Golden Pints LogoThis is my first time with the Golden Pints – I thought it would be quite easy but when you start thinking, and I mean REALLY thinking about each of the categories, it becomes quite tough and a real challenge. So after much thought and deliberation  and more than one or two checks of Untappd, here are my entries for the Golden Pints 2013…

Best UK Cask Beer
The Stone / Adnams collaboration ‘Supremely Self-Conscious’ brewed for the Spoons Beer Festival was simply stunning. Closely followed by both Art Brew Monkey IPA and St Austell’s Big Job which were both consumed in one very beery afternoon at the GBBF.

Best UK Keg Beer
Am I allowed to say ALLTHEMAGICROCK? No? Ok then, maybe just one of the Magic Rock brews and for me it would have to be Salty Kiss (lime version). I travelled the width of London to find this beer and when I finally did proceeded to drink a couple of pints of this all-in-one beer flavoured tequila shot without too much trouble. An honourable mention also to Circus of Sour which tasted like alcoholic lemon Fanta but in a good way.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
For my bottled entry, I was lucky enough to have recently sampled Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh 30 which was absolutely stunning. I’ve never had anything so smooth & rich that delivered a perfectly rounded finish.

There’s only one way my canned entry can go – it has to be Adnams Ghost Ship, a solid offering and just perfect every time.

Best Overseas Draught Beer
It would have to be Lagunitas IPA which seems to be becoming more widely available, and that can only be a good thing!

Best Collaboration Brew
I love collaboration beers, they really excite me. Only thing is it seems as though everyone is doing collaborations now so it’s really hard to keep track. An honourable mention her again for the Stone/Adnams brew, but that can’t win all of the awards. Therefore, for me, this had to be Brewdog / Ballast Point San Diego Scotch Ale. I know it wasn’t released this year but I drank it this year as my 500th beer on Untappd and it was bloody good, even though it did destroy my palate for the evening.

Best Overall Beer
I’m assuming that this has to come from the selections above? Is that how this works? Surely I can’t put another beer in here that didn’t feature in the above list? So that being the case, it can only be the Stone/Adnams Supremely Self-Conscious Black Ale – more next year please!

Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label AND Best UK Brewery
Both of these awards go to Magic Rock. I love their branding, the whole circus theme, it’s so much fun and matches the style of their beers perfectly. It’s a brand that when you walk into a bar and see a pump clip on, you know where your money is going to be (well) spent. It’s also transferred really well onto their annual release beers with the etched labels. When I see a Magic Rock beer I just HAVE to have it, no question. I’m hoping that there are even more exciting things to come from these guys and I would guess that things will skyrocket for them once they move into their new brewery.

Best Overseas Brewery
I’ve had a lot of Sierra Nevada beers this year and you always know that what you are going to get is of the highest quality. Their recent ‘beer camp’ beers only went to confirm my thinking that they were right for this category.

Best New Brewery Opening 2013
Hop Stuff Brewery, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Expect big things from Hop Stuff in the next 12/18 months. Launching in October with a small range of staple beers designed to get their brand known I’m looking forward to trying everything that comes out of the Royal Arsenal.

Pub/Bar of The Year
Craft Beer Co, Islington. Always a solid range of beers, homely, welcoming with a buzzing but not too in-your-face atmosphere.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013
The Buxton Taphouse, Buxton. Had a great day at the brewery and then an even better night here with Doody drinking ALLTHEBUXTON. The bar staff were happy to entertain us for the evening but are also friendly and know their beer. Great ambience, even better food, and awesome beers.

Beer Festival of the Year
I only went to one – GBBF – probably not most people’s first choice but I only had one to choose from. I always enjoy myself there and always end up at home wondering how exactly I made it there.

Supermarket of the Year
Tough one this. I’m going to have to split the honours between Sainsbury’s for the GBBH (sad to hear they’re no longer doing this) and Waitrose simply for their selection. Honourable mentions again for Tesco & Morrison’s who have both recently started adding ‘craft’ beer sections providing even more choice.

Independent Retailer of the Year
The Beer Boutique in Putney. Took me until a week ago to finally get here but it was well worth the trip. Very well stocked with a wide range of bottled beers from all over the world plus knowledge and friendly staff.

Online Retailer of the Year
Local vote here, but without a doubt, Ales by Mail. Also a thank you for working with us to bring our listeners a ‘season 3 box’ with a nice little discount!

Best Beer Book or Magazine
I’ve just starting reading ‘A Man Walks Into A Pub’ by Pete Brown (yes, I’m SO last decade) and I’m really enjoying the lighted look into the history of beer and brewing.

Best Beer Blog or Website
Since coining him ‘some random bloke off Twitter’ it’s probably only fair to go with Justin Mason’s ‘Get Beer. Drink Beer’ blog. I’m fascinated by the palate range that Justin has and the flavours that he finds in beer. That and the photos. Oh the photos, it’s like the best beer porn ever.

Best Beer App
Untappd. I’d be lost without it.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer

Best Brewery Website/Social Media
Tough call this as they all have a very different approach to it. The good ones are those who take the time to read, listen, watch and retweet your stuff – not many of them do it but those that do, do it well. In terms of website and social media combined I don’t think you can beat Adnams.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Largely thanks to Shaun Voss from Harviestoun, this would have to be ALLTHEOLADUBH and cheese.

And so ends my first Golden Pints nominations. I’ve deliberated, noted, written, re-rewritten, checked Untappd, written again and finally come up with my list. Cheers all & here’s to a beery 2014!