now I know I sort of already did my Golden Pint awards spiel but I have, not accidentally, been mentioning my favourite, most impressive and consistent breweries in various posts throughout the year. So, with only tomorrow left of 2012, I have decided to compile my top ten breweries list, off the top of my head, without referring back to any previous posts. After all, if you rate a brewery, that shouldn't be necessary. Here's the shining stars, for your delectation..
1. Well, its got to be Mallinsons, not only because I already said that in my Golden Pints list, which is carved into a stone tablet and can never be changed (much how some breweries appear to regard their website), but because am still waiting for that first bad Mallinsons, beer, and can't see it arriving.
2. Revolutions Brew : once, and only once, I had a beer from this brewery that I didn't like. But that's a rare thing, and most of the time its a pleasure to sample their beer - even if I don't like or haven't heard of the band! Doing a collaboration with Brass Castle also earns them points, as does their impeccable unfined beer.
3. Magic Rock : not difficult to find, and despite a bit of a wobble where I had a few lacklustre pints (possibly a hop supply chain problem) its been another year where theirs have been the stand out beers - and they are only 18 months old. Still one of the few breweries whose beers aren't disappointing on KeyKeg, and whose Bearded Lady is my beer of the year.
4. Dark Star : If Bearded Lady hadn't redefined my feelings about Keykeg then 2012 would still have been memorable, mainly for the Dark Star Saison, and Revelation. The Saison was easily the most quaffable beer ever! The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been a Summer to enjoy it in.
5. Black Iris : I hope this isn't influenced by their pumpclips but this is another go to producer for me - the Peregrine Pale and the Intergalactic IPA are two regularly faultless beers, along with their darker offerings.
6. Thornbridge : I might mock their position as "the new Ember Inns" and scoff at their fear of UK brewed KeyKeg beer but Halcyon, Pollards, McConnells, Yule, Evenlode and Thorny Goat simply can't be matched - and almost make up for how dire Kipling, Marples, St Petersburg and Jaipur have become. See, am at it again! Their inclusion in this list is also out of admiration for their incredible bottled beers, especially those that I have aged.
7. Steel City : their 666 IBU festival alone warrants their inclusion, but when I see a Steel City beer I always find myself buying it. If they could just do a mild and a porter without too many hops they'd be much further up the list.
8. Blue Bee : Lustin For Stout, apart from a minor wobble, is consistently one of the best dark beers in Sheffield. And anyone who brews a black bitter,without any sense of irony is going to brewers heaven. The Shake Rattle and Roll was fairly awesome as well.
9. Blue Monkey : Love it! Great pumpclips and great beers which never disappoint, and now I can get there stuff in bottles as well its happy days. BG Sips is almost as faultlessly quaffable as Dark Star Saison.
10. Summer Wine : A huge range of bottles covering many styles is one reason why I like Summer Wine, even if they sometimes get a bit silly with hops. Their run of beers in Shakespeares and other Sheffield pubs earlier this year means I had plenty of their offerings to become enamoured with them - their red ale and Teleporter standing out.
11. You can't have a top 11, that's just silly. And besides, eleven comprises seven nearly's : Abbeydale, Fyne Ales, Acorn, Welbeck Abbey, Little Ale Cart, Hop Studio and Red Willow. All excellent breweries with a lot to offer. And heres a link to the list I compiled in April, just for comparison.
So that wraps up the list and the year for me, I have about a pint of Deception left which am saving for New Years Day, and then its back to the search for unspoilt pubs and amazing beers that has defined much of 2012.
Happy New Year!