Monday, 29 December 2014

Golden Pints 2014

These are my Golden Pint 'Awards' for the beers I've drunk and the pubs, bars & beer festivals I've been to in 2014 with links to various blog posts & untappd checkins.

Best UK Cask Beer:
Dark Star Green Hopped IPA - State Bar, Glasgow. That floral aroma & resiny body enhanced an already great IPA. Superb!

Best UK Keg Beer:
Alechemy Utopia - Craft Beer Rising, Drygate Glasgow. Strawberry jam on toast, pretty hazy, masses of tropical fruit, bitter finish, great balance, great IPA and better on keg than in the bottle.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer:
Buxton Ace Edge, bottle from AleselA. Sweet tropical fruits with a real bitter edge, kiwi, mango, lime & a coconut-ice sweetness to round it off. Really love that Sorachi Ace hop and this was done brilliantly.

Best Overseas Draught Beer:
Gigantic Brewing Company The Future Is Now - Brewdog Glasgow. Red fruit, quite smooth, long bitter finish, but I've not really had that many overseas draught beers this year.

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer:
Elysian Brewing Dragonstooth Stout - bottle from Brewdog Glasgow. Sugary coffee, dark chocolate, bitter, almost BIPA-like finish, but a great rich body (hooray!).

Best collaboration brew:
Bad Seed and Northern Monk Salted Lemon Wit - bottle from Good Spirits, Glasgow. Lemon, bergamot, slight toffee popcorn, bit of texture, not too fizzy, very nice.

Best Overall Beer:
The best beer I had this year was the Dark Star Green Hopped IPA, but the best beer available all year round IMHO is/was/continues-to-be Fyne Ales Jarl.

Best Branding, Pumpclip, Label or Beer Name:
Well (cough-cough!) that has to be The Missing Dwarf, the beer I brewed with a couple of friends at the Craft Beer Kitchen. The cask raised £227.95 for charity so something must have gone right.

Best UK Brewery:
Brew By Numbers. All of their beers that I've had this year have been consistently good & increasingly innovative and I just like the concept - you have a good idea of what the beer's going to taste like from the title/description and then once tried it's normally far better & far more interesting than the expectation.

Best Overseas Brewery:
Elysian Brewing, Washington USA. I took a quite a few of their beers home to help me stay up whilst watching the Superbowl and they were very good indeed.

Best New Brewery Opening 2014:
Drygate, Glasgow. Their core beers are pretty good, but some of the small batch specials (Strawberry Mosaic, Chimera) have been excellent.

Pub/Bar of the Year: (note - this is for pubs that I've visited for the first time in 2014)
Large scale - The Taps, Lytham. A great beer selection, friendly, busy, just a comfortable and interesting place to drink beer in. Almost unbelievably this is a Greene King pub, but they've left the place well alone.
Small scale pub - The Curfew micropub, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Brilliant conversion of a bed-sit, both inside & out.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2014:
Drygate, Glasgow. Beer from the in-house brewery & more, food from The Vintage, World Cup football, Craft Beer Rising - all really good stuff.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year:
Bute Brewing Wickedly Hopped Bitter and a piping hot & very tasty Seafood Pie, Kingarth Hotel, Isle of Bute

Beer Festival of the Year:
BrewDog Presents... at the SWG3 - I do like these beer and meet-the-brewer talk events, even though in this case the beer was all keg ;-)

Supermarket of the Year:
Booths (I visited Lytham and Penrith this year). Great support of local beer.

Independent Retailer of the Year:
Hippo Beers just edges it in Glasgow for me.

Online Retailer of the Year:
AleselA - beer choice, flexibility and service you can't beat.

Best Beer Book or Magazine:
Boak and Bailey - Brew Britannia: The Strange Rebirth of British Beer. Simply a really interesting read.

Best Beer Blog or Website:
The Beercast - The Scottish Beer Website, please keep this going, Richard!
Rob's post about visiting The Black Country was the best thing I read all year (and makes me want to go back, which is what a beer/travel post should do).

Best Beer App:
Untappd is pretty well the only one I use.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer:
I'm wimping out here to say just Twitter in general.

Best Brewery Website/Social media:
Pilot Beer. Pass the stapler!

Happy New Year to everyone!

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