to rights whilst having a laugh at the bloke who only drinks Rivet Catcher “cos its on in me club”.
Supermarket of the Year
I tend not buy a lot of beer from Supermarkets. But when I do there’s a strict reason.
Sainsbury’s up North stock Tyne Bank Brewery Silver Dollar and the odd special from Fullers for the Mrs 🙂
Tesco sometimes have their own brand American Double IPA on super cheap, which we all know is re-branded Brew Dog Hardcore IPA.
Independent Retailer of the Year
We have a good number of independent beer shops in the North.
From finding their little badly written advert in one of the first issues of Cheers magazine back in 2010 I have been a regular customer to “Coppers 8 till 8” soon to be re-branded as “Coppers” . On first appearance you think to yourself, “surely this cant be the right place”, then on stepping inside you are transported into a wooden shelved beer portal. I’ve seen shelves full of Brew Dog Sunk Punk to super freshly delivered Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and everything in between. The bargain bucket is also a draw, 6 bottles of Black Isle Hibernator for £6 anyone?
Online Retailer of the Year
I’ve heard good and bad things from a number of punters about a number of retailers.
I fill up my luggage allowance when travelling and visit local shops to keep my stock upkept, so can’t really comment on this field.
Best Beer Book or Magazine
Keep your eyes peeled for @hopagandamag during 2013.
Cheers Magazine in the North East is quite good for competitions……(watch this space)
Best Beer Blog or Website
Surely the mad idea of drinking a beer a day during 2012 and blogging about it would get some kudos, in a leap year as well ?
So that’s 366 beers (not 365) all drank, all researched, all written about, all followed through to completion. 1 a day, every day – must deserve a Golden Pint award?
Well done Ian Simmonds for his Aussie Beer Blog 366 Days of Beer
Ha Ha only joking Sheriff
You need to read this blog before it becomes a pay per view site!
The quality, the prose but overall the chosen beers are head and shoulders above.
Best Beer Twitterer
There’s too many Cheery Beery tweeters for my liking on Twitter. Yes of course let us all know when there’s an excellent amber, or an outstanding stout on the bar but surely every beer you have in every bar isn’t superb?
If you made the effort to get to a bar, hand over your hard earned and they serve you drek then let people know. Yeah maybe I’m guilty more than some of hurting the feelings of brewers and landlords, not intentional and I think I’ve calmed down a bit of late. If you’re out to tweet about beer and pubs lets have a balance eh?
Best Online Brewery presence
I’ll plug a couple of local breweries here, try and get of hold their beer – its pretty darn good.
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
In 2013 I’d Most Like To…
Have enough time to do a regular blog update……
Open Category: My Go To Beer
Anyone who knows me, knows there’s only ever one Kipling.
I’d climb a mountain for a canny bottle of Kipling.