2016 has been a big beery year for us. We have been lucky enough to get to Manchester more times than usual, along with trips to Newcastle, London, Amsterdam and Barcelona to name but a few great cities. As a result I (Simon), thought I would do my first ever Golden Pints contribution.
Best UK Cask Beer: Track – Sonoma
Like quite a lot of people this year, it has to be Sonoma. It has become a go to beer whenever I see it on. Whether it be fresh from the tap-room, a Saturday pint at the Turks Head or a celebratory beer at Stalybridge Buffet bar for Mark’s birthday it is always on top form.
Honourable Mention: Magic Rock – Common Grounds
Best UK Keg Beer: Magic Rock – Big Top
Tough one for me; Heathen or Big Top? Big Top just edges it. I suppose it’s because they brew this beast so rarely that I always make sure I get it whenever I see it. It still excites me.
Best UK Bottled Beer: Thornbridge : Days of Creation / Love Amongst the Ruins
I remember trying these beers for the first time at Manchester Beer Week’s Big Party at a Thornbridge tasting – they seem to have come from nowhere and just blew me away. I picked up two bottles of each and hope to enjoy one or two over the Christmas period.
Best UK Canned Beer: Northern Monk – Heathen
Probably one of the hardest categories as I think there have been a lot of great UK cans to come out in 2016 (and a lot of bad ones, but we wont go in to that). Heathen has to win it for its consistent, dank, juicy appeal.
Best Overseas Draught Beer: Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (2014)
We were lucky enough to be over in Amsterdam when the Goose Island guys came to town for a tap takeover. After spotting them in all the bars we visited around Haarlem we then headed to a jam-packed Beer Temple in the evening to find BCBCS on tap. Such a complex and enjoyable Imperial Stout.
Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Oude Gueuze Tilquin a L’Ancienne
We seem to see more of this in the UK now and its such a pleasure to drink. I always seem to find myself adding it in my basket when in a bottle shop.
Best Overseas Canned Beer: Evil Twin – Even More Jesus
I’ve drunk quite a lot of Tool cans this year and really enjoyed the Sur beers, but Even More Jesus from Evil Twin wins this one. Leanne and I shared a can at Arcade Beers in Huddersfield. We just sat for a bit laughing about how good it was then sat in silence not really knowing how to describe how utterly delicious it tasted.
Naparbier did eight collaborations with breweries from all over the world and when we visited their tap-room back in November they had a few of them on. This one with Lervig was a 11.7% Impy Stout. Delicious.
Best Overall Beer: Northern Monk – Heathen
A beer that has over taken Gamma and Cannonball as a fridge staple now.
Best Brewery Branding: Cloudwater
The designs on their bottles and pump clips are just amazing – eye-catching, modern and ever-changing.
Best UK Brewery: Northern Monk
I think myself very lucky to have such an amazing brewery right on my door step in Leeds. 2016 has been a big year for them, over 24 new beers have been produced in total. The consistency of their beers is second to none, whether it be can, keg or cask. 2017 is going to be a big year for them – watch this space.
Honourable Mention: Wylam. Just go visit their tap-room if you haven’t. In fact, stop reading this and jump on a train and get there now. The beer isn’t half bad either!
Best New Brewery: Verdant
I’d like to thank Sam for bringing these cans back to LLBH early in the Summer. The beers taste fresh and really drinkable. We took a few down to the local river on a hot summers day and they were just so damn good.
Best Pub/Bar of the Year: Bundobust
This summer when we were out at a festival or just for drinks, we survived on a diet of vada pav and okra fries – a winning combination. It’s been great to see them grow & grow and now they have opened a Manchester branch, how long before a London bar? Who knows.
Honourable Mentions: Friends of Ham
Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2016 : Turks Head
Great selection of kegs beers and even though there are only 2 cask pumps, they are always of the highest quality. A staple on any Leeds bar crawl now.
Best Brewery Tap: Naparbier
Who said it had to be a UK one? Some of the best beers on show and the food was exquisite too.
Best Festival of the Year: Leeds Beer Week
A week that lasts 10 days. This was the first time that Leeds Beer Week had been held and in six weeks everything was put together for one unforgettable celebration of beer.
Best Supermarket of the Year: Booths
Like most people, I don’t tend to do much actual beer shopping in the supermarkets and try to buy from independents. However, saying that, Booths do stock some great beers and in the summer they did six beers for the price five. Only thing is that you need to keep an eye out of those BBD on the bottles/cans!
Independent Retailer of the Year : Little Leeds Beer House
There’s not much to say on this matter – what Rich and Bryony do here is second to none and they continue to stand out in this category for me.
Small note on The Curious Hop – 2017 will hopefully see the shop open more in the evening for drinking in. Currently being trialled the odd month with a view to open most weekends in the New Year.
Best Beer Blog: Beer Compurgation
I look forward to reading all of Mark’s posts, they are open, honest, thought provoking and always informative.
Simon Johnson award for Best Beer Twitterer: @beerdoodles because we love Dave’s doodles and the lightheartedness he brings to the beer world.
Honourable Mentions: @msswiggy