Golden Pints 2010

13 01 2011

 

 

 

 

 

OK so I’m a bit late with this (started before Christmas, tidied up today) but, hey, I’ve had ‘things’ to do and it got here eventually didn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

Best UK Draught Beer: There have been a number of beers that have wowed me this year; Highland’s Orkney Porter was stunning in the Bacchus as was Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co’s St’Out of This World.  However, for opening my taste buds to the delights of ‘lighter’ beer the winner goes to Thornbridge Kipling.

Best UK Bottled Beer: I’ve been drinking more bottled beer than ever this year and certainly a more varied selection than usual and up until New Years Eve the winner was still going to be my old friend Traquair Jacobite Ale.  However, I had the pleasure of sharing one of my bottles of Orkney Dark Island Reserve (2008) with HH and was totally blown away by it, a stunning drink.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: County Durham Brewing – C’est What? Steve’s Dreaded Chocolate Orange Ale.  Despite the name this doesn’t come from just down the road, rather I enjoyed this during July’s trip to Toronto.  Brewed specifically for the basement bar C’est What? this was a lovely dark malty beer which was lifted from being Nutella infused coffee by the sharpness of the orange in the background to start with and then prominently in the finish which took it to another level.

Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Rogue Old Crustacean 1999.  Again from my Toronto trip and this time served as an accompaniment to my ice cream in Beer Bistro.  There were so many aromas coming at me from this that I ran out of adjectives and was severely worried it was going to be a total mess.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  A gorgeous Barley Wine full of tangy dried fruits (dates, prunes and cherries), caramel and a stunningly pithy bitterness which complemented the food perfectly.

Best Overall Beer: For just being so damned drinkable – Thornbridge Kipling.

Best Pumpclip or Label: I really like what the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company have done with their clips and labels, instantly recognizable and stylish with the advantage of almost always signaling a great beer.

Best UK Brewery: I had a lot of thought on this and a number of changes to the name here but in the end because they consistently come up with great drinkable beers the winner is the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company.  Honourable mentions go to Highland Brewery, Summer Wine Brewery, Thornbridge and Bull Lane who could all have been justifiable choices.

Best Overseas Brewery: For the great beer tasted, the friendliness of all the staff and a great brewery tour the winner goes to Mill Street Brewery, Toronto.

Pub/Bar of the Year: Loved Smokeless Joe’s in Toronto for the company, the North Bar in Leeds for the drinks selection, the Cumberland Arms in Byker for being so welcoming, the Free Trade Inn again in Byker which has my all time favorite view but the winner is The Newcastle (Top) Arms…just because.

Beer Festival of the Year: Really enjoyed the National Winter Ale Festival in Manchester and on, a smaller level, regular festivals at the Newcastle Arms.

Supermarket of the Year: Meh!

Independent Retailer of the Year: Had fun rooting around Beer Ritz in Leeds and really wish I’d had more bag space but due to its closer proximity I’ll go for Rehill’s Deli in Jesmond which has a great selection of all types of booze…but no website unfortunately.

Online Retailer of the Year: Had great service from BeerMerchants, myBrewerytap and Ales by Mail this year with no problems and nothing but praise for all of them.

Best Beer Book or Magazine: Cheers has been a breath of fresh air in the North East and wipes the floor with the woeful local CAMRA effort.

Best Beer Blog or Website: Because it’s always handy to have an idea what may be waiting for you at the pub I always check Phil’s Newcastle Real Ale Listing.

Best Beer Twitterer: Enjoy all the banter so no particular favorites.

Best Brewery Online: Very rarely visit any to be honest.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: Cranachan and Highland’s Orkney Porter at a food/beer matching event at the Bacchus.

In 2011 I’d Most Like To…: Find time to write more here…but not at the expense of drinking.

Open Category: I think I’ve said enough.





Local Beer Fest News – The Free Trade Inn Midwinter Beer Festival

13 01 2011

OK so the first local festival of the year takes place in what in my opinion is the most improved pub in the region, the Free Trade Inn.  The festival runs from the 27th of this month through to the 30th but some of the beers (marked) will be on earlier.  So, some of you may think the place needs a lick of paint but I call it character and it has it in abundance as well as a great selection of beer/cider and a view to die for.

Some cracking beers on the list, I’m particularly looking forward to the Odell, Orkney and SWB offerings and the Cider Tarts will have enough to keep them quiet for a while…well…OK nothing ever keeps a Cider Tart quiet.  Both HH and I will be down there on a least a couple of the days so say hello if you spot us.  The pub itself is easy enough to get to from the centre of Newcastle by jumping on a Yellow QuayLink bus which will drop you only 50 yards from the door.

Draught

Allgates, Green Bullett

Arran, Dark

Blue Monkey, Guerilla Stout

Boggart, Rum Porter

Bowland, Hen Harrier

Brewdog, Riptide *Available from Tues 25th

Darkstar, TBC

Durham, TBC

Durham, TBC

Fyne Ales, Jarl

Fyne Ales, Hurricane Jack

Mallinsons, Motueka

Marble, Ginger

Marble, W90

Marston Moor, Implacable

Nelson, Loose Cannon

Orkney, Clootie Dumplin *Available from Tues 25th

Ossett, South Pacific IPA

Ossett, B2K

Rudgate, Northern Brewer

Salamander, Cloak and Dagger

Salamander, Slapstick

Stables, Monboucher Mild

Summer Wine, Boreas

Summer Wine, Heretic Imperial Black IPA

Titanic, Stout

Wansom, Millers Mirth

Wharfbank, Slinger

Wold Top, Against the Grain * Gluten Free Beer

Wold Top, Dawn Of Time

Cider

Westons, Organic Vintage

Westons, Winter Twist

Millwhites, Single Organic

Millwhites, Novo Pyrus

Millwhites, Pear Lite

Millwhites, Equinox

Mr Whiteheads, TBC

Mr Whiteheads, TBC

Broadoak, Perry

Broadoak, Bristol Port

Broadoak, Moonshine

Orchard Pig, Hot Mulled Cider

Guest Draught Bar

Erdinger, Urweisse

De Koninck, Winter De Koninck

Sierra Nevada, Celebration

Sierra Nevada, Northern Harvest

Sierra Nevada, Old Chico Crystal Wheat

Sierra Nevada, Brown Ales

Sierra Nevada, Porter

Odell, IPA