Saturday, 10 December 2011

Golden Pints 2011

Everyone loves a list, don't they? A "Best of..." list is a great way of condensing information, although of of course there is a lot of detail and nuance lost in this approach, and anyone not appearing on it might feel slighted.

Oh well, here's my contribution:

Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer Magic Rock High Wire
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer Buxton Brewery Axe Edge
Best Overseas Draught Beer Odell IPA
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer Anchor Porter - a hugely underrated beer, in my opinion
Best Overall Beer Magic Rock High Wire
Best Pumpclip or Label Magic Rock
Best UK Brewery The Kernel - defining 'craft' without ever thinking too hard about it
Best Overseas Brewery Mikkeller (yes, I know he hasn't got a brewery, but you know what I mean)
Pub/Bar of the Year I don't get out much, but The Euston Tap is a repeated draw when I'm in London
Beer Festival of the Year I've not been to many, but GBBF is an obvious call
Supermarket of the Year Haven't shopped widely enough to have an opinion
Independent Retailer of the Year modesty forbids - has it only been 9 months....?
Online Retailer of the Year modesty forbids
Best Beer Book or Magazine not read enough to choose
Best Beer Blog or Website Adrian Tierney-Jones at Called to the Bar
Best Beer Twitterer Simon H Johnson
Best Online Brewery presence Magic Rock
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year couldn't choose, sorry.
In 2012 I’d Most Like To… get back out to the USA, and judge at the World Beer Cup
Open Category: You Choose Best commodity/craft crossover beer - Worthington White Shield. I can't think of a single other beer that has got such a great lineage, tastes amazing, and yet you can still pick up for a couple of quid in most UK supermarkets. Garrett Oliver's maxim that "you can buy some of the best beers in the world for the price of a double latte at Starbucks" has never been more true.


  1. totally agree with you on Anchor Porter, a sleuth like assault on the senses with condensed milk, mocha, a slight wisp of burnt white toast and a big fat juicy raisin that would not have been out of place in Jack and the beanstalk — great beer. PS thanks for the blog comment.

  2. Slighted I tell you. Slighted! ;) Hard ti disagree with any of them.

  3. rabid - like I said, I don't get out enough!

  4. If you make it anywhere near the Northwestern US, I would love to buy you a beer. Agreed on Anchor Porter. It, along with Geary's London Porter, are my two fave US examples.

  5. I can't agree about White Shield. The last one I had, just like the one before, was disappointingly chemical/bubblegum tasting with a non-existant mouthfeel. It's surely not a patch on, and bears no relation to, the old Bass brewed beer of the 1980s?

  6. Jeff - I hope to take you up on that one day soon.

    Henry - I'm surprised by your description, and it certainly doesn't sound like any of the bottles I've had lately. I can't comment on its similarity to the Bass-brewed beer of the 80s, but certainly the brewer who was responsible for overseeing its revival, Steve Wellington, gave the impression that it was pretty close. Out of interst, what would your "open category thing of 2011" be?

  7. I agree about Anchor Porter. In its draft form, especially in the Bay Area, CA, it has a fairly sharp bitterness. The hops seem less pronounced in the bottled version. Interesting about the raisin-like taste mentioned above, I wonder if that is a sign of bottle maturation (it's pasteurized but many porters seem to improve with age anyway). The condensed milk analogy is dead on. The beer is all-malt IIRC and I've always felt this enhanced its quality.

    Anchor Porter came out in about '74, thus it pre-dates the first modern American craft brewery (New Albion in Sonoma, CA) by some years. It's a kind of bridge between the best of the old-school and the New Wave.



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