Golden Pints 2010 Part 2

19 01 2011

After some subtle persuasion from KC, I had been asked to break my vow of silent contribution and nominate my belated Golden Pints Awards. So here we go

Best Draft UK Beer: Some excellent ales in 2010 the umptious Ascot Anastasia Imperial Stout, the vanilla based Yorkshire Dales Stout Of This World, the complete flavor surprise of Thornbridge Colorado Red and the gorgeous Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30. But in the end my vote goes to the excellent Highland Orkney Porter. Consistently excellent and comforting.

Best UK bottle Beer: Again lots of contenders. Scottish beers though dominate Williams Bros Midnight Sun, Traquir 2010, Harviestoun Ola Dubh 40 and Orkney Dark Island Reserve. They are all distinct and excellent, But for its uniqueness, consistency and what would always be my first Beer swap ale, the sublime Durham Temptation.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: A couple of German Draught Ales were the most memorable. At The National Winter Ales Festival, the smokey bacon crisp tasting  Schlenkerla Eisbock was a great find. Equally at the Brandling Arms Octoberfest, the recommendation of  Marzen Rauchbier brought an ale with a distinct kipper smell and deep smokey taste. It was surprisingly good.

Best Overseas Bottled beer: Some great strong dark beers. The Imperial Porters/Stouts of Flying Dog Gonzo and Left Handed were both amazing. But two presents take the top two places. In second, the excellent Mill St Coffee Porter from Canada and first, Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch, a stunning beer full of flavor and balance.

Best Overall Ale: Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch

Best Pumpclip or Label: Choice between the funny/clever or the iconic/business. On one side I love the pumpclips of Blue Monkey. The Che Guevera influenced Guerilla and the clever 99 red Baboons are distinctive and fun. On the other side, the distinct pumpclips for Yorkshire Dales Brewery are almost iconic art deco with a great use of colours showing beers of real quality. Prize goes to Yorkshire Dales.

Best UK brewery: Almost too hard to call. First of all, the best NE brewery would go to Bull Lane, arguably had best ales at both Leeds and Newcastle beer festivals. Summer Wine Brewery, Thornbridge and Yorkshire Dales continued to push the boundaries and produce excellent ales. But for real consistency of great beer and for making an IPA that I actually like, it needs to go to Highland Brewery.

Overseas brewery: Flying Dog gets my vote. Gonzo Imperial Porter was far too easy drinking & dogtoberfest, the maltiest beer I had this year.

Pub/bar of year: Outside the area it would be Marble Arch or North Bar. In Newcastle, Bacchus (8 course beer matches/great beer), Free Trade (getting better all the time) & Cumberland Arms (my fab bizarre local). But vote goes to Newcastle Arms, great bar staff, homely atmosphere & excellent beer festivals.

Best Festival: still adore Newcastle beer fest (especially all day Thursday). Leeds continues to be one of the most friendly. National Winter was an experience whilst Scottish national always has great beer. But for it’s uniqueness, atmosphere, location & excellent beer (despite polycarbonate glasses) it has to be York.

Supermarket: Tesco Online when ordering only in Scotland. Midnight Sun, Black Gold and Glencoe Stout. Enough said

Independent retailer: Beeritz was excellent, but for accessibility and constant improvement, Rehills Deli in Jesmond

Online retailer: don’t buy online

Beer book or magazine: Cheers

Best beer blog or website: Phils Newcastle Real Ale Listing. Indispensable resource for working out what/where you want to drink. Also useful for remembering what you had last night

Best beer twitterer: too difficult to call

Best Brewery OnlineBrewdog. Part interesting information part episode of the Young Ones

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: Agree with my esteemed colleague. Cranachan and Highland’s Orkney Porter at a food/beer matching event at the Bacchus was unbelievably good.

In 2011 I’d Most Like To…: write something on this blog… get in, one New Year Resolution down!

HH

*Good work HH…keep ’em coming.…KC

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