It’s taken me hours to get this down to what it is. I’m cheating the brief by adding a number of nominees for some of the categories but I’ve drunk a lot of good beer this year...
Best UK Draught Beer: The Nominees: Fyne Ales Jarl; Dark Star Saison; Thornbridge Kipling; Gadds Uberhop; Fuller’s Chiswick; Tryst Corronade IPA; Saints&Sinners ABC; Lovibonds Sour Grapes. The Winner: Gadds Uberhop/Dark Star Saison/Lovibonds Sour Grapes...
Best UK Bottled Beer: The Nominees: Moor Revival; Thornbridge Halcyon; Old King Henry Special Reserve; Kernel Centennial Pale Ale; Kernel Export Stout; Marble Chocolate Dubbel. The Winner: Moor Revival (4% bottled pale ales can be terrible; this one is fantastic).
Best Overseas Draught Beer: The Nominees: Bear Republic Racer 5 at the brewpub and at the Toad in the Hole, Santa Rosa; AleSmith Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout; IV Saison in Moeder Lambic; Pilsner Urquell in the cellars under the brewery; Killer Harvest at Mountain Sun. The Winner: Bear Republic Racer 5.
Best Overseas Bottled Beer: The Nominees: Birrificio Italiano Tipopils; Struise Black Mes; Bells HopSlam; De Molen Lood & Oud Ijzer; AleSmith Speedway Stout; 3 Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek. The Winner: Birrificio Italiano Tipopils.
Best Overall Beer: Bear Republic Racer 5. For the theatre of the beer I drank in the cellars, Pilsner Urquell is runner-up.
Best Pumpclip or Label: Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner. Loved the beer, too.
Best UK Brewery: Dark Star for a great core range, fantastic monthly seasonals and for their collaborations with others – they make beers I really want to drink (plus I’m representing the South here). Runner-Up: Moor Beer. Consistently good on cask and in the bottle; a great range of interesting beers. So many others deserving of special mention...
Best Overseas Brewery: Answering this one as the best I visited... Cantillon. Just the most handsome brewery with magic in the air.
Pub/Bar of the Year: Of all the beer bars, in all the world... the Euston Tap takes it this year. It’s a newcomer but it’s a great place with an excellent mix of beers and somewhere that’s exciting and that I’ll spend a lot of time in 2011. Honorable mentions to Cask Pub and Kitchen, The Rake (because I’ve drunk there more than anywhere else), Zly Casy in Prague and Moeder Lambic in Brussels.
Beer Festival of the Year: Planet Thanet is the one I also look forward to above all the others (except GBBF, of course).
Supermarket of the Year: Waitrose.
Independent Retailer of the Year: The Bottle Shop in Canterbury. It only opened in November but they’ve got a great selection in a cool location in The Goods Shed. They also do some 9 pint kegs of interesting beer. Definitely one to watch (and visit) in 2011!
Online Retailer of the Year: Got to go to two: BeerMerchants and myBrewerytap. They do different things and both do it very well. Unfortunately, as they are both so good, when it comes to placing an order for more beers I now end up ordering from both at the same time…
Best Beer Book or Magazine: Not a beer book, but still relevant – The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. Just a brilliant book which made me gasp and coo in excitement and ache in joy and wonder at the turn of each page. I finished the last page and started again.
Best Beer Blog or Website: Stuart Howe’s blog is an unmissable read. I also really enjoy Beer.Birra.Bier, which has fast become a favourite of mine – engaging and very well written.
Best Beer Twitterer: @simonhjohnson – There’s always something interesting at the end of Simon’s fingertips...
Best Brewery Online: BrewDog do it well and I think Thornbridge have stepped it up recently, particularly on facebook.
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: Little fried fish, squeeze of lemon, pint of ice cold Mythos, enjoyed while sitting on the beach as the sun sets. My idea of perfection.
In 2011 I’d Most Like To…: Drink even more good beer, learn more about wine and spirits (and drink more of them, too), brew some beer, drink in some different countries, see more bloggers and breweries collaborating and see lots of people attend the Beer Bloggers Conference!
Open Category: Best Canned Beer: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.
It’s really tough to try and fill these in but it brings back so many good memories of a great year of drinking. If anyone wants to take part then paste it in below (or on Andy’s blog) or email me (email@example.com) and I’ll post a few of them in one blog – I’ve already got some to go. Lots have already given their winners here or at Beer Reviews.
Time to post this before I change my mind again...