Golden Pints 2011

31 12 2011

 

 

 

Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer: Tasted way too many good ones this year to make this an easy choice.  SWB Cohort, Magic Rock Curious NZ and Hardknott Vitesse Noir could all have justifiably snatched the crown but this year’s winner is Tyne Bank’s Southern Star.  It’s great to see a local brewery producing a beer of such outstanding quality.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer: Traquair Jacobite is still my all time favourite beer but the award this year goes to the flavour bomb that is Summer Wine Brewery’s Barista.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: Odell IPA a great beer but lifted to award winner status by the company with whom I was drinking it.

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer: Orval.  Consistently divine.

Best Overall Beer:  The aforementioned Traquair Jacobite.  Everyone should have a comfort beer that keeps them warm, safe and grounded, a best friend in a bottle.   This is mine.

Best Pumpclip or Label:  Last year’s winner, The Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company, quite rightly holds on to their crown.  Honourable mentions must go to Magic Rock and Kernel.

Best UK Brewery:  Summer Wine Brewery.  Top beer, produced by top blokes.  What more could you ask for?

Best Overseas Brewery:  Orval.  See above.

Pub/Bar of the Year: Enjoyed drinking in many fine establishments this year, in particular the Newcastle Arms, the Bacchus and Mr Foleys.  However, this year the Free Trade Inn stands head and shoulders above all others.  A view to die for, matched only by its consistently excellent beer selection and ambience.

Beer Festival of the Year:  Stretching the category a little here, the award goes to Twissup Newcastle.  A true festival of beer worship, delivering top rated pubs, beer and company.

Supermarket:  Waitrose for keeping me supplied with the sadly “soon to be no more” Durham Benedictus.  Otherwise, Meh!

Independent Retailer: Joint winners in the form of Copper’s 8 ‘til 8 and Rehill’s.  However, both should apparently be punished for adding to @CiderTart_G’s stress levels as we attempt to “find somewhere to put all the damned stuff.”

Online Beer Retailer:  Not bought as much online this year due to the excellence of those establishments listed in the category above.  We do have a winner though.  I received great, prompt service from Beer Ritz when used recently and will definitely be using them again.

Best Beer Book/Magazine:  Hopagandamag, fun to contribute to, fun to read.  Looking forward to some no holds barred issues next year.

Best Beer Blog/Website: For the obvious, no nonsense joy he exudes when he writes about beer, the people who drink it and the places in which it is drunk, the winner is the Reluctant Scooper.

Best Beer Twitterer:  Not an individual but a community.  The award goes to all the beery twitterers of the North East.  Sharing the love.

Best Online Brewery Presence:  Summer Wine Brewery.  Like their beer, never dull.

Food and Beer Pairing:  A piping hot Gregg’s Seasonal Pasty, chunks of gorgeous cheese and a 1/3 of Vitesse Noir.  All devoured in glorious sunshine outside the Free Trade Inn during Twissup.  Thanks to @SamtheTree and @DrinkMatch for the food and @HardknottDave for the beer.

In 2012 I’d Most Like To: Enjoy myself…not bothered how that is achieved.

Open Category:  Thanks to all the people I have met, chatted to and got pissed with this year.  Without you beer is pointless.

KC





Local Beer Fest News – Brandling Villa Sausage & Ale Fest 2011

7 02 2011

The first week in March (3rd to 5th) sees the triumphal return of the Brandling Villa Sausage & Ale Festival.  Last year’s event was a tremendous success despite a few teething problems and Dave has learned from that and has planned an even more adventurous event for this year.

The pub is outside of Newcastle city centre but easily accessible via the Metro system.  Take a tram to South Gosforth and you will find it a couple of hundred yards down the bank.  The BV is an imposing, double fronted stone building and has plenty of room inside to fit everything and everybody in.  Dave has done a great job with the place since he took over about 18 months ago which will surely be rewarded with an entry in the next Good Beer Guide.

