Monday, 2 December 2013

The Golden Pints 2013

Time to round-up the best of beer in 2013. As we have done for the last few years, Andy Mogg from Beer Reviews and I invite anyone and everyone to share their favourite beers and pubs from the last year.

This time around we’ve made a few updates to the categories, reflecting a few changes in British beer: we’ve broken UK draught beer into cask and keg; we’ve added categories for new breweries and new bar openings; there’s one for collaboration brews, as these are very common now; and there’s a category for the best smartphone app.

We also changed the name of the Best Beer Twitterer in the honour of Simon Johnson, who passed away earlier this year. He had a clean sweep of wins in that category every year that we’ve done the Golden Pints, so it seems like a good way to remember his impact.

Feel free to answer with one word for each category or with whole sprawling paragraphs. Give runner-up choices if you wish, or even top 10s in each category. Blog them, tweet them, paste them into the blog comments below – however you want to do it. The ‘UK’ focus can easily be changed to whatever country you are based in. And you can use the Golden Pints logo when you post.

Here are the categories for this year’s Golden Pints.

·         Best UK Cask Beer
·         Best UK Keg Beer
·         Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
·         Best Overseas Draught Beer
·         Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
·         Best Collaboration Brew
·         Best Overall Beer
·         Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label
·         Best UK Brewery
·         Best Overseas Brewery
·         Best New Brewery Opening 2013
·         Pub/Bar of the Year
·         Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013
·         Beer Festival of the Year
·         Supermarket of the Year
·         Independent Retailer of the Year
·         Online Retailer of the Year
·         Best Beer Book or Magazine
·         Best Beer Blog or Website
·         Best Beer App
·         Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer
·         Best Brewery Website/Social media
·         Food and Beer Pairing of the Year

Get them posted by the end of 2013 and we’ll try and do a round-up early in 2014!


  1. This seems to get harder each year.

    Best UK Cask - Fyne Ales Sanda Black IPA. Me and a pal lost a night on this in Ye Olde Vic in Stockport. It was so good we went back the following night to finish it off.

    Best UK Keg – Summer Wine The Devil Loves….. (fill in blank but Chinook and Citra were both astonishingly good).

    Best UK Bottled/Canned – a recent and spectacular discovery: Sadler’s Mud City Imperial Russian Stout. Simply wonderful stuff from a below the radar brewery.

    Best Overseas Draught – Tolcolmatto Uber-Pils on a “Meet the Brewer” night at PSBH. Memorably good. A close runner-up might be the Brouwerij Rodenburg IPA I had at De Drie Dorstige Herten in Utrecht.

    Best Overseas Bottled/Canned – Rooie Dop Double Oatmeal Stout (Bourbon Cask). A close runner up will be a beer I tried very recently – a black IPA from Het Uiltje (a new-ish micro in Haarlem) which is one the very best interpretations of the style I’ve had in a long time.

    Best Collaboration Brew – not so much a brew exactly but it was put together by two brewers. At this year’s IMBC Quantum’s Jay Krause brought along a bottle on Magic Rock Unhuman Cannonball. Buxton’s Colin Stronge brought along a bottle of Tsar Bomba. These were mixed to make the ultimate black & tan – an amazing beery experience.

    Best Overall Beer – so, so difficult. But I’m going for Oakham Citra. Totally consistent and just a fantastic all round beer.

    Best Branding/Pumpclip/Label – Robinson’s Trooper for its sheer in your face “here I am” quality. At the other end of the spectrum I think Partizan labels are little works of art.

    Best UK Brewery – for me a three way tie this year between Buxton and RedWillow Often surprise, usually delight, and never disappoint. An honourable mention to Partizan – I’ve only had three or four Partizan beers (all bottled) but each has been exceptionally good. Ashover is one to watch, I think.

    Best Overseas Brewery – de Dochter van de Korenaar continues to excel.

    Best New Brewery Opening 2013 – pass – that’s just too hard to call.

    Pub/Bar of the Year – I but more beer and spend most money at Port Street Beer House in Manchester.

    Best New Pub/Bar opening – Butcher’s Tears Proeflokaal in Amsterdam. Great little bar with full Buther’s Tears range and occasional guests. Nice relaxed vibe here.

    Beer Festival of the Year – pick any from IMBC, Liverpool Craft Beer Expo, Borefts, Ghent and Bruges. All exceptionally good drinking experiences in different ways.

    Independent Retailer of the Year – another tie this time between Beermoth in Manchester and High Peak Beer Co in Stockport Market.

    Beer Book/Magazine – The World’s Best Cider (yes, I know that’s not beer) must take the crown. I’m sure this will come to be seen as a seminal and important work.

    Best Beer Blog or Website – I’m oddly addicted to the sheer madness of Enormous Face and Leigh continues to set benchmarks with The Good Stuff. However I’m surprising myself (and I’m sure I’ll surprise them) by going for Boak & Bailey. I’ll be honest, these two used to irritate the tits off me (and they still have moments of toe curling preciousness) but for the most part their blog has evolved into a thoughtful and thought provoking read. If it’s as good as it sounds, their book could be one of the beer publishing highlights of 2014.

    That’s all folks from me.

