Golden Pints Awards 2014

Golden PintsI enjoy looking back on the best beery moments of the year, and reading what were the highlights for others. That said, it’s tricky picking winners from all the great beers and bars encountered over the course of a year, and it feels a bit skewed towards novelty when my choices include beers I’ve only tried a few times, and a bar I’ve visited only once.

Thanks to Andy Mogg at Beer Reviews for hosting the awards again.

Best UK Cask Beer – Mighty Oak Kings

Citra hopped beers are plentiful, but Kings is outstanding. If I could have chosen one beer as a permanent this whole summer, this would probably have been it.

Mighty Oak Kings

Best UK Keg Beer – Magic Rock/Birra Toccalmatto Custard Pie

I knew when I tasted this back in January that I’d still be thinking about it come December. A wonderful beer, bursting with tropical fruit juiciness.

Custard Pie label

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer – Beavertown Gamma Ray

Well, this was the Year of the Can.

Best Overseas Draught – Sovina Helles

Although I drank this on only two occasions, while in Porto this year, I can’t think of another overseas draught that I enjoyed more.

Sovina Helles

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer – Pilsner Urquell

Probably the bottled beer I’ve had most frequently this year. I blame Waitrose.

Best collaboration Brew – Magic Rock/Birra Toccalmatto Custard Pie

Best Overall Beer – Magic Rock/Birra Toccalmatto Custard Pie

On the few occasions I had the pleasure of drinking it, it was the beer that raised the biggest smile for me this year. They really should brew this more often.

Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label – Brass Castle

For the ambigram

Brass Castle

Best UK Brewery – Magic Rock

Consistently amazing beers.

Best New Brewery Opening 2014

Tough to pick a winner as I’ve lost track of brewery openings this year. Of those I think opened this year, good beers from Anspach & Hobday, Runaway, Hillside, Ainsty’s, and Calverley’s spring to mind.

Pub/Bar of the Year – Falgate

Put up for sale by Enterprise Inns this year, the future is uncertain for this 18th century Broadland pub, but it’s currently still being run by landlady Annette, whose hospitality and penchant for decorations make this large two-room pub feel cosy, particularly around Halloween and Christmas. My ‘pub of the year’ because I fear it’s unlikely to remain quite like this for another year, if it remains open at all.
(Winter opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 12-2pm and Monday to Saturday open in the evening from 5pm)
Falgate Inn

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2014 – Mash Tun, Norwich

Gets everything right – great bar snacks, great beer, great ambience.

Best beer and food pairing – Weird Beard Five O’clock Shadow with Battered Jalapeño

by @Harbercue at the Mash Tun, Norwich

Beer Festival of the Year – Cambridge Beer Festival

The next one will be 18th – 23rd May 2015

Supermarket of the Year – Waitrose

Mostly for ensuring my fridge was well stocked with Jaipur and Pilsner Urquell all year.

Online Retailer of the Year – Beers of Europe

Probably the best selection and next day delivery every time.

Best Beer Book or Magazine – Brew Britannia

Like a deceptively strong beer. The page turning pace disguised the depth of research behind it.

Best Beer Blog or Website – Boak and Bailey

The blog I read most.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer – @broadfordbrewer

For spattering my timeline with the likes of this:

Here’s to 2015 – cheers!

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