Monday, 28 December 2015

Golden Pints 2015

These are my Golden Pint 'Awards' for the beers I've drunk and the pubs, bars & beer festivals I've been to in 2015 with links to various blog posts & untappd check-ins. There seems to be a far more local/Scottish flavour to these this year, perhaps reflecting the great choice of Scottish beers in 2015 and my somewhat dearth of journeys south of the border (or at least past Carlisle) during the last 12 months - most probably it's a bit of both.

Best UK Cask Beer:
Inveralmond Rascal London Porter - The Green Room, Perth. Dark chocolate, dark fruit and some slight charcoal bitterness but add the cask conditioned smoothness and it just tapers away fantastically to a lovely burnt bitter-sweet finish.

Best UK Keg Beer:
Fallen (with BrewDog Glasgow) Big Raspberry Dog Chew - DogHouse Merchant City, Glasgow. Aero chocolate, quite smooth, definite alcohol hit, sharp raspberries, more dark chocolate & a slight saltiness in the finish.

Best UK Bottled Beer:
Elixir Aji Bhaji, bottle from Cloisters. Indian spices, blood oranges, really smooth, lovely orangey-pepper bitterness, and then those chills really bite back (still not sure about picking up any onions tho).

Best UK Canned Beer:
Magic Rock High Wire Grapefruit, can from Drygate bottle shop. Great grapefruit aroma, sweet grapefruit taste, light, nicely fizzy, lovely bitter-sweet finish. Best canned beer around

Best Overseas Draught Beer:
Crux Fermentation Project 2015 [BANISHED] Better Off Red - Crux Fermentation Project Tap. Red fruits, some weird/amazing esters, oak sweetness, sour but still biting finish. Pretty impressive & probably the best beer I had during my Pacific North-West trip

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer:
Birrificio Italiano Nigredo, bottle from AleselA. Loads of dark choc, cocoa, bit of alc, piney bitterness, and it's sooooo smooth - v nice.

Best collaboration brew:
Hawkshead and Crooked Stave Key Lime Tau (2π) - The Hanging Bat, Edinburgh. Lime, sour milk, bit of body, dry bitter-lime finish - preferred this to the Crooked Stave brewed variant.

Best Overall Beer:
Over a range of dispense methods (cask, keg & bottle) I'd have to say my overall favourite beer in 2015 was the superb Fallen Chew Chew - dark chocolate salted peanuts, molasses, decent body, coffee & cream finish - lovely stuff indeed.

Best Branding, Pumpclip, Label or Beer Name:
Tempest Brew Co (with BrewDog Edinburgh) Honey, Jamaican Me Ginger. Name, bottle label (and beer itself) all excellent.

Best UK Brewery:
Fallen Brewing Co. Not only has Paul brewed 2 of my beers of the year, but every new beer he's brewed (including a lot of collabs this year) has been outstanding - take your pick from Gose, Black IPA, Brown Ale, Pear/Honey Beer, American Wheat. Well done indeed (and keep those names coming)!

Best Overseas Brewery:
Crux Fermentation Project. I was seriously impressed by the flight tray I had at their brewery tap in Bend, Oregon, and then I went back for more to sit and contemplate the view of the amazing sunset.

Best New Brewery Opening 2015:
Five Kingdoms Brewery, Isle of Whithorn. I've had a number of their beers at various Ayrshire festivals/socials and they've all been excellent so far.

Pub/Bar of the Year: (note - this is for pubs that I've visited for the first time in 2015)
Large scale - The John Fairweather, Cambuslang. OK, I know this is a JD Wetherspoon establishment, but the conversion is stunning. Originally an old Savoy cinema, there are a number of seating levels, masses of bright, twinkling lights, loads of original art deco features, and the amazing balcony is still there.
Small scale pub - Hemelvaart Bier Café, Ayton. Loads of decent beer, Scottish and Belgian bottles and they do some great music at the weekends.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2015:
OX184, Cowgate Edinburgh. I love all the smoke aromas which swirl around in this place, the smoked food is great and it is the closest thing to a Tempest Brew Co. tap in Edinburgh.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year:
Fried & Smoked Chicken Waffle Sandwich, Savoury Fries with Tempest Easy Livin' Pils - OX184, Edinburgh.

Beer Festival of the Year:
The Great Scottish Beer Celebration at the Barras Art & Design Centre, Glasgow. I really like these Festivals/Meet and Talk to the Brewer events and this first ever GSBC at the Barras was excellent - thanks to Hippo Beers for organising this.

Supermarket of the Year:
Aldi (Scotland) Ltd. Their 2x Scottish Beer Festivals each year are still great and really useful to newer and more established Scottish micros.

Independent Retailer of the Year:
Drygate bottle shop just edges it in Glasgow for me this year.

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

Best Beer Book or Magazine:
Original Gravity magazine is well worth a read.

Best Beer Blog or Website:
I've found Stuart's Scottish Breweries Map (with updates) really useful, and the best beer-related blog piece I've read this year was about the planning & execution of a crawl from Morecambe to Wise.

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

Best Brewery Website/Social media:
Pilot Beer. Star Wars, awards & some anti-untappdisms!

Happy New Year to everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year to you too Adam. I follow you on Untapped and it's always interesting to see your opinion on beers, and where you're drinking them! Cheers.