This year has been a great year for beer. We have seen the emergence and improvement of various small and big breweries all over the country. With the boom in the beer industry, we are seeing heaps of different styles and experimental beers hitting the bottle shop shelves and bars. With that comes a rise and continuation of independent beer festivals. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste every beer, go to all beer festivals or/ and read every blog posted online, so doing this post has enabled me to reminisce about 2015 in the world of beer. Reading everyone’s selection for ‘Golden Pint 2015’ has brought to my attention how varied the palates are within the UK’s, and in the ever evolving world of beer. Hopefully without sounding too controversial, here is my personal opinion: my ‘Golden pints of 2015’.
Best UK Cask Beer: Jaipur X by Thornbridge. I was only able to try this at Birmingham Beer Bash. I was taken aback by the difference in taste between bottle, keg and cask. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will be seeing this around as often as I would like.
Best UK Bottled Beer: Tzatziki Sour by Mad Hatter. Absolutely amazing beer from start to finish. I have a few bottles of their latest batch which I am hoping lives up to my own hype.
Best UK Canned Beer: Life & Death by Vocation Brewery. Vocation hadn’t journeyed far from their hometown when I was looking for this beer, so tripping up on a few of their cans in a bottle shop in Leeds did please me. Okay, a bit of an understatement, but now the problem is getting my hands on a few more in my neck of the woods.
Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Geuze Mariage Parfait 2011 by Boon Brouwerij. I was lucky enough to have one of these saved. One drunken night with friends we decided to crack it open. I still have dreams about how this tasted. (Even though it was a 2011 beer, I drank it this year. I would advise you doing the same if you have one around.)
Best Overseas Canned Beer: Coconut Porter by Maui Brewing Co. Stunning beer. Problem is that I haven’t found it again since the first one. If anyone knows where I can get it from in the UK, please let me know.
Best Collaboration Brew: I have actually got 2 for this one (I know, I am a rule breaker) but both of these beers I feel ticked every box for me. Old Garde by Cloudwater and Burning Sky, also Yellow Belly Sundae by Buxton Brewery and Omnipollo.
Best Overall Beer: Tzatziki Sour by Mad Hatter.
Best Branding: Magic Rock Brewing Company. There’s no doubt their new can designs are outstanding. It’s really great to see the progression of their bottles and website.
Best Pump Clip: Lion by Hook Norton. Not the normal cardboard pump clip but the metal embossed one. Sitting on a tap handle it draws your attention so much that you can not help but ask the server to pull a pint of it for you.
Best UK Brewery: Out of all the breweries in the UK it is a hard choice, but for consistency alone it has to be Buxton Brewery.
Best Overseas Brewery: Mikkeller. Mainly because I am impressed at the variety in choice that their beers span.
Best New Brewery Opening 2015: Cloudwater Brewing Company. Amazing set up and it’s great to see such passion and determination in the brewing industry.
Pub/Bar of the Year: Either Taphouse, Copenhagen or if you are going to stick to UK based bars or pubs – Shuffledog, Leeds.
Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2015: Tilt, Birmingham. Hands down the next big thing in the Birmingham beer/ coffee scene.
Beer Festival of the Year: Indy Man Beer Con… It was great. Atmosphere, beer and music. I’ll be back next year.
Supermarket of the Year: Our local Marks and Spencer has a great selection of beers, though I generally try to avoid busy supermarkets when beer shopping.
Independent Retailer of the Year: Cotteridge Wines in Birmingham: great selection of beers and great hosts of ‘meet the brewer’ events.
Online Retailer of the Year: Beer Gonzo in Coventry. Great selection and reasonable postage. Nice and local for me as well.
Best Beer Book or Magazine: Ferment: a great new online publication, which looks fresh and exciting or The Brewers Journal, which is very industry focused.
Best Twitterer: @broadfordbrewer aka @twattybeerdoodles. Also the magnificent Melissa Cole: @MelissaCole
Best Beer Blog or Website: Total Ales all the way. Also, a massive shout out to The Beer O’Clock show!
Overall winner: BEER!