30/12/2011

Best of 2011: One blogger's opinion (Golden Pints)

I've no doubt there will be a proliferation of similar posts but wanted to get my thoughts down in any case. I love lists; so this will take the form of some top threes. I was right! I started drafting this at the end of November and since then Beer Reviews announced the golden pint awards; which I'll pop my nominations up for scavenging from my original rankings.

Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
3. Bristol Beer Factory Indian Ink
 
Best Overseas Draught Beer
Cask: Flying Dog Oak Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter  (@ White Horse) see my post here
Keg: Mikkelelr Black (@ CASK )

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
Mikkeller Monk's Elixir
Runner Up: Struise Pannepot
 
Best Overall Beer
Going by ratebeer and memory it has to be Buxton Axe Edge

Best Pumpclip or Label
There are so many good designs out there as highlighted by The Beercast recently, but for me it has to be Bristol Beer Factory with their bold colours and instantly recognisable logo.


Best UK Brewery

Buxton-Great flavoursome beers and a mix of new and old styles.
Bristol Beer Factory - from not being on my radar to trying most of their beers this year. If you haven't yet tried them, go get yourself a mixed case. I reviewed their stouts here.
Summer Wine-I've managed to try three of their beers so far and have been impressed
Hardknott catering for both extremophiles and regular pub goers with some tasty special releases.
Kernel who could fail to be impressed with the proliferation of great beers from these guys.Magic Rock created some impressive beers with great results with first brews.

Best US Brewery
This is limited by the fact that finding American beers in Northern Ireland is nigh on impossible!

1.Flying Dog. I can still taste that oak-aged Gonzo.
2. Southern Tier have enjoyed the few beers I've managed to get hold of this year and look forward to finding even more in 2012.
3. Odell from the core range to the mor experimental brews Doug and team make some excellent beers. The artwork is ace too.
4. Great Divide- tasty IPAs  and Yeti-range
5.Left Hand- good solid range including black jack porter and milk stout.

Best Other Brewery
Has to be Mikkeller as I've been continually impressed by the range of innovative brews pumped out by essentially one crazy guy! Honourable mention to Revelation Cat, whose New Zealand Pale Ale was glorious.


Pub/Bar of the Year
Another toughie, and I've not really been in all that many this year! A last minute winner pits the cask in pimlico to the post... the recently opened York Tap. Visited twice within the list few days and loved it. More when I get back in front of a pc!
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Beer Festival of the Year
 Having only been to GBBF, Hilden and Belfast Beer Festival I'm going to have to pick Belfast as I had a chance to try some great beers and didn't have to use trains to get there each day!

Supermarket of the Year
The state of Northern Ireland beer is pretty dire and the best of a bad bunch supermarket wise has to be M&S who actually have a good range of own branded beers made at a range of different breweris.

Independent Retailer of the Year
This is a tricky one, having frequented a few establishments this year. Discovery of the year has to be The Vineyard, Belfast who have perhaps the best selection of bottled beers in Northern Ireland. Another off-licence I love and deserves a mention as it hasn't much in the way of online presence is Bitter Virtue, Southampton, well worth a visit if you're in that neck of the woods (bring reinforced bags...)

Online Retailer of the Year
Another toughie this, though for me it has to be Ales by Mail because both Paul and Karen are very friendly and I had beers reserevd for me for two months beforeI got around to paying for them!

Best Beer Book or Magazine
Another toughie as I only started buying beer books this year. Its got to be Pete Brown's Trilogy as they're what turned me on to beer blogging in the first place. Very much looking forward to the fourth (and fifth!). I got some other beery books for Christmas though; so they could take top spot next year!


Best Beer Blog or Website

Best Beer Twitterer
Has to be Dave @broadfordbrewer for his friendliness and retweeting skills. Honourable mention to Mike Crowbourne @okellsales as he has a knack of finding interesting beery news articles. But there's a whole host of friendly tweeps out there I could have mentioned!

Best Online Brewery presence
There's a big number of brewers embracing social media, but for me it has to be Hardknott who have the whole team, including mischievous Sooty tweeting and are quick to answer anything you may ask of them. They're friendly peolel too, having met them on #Twissup.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Something I need to do more of in 2012 but my best cheese and beer pairing was the Bristol Beer Factory Hefe and Ragstone Goats cheese at Cheese School because it was so unexpectedly delicious.

In 2012 I’d Most Like To…
See my "New Beers Resolutions" post on Sunday!

Open Category: You Choose: Top 3 ones to Watch in 2012

In addition to the above there are some breweries that continue to innovate and impress.

1.Thornbridge through changes in brewer line up beer innovation and quality remains consistent, expect more from this great brewery next year.
2.BrewDog with funds successfully raised for their new brewery and plans to keep the old kit as a trial plant expect even more weird and wonderful ideas along with outre marketing tactics from these boys in 2012. Looking forward to seeing the other bars emerging too.
3. Ards only recently started out but I very much enjoyed their stout and look forward to what else may be forthcoming

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