It’s that time of year again. It’s always nice to have a think back over your beery year and to highlight those beers and moments that have made the year memorable. So here goes with my Golden Pints for 2015 and here’s looking forward to another great year in 2016!
Best UK Cask Beer
One that stood out this summer was Dark Star’s Revelation which I enjoyed in The Evening Star in Brighton at the start of our Brighton Crawl. Honourable mentions in this category to Thornbridge’s Jaipur & Oakham’s Citra which both remain go to beers.
Best UK Keg Beer
Without a doubt and a late entry to the running, it has to be Cloudwater’s DIPA. Simply stunning in terms of flavour, body and balance. Honourable mentions to another of Cloudwater’s, the Guji Sidamo (coffee) Lager and (of course) Magic Rock’s Cannonball.
Best UK Bottled Beer
This one goes jointly to Brewdog for both their second incarnation of Born to Die and the Restorative Beverage for Invalids and Convalescents. A mention here also for Buxton for pretty much every single thing they’ve put into a bottle in the last 12 months. Consistently good and consistently innovating.
Best UK Canned Beer
Everything has gone into cans this year, so it’s a tough one, and are we judging the beer or the packaging? Without a doubt Magic Rock’s Cannonball takes this because, well it’s cannonball, in a can. Nods also to Northern Monk (Mocha Porter & New World IPA) and Moor (take your pick).
Best Overseas Draught
I’ve stayed close to home for my overseas winners. I’ve got amazing friends in Ireland who I’ve visited twice this year. On both occasions Galway Bay’s Of Foam and Fury has blown me away. A very honourable mention here for Eight Degrees Millennium.
Best Overseas Bottled
Take your pick of anything from Eight Degrees as it’s all been amazing. Grand Stretch was possibly the stand out for me though, probably only because I never had Millennium in the bottle.
Best Collaboration Brew
Buxton / Ominpollo Ice Cream Pale without a doubt stood out as one of the best beers of Indy Man.
Best Overall Beer
It’s a close one but Cloudwater’s DIPA takes it for me.
Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label
This is what I wrote last year… “Magic Rock’s branding still blows me away every time. I’m having kittens imaging what it will look like on cans next year.” I’m sitting here stroking my kittens. So it’s Magic Rock again for me for what their cans have ended up looking like, although honourable mentions to Cloudwater’s seasonal branding.
Best UK Brewery
This is a close one. Cloudwater have done amazing things this year and Magic Rock remain close to my heart. For for consistency, innovation and above all else, quality beers, this goes to Buxton Brewery.
Best Overseas Brewery
For their ever changing range of IPAs this one goes to Eight Degrees.
Best New Brewery Opening 2015
As their first commercial brew was in February, I’m calling Cloudwater on this one. I don’t feel anyone else has got close this year.
Best Tap Rooms
Howling Hops Tank Room, Northern Monk Refectory and the Magic Rock Tap are just going to have to share this one as they all offer something unique, something different and great beers.
Beer Festival of the Year
Without a doubt Indy Man. Again. Although an honourable mention here to Witham’s Cricket Club’s festival which reminded me that sometimes it’s as much about spending time with good friends as it is worrying about the beer list.
Supermarket of the Year
For redefining the #trainbeer offering, and for their ever-growing range it has to be M&S.
Independent Retailer of the Year
Hop Burns and Black. Friendly, welcoming, atmospheric, great beers and good times. They even help us out with the odd live podcast.
Online Retailer of the Year
I’ve ordered from a few this year but the one that stands out for me in terms of range and service is eebria. Cheers to the guys there for the ongoing discounts for our listeners.
Best Beer Blog or Website
Not really a blog as such but a movement that has grown and grown in 2015. For me, this one has to go to Craft Beer Hour.
Best Beer Book
Because it’s enabled me to make the most amazing double chocolate porter brownies, not to mention a great history of craft beer in Ireland, this goes to Sláinte, by Caroline Hennessy and Kristin Jensen.
Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer
Twatty Doodles from @twattybeer seem to pop up on my timeline at the right time and always make me smile. Here’s one of my favourites from 2015…