I learnt that there was going to be such a thing as #goldenposts this year far too late to do anything about it. Even my super memory isn't adept enough to recall posts to suit each category, but I'll be paying more attention this year so I can join in next time. Anyway, for the first year ever I've decided to deliver some #goldenpints even though I should probably be concentrating on catching up with my Advent Calendar posts.
Best UK Cask Beer – Easy. Magic Rock – Rapture. I’d forgive them if they sold their souls to have this in every pub up and down the land.
Best UK Keg Beer – I would love to award it to a Siren Craft Brew beer - Näcken – but I’m not sure if this counts as it was a collaboration with Omnipollo. If not then Buxton Brewery - Axe Edge has been terrific this year.
Best UK Bottle or Can – It should be available more as Buxton Brewery – Wyoming Sheep Ranch has been offensively good this year. Easily the best IPA this country is producing (yes, better than Cannonball and Halcyon.)
Best Overseas Draught – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen. I would have had to think long and hard about this category. Then I was reminded why this is my favourite ever beer when this was on in Port Street last month and every other brewer can retire at that moment for me.
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer – Based solely on beers that I had for the first time this year, this simply goes to the sensational Omnipollo – Hypnopompa that I wrote about here and have sadly not seen this.
Best Collaboration Brew – Another mention to Siren/Omnipollo - Näcken which was almost as good as Schneider Weisse’s Hopfenweisse. I also awarded 5 Untappd Stars (a rarity indeed) to Brewdog/OskarBlues – Shipwrecker Circus and Brewfist/To Øl - Space Frontier.
Best Overall Beer – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen and the year that it isn’t is the year the universe implodes
Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label – I do love the simplicity and brilliance of Omnipollo. Special mention to Vagrant Brewing however for their Hip Hop themed G-ness
Best UK Brewery – Continues to be Magic Rock Brewing who seem to get right every style they approach
Best Overseas Brewery – Whilst there are a few classic ones to mention, I think in terms of innovation I constantly love everything To Øl do.
Best New Brewery Opening 2014 – I’ve not had anybody new consistently enough really but I discovered Runaway Brewery only in November and now seek them out whenever possible
Pub/Bar of the Year – Plenty of great places in Manchester city centre now that could get the vote but it would be very wrong of me not to give it to Stalybridge Buffet Bar since they treat me like royalty and have improved their beer selection no end.
Best beer and food pairing – Thornbridge Tzara with most takeaways, but specifically mild, fruity curries
Beer Festival of the Year – It’ll be the obvious choice but I just can’t see past Indy Man Beer Con 2014
Supermarket of the Year – I don’t have a local Waitrose and all my big name local supermarkets seem sorely lacking compared to other parts of the country. However, after discovering the selection in Booth’s whilst in Windermere and then finding the one in Media City, Manchester, they are unrivalled on selection anyway.
Independent Retailer of the Year – I’ll always be a Beermoth man, but special mention to Saddleworth Real Ale Shop that opened this year and my recent discovery in Ashton-Under-Lyne: Browton’s.
Online Retailer of the Year – Beers of Europe. Best selection and exceptional service. Would it be wrong to name and shame the worst one as I discovered this month?
Best Beer Book or Magazine – I haven’t read anything released this year, but did read The Lost Beers & Breweries of Britain by Brian Glover for the first time this year and enjoyed it.
Best Beer Blog or Website – Just last month I may have rather drunkenly been sat in North Bar, Leeds and aggressively told Matthew Curtis (Total Ales) and Chris Hall (Chris Hall Beer) that they are the best two writers in the country.They are my two favourite blogs anyway.
Best Beer App – The answer should always be Twitter.
Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer – I don’t think he needs any more awards but think we all enjoy David Bishop’s (@Broadfordbrewer) Dad jokes, Twatty Beer Doodles and just general Twitter engagement.