Anyway on to the festival and the beer and sausage lists, these are yet to be 100% confirmed but here is what we have so far and I’ll post updates if things change enough to warrant one.  The following lists are a bit long but worth reading through to pick out all the goodies to put on your festival hit-list.

DRAUGHT

8 Sail – Victorian Porter 5.0%

Adnams – American IPA 4.8%

Adnams – Belgian Abbey Ale 5.0%

Anchor – Liberty Ale (USA Import) 5.9%

Bacchus – Framboise (Belgium Import) 5.0%

Bays – Topsail 4.0%

Blindmans – Golden Spring 4.0%

Brew Dog – Edge 3.2%

Brew Dog – Hardcore IPA 9.0%

Castle Rock – Preservation Fine Ale 4.4%

Dark Star – American Pale Ale 4.7%

Flying Dog – Doggie Style (USA Import) 5.0% (may turn out to be Old Scratch)

Kwak (Belgium Import) 8.4%

Leeds – New Moon 4.3%

Ouseburn Valley – Bangerade 6.0%

Phoenix – Massacre 4.5%

Poachers – Shy T

Roosters – Orange Blossom Cream Ale 3.9%

Saltaire – Cascadian Black 4.8%

Springhead – Sweetlips 4.6%

Summer Wine Brewery -Barista Espresso Stout 4.8%

Thornbridge – Jaipur IPA 5.9%

Thornbridge – Kipling 5.2%

Trentside – Hickman Gold 3.9%

BOTTLES

Brooklyn – Chocolate Stout

Mort Subite – Gueze

Schlenkerla – Rauchbier

Quintine – Hercule

Goose Island – India Pale Ale

Bohemia – Regent

Flying Dog – Gonzo Imperial Porter

SUASAGES

Bison & Blueberry

Merquez

Black Rabbit & Brooklyn Chocolate Stout

Pheasant & Pear

Northumbrian Beef & McConnell’s Irish Stout

Roast Duck, Spring Onion & Wasabi

Pork, Bean & Jalapeno

Wild Boar, Honey & Thyme

Wood Pigeon & Damson Jam

Venison & KWAK

Award Winning Cumberland Sausage

Craster Kipper & Dill

Full English Breakfast

Butternut Squash, Sage & Gorgonzola

Duck, Orange & Apricot

Pork & Thornbridge Jaipur India Pale Ale

Liver, Bacon & Ouseburn Porter

Allendale Beacon Fire Banger (HOT)

Pork & Ginger

Haggis, Neeps & Whisky

Northumbrian Lamb & Mint

Ostrich & Rosemary

Crocodile & Sage

Beef & Newcastle Brown Ale

Pork & Black Olive

Lamb Bhuna

Pork & Apple

Pork, Dijon & Roosters Orange Cream Blossom

Spinach & Cheddar Cheese

Mushroom & Tarragon

Kangaroo

Duck Pork & Stilton

If you are still here after wading through all that, congratulations.  There will also be a selection of Ciders on throughout the Fest to keep the Tarts happy and in all Dave reckons that there will be 38 brews on at any given time.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Lyndon Anderson Band, ZepFreeCream and the Mojo Hand band…if they can find any room to set up.

There are certainly some great beers to try here and if Dave can get things to anywhere near the standard of last year’s event you will be in for a treat if you make it along.

KC





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.





Queen Victoria Feeds Her Subjects

24 02 2010

News from the ever knowledgeable Eric Larkham.

The Queen Victoria on Gosforth High Street will be starting to serve meals from Monday 1st March. Food will be available every day between 12noon and 8pm.

To enable them to decide what sort of food will be popular, and what beer goes with what food pub manager Justin Cooper is inviting you to pop along to the pub on Friday 26th February between 12:30 and 2:30 for free samples of the food, although you have to buy your own beer of course.

Sounds fair enough to me but unfortunately ADB are otherwise engaged.  If you are in the area though it sounds as if it could be worth your while popping in.

