MMXIII:Golden Pints

2013 has been a great year for beer. I've found myself buying fewer beers from overseas in favour of the extensive, generally fresher, often more inventive UK brewers. There's been plenty worth talking about, especially in bottled form (how I've done most of my drinking this year) but can't put everything in!  I've certainly had plenty of decent bevvys, brought to me by a bevy of brewers; so without further ado (and alliteration) here are my golden pints for 2013.*

Best UK Cask Beer 
 I've had plenty of excellent one of cask beers this year (Kernel Glengarioch barrel aged imperial brown stout anyone?) but for drinkability and one I've returned to many times this year its Dark Star Hophead. Most unusual was certainly Fyne & Wilds Cool as a Cucumber.

Best UK Keg Beer
Again, lots of super one-off beers (Summer Wine's rum barrel aged calico jack was superlatively good) but again, a session beer steals the crown..Magic Rock Simpleton is packed full of flavour for its 2.6% and dserves the crown.
 Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
As in past years I've mostly been drinking bottled beers and the three that have wowed me most this year are Wild Beer's Ninkasi, Moor's Hoppiness and Marble's Decadence. Indeed, they're the only beers I've ever gone back for extra bottles of.
Best Overseas Draught Beer
Not really drunk many this year but Brooklyn's There Will be Black was a proper non-roasty bitter bruiser of a BIPA.

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta was fantastic at the start of the year on my honeymoon and Green Flash St Feullien's friendship brew black saison really pleased me as its exactly what I was looking for in a dark saison.
Best Collaboration Brew
I have a feeling my favourite will be on many people's lists but its a superb beer: Wild/ Burning Skies/ Good George Schnoodlepip. Its just wacky sounding but worked really well.

Best Overall Beer
Of all of those beers above it has to be Wild's Ninkasi that takes the Crown. I urge you to try it if you haven't already.

From Ohbeautifulbeer
Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label 
So many breweries have re-branded this year; so many new breweries have launched with fantastic logos and house styles that this category has become really difficult! My vote has to be for Partizan however for their similar but different individual labels.

Best UK Brewery
Buxton still take the crown for me here, with Colin continuing stronge-ly (sorry!) from where James left off. James' bretted and barrel aged Tsara's were superb and Buxton imperial black rocks still holds the crown as best BIPA for me. The new range of sours the team are brewing now are fab and I really look forward to visiting their new brewery tap some time soon.

Best Overseas Brewery
As mentioned I've not drunk as much overseas stuff this year, but Yeastie Boys really impressed this year when in NZ.
Best New Brewery Opening 2013
Again, plenty of contenders here. My top 3 in no particular order would have to be Partizan, Wild & Siren who have all produced fantastic beers and seem to have been around for a long time. 

Pub/Bar of the Year
The Hanging Bat in Edinburgh is a Fantastic showcase to British beers and well deserving of top spot. Staff that care, an easy to see beer list and a token system to al

Best Beer City
Bristol has really flourished in 2013 with 4 new beer bars and 2 refurbishments following hot on the heels of Brewdog in 2012. Bristol beer week was also a fantastic showcase for the local talent in established and up and coming breweries.

Supermarket of the Year
Whilst most supermarkets in Northern Ireland are dire for beer choice, M&S has really extended the range with their own label stuff and don't try to hide who brews it...which I applaud them for.

Independent Retailer of the Year
Beer Ritz are still excellent as is Bitter Virtue in Southampton but this year's nod goes to Drinkstore in Dublin who I also shop with online.

Online Retailer of the Year 
This is a dead heat between Ales By Mail (fantastic idea to do best of London Cases and have put up with me doing part-orders for merging all year) plus Alesela, a one stop shop for decent Scottish beer and random rarities from elsewhere. Drinkstore have been fantastic as usual helping me to get hold of plenty of Irish one-offs. Honourable mention to Brewdog for sorting out their online shop (alesbymail again! 20% discount helps too!).

Best Beer Book or Magazine
Another fantastic year for beer books but best magazine has to go to Hot Rum Cow. Not just beer but all kinds of drinks, its an unputdownable read from cover to cover. Best book definitely For The Love of Hops.

Best Beer Blog or Website 
Its still Boak & Bailey I find myself most enjoying, especially with their longer reads and historical tidbits this year. The Beer Cast **has also really developed this year with plenty of interesting articles and exclusives, I think it won't be long until Rich makes the transition to print...

Best Beer App 
I already did a post on this, don't have a top app but I use ratebeer the most.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer
I've had less time for twitter this year but the Craft Wankers are always entertaining and certainly deserving of the irreverence and joviality associated with this award. Rob @beerlens also deserves mention for his kind donation of early issues of Hot Rum Cow. Of course I concur that this should go to Simon in its first year.

Best Brewery Website/Social media 
Wiper & True's website is simply designed but packed full of information and easy to navigate. Top marks!  
Check Pencil & Spoon or Beer Reviews over the next few days for a summary post of everyone's nominations...who will be crowned brewery of the year?

*as usual I'm writing these at the start of December so as not to be swayed by other people's opinions...but I reserve the right to make changes in light of any decent discoveries in December!

Edit 6/12/13 **Turns out I'm not the only one who enjoys Rich's blog as he has just won a gold tankard for writing in online media...great job!


  1. Steve, many thanks for the comment - looking forward to many more great beery things in 2014, not least EBBC14!

    1. you're welcome Rich. I'm in town next weekend/start of week if you're about? Looking forward to MTB at the bat