The following awards are partizan. I am a Northerner. So expect a Northern bias. If you want to see the extolling of the “Titans of Craft”, switch off now.
This is for the little guys.
Also, if you want uncritical Craft Wankery and the following of the herd, look elsewhere. I’m sick of the uncritical herd mentality. Let’s start to see and call things out for what they are in 2016.
Also. Magic Rock Brewtap is a brewtap. NOT a pub or bar. So there!
Grrrrrrrrrr………. Here we go (takes Amlopodine to calm down…..)
Best UK Cask Beer : May Day DIPA – Five Towns Brewery
Sometimes, it’s all about the moment. And the company. And the atmosphere. This beer was hugged by all three. It was an 8.4% hop fist, encased in a velvet glove. I dived in at the East West Fest. For. Three. Whole. Hours.
And lived. Unlike a certain someone. A beautiful beer. I have drunk nothing better on draught this year.
Honourable mention? DIPA by Cloudwater. As I told James Campbell, if this is REALLY 9%, it’s one hell of an achievement. It tasted like 6%. And was delicious,
Best UK Keg Beer : Deerhunter – Black Jack Beers
A “Coffee Saison” shouldn’t work. But it is sublime. I could happily drown in it. Even on keg.
Best UK Canned Beer : Life & Death – Vocation Brewery
I have drunk very little canned beer this year. But this was simply stunning. Vocation are yet to miss a beat. I’ll be inviting them to #ISBF2016. I should have asked them THIS year.
Best UK Bottled Beer : OAP DIPA – Five Towns Brewery/North Riding Brewpub
I drank this the day after drain pouring a certain 10% X rated beer. It was a hop bomb that delivered its punch on the chin. Brewed by two brewers who worship humulus lupulus. It was 9.6% and it just rocked my world.
Best “Foreign” Draught : American Brown Ale – Howling Hops
Because anything south of Crewe is a foreign land to me. BUT…When in Rome…
This was outstanding on cask in The Cock Tavern back in April. It made a big impression. In a simply stunning London pub.
Best “Foreign” Bottled Beer : Black Pig – Pig & Porter/Black Jack
I know it’s a collab. But. I. Don’t. Care. A Belgian Rye Porter from Sean Ayling that passed the Beergasm test. In spades.
Best Overall Beer : May Day DIPA – Five Towns Brewery
For all of the above reasons. And a certain photograph that will forever remain an embarrassment. And for making me smile the next morning as I witnessed the damage it wrought on my Arch-Nemesis.
Best Branding : Brewsmith Beer
Just classy and clean. Great work from Something Brewing.
Best UK Brewery : Tickety Brew
This is awarded (as always) on the basis of having drunk and enjoyed the beers of a brewery consistently throughout the year. Last 2 years I have given it to Allgates and my regard for their drinkable beers hasn’t diminished. Far from it.
But, each time I have drunk Tickety beers on cask in Manchester, they just get better. And better. I didn’t at all “get” the first couple of beers when they launched, but the more they brew, the better they get.
Not the trendiest of Northern breweries. But I go on flavour. Tickety wins.
Best New Brewery Opening 2015 : Vocation Brewery
Hit the ground running. And accelerated. Not a false step. In Cask, keg, bottle or can.
Manchester has several heavyweights. But this one punches hardest. A grand old building with soul. And great beers on cask and keg. £3 a pint for the cask too. Don’t argue.
Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2015 : Heaton Hops
(School Lane, Heaton Chapel)
If you have been to Heaton Hops. You understand. If you haven’t, just go. Then you will. Damian & Charlotte have done a simply outstanding job
Honourable Mention : Bottle
(Shaw Road, Heaton Moor). The Heatons are truly blessed to have two bars like these.
Small, yet perfectly formed. Held in a Labour Club. That could only fit 70 people. And the 3 of us that caught the train over felt immediately at home.
It had soul. It was fun. The beer was all Northern. What else could this boy want?
This was the year that I fell out of love with the Mega Festivals. I crave intimacy. I crave fun. I found them in a red shed.
This year, I also really enjoyed The Independent Salford Beer Festival.
But I organised it. So I can’t vote for it.
Supermarket of the Year : Booths
If you live within 10 miles of one and voted for somewhere else, you’re wrong.
Simply the greastet range of beers in any supermarket that I’ve seen.
Best Beer Book or Magazine : Opening Times (SSM CAMRA Branch)
Simply a great read.
Glenn Johnson just tells me what I need to know. About the pub or the beer. without fan boy bullshit. I like that.
Dec (Deeekos – to mortals) is one pithy little bastard. Prone to blogging Tourettes. And he makes me cry with laughter. And laughter is seriously underrated.
These tap open weekends encapsulate Summer in Manchester. Great beer, great food, great cool tunage. Great people.
The reason that I wish Summer would never end.
Take a run down, tatty former Mancunian beer institution that’s on its uppers.
Give it a lick of paint and a kiss and a cuddle. Add some pub games.
You have a new Manchester institution. Thank you Black Jack.
Now, a Tuesday night essential. A gathering of like minds talking bollocks about beer, because we love it. Tom has done a great job.
Honourable Mention : David Bishop with his @twattybeer doodles
– If they don’t make you laugh or smile, you lack a beery soul.
And that is that.
And my opinion carries the weight of a feather!