    1. Here you go beery bretheren:

  2. This Beer Blog Golden pints

  3. Hey Mark, here are mine for the year...

  4. Here are mine:

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Finally got round to doing mine -

  7. Best UK Cask Beer - Anarchy Brew Co’s Citra Star. Honourable mentions go to Marble’s Dobber, Hawkshead’s Great White and Steel City’s Communication Breakdown

    Best UK Keg Beer - Weird Beard’s Marina Trench, followed by Williams Bros Joker IPA

    Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer - Thornbridge Jaipur

    Best Overseas Draught Beer - Block Brau’s Alster, it isn’t loaded with America hops or 10% abv, it’s just a great unfiltered refreshing lager that hit the spot on a hot day spent by the river nursing my hangover away after Wacken

    Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer - Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat, I know this beer gets a lot of stick but it was perfect for cooling me down when I went to Florida. Honourable mention to Green Flash Saison Diego, I have never had a beer like it.

    Best Overall Beer - Partizan’s IPA Cascade Willamette Citra, how you get so much fruit just from hops I’ll never know

    Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label - Steel City Brewing Company’s black metal inspired artwork is awesome, closely followed by Anarchy Brew Co’s artwork, modern, different and chaotic, just like their beers

    Best UK Brewery - Thornbridge closely followed by Brew Dog

    Best Overseas Brewery - Goose Island

    Best New Brewery Opening 2013 - Tiny Rebel Brewing Co, their Full Nelson and Beatbox are two beers all hoppy IPA lovers should try

    Pub/Bar of the Year - Lady Grey’s in Newcastle, great choice of cask&keg beers, good food and excellent service make this my pub of the year. Honourable mentions to The Font in Manchester (city centre branch) as this caters for everyone, good range of beers at a mix of price points plus their cheap cocktails&spirits are good for non beer drinkers! Port Street Beer House in Manchester, worth the walk to as it’s a little bit off from the main shopping area, can be a bit pricey but their range is excellent and the staff are very knowledgeable too when I’ve asked for recommendations. Town Wall in Newcastle, huge beer choice, excellent sunday roasts and comfy couches make for a lazy Sunday. The Head of Steam in Durham, brooklyn lager and metal music!

    Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013 - Pleased to Meet You in Newcastle, quite an upmarket place with an impressive food menu and cocktail list but they take their beer just as serious as everything else they sell. Other “gastropubs” and “cafe bars” that serve expensive cocktails and peroni should take note… Followed by Hell Below in Carlisle, small bar that has finally brought beers like anchor steam, brew dog and flying dog to our small town! Homemade pizzas and good music makes this my favourite bar in Carlisle.

    Beer Festival of the Year - I only went to Carlisle Beer Festival and it was the best range of beers they’ve had, a good mix of traditional bitters&stouts and more modern hoppy beers. The staff were great too, always on hand to offer recommendations.

    Supermarket of the Year - Booths

    Independent Retailer of the Year - High Peak Beers in Stockport Market, the owner is extremely friendly and knowledgeable plus their prices are excellent. Honourable mentions to Beermoth, Carringtons and Tinys Tipple all in Manchester

    Online Retailer of the Year - Beers of Europe

    Best Beer Book or Magazine - Craft Beer World

    Best Beer Blog or Website - Booze, Beats and Bites, Nate’s no bullsh*t slightly sweary style may not be everyone’s taste but he tackles beer snobbery head on and it’s refreshing to see a beer blog that isn’t just filled with photos of bottles and tasting notes. Honourable mentions go to Bacon on the Beech, Beer Battered and Beers Manchester.

    Best Beer App - Google maps! seriously, when visiting a new town it’s always good to locate new bars and shops.

    Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer - The Craft W*nker!

    Best Brewery Website/Social media - Ikley Brewery, excellent design on their website that’s different to the usual blog style layout most breweries opt for

    Food and Beer Pairing of the Year - Bollington Eastern Nights with a hot curry is always good

    1. Also I would like to give my suggestions. A slightly Swedish perspective.

      Keep the good pints coming.


  8. Here's mine! #StillThinking

  9. Hi Mark, here are my Golden Pints :)


  10. Hi Mark, here are my Golden Pints for this year

    Cheers, Richard

  11. Read 'em and weep

  12. To join the masses... :)

  13. Here you go beery bretheren:

  14. Here are my 2013 Golden Pints nominations:

  15. A British/Irish combo approach for you all:


  16. Here's my entry Mark!

  17. Here are my Pints!

  18. Here you go Mark, My Golden Pints for 2013. Thanks again for hosting.

    Merry Christmas

  19. Here's mine:


  20. Done:

  21. mine: cheers mark and all the best for 2014!

  22. Here's my contribution:

  23. Here are mine:

  24. I've posted mine here:

  25. Mark, Here are mine...


    Jim (BeersManchester)

  26. Sorry this is late, have been drunk. Here are my answers :

  27. Also I would like to contribute with a slightly Swedish perspective.

  28. I try again, Here are my suggestions. A some what Swedish perspective to it.

  29. Trying this again, here are my suggestion.

  30. Well....

  31. My suggestions

  32. Finally finished!


  33. I've just done mine, have a look if you like!

    James (Beer Ritz)

  34. Here's mine!
    James (BeerRitz)