No Beermack post for 12 months. What a lazy beggar, eh?
Plenty of other good/mediocre/shite blogs out there to keep you beer loving folks occupied, so I’m not going to lose any sleep or make excuses.
But, there’s nothing like the annual draw of Golden Pints to get a man typing again, so here we go with the UK/Ireland list for 2015.
Best UKI Cask Beer
Moor Nor’Hop. Too good, they should stop it. Nowt better than a zinging, juicy almost mentholly pint of fresh Nor’Hop. Even in shite condition, it’s better than most.
Shout outs: Wylam Galaxia, Roosters YPA.
Best UKI Keg Beer
Cloudwater Double IPA. Got absolutely typewritered on this stuff at the Earl of Essex in London. Unbelievably clean and juicy, perfect carbonation, and up there with my all time favourite big hop hitters.
Shout outs: Kernel Pale Ales (all of them), Galway Bay Via Maris.
Best UKI Bottled Beer
Thornbridge Kipling. Again. Looking forward to it being in the same spot in 2016.
Shout outs: Cloudwater Lager (Summer), Siren Caribbean Chocolate Cake.
Best UKI Canned Beer
Camden IHL. Even post ABInBev takeover (congrats to both companies on a good bit of business), this will be the beer that is always in the back of my fridge.
Shout outs: BrewDog Jack Hammer, Magic Rock Salty Kiss.
Best UKI Brewery
Thornbridge. Just a bloody great outfit: consistent, creative, high quality, well-priced, relatively available. All the things you want.
Shout outs: Galway Bay, Buxton, Cloudwater, Wylam, Magic Rock, The Kernel.
Best International Brewery
Cellarmaker, San Francisco. Brewers of the best range hop-forward beers on the planet, but also able to nail a really diverse set of beer styles, from barrel-aged stouts, to lagers and saison. A trip to their SF taproom should be on the bucket list of every beer lover.
Shout outs: Maine Beer Company, Other Half Brewing, Jester King, Brasserie De La Senne, Cantillon.
Best International Beer (and my Beer of the Year, 2015)
Maine Beer Company, Dinner. The best DIPA I’ve had thus far in life. Will take some beating. A no-brainer for this year’s top spot. I even extolled its virtues over on STONCH, where some jumped-up fools had the nerve to disagree (not like STONCH readers at all, really, is it?)
Shout outs: Foundation Brewing Epiphany, all hop-forward beer from both Other Half Brewing (NYC) and Cellarmaker (SF).
Miscellaneous awards (festivals, branding, bars, etc.):
Best UKI Bar: Against the Grain, Dublin.
Didn’t think I’d say this upon moving back to the UK, but AtG still takes this year’s top spot. This is much to do with the fact that Galway Bay Brewery has become a nigh-on world class brewery over the past 18 months and AtG functions as a de facto brewery tap for GBB in Dublin (with 8-10 GBB brews pouring at any given time). A lot of work has been done to stock up the fridges with a great range of bottles from around the globe, and the other 20-odd non-GBB taps are always thoughtfully curated with some real world-beaters. Great staff and vibe, as always.
Shout outs: Kings Arms, London. The Free Trade Inn, Newcastle.
Best UKI Branding: Magic Rock and Beavertown tie for first here. Fabulous branding (especially on cans) from both breweries.
Best Beer Festival: IndyManBeerCon. Peerless.
Best Retailer: Drinkstore, Dublin. Peerless.
Best blog/Twitter/etc.: they all delight/enrage me equally depending on mood, no backslapping here.
Cheers and see you this time next year, if not before.