Our contribution to the annual blogging jamboree masterminded by Beer Reviews Andy and Mark Dredge.
Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer: St Austell 1913 Stout (version 1).
We prepared a shortlist of beers we’ve enjoyed so much we’ve drunk more than we meant to. St Austell Proper Job was on that list as was Penzance Brewing Co’s Potion 9, and Spingo Ben’s Stout. 1913 Stout has it, though, because (a) it was so delicious we drank too much two nights in a row and then (b) took what was left after the Dock Inn beer festival in a growler. (But note: version 2 was weaker and not quite as exciting.)
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer: Oakham Green Devil IPA.
We had a very strong, positive gut-reaction to this beer which you might call ‘love at first sip’. We used it at our first talk at the Eden Project and the crowd loved it; by the time the second talk came round, it had all been stolen, which says it all. (Runners up: Sharp’s Connoisseur’s Choice Honey Triple; Brewdog Punk IPA, our go-to fridge beer.)
Best Overseas Draught Beer.
We haven’t had all that many this year (overseas draught beer doesn’t really get this far west) but we seem to remember enjoying Brewfist Spaceman IPA in London during the Olympics, so let’s say that.
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer.
We’re boring: Achel Tripel. (It was Westmalle Tripel last year.)
Best Pumpclip or Label.
This one for Tap East Kellerman because that’s Boak’s little brother on it, as depicted by Philippe Fenner. (Aww…)
Best UK Brewery.
We don’t really feel equipped to say as there are several ‘hot’ breweries whose beer we’ve never tried but, what the Hell… the Blue Anchor/Spingo brewery at Helston. Spingo Middle is our regular drop at the Dock Inn in Penzance and (the occasional quality wobble aside) the beer at the brewery/pub/brewpub is generally excellent, not to mention increasingly adventurous. (Pale Rauchbier!)
Beer Festival of the Year.
The St Austell Celtic Beer Festival had an exciting beer list and a buzzing atmosphere, so let’s say that. (Disclosure!)
Supermarket of the Year.
Waitrose for the simple reasons that (a) we came back from a trip to Exeter with rucksacks stuffed with Thornbridge beer from one of their stores and (b) Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ASDA and Morrisons never actually have the beers we’re looking for, even if they’re supposed to be on their lists.
Online Retailer of the Year.
We keep coming back to Beer Merchants who seem to have what we’re looking for at the right prices and who have delivered everything promptly and (touch wood) intact. (But there’s no one retailer who’s website and stock list is perfect.)
Best Beer Book or Magazine.
Pete Brown’s Shakespeare’s Local. It’s not a list of beers we have to try; it’s not a beginners guide; and it made us laugh out loud more than once.
Best Beer Blog or Website.
Martyn ‘Zythophile’ Cornell’s blog has it — rigorous, compelling and readable. (To note, though: the first blogs we look at every day, in alphabetical order, are A Good Beer Blog, Tandleman and The Beer Nut.)
Best Beer Twitterer.
Joe Stange, aka The Thirsty Pilgrim. We retweet, or want to retweet, almost everything he has to say. He’s not prolific, but it’s all good stuff.
In 2013 We’d Most Like To…
Get ourselves up north on a grand beery tour, especially Sheffield.
Open category: best really old book.
Richard Boston’s Beer and Skittles (1976) should be on every beer geek’s bookshelf.