Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Golden Pints 2011



It’s the annual beer blogger awards! This is the best of my drinking from 2011 and it’s taken me weeks to put this together as the whole year has passed in a beery haze...

Best UK Draught Beer
Dark Star Tripel, aged a year, served at the Beer Bloggers Conference. Just a stunning, beautiful beer. Dark Star’s Six Hop at the Planet Thanet beer festival takes second. Dark Star are doing good things – Saison on keg is also a winner.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
Fuller’s Vintage. Somewhere between 2000 and 2002. Second place goes to Avery Brown Dredge, of course.

Best Overseas Draught Beer
Avery Maharajah IPA with Ithaca Flower Power a close second. Pilsner Urquell gets an honourable mention because I can’t help but love it and I’ve had a few great glasses of it in 2011. 

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
For the moment: drinking a can of 21st Amendment Bitter American on the roof of a New York hotel looking over the stunning skyline.

Best Overall Beer
Avery Maharajah. We’d been drinking all day in New York. We stopped in Rattle n Hum and ordered four samples. Maharajah was so good that Matt and I both ordered a pint of it, even though it was 10.5%. I can still taste it now.

Best Pumpclip or Label
I’m obsessed with Oh Beautiful Beer to the point that I lose hours a week looking on there. The world of beer packaging can be sexy and exciting and really beautiful (as opposed to horrific, as shown here). Some favourites are the 21st Amendment’s cans, Uinta’s rebrand and Fullsteam.

Best UK Brewery
For innovation, quality and consistency I’m going for two: Adnams and Fuller’s. For kicking off and kicking on it’s Magic Rock and Kernel. And for what I know is coming in 2012 and for what I’ve spent most of the last four months drinking, it’s Camden Town.

Best Overseas Brewery
I don’t drink consistently from many overseas breweries, but I’ve always had good beer from Odell.

Pub/Bar of the Year
If I could go and drink anywhere right now then it’d be Barcade in Brooklyn or Bir & Fud in Rome. Closer to home then I’m going for Craft Beer Co for all the times I’ve realised that if I don’t leave immediately then I’ll miss the last train home (it’s happened far too often).

Beer Festival of the Year
The Snowdrop Inn’s festival in Lewes which Mark Tranter from Dark Star chose the beers for.

Supermarket of the Year
Waitrose

Independent Retailer of the Year
The Bottle Shop in Canterbury – great place!

Online Retailer of the Year
I spent most money at myBreweryTap so it goes to them.

Best Beer Book or Magazine
Adrian Tierney-Jones’ Great British Pubs is superb. Anyone drinking in London should definitely have Des de Moor’s book which is also excellent. CAMRA’s BEER magazine is always a great read.

Best Beer Blog or Website
Oh Beautiful Beer for the website but a lot of blogs have been great to read this year and the ones I never miss are Beer.Birra.Bier, The Good Stuff and Boak and Bailey.

Best Beer Twitterer
@Simonhjohnson. Just to see how much he’s drunk and where he’s drunk it. @caskcrusade is also a great read from Italy (again to see how much he’s drunk or where he’s drinking it).

Best Online Brewery Presence
Adnams do a brilliant job all round.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Pizzarium pizza and a bottle of Brewfist’s Milk Chocolate Stout. An amazing, surprising pairing while sitting on a Rome backstreet with the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had. Second place goes to Toccalmatto’s Stray Dog with pizza in Bir & Fud. Pizza and beer did well this year.

In 2012 I’d most like to...
Start homebrewing (I now have a garage so I can!), travel more, write more things for print and drink in more pubs (I don’t drink in enough different pubs).

In 2012 I’m most looking forward to...
Going to the World Beer Cup!

Best beer I’ve drunk in a brewery in 2011
Unfiltered Budvar Dark straight from the tank. Incredible.

11 comments:

  1. I'm originally from Utah so I can appreciate the much needed rebrand of Uinta Brewing Co. Also,
    I love what Dark Star is doing as well as Magic Rock, Kernel, and Camden Town.

    Envious of your drinking Bitter American on a rooftop in New York and tasting fresh Budvar Dark at the brewery.

    After reading this, I have developed a thirst that only an Avery Brown Dredge can quench.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some lovely choices there Mark, Budvar Dark fresh and unfiltered sounds a belter!!! Cheers Phil

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hard the DarkStar Tripel last year at their Cask & Kitchen meet the brewer night and I have to agree that it's a belter!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Mark, thanks for the @caskcrusade mention, it's good to hear someone still likes to read my boozy ramblings.

    And it's good to see we have again a few favorites in common: Dark Star Tripel, 21st Amendment and Fullsteam brandings, and the obsession with Oh Beautiful Beer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for that Mark and heartily concur on the Tripel, not had it aged but had it in the Rake and it was handsome stuff — look forward to drinking more Camden in 2012…

    ReplyDelete
  6. Blimey. Thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Best UK Draught Beer
    Magic Rock Human Cannonball - a keg eureka moment.
    Brewsters Hophead and Brodie's Californian worthy of mention too.

    Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
    Kernel Centennial 100

    Best Overseas Draught Beer
    Southern Tier Chokolat - simply stunning

    Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
    Green Flash Imperial IPA - worth every penny

    Best Overall Beer
    Southern Tier Chokolat

    Best Pumpclip or Label
    Magic Rock's range of classy clips

    Best UK Brewery
    Magic Rock - for arriving on the scene with such a bang and fabulous range

    Best Overseas Brewery
    Southern Tier - can never pass up the opportunity when on the bar at Craft

    Pub/Bar of the Year
    Craft, Craft, Craft! What a place!

    Beer Festival of the Year
    I really haven't been to many this year. GBBF was a disappointment for me.

    Supermarket of the Year
    Tesco and Waitrose joint 1st.

    Independent Retailer of the Year
    The Offie, Leicester

    Online Retailer of the Year
    MyBreweryTap

    Best Beer Book or Magazine
    Brewing Up A Business - Sam Calagione

    Best Beer Blog or Website
    Blog: Pencil & Spoon
    Website: YourRound.co.uk
    App: Dark Star BEERFINDER

    Best Beer Twitterer
    @Simonhjohnson

    Best Online Brewery Presence
    BrewDog

    Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
    Sunday lunch with Sam Smith's Taddy Porter

    In 2012 I’m most looking forward to...
    Watching the UK craft beer revolution continue and some of my favourite up-and-coming breweries continue to blossom.

    Friendliest Brewery
    Kent Brewery and Brodie's Beers for immense generosity and sorting me out for my wedding!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great list. Mine contains many of the same froeigh beers - the Maharaja and Flower power were amazing. Good call on Adnams and Fullers - consistently producing great beers, old and new. Any thoughts on what your first home brew will be?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was impressed by the beer blogs that I have encountered today, I didn't imagine beer writing is really that big. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Matt - It'll be a Septuple IPA, obv. And we did some good drinking this year!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mark - Thanks so much. Always nice to get great feedback from people whose opinion you respect. Agree totally re: BBB and B&B. B&B in particular has been excellent since their hiatus.

    ReplyDelete