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Archive for December 18th, 2009

Wot? No category for best beer glass?

 

A challenge from Mark at Pencil and Spoon, which really ended up as a personal year end review of sorts. 

I’ve decided to focus on interesting new beers and breweries. Sure, there was amazing stuff from BrewDog, Mikkeller and Nøgne ø this year as well, but the beer scene is far more complex: 

Best UK Draught Beer 

Acorn Lubeski IPA. Never heard of? They have a series of single hop IPAs or, rather premium bitters, and this one showcases Lubeski hops. Smooth base, fine malty body, lovely citrus hoppiness. Lemon and lime. Long dry finish. Obscure enough that it’s not even on their web site, but the Beer Nut can confirm I haven’t just made it up. 

Best UK Bottled Beer 

It must be the Thornbridge St. Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout Highland Whisky Reserve. So massive you’re unable to even tweet the name of the beer. Be sure to grab some bottles of their next release. In the meantime, their Jaipur and Halycon beers are awesome, too. They should have better international distribution, with new brewing facilities I assume they are ready to take over the world. 

Best Overseas Draught Beer: 

Chotěboř 12° Kvasnicová. 

A new Czech brewery with export ambitions. Their bottled beers are great, but their yeast beer is divine.  

Best Overseas Bottled Beer 

Both Christmas beers from Sigtuna Brygghus, Sweden took me by surprise. They are the Scandinavian brewery to watch in 2010. They are a stone’s throw from Arlanda Airport, so it should be possible to fit in a visit… 

Best Overall Beer 

Birrificio del Ducato Nuova Mattina (New Morning) 

Hazy peach color, rocky head. Very Belgian aroma. An explosion of flavour from the first sip. Full malt, sweet and sour, stable and barnyard, Summer flowers, pepper, spearmint, some ashes. Bittersweet finish with some peppery and warming ginger. Their beers are to be found across Europe now, try them all! 

Best Bottle Label or Pump Clip 

Nøgne ø Sunturnbrew 

Best UK Brewery 

BrewDog. 

Best Overseas Brewery  

Just one? I could just say Nøgne ø, but that’s cheating. De Molen? Yes, it must be de Molen. 

Pub/Bar of the Year 

The Football Pub, Rome 

Beer Festival of the Year 

Copenhagen Beer Festival. But I enjoy Pig’s Ear immensely. 

Supermarket of the Year 

I wouldn’t know. The expanded Marks & Spencer range with full information about the beer and their breweries is impressive. 

Independent Retailer of the Year 

beermerchants.com 

Online Retailer of the Year 

A tie: beermerchants.com, birraland.it 

Best Beer Book 

Pete Brown: Hops and Glory 

Best Beer Blog 

That’s tough,eh? If I could pick ten. And some have been praised so much lately its best for their egos if I ignore them.. 

I must say Ron Pattison. Not for the historical records, which are beyond me, but for his descriptions of his days out. As Alan recently observed, he is, at his best, Dickensian. But I must also point to two other expats who have their special angle on the beer scene and the general culture they have settled in – Barry and Max

Best Beer Twitterer 

@thebeernut 

Best Online Interactive Brewery 

BrewDog 

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year 

The Gunmakers. Good, no nonsense food, properly kept pints. 

Next Year I’d Most Like To… 

go to the US and drink beer. East Coast, West Coast, North or South. Not that I’m likely to. On quite another level, I hope to meet as many friendly and generous beer people on both sides of the bar and the mash tun as in 2009. 

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