So 2011 was the year I truly discovered great beer. I’ve drank a lot of the stuff over the past 12 months & met tons of great people along the way. Done my best to pick a ‘winner’ for each category but it wasn’t easy. Here goes…
Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer
1st – Summer Wine Diablo (Keg) – Not for the faint hearted, I think it scores somewhere around a million IBUs… Love it!
Runner up – Magic Rock Human Cannonball (Keg) – Topped off a hoptastic IPA day!
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
1st – Brewdog AB:06 – Tastes like liquid chocolate orange, delicious.
Runner up – Kernel 100 Centennial IPA – I think a lot of Kernel IPAs deserved a mention but this one was the jewel in their IPA crown for me.
Best Overseas Draught Beer
1st – Odell IPA – I’ll never forget my 1st sip of this at the Free Trade Inn. Stunning!
Runner up – Southern Tier Mokah – This sort of beer is good enough to have as a dessert, yum!
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
1st – Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale – AMAZING!
Runner up – Flying Dog Raging Bitch – @zakavery was right, terrible name but brilliant beer.
Best Overall Beer
1st – Any IPA from The Kernel, they always hit the spot!
Best Pumpclip or Label
Pumpclip – Magic Rock – New brewery who got their branding spot on from the start.
Labels – Odell – They aren’t beer labels, they are works of art!
Best UK Brewery
1st – Kernel – Pretty sure I have had more beers from them than any other brewery. Yet to be disappointed by a single one.
Runner up – Summer Wine – 2 great guys who keep knocking out top notch beers that really satisfy my hop cravings.
Best Overseas Brewery
1st – Stone – The kings of US craft brewing.
Runner up – Odell – Really glad we can get a good range of their beers in the UK. Did I mention the labels?
Pub/Bar of the Year
1st – Free Trade Inn – Besides all the excellent beer it offers the best view from any pub I’ve been to. I just wish I got there more often!
Runner up – Mr Foley’s – Dean is extremely passionate about bringing great beers to the people of Leeds & it shows.
Honourable mentions – Northbar (Leeds), Bacchus (Newcastle), Craft Beer Co. (London), Cask Pub & Kitchen (London).
Beer Festival of the Year
It has to be #twissup in Newcastle. A day of great beer & great company all taking place in the Toon!
Supermarket of the Year
1st – Waitrose
Runner up – Sainsbury’s
Independent Retailer of the Year
1st – Beer Ritz – It’s the greatest beer shop in the world god dammit!
Runner up – Rehill’s (Jesmond, Newcastle) – You’ll always find a brilliant selection of beer at this place. They need to get on Twitter…
Honourable mention – Coppers (Gosforth, Newcastle) – This shop keeps getting better & better.
Online Retailer of the Year
1st – My Brewery Tap – I haven’t bought much beer online but when I have this lot have provided an excellent service. They get some truly amazing beers in stock!
Best Beer Book or Magazine
1st – 500 Beers (Zak Avery)
Best Beer Blog or Website
1st – The Beer Boy – The 1st beer blog I read, turns out Zak is a genius in this field 🙂
Runner up – Ghost Drinker – What this guy doesn’t know about beer isn’t worth knowing. Always writes with a good sense of humour.
Honourable mentions – The Good Stuff, Beer Prole, Eating isn’t Cheating. There are many more blogs I enjoy reading, too many to mention!
Best Beer Twitterer
1st – @rickfurzer – This guy knows his booze (amongst other things) Always so willing to give advice, great chap!
Runner up – @broadfordbrewer – Really friendly bloke & always a good laugh. Pretty good home brewer too! Thanks for the free beer 😉
Honourable mentions – Anyone I have had conversations with over the past year, far too many to mention but you all know who you are.
Best Online Brewery presence
1st – Summer Wine
Runner up – Magic Rock
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Has to be The Kernel Export Stout & Citra IPA with Prosciutto ham & Comte cheese while sat outside the brewery itself. One of my favourite memories of 2011.
In 2012 I’d Most Like To…
Keep drinking great beer, simple!
Open Category: Best beer related event of the year
The day spent at Rooster’s Brewery. Fantastic day & an absolute pleasure to have been invited.