last year, or rather at the end of the last year before last, I "went mad" and completed my list of the Golden Pints of 2012. My first foray was notable for my having not paid $4.95 to Google to increase my image storage limit so I didn't have a logo. And this year is no different. They can keep their lousy storage limits....
Anyway, having experienced almost incalculable pleasure in compiling a list of things which were good, I felt I should perhaps have a stab at it again. So I have :
Best UK cask beer - um. Is this a top twenty? God this is difficult! How does one choose? Am thinking somewhere between the bestest, and the most often tried, with a sprinkling of consistency. Revolutions Demo unfined(imfiltered) was a beauty, Thornbridge Melba was high up there, and most Mallinsons should feature but for outright consistent brilliance Anarchy Brew Co Sublime Chaos gets my vote. Just delicious.
Best UK keg beer - well, this has to be a tie between Magic Rock Human Cannonball and Thornbridge Halcyon. Possibly the ball edged it.
Best UK bottled or canned beer - Thornbridge/Dark Star EDIT - sorry, it was Brooklyn! Alliance 2007. And any of the different reserves. All were impeccable.
Best Overseas draught beer - Anchor Old Foghorn. A very very complex and powerful strong ale without raspberry, fir-cones or mace in it.
Best Overseas bottled or canned beer - Santorini Crazy Donkey IPA. Mind you, it bloody wants to be at that price.... (see here for a review of all 3 donkey beers)
Best Collaboration brew - Steel City Brewing/North Riding CC. Alas, not a beer dedicated to the gentle pursuits of county cricket, but a far ruder acronym. Lots and lots of very complimentary citrus hops combine to make this a very quaffable strong pale ale which I had far too much of.
Best Overall beer - that is Burning Sky Saison. The only way of improving on Dark Star's excellent saison from 2012 was...to have the brewer leave and set up his own brewery and brew an even better saison.
Best branding, pumpclips or label - Magic Rock, mainly because thy have a lot of material, but if it were bottle labels alone then I think Beavertown and Weird Beard Brew Co both have brilliant designs.
Best UK Brewery - Aaah. Another top 20. I'm going to say Art Brew, just because everything they brew is ace.
Best Overseas brewery - having become enlightened and joined the saison appreciation society (and continuing to be a member even though I'm supposed to like sour and gose) I'd suggest Brasserie Fantome.
Best new brewery - Burning Sky. Not just because of their saison.
Pub/bar of the year - Shakespeares ale and cider house, Gibraltar street, Sheffield. My home from home which just so happens to feature a magnificent clock, an impeccable range of whiskies, great staff and an excellent range of beer - not to mention order in curry from across the road.
Best new pub/bar - The Closed Shop Commonside - I know it was already a pub but it has no connection in terms of qualities, with it's previous incarnation.
Beer festival of the year - SIBA Beerex. Especially for Unpro and Katedave. Hugs....
Supermarket of the year - can I say Booths even though I've never shopped there? Otherwise it would have to be Waitrose, beer wise.
Independent retailer of the year - a bloody strong field in Sheffield, impartiality means I shouldn't nominate my former employer - but I will, if only because I haven't (apart from buying two bottles on launch day) sampled the three newcomers yet. So its Archer Road Beer Stop. Go there!
Best beer book/magazine - I rarely read beer books but this year I am in the process of reading Pete Brown's Three Sheets To The Wind - however, since I haven't finished it, I perhaps ought to give the award to Doghouse magazine....
Best beer blog or website - Dimpled Mug. More nepotism, since Mr M is a friend of mine, but I never miss any pics he posts on his pub photo blog.
Simon Johnson award for best beer twitterer - Can he win his own award?
Best brewery website/social media - it is rare that I actually like reading a brewery website - since most of them are out of date misleading or written in poor English. However, I like the Revolutions Brew Co one for having useful info on,like what their beers are called, and Kelham Island's for the same reason.
Food and beer pairing of the year - Blue Monkey Marmoset with Moroccan chicken and saffron casserole. I just made that up.
NEW CATEGORY ALERT !
Next beer fad - OK, its got to be a popular continental style, possibly with a twist, or an obscure one which only a handful of beer geeks will have tried, having paid £15,000.00 to travel to the other side of the world to sample it. So...I dunno. Black gueze. Lemon mai bock. Unfiltered cask rauchbier (actually, that sounds lovely!)
So, that's it. That is what rocked my world in 2013. Lets hope 2014 can bring a similar cavalcade of quality cask and keg, and that I'll be struggling to single out winners in most of the categories once again in 12 months time.