Golden Pints (Live)

Well it’s that time of year again when the great and not-so-good dish out the awards for the year’s best offerings. In something of a pilot experiment I’m doing mine whilst out drinking as (a) everything, except driving, is better that way and (b) it’s a good excuse for any memory lapses. So before I spill another drop of my Hawkshead, I proudly present...

Best UK Cask Beer: Oakham Citra. An easy choice as I’m using the simple criteria of what I’ve supped the most of and enjoyed the most.

Honourable mentions must go to Allgates, Arbor, Buxton, Hawkshead, Magic Rock and Summer Wine who continue to set the standard. Also as one-offs, the Wetherspoons American beers have produced some crackers: Stone Supremely Self Conscious Ale and Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA were outstanding.

Best UK Keg: Ooh, this is tough. Either Summer Wine and their Devil Loves series or Summer Wine Diablo. Or maybe Beavertown Gamma Ray. Or possibly the Harbour Pale Ale series. Christ, if I know.

Best UK Bottle/Can: Wild Beer Madness IPA. Honourable mention for the Arbor single hop series.

Best American Draught Beer: Lagunitas IPA. Honourable mentions for Rogue and Stone.

Best American Bottled/Canned: Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale. For the same reasons as best UK beer.

Best European Draught: Toccalmatto Rehop. See reason above.

Best Collaboration Beer: Allgates Quaker House Stout. Possibly the greatest collaboration beer ever.

Best Overall Beer: Right, I’ve tried counting them all but I’m stalled at about 102 so I’m going for Oakham Citra.

Best Branding, Pump Clip or Label: Crikey, who pays attention to those? I like the new Allgates pumpclips and I like the Partizan bottle labels. Moving on...

Best UK Brewery: Cor another difficult category. All the above are in with a shout as are Mallinsons. Allgates come close for the name I look for on the pumps but for producing Curious, NZ Curious and Salty Kiss, I’m going for Magic Rock. If I sober up tomorrow and realise I’ve dropped an obvious clanger, i will change it. Or maybe not.

Best American Brewery: Left Hand? No. San Diego Brewing? No. A tie between Oskar Blues and Stone.

Best European Brewery: Toccalmatto.

Best New Brewery Opening: Blimey Crikey. Another tough call. I’m going for Burning Sky with an honourable mention for Five Points.

Pub/Bar of the Year: An easy one this. The Grove in Huddersfield. Upped its game again this year and now boasts a brilliant selection of keg and cask beers at affordable prices in a cracking pub environment. A special mention has to go to my Manchester local: the Port Street Beer House where most of my money is piddled away.

Best New Pub/Bar: Locally, it’s a tie between Pie & Ale and the Font in Chorlton.

Beer Festival of the Year: IMBC or the St Georges Hall Beer Festival in Liverpool.

Supermarket of the Year: Booths

Independent Retailer of the Year: The Liquor Shop in Whitefield

Online Retailer of the Year: Ales By Mail/Beermerchants

Best Beer Book or Magazine: For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus

Best Beer Blog or Website: Well I hate to disagree with Boak & Bailey, but blogging isn’t what it was. That’s nothing unusual and true of many fields in life. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of good stuff out there; because there is, but an infusion of new blood can’t disguise the trend as I see it. Having said that, I really rate Total Ales and Beer Battered. Of course, B&B themselves continue to turn out exquisite posts and locally BeersManchester is the man with his finger on the pulse. But, ultimately, Jeff Alworth at Beervana is the one I look to for benchmarks.

Right that’s as much as I can be bothered writing. It’s slowed my drinking down so much that people have been coming over and asking me if I’m alright. So, Merry Christmas and in the words of the late, great, Dave Allen, may your God go with you.


RedNev said…
On a pub crawl in Liverpool on Thursday, Oakham Citra was probably the best pint of the evening.

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