Okay, so as you can see I don’t really use this blog at all these days because I’ve been a bit busy (another masters degree, and a couple of part time jobs will do the trick) but seeing as my last post was 2012’s Golden Pints I thought it would be appropriate to do another. Here we go!
- Best UK Cask Beer
Not even started typing yet and I’m remember how tricky this all is. Do I go for something that blew me away once or something I will drink every single time I see it on the chalkboard. Brodie’s London Sour Blueberry (Bordeaux Barrel Aged Version) on cask at the cask and barrel in summer stood out for me on one of the best days for beer all year in Edinburgh in 2013. Fyne Jarl, and Oakham Citra are on par in terms of a beer I would drink every time it’s on.
- Best UK Keg Beer
Standouts on keg for this year include Alpha State Sorachi Red IPA at the hanging bat which was amazing (the smoked Belgian pale was also great. So was the Bourbon/Laphroaig Vengeance actually!), Buxton/To Øl Sky Mountain Sour which Dan and I drank too much of at the BowBar one night, and Beavertown Blood Orange IPA at the Stockbridge tap. Right now I’m leaning towards that Alpha State Bourbon/Laphroaig Vengeance but I’ve probably forgotten something.
- Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
I already know what it is going to be because I still remember my reaction of shock at how unexpectedly good this beer was when I drank it in my bed in my family home a few months ago during a visit but here are a few other contenders: The mental Aji Limon IPA from Harbour, the in-you-face coffee attack that was Double Dark Alliance from Arbor and Moor, 1841 XXXP Porter from Luckie Ales, Lovibonds Barrel Aged Sour Grapes, Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady from Magic Rock and my first ever Good King Henry Special Reserve (thanks Craig!). However, for me it has to be Arbor - Mosaic IPA. For simply delivering the essence of the mosaic hop in it’s purest, more accomplished form. The other Mosaic single hop beers just didn’t come close. Perfect.
- 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
I’m torn here because there are so many great pubs in this city which I go to each week and they all serve a purpose. If it’s to satisfy everyone, if I’m cold, or if I want a whisky as well as a good beer then it has to be Cloisters or Bow Bar but if we’re talking beer, which we are, then The Hanging Bat is the deserved winner. The staff are lovely and known their stuff, the food is getting better and better each week, and the meet the brewers have been fantastic, even though I’ve yet to make it downstairs yet! Heck, I’m even spending my New Years Eve there tomorrow!
- Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013
- Beer Festival of the Year
- Supermarket of the Year
*spits* Since I work at an independent beer shop I don’t have any need to shop at the supermarkets anymore and rarely do but this week at home in Northern Ireland I visited a few and I think it’s safe to say they all blow unless you have a craving for the family breweries outputs (I do love me some Fullers every now and then). Sainsburys Beer Hunt was great but what happened to all those beers the following month? It’s currently the worst of the big 3 for me. Only shopped there once this year but Waitrose wins for having Oakham beers, Camden Hells and Thornbridge at a fair, and comparable price that we can sell them at.
- Independent Retailer of the Year
- Online Retailer of the Year
- Best Beer Book or Magazine
The only beer books I have time to read are textbooks so I’m gonna have to say Barley by Briggs….
- Best Beer Blog or Website
I like Melissa Cole’s Let Me Tell You About Beer for the food and beer pairings and for the genius that is Cocktoberfest because I hate sexism in beer (and in general duh).
- Best Beer App
Only one I use is Untappd so that by default.
- Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer
I’m somewhat controversially vote for my own employer @brewstore because I think Ross does as great job with the twitter and is good fun too.
- Best Brewery Website/Social media
The new Wild Beer Co. website is amazing. Love it.
- Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Wild Beer Co. Ninkasi Premier Cru with a cheeseboard with my girlfriend and mum on Christmas day for lunch. Perfect.
To sum up the beer scene was too good to chose in 2013, bring on 2014! Happy New Years!