Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Golden Pints

Now I know you have been waiting for it, but here it is. The feet on the ground, beers you can buy everywhere (more or less) Golden Pints. The definitive guide to what really is good, not what really is rare or odd. Let's get straight in with the most important category of all:

Best UK Cask Beer

Ah, so many contenders and since this is a list of best, not worst, I'll miss out the many duffers that I've been unwise enough to purchase. You know who you are, because I've written about you.

Funnily enough it is the so called "despicable" Wetherspoon that has caught my eye in number one and number two position.  Both are from their American Brewers Showcase. I also have to add one of my own personal favourites, which makes the bronze position.  So, in reverse order:

3rd: JW Lees Plum Pudding. Christmas in a glass indeed
2nd:Stone Supremely Self Conscious Black Ale. This lovely, hoppy,  Black IPA was a clear number one until along came:
1st: Pretty Things Jack D'Or Saison Americaine.  Simply magnificent and just squeaks ahead of no.2.

A further point that must be made and cannot be a co-incidence, is that both first and second were brewed at Adnams.

Best UK Keg Beer

3rd: Hello My Name is Mette Marit. Yes a BrewDog beer.  I reckon they do do great dark beers.
2nd: Thornbridge Imperial Raspberry Stout.  It did what it said on the tin.  Luscious
1st: Kiwi Wit by Camden Brewery.  A one off for Mark Dredge's new book launch. It was absolutely lush. Bring it out permanently. Immediately!

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer

I don't drink much of this at all, but two beers, both late in the day, caught my eye and both are from breweries within a brewery:

Joint winners are:

Brabo from Brains Craft Brewery.  Clean, delicious, Belgian style Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with Des De Moor.

Triple C from Thwaites Crafty Dan Brewery, which shows how to use hops without making it a yukky muddy mess as so many new wave brewers do. Cleanliness in beer is so undervalued these days.  It shouldn't be.
Best Overseas Draught Beer

This is a time and place thing.  Uerige Alt drunk in the schwemme at source in Düsseldorf.  Beer is also about occasion and, in good company, there is not many better places to be, or a better beer to drink.

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer

Something  guezey at the Great British Beer Festival.  Or anywhere. Almost certainly from Cantillon.

Best Collaboration Brew

Allgates Quaker House Stout.  It was brewed in collaboration with me and was bloody good.

 Best Overall Beer

Kiwi Wit by Camden Brewery  I still think about it.  My own stout a close second.  I still think of that too. They really were that good.

 Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label

I like the simplicity of Tickety Brew from Manchester

Best UK Brewery

Adnams for reasons already stated. I even liked their Dry Hopped Lager. 

Best Overseas Brewery

I haven't drank enough stunners to award anything here, but as it is over the Irish Sea an honourable mention to Okells.  Their Manx Pale Ale is a beauty.

Best New Brewery Opening 2013

Can't think of any that really impressed enough to make an award.

Pub/Bar of the Year

My local, the Tandle Hill Tavern.  It's where my friends are.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013

Very impressed by the beer quality (not by the prices though) in Pie and Ale, Manchester, but the award has to go to The Well and Bucket in London for atmosphere and choice (they need to keep an eye on cask quality though) and closely followed by the Pelt Trader for great quality beer and great service, though it needs to be made a bit less soulless.

Beer Festival of the Year

Great British Beer Festival.  It is still the dog's bollocks when it comes to putting on a show.

Supermarket of the Year

I rarely buy any beer in them. No award but I do like browsing in Waitrose.

Independent Retailer of the Year

As above.

Online Retailer of the Year


Best Beer Book or Magazine

Mark Dredge's "Craft Beer World".  Fresh and readable. Enthusiastic and well thought out. Took a knackered formula and brought it back to life.

Best Beer Blog or Website

3rd:  Total Ales by Matt Curtis.  Long but readable. I like it a lot
2nd: The Beer Diary by Chris Hall.  Always a good read, even when I disagree with him.
1st: The Beer Nut. Unsurpassed in his beer descriptions and his enthusiasm for his subject.

Best Beer App

What Pub by CAMRA.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer

3rd: @OkellsAles - Mike Cowbourne for his interesting links
2nd: @Robsterowski. To the point and not just there for the hell of it.
1st: @cshallwiter. Chris Hall. On fire at the moment.

Best Brewery Website/Social media

No views.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year 

Lees Bitter and a packet of  mini cheddars always goes down well.

Phew.  That took a lot longer than I'd imagined it would.


The Beer Nut said...

Honored. But I know you didn't write these because the beer of the year is keg. Rookie mistake, Tandlefake.

Tandleman said...

Ha. That's one of the surprises, but on a summer evening it was drop dead gorgeous and Belgian Wheat beer is one of my favourite styles. This elevated it to a new great height.

The Beer Nut said...

It does sound fab. Visiting Camden Town Brewery was one of the highlights of my year.

Phil said...

That Jack D'Or was something else. I spotted it on the bar of the Paramount in M'cr just the other day - unfortunately I was on my way out & couldn't stop for one.

Stono said...

were both Adnams/Wetherspoons beers from the same Wetherspoons, its just Ive had the Stone Supremely Self Conscious Black Ale down here and it was very ordinary at best. the Jack D'or has been missing in action so cant comment on it. but been having some pretty ordinary beers of late from that part of the world that wouldnt feature on my top list of anything & the lager is of course keg ;)

Leigh said...

Nice to see some recognition for Okell's MPA - i drink a lot of it in MTT pubs in Leeds and beyond, and it's rather become my 'go to' when i get there. What's more, I've not tasted a bad pint of it yet! Very good, very good beer.

Tandleman said...


You say "down here". That may be the key. My pints were superbly cask conditioned and presented equally well. Same JDW but not at the same time.

شقق مفروشة للايجار said...

i love your blog a lot.