KC





Local Beer Fest News – Trimmers Arms

24 02 2010

I’m afraid this festival has passed be by a bit so I’m late with the news.  The festival starts today and runs though until the 28th so there is plenty of time to get down there still.  In truth I’ve never been to the Trimmers, something I’ll have to rectify, so I can’t comment on the place but the beer list looks great.  There will also be 9 brews from the Bitter End Brewery whose Espresso Stout was a lovely pint at the recent Newcastle Arms festival.

Beer:

1648 Brewery Brew-Master 3.9%

1648 Brewery Triple Champion 4.0%

Acorn Gorlovka Stout 6.0%

Acorn Motueka Ipa 5.0%

Allgates Hop Devil 5.5%

Banks & Taylor Dunstable Giant 4.4%

Banks & Taylor Shefford Old Dark 5.0%

Batemans Miss Canada 4.1%

Battledown Porter 4.5%

Bazens Zebra Best Bitter 4.3%

Beartown Ursa Minor 3.6%

Bowman Nutz 5.0%

Brentwood Blind Date 4.1%

Bridestones Dark Mild 4.5%

Burton Bridge Old Expensive 6.5%

Castle Rock Hairstreak 3.6%

Clarks Midwinter Mistletoe 4.2%

Corvedale Molly Morgan 4.0%

Elland Catch The Rainbow 4.1%

Empire Imperium 5.1%

Frog Island Croak & Stagger 5.6%

Golcar Guthlags Porter 5.0%

Green Jack Maheer Ipa 5.0%

Humpty Dumpty Porter 5.4%

Leeds Midnight Bell 4.8%

Loddon Penny Pond Porter 5.5%

Moles Moleo & Juliet 4.4%

Oakleaf Quercus Folium 4.0%

O’Hanlons Storkstay 5.0%

Ramsbury Pophams Pride 3.6%

Three Castles Love Beer 4.0%

Thwaites Hops & Kisses 3.8%

Wolf Remus 4.1%

Cider:

Biddendens Bushells 6.0%

Biddendens Kentish Medium 8.0%

Moles Black Rat 6.0%

Thatchers Cheddar Valley 6.0%

Thatchers Trad Dry Cider 6.0%

KC





Local Beer Fest News – The Duke of Wellington

24 02 2010

Just a quick one to say that there is going to be a small beer festival held at the Duke of Wellington on High Bridge Street between the 11th and 13th of March.  This used to be the Saturday haunt for HH and I but I don’t think either of us has been in for a number of years now.  No particular reason other than we thought the choice of beer took a bit of a hit and the décor change wasn’t to our liking…finicky blokes us two.  Anyway here is the beer list and you never know we may venture back in for a pint or two.

Abbeydale Moonshine 4.3%

Anglo Dutch Tabatha the Knackered 6.0%

Beartown Ginger Bear 4.0%

Blue Monkey BG Sips 4.0%

Cotleigh Old Buzzard 4.8%

Durham White Amarillo 4.1%

Fyne Ales Avalance 4.5%

Hadrian Border Reiver’s IPA 4.4%

Hadrian Border Tyneside Blonde 3.9%

Hornbeam Lemon Blossom 3.7%

Jarrow McConnells Irish Stout 4.6%

Mighty Oak English Oak 4.8%

Moor Somerland Gold 5.0%

Mordue IPA 5.1%

Roosters Yankee 4.3%

Saltaire Cascade Pale Ale 4.8%

Spectrum Old Stoat Wobbler 6.0%

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA 5.9%

Wylam Gold Tankard 4.0%

KC





Local Beer Fest News – Newcastle Arms Update

11 02 2010

Just a quick update from yesterday on the beer list for the Newcastle Arms Beer Fest.  The ABV for the Marston Moor Beers are now in:

Black Knots 4.3%
Jack Snipe 3.9%

And there have been two additions to the list:

Redemption Pale Ale 3.8%
Redemption Urban Dusk 4.6%

As I said yesterday HH and I will be there tonight and it looks like we will be joined by at least one Cider Tart (δ) so if you see us pop over and say Hi.

KC