I 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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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!