OK people, let’s do this!
Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer - Kernel / Brodies Stella for Breakfast; the first beer of 2012 and never bettered.
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer - Durham Brewery Diabolus takes it for me. This brett infused version of Temptation proved, once again, that Durham are ahead of the curve. I can’t wait to revisit the beautiful labelling and bonkers flavours once my extra bottles age a few years.
Best Overseas Draught Beer - Nøgne Ø Two Captains was a soapy seductress; thicker and more lustrous than Alec Baldwin’s hair. Mikkeller’s Sort Gul was incredible as well.
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer - Getting to drink a month old bottle of Pliny the Elder was pretty remarkable and an undoubted high water mark in IPAs. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro blew my tiny mind and Brooklyn Black Ops was incredible as well.
Best Overall Beer - Too hard to call; I’ve had the pleasure of an incredible amount of incredible beers this year. Some of the real highlights were Summer Wine Kopikat, Port Brewing High Tide IPA , Russian River Pliny the Elder, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout , 3 Fonteinen Armand And Tomme and Traquair’s 1000th Brew. It’s been quite the year.
Best Pumpclip or Label - Canterbury Brewers Belgo Russian Imperial Stout
Best UK Brewery - This year has seen another slew of breweries open and there has never been a better time to be a beer drinker. It’s incredibly hard to name any one of them “the best”. That said, the one true standout has to be Brodies. They’ve put out a huge range of unbelievable beers, worked with the likes of Mikkeller and, hand on heart, I’m yet to have one of their beers that I didn’t love.
Best Overseas Brewery - The beery trifecta of Left Hand Brewing, Mikkeller and De Struise
Pub/Bar of the Year - I’ve been fortunate to prop up some wonderful bars this year. London is still the UK mothership of all that’s awesome in beer, with Craft Beer Co. towing the line between down-at-heel boozer and beery nirvana. However, my vote naturally goes to The Free Trade Inn, which is blessed with an unbeatable view of the coaly Tyne and an ever changing range of cask and kegged delights. One mention of #FTIFriday is enough to get me salivating. Best. Pub. Ever.
Beer Festival of the Year - I wasn’t there but I know it was Borefts. The timeline of tweets practically induced a hangover. And apoplectic rage. I will be there in 2013.
Supermarket of the Year - Losing my car this year has made visits to supermarkets as infrequent as movies by Terrence Malick. However I occasionally pop into Waitrose which has a few tasty treats on their shelves.
Independent Retailer of the Year - The newly expanded Coppers in Newcastle has to be my choice. Their continuing crusade to bring big hitting beers to the north east continues, now with increasing square footage.
Online Retailer of the Year - The choice of beers available online is always increasing but the nod has to go to Cantebury’s Bottle Shop. Old school customer service and some of the best beers I’ve drank all year have come from them. And they’ve just started stocking the elusive Brooklyn Brew Kits. Hands down winner.
Best Beer Book or Magazine - I would love to say Hopaganda magazine but I haven’t pulled my finger out to get another issue pulled together yet. I’ll sort that in the new year. I’ll go with London Drinker, a CAMRA magazine that reads like a boozy Time Out.
Best Beer Blog or Website - The Broadford Brewer website is not only annoyingly well written but a website showcasing one man’s march into full time brewing. A tremendously talented brewer who will undoubtedly end up doing it professionally. His recounts of brew days will be revisited when I finally pull my finger out and commence Operation Homebrew.
Honorable mention must go to Juffage for the magnificent Enormous Face blog. Easily the best beer review site ever.
Best Beer Twitterer - @Filrd - Phil is the has been the instigator of many online happenings such as #SupSaison and #IMPOFF. I blame him squarely for several of my most devastating hangovers. Equal parts informative and inspirational, getting to meet Phil while sinking several beers in Newcastle this year was an extra treat as well.
Best Online Brewery presence - Brooklyn Brewery for their frequent updates, cheese pairing suggestions and, of course, Monster’s Log.
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year - Admittedly nothing has come close the wonder that was a lukewarm Greggs pasty and Vitesse Noir at last year’s Twissup. For me cheese, meats and beers sank in great company will always be the definitive pairing.
In 2013 I’d Most Like To…not write a beer review every single day, or ever again. In fact, that’s a lie, I doubt very much I’ll be able to kick this ridiculous habit anytime soon but daily reviews certainly won’t be the focus of my blog anymore. Next year, I hope, will be all about home brew. I have a kit, all I need now is some ingredients and an idea of where to start. Perhaps I’d most like to write about that in 2013.