So here are my Golden Pints Awards for 2011. As I am posting from my pop-up paper engineering site I thought it would be interesting to mash up two of my great passions in life, so you may have noticed the rather strange pop-up spider diagram. If your interested I will explain a little about this later. But for now here are my difficult decisions in what I thought was a stunning year for Craft Ale in Newcastle and in the country.
Best Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer
Winner :- Summer Wine Barista – Reliably full flavoured and so drinkable. May not be the most subtle coffee flavour, but as a taste sensation it is fantastic.
Highly Commended :- Magic Rock Highwire, Brass Castle Bad Kitty, Tempest Brave New World, Marble Chocolate Dubbel, Black Isle Export Scotch,
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
Winner:- Kernel Imperial Brown Ale – Malty, sweet and big alcohol kick. Big hitting but so comforting to drink.
Highly Commended:- Magic Rock Dark Arts, Hardknott Vitisse Noir, Durham Temptation, Highland Orkney Porter, Stringers Mutiny, Summer Wine Cohort,
Best Overseas Draught Beer
Winner:- Odell IPA :- Stunning freshness and flavour in this refreshing ale. Very drinkable belying its strength. Great to see peoples first taste and their instant conversion
Highly Commended:- Left Hand Milk Stout, Nonge IPA, Gouden Carolus Christmas, Pretty Things St Bolotops Town
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
Winner:- Left Hand Fade To Black Vol 2 – Very tough to choose between the two left hand beers. Milk stout is so easy drinking but Fade to Black has such intensity of great deep flavours and smokiness. It is a stunning beer
Highly Commended:- Left Hand Milk Stout, Nonge Imperial Stout, Mikeller Geek Brunch, Mikkeller Citra, Odell IPA
Best Overall Beer :-
Winner:- Summer Wine Barista
Winner:- Magic Rock Pumpclips – Last year talked about Yorkshire Dales strategy of similar pumpclips with differing colours. This years model is a modernist circus illustration with clever colouring.
Highly Commended:- Left Hand Fade to Black Label,
Best UK Brewery
Winner :- Summer Wine – Worked out that I had tasted a least 40 of their beers this year. Summer Wine are a prolific brewery who push the boundaries of the beer drinking public by moving from tweaking traditional standard ale types to creating huge flavoured experiments. When they get it right (Barista, Cohort, 7 Seas, Diablo & to come Kopikat) they are stunning.
Highly Commended :- Tempest, Black Isle, Hardknott, Magic Rock, Kernel, Tyne Bank
Best Overseas brewery:-
Winner :- Left Hand – On the basis that they finished as my top two overseas bottles & Milk Stout on draught was a close second to Odell IPA in that section.
Highly Commended:- Nogne, Odell, Pretty Things
Pub/Bar of the Year:-
Winner:- Free Trade Inn, Ouseburn – The year Free Trade excelled itself. Always will be a great Iconic building with a stunning view up the Tyne but this year Mick made the beer speak for itself. Beer festivals, meet the brewer events, IPA day, bottle menu opening night, Twissup involvement were stand out activities but the weekly selection of beer has been stunning. Add to this friendly staff, a community of non-pretentious fellow drinkers and a great social network presence. Easily my favourite pub and only 15 mins walk away
Highly Commended:- Mr Foleys, Bacchus, Newcastle Arms
Beer Festival of the year:-
Winner:- York – A very tough choice as (Scottish & Leeds were both great), but love the York atmosphere. Beer choice is so wide and so excellent.
Highly Commended:- Scottish Real Ale Festival, Leeds
Supermarket of the Year
Winner:- Tesco (in Scotland only) – Online delivery orders to Scottish relatives = access to Williams Bros, Black Isle, TSA, Cairngorm, Brewdog beers
Independent Retailer of the Year:-
Joint Winners:- Rehills & Coppers 8 till 8 :- Now two great beer retailers both a little out of the way with fab beer selections in the back of Delis. When I talk about Newcastle craft ale renaissance these have played an enormous part bringing some of the best British & continental bottle beers to the city. Continually raising the bar.
Highly Commended:- Beeritz (Leeds), More & More Beer (Plymouth), Scottish Real Ale Shop (Callander)
Online Retailer of the Year:- Didn’t buy online from dedicated retailers but from breweries themselves
Best Beer Book or Magazine
Winner:- Hopaganda. Loved the old school approach with typewriter font. A magazine with much needed uncomercialised comment tempered with a lot of balanced optimism. So much fun in making and so looking forward to contributing to issue 1
Highly Commended:- Three Sheets To The Wind
Best Beer Blog / WebSite:-
Winner:- Real Ale in Newcastle website – Still font of all knowledge in finding out whats likely to be in bars across Tyneside.
Highly Commended:- Beer Reviews Andy Blog
Best Beer Twitterer:-
Winners:- Too hard to call, maybe a joint award to all the Newcastle (& North East) drinkers and publicans who have networked over the last year contributing to the rise of the Real Ale consciousness in the Area
Best Online Brewery presence:-
Winner:- Brewdog – Have one of the most contradictory marketing strategies in Real Ale. But a website which needs to be taken notice of
Highly Commended:- Magic Rock
Best Food & Beer Pairing:-
Winner:- Venison Burger (& Chips) & Tyne Bank Cherry Stout at Town Wall Pub
Highly Commended:- Welsh rarebit with Stewart Embra at Bacchus
Free Category – When Craft Ale really came to Toon 2012 Award
Winner:- Previously Unseen Kernel bottles scattered across Free Trade Bar on the opening evening of the bottle menu
Highly Commended:- Marble Ginger, SW barista & Thornbridge/Odell Colorado Red appearing all together at Top Arms beer festival, Sunset at Twissup Newcastle,
In 2012 I would most like to:- Find more ways to represent beers in fun informative ways
I believe in the use of fun (sometimes crazy) imagery to convey information. Like many people I feel more comfortable with a diagram, flow chart or a picture showing me the way rather than words. I have previously done pop-up’s for reviews of music and work, but this is certainly my first attempt with Beer as the topic (Although as Hopaganda testifies I have done the odd weird diagram). This is a simple Tent pop-up incorporating 5 sets of extension arms. All the folds follow the central valley of the main card. Perfect to create a 3D spider diagram. This certainly won’t be my last attempt, so expect more beer diagram craziness on this site or within Hopaganda