Thursday, 29 December 2016

Golden Pint Awards 2016

  • Best Irish Keg Beer: White Hag's Little Fawn. A simple beer, which when fresh on tap is fantastic. Runner up goes to McGargle's Big Bangin' Francis. Worst beer name ever, and a beer I didn't like much at its initial outing, but I do now. At 7.1% and on wide distribution on tap is a feat in itself. Solid beer.
  • Best Irish Bottled Beer: While available on draught at their tap rooms, Boundary's Sour Bake 2016, a barrel aged sour stout, only recently available in bottles, is totes amazeballs. This beer is simply stunning and has perched itself atop the Untappd list of Irish sour beers that I post. I cannot emphasise enough how good this beer is, and again, how Boundary are the DJs of how the current best of the Irish scene dances.
  • Best Irish Canned Beer: Choice is better than last year and Razzbeer from Metalman gets the award for being the first sour(ish) beer in cans from an Irish brewer. That takes courage. Worthy of mention is Surrender to the Void from Whiplash, a balls in your face DIPA from Alex Lawes, with superb branding from his main squeeze, Sophie DeVere.
  • Best Overseas Draught Beer: For God's sake I spent the summer in the US! Too much choice so no way to do it justice. Chicago's All Rise does the best IPA in the world, Reverend Bob's. This beer is simply stunning. If you're in Chicago check them out, they're a stone's throw from Goose Island in the Cobra Lounge, a famous Chicago pub. But there are so many more....
  • Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Arrows of Neon from the Rare Barrel. What a name, what a beer.
  • Best Overseas Canned Beer: Too many to list but Lawyers, Guns & Money from Crazy Mountain was a stand-out not only as a great beer, but a great name.
  • Best Collaboration Brew: Imbib with an Alibi, an exceptional sour saison, brewed and aged in two separate breweries and then blended. A beer to behold in the wonderful town of Reno.
  • Best Overall Beer: Boundary's Sour Bake 2016. No other comes close.
  • Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label: I rewrote this one. Whiplash. Sophie has done such a great job on branding. Beer names are awesome too.
  • Best Irish Brewery: Again, for going out on a limb, Boundary Brewing. Honourable mentions to Whiplash and to Hope Brewery for getting off to a great start.
  • Best Overseas Brewery: Cascade of Portland. Enough said, these guys could survive on reputation alone.
  • Best New Brewery Opening 2016: Not so many new breweries, but Hope gets it. Solid start and great potential. (If Whiplash was a physical brewery they'd get it)
  • Pub/Bar of the Year: The old stalwart, the Porterhouse (Parliament St). 57 The Headline too. Both exceptional. State-side, The Beerhive in Salt Lake City, the best craft beer joint in Utah, bar none.
  • Beer Festival of the Year: I've been to exactly two beer festivals in 2016. One was in the RDS. The other was in Snowbird, a ski resort atop the Wasatch Front. Great selection of beer but the fact that it's held over 10,000ft above sea level, where there's still snow in July is enough of a USP for me!
  • Supermarket of the Year: SuperValu. The range is increasing steadily, but still not a patch on....
  • Independent Retailer of the Year: Drinkstore.
  • Online Retailer of the Year: Belgium in a Box.
  • Best Beer Book or Magazine: Beer in the Beehive, a history of brewing in Utah. Did you know the Mormons were pioneers of alcohol? Written by my beer buddy (and owner of the Beerhive in SLC) Del Vance, this is one of the most well-researched beer history books I've ever read (disclaimer: Del gave me my copy of the book). A very close second is Beamish & Crawford - The History of an Irish Brewery.
  • Best Beer Blog or Website: Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. I worked with Ron Pattison during the year to re-create a Murphy's XXX stout recipe from 1916. His blog is always a fascinating read and has been the inspiration for Kernel and others. Of notable mention is the  Utah Beer Blog - written by Mike Riedel, another beer buddy of mine. Nothing goes down in the Utah beer scene without getting mentioned here first. It is the Utah Beer Oracle.
  • Best Beer App: Untappd. Coming into its own, there really is no alternative mobile phone app. Think of it as the international, social media, version of BeoirFinder. A fantastic (the only?) resource if you're in the US, and making great inroads into Ireland too.
  • Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: The Beer Snobs. Where-ever you go, they're there!
  • Best Brewery Website/Social media: Rye River. I especially liked the video interviews with brewers. I attribute a large part of their success to Liam Tutty and Simon Broderick, though they're a man down now, sadly.

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