Sunday 13 December 2015

Golden Pints 2015

Another first for me, been a few of these this year!
Golden Pints awards seems to cover every conceivable category (although nothing for those lovely beery people that podcast), so, a bit of thinking required.
Right, here goes......
Best UK Cask Beer:
Fullers Chiswick @ 3.6% is a go to beer for me whenever I visit a Fullers establishment, although I do wonder why so few of them offer this very sessionable English bitter.
Oakham Citra and Timothy Taylors Landlord also remain high up on my cask beer list.

Best UK Keg Beer:
Adnams Jack Brand Dry Hopped Lager @ 4.2% is a flavoursome sessionable lager, not too gassy. Adnams for me are one of the few traditional brewers in the UK that have also nailed the "craft" side of things. Lucky to have some very good Adnams pubs locally.
Brewdog Punk IPA - can't go wrong really with this, in fact, my last visit to a Brewdog I shunned the beer menu and headed straight for the Punk.

Best UK Bottled Beer:
M & S Oakham Citra @ 4.9%, a pint size bottle that has often accompanied me on the train home.

Best UK Canned Beer:
Magic Rock Highwire Grapefruit @ 5.5%, an American Pale Ale with grapefruit added. Tasted this for the first time on American Independence Day (thanks Steve @ BeerOClockShow).
Love it.
Cannonball, also from Magic Rock is right up there, as is anything from Four Pure and Beavertown.


Best Overseas Draught:
Lagunitas IPA @ 6.2%. I don't have many overseas beers regularly on draught,
(Although I have to confess that the beer I have checked in the most is Stella Artois)

Best Overseas Bottled Beer:
Rosé de Gambrinus (2013) by Brasserie Cantillon @ 5%. The first bottle I took along to the @SXBottleShare, set myself a high standard. Loads of sour raspberry flavours, but, doesn't make you pucker up too much. 

Best Overseas Canned Beer:
This next beer blew me away (Tom gets the credit for this - another @SXBottleShare offering) - 4Beans by Sixpoint. A 10% Imperial Porter/Stout that is bloody wonderful. Liquid chocolate coffee out of a can, bitter finish leaves you wanting more.

Best collaboration brew:
Something Local by Against the Grain & Smokehouse, a 6.6% American IPA. Quite sharp at first, but, mellows out. Everything you would hope and expect from the style. This was sampled at the rather wonderful Indy Man Beer Con.

Best Overall Beer:
Big question this one, deserves a big beer - Imperial Stout Limited Edition from Fullers. A 10.7% beauty, bags of dark chocolate, but, finishes with a hint of Turkish Delight thanks to the addition of dried rose buds. Well known Beer Sommelier, Melissa Cole had a hand in this.

Best Branding:
Anything from Beavertown. Their can shaped beer mats - brilliant!

Best Pump Clip:
I love Great Heck pump clips, immediately recognisable. 

Best Bottle Label:
The Kernel - simple and distinctive. Perhaps could even be considered a design classic already.

Best UK Brewery:
For me, I am going to go for Adnams from the lovely seaside town that is Southwold.
As previously stated I believe they offer both traditional and craft beers, usually very drinkable and not too heavy on the abv. 
Broadside in the bottle is simply a fantastic beer. Also, the range they supply to M & S is rather good too.


Best Overseas Brewery:
Stone Brewing Company from Escondido, CA United States. Always a good beer from this lot and provided some of the inspiration for Brewdog. 

Best New Brewery Opening 2015:
I don't think i tried enough beers from new breweries this year - must do better in 2016!

Pub/Bar of the Year:
The Victoria Inn, Colchester. 20 mins walk. Serves cask, keg, bottles and ciders. Hosts awesome Meet The Brewer nights, beers festivals, including one dedicated to home brewers. Colchester pub of the year multiple times and East Anglian pub of year recently.
A 'proper pub'.
Honourable mention to The Ale House in Chelmsford, home of the SXBottleShare.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2015:
Howling Hops Tank Bar, just outside the Olympic Park. I simply love the place. The tanks of beer are an art form as far as i am concerned. The atmosphere is relaxed, the clientele ecelctic and best of all - some decent beers to boot.


Beer Festival of the Year:
Indy Man Beer Con. One 5 hour session on the Saturday afternoon was enough to convince me that, in the words of The Terminator, "i will be back".


Supermarket of the Year:
Easy - M & S. Head and shoulders above the competition. Even the shops in train stations hold a respectable selection. And, as a Greater Anglia commuter, beer is often needed!

Independent Retailer of the Year:
Hop Burns and Black in Peckham. Nowhere near where I live, or where I usually socialise, but, I have been there twice now and no doubt I will return. Love the set up. Well worth a visit if in the area.

Online Retailer of the Year:
Ales by Mail. I use them both for my personal online orders, but, also for the beer festivals I hold at work. Easy to work with, reliable, good value and choice. Also, the website has improved over the last couple of years.

Best Beer Book or Magazine:
Original Gravity
Words - about beer. 
Pictures - about beer. 
Ticks the boxes.

Best Beer Blog or Website:
Beer O'Clock Show podcast. I realise it is neither a blog or a website, but, very worthy of a mention in the end of year awards. Some might say "it has been the highlight of their week".


Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer:
Justin Mason (@1970sBOY / BeersInEssex), he keeps me very well informed about my home county of Essex.

Best Brewery Website/Social media:
Buxton. They corrected me about one of my Untappd check-ins from the London Craft Beer Festival earlier this year. Impressed i was.

And, that concludes the voting from the Colchester panel (of one)........until next year!

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