I thought I’d be able to throw together my votes for the Golden Pints Awards 2011 quite quickly. Not so. It has taken days of pondering to come up with my final contributions, hence my leaving it until the last possible moment to submit my entries. So here they are below:
Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer
Runner up – Skinners Cornish Knocker
Honourable Mentions – Brewshed Rioja Porter, Buntingford Twitchell, Tintagel Harbour Special, Summerwine Barista
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
Winner – Grain Blackwood Stout. Dark, smoky and rich
Runner up - Magic Rock Dark Arts
Honourable Mentions – Marble Manchester Bitter, Magic Rock Rapture, Hardknott Infra Red, BrewDog Trashy Blonde. Oakham Citra
Best Overseas Draught Beer
Winner - Everybody’s Brewing Country Boy IPA – bursting with US hops, easy drinking
Runner up - Il Vicino Wet Mountain IPA
Honourable Mentions – Rogue Dad’s Little Helper, Ballast Point Calico Amber, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
Winner - Rogue Dry Hopped St Rogue Red – ruby red, fresh dry hopped flavours, delicious US beer
Runner up - Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Elegant and delicately hoppy.
Honourable Mentions – Odell Red Ale, Rogue Mocha Porter, Poperings Hommel Bier, Stone Ruination
Best Overall Beer
Winner - Grain Redwood. Mmmmm.
Best Pumpclip or Label
Winner - Humpty Dumpty Christmas Crack. See for yourself
Runner up - Anything by Grain on their beautiful wooden pumpclips
Best UK Brewery
Winner - Buntingford – love all their beers. Beautiful hops and malt flavours.
Runner up - Redemption
Honourable Mentions – Magic Rock, Cambridge Moonshine, Oakham, Marble, Hopshackle
Best Overseas Brewery
Winner - Rogue. Love their many beers – lots of variety and flavours
Runner up – Deschutes
Honourable Mention – Stone
Pub/Bar of the Year
Winner - The Shed, Wroxham, Norfolk. Over 50 local ever-changing beers served from the cask. Great location with an outdoor terrace with sofas overlooking the river, great décor and fairy lights, loads of books, great atmosphere.
Runner up – The Fat Cat, Norwich
Honourable Mentions – The Free Press and the Elm Tree, both in Cambridge
Beer Festival of the Year
Winner - Cambridge Beer Festival. Beers from all over the country and the world, loads of grass to sit on and drink them.
Runner up – Grantchester Green Man Beer Festival (Summer and Winter). A great beer festival for a pub, lots of well-sourced new and exciting beers
Honourable Mentions – Peterborough Beer Festival, Bury Beerhouse Winter Beer Festival, Cambridge Blue Summer beer festival
Supermarket of the Year
Winner - Waitrose. Nice selection of Cornish ales in the heart of Cambridge
IndependentRetailer of the Year
Winner - Bacchanalia. This shop on Mill Rd, Cambridge, has lots of exciting beers from the UK, the US, Belgium – everywhere that brews great beers in fact. Friendly and helpful staff too.
Online Retailer of the Year
Winner - Ales by Mail. Fast and efficient service
Best Beer Book or Magazine
Winner – ‘Around Bruges in 80 Beers’. OK, so I haven’t been to Bruges (yet), but it’s very inspirational and great research material.
Best Beer Blog or Website
Winner - http://www.funf-media.co.uk/beerbeauty/ – Beer Beauty’s website. Fun, informative, lovely writing style and accessible to all.
Runner up – http://pintsandpubs.wordpress.com/ Interesting, informative articles which talk about the history of pubs and beer with the occasional ancient quote thrown in for good measure.
Best Beer Twitterer
Winner – @Irr_Orbit Informative and descriptive about beers he is drinking – I can’t bear it when people tweet that they are drinking X beer, but then don’t actually go on to tell you what it’s like!
Best Online Brewery presence
Winner - Redemption – sleek and contemporary, like their beers
Runner up - Leeds Brewery for design
Honourable Mention – Phipps NBC for all the detail about their incredible history
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Winner - Thai veg green curry with refreshing Oakham Citra
In 2012 I’d Most Like To…
Return to Portland, Oregon, and go to all the craft breweries I didn’t have time to visit on my last trip
Open Category – Most insanely shocking but strangely drinkable beer
Winner – Summerwine Barista. Crazy beer that I thought I wouldn’t like, but ended up loving. Strong espresso stout brewed with rich Arabica coffee. Powerful stuff.