Boak & Bailey’s Golden Pints 2014

Prompted by Andy Mogg at Beer Reviews, here are our nominations for the best bevvies, bars, book and blogs in the world of beer in 2014.

Bear­ing in mind that we live a long way from where the action is and haven’t been abroad, our choic­es are per­haps a bit parochial and con­ser­v­a­tive. In gen­er­al, though we try to keep a bit of dis­tance and remain objec­tive, you might also want to cross-ref­er­ence this lot against our dis­clo­sure page. And who knows how this list might have looked if we’d writ­ten it yes­ter­day, or tomor­row.

Best UK Cask Beer: St Austell Proper Job

Proper Job pump clip.After much over-think­ing, we decid­ed that we want­ed to recog­nise a beer from one of our local brew­eries, of which we have drunk sev­er­al pints every week, usu­al­ly at the Yacht Inn in Pen­zance, and which con­sis­tent­ly delight­ed us – that is, made us say ‘Ooh!’ and ‘Ah!’ The peachy, pithy, juicy aro­ma gets us every time, laid over a clean, fresh-tast­ing beer with no rough-edges at all. Through com­pro­mise rather than design, it’s been an Amer­i­can-style IPA at ses­sion strength for some years, which is now appar­ent­ly all the rage. We expect to drink lots more of it in 2015.

Best UK Keg Beer: Brew By Numbers Cucumber & Juniper Saison

Brew by Numbers Cucumber and Juniper Saison.At first, we strug­gled to think of any keg beers we’d drunk often enough to form a strong opin­ion – we dab­bled with a lot of one-off glass­es in Man­ches­ter, Leeds, Sheffield, Bris­tol and Lon­don, but didn’t go back for sec­onds of many or any. Then we recalled this beer which we enjoyed back in June and liked enough to seek out for a sec­ond ses­sion. A gim­micky beer from a brew­ery whose beers we don’t find uni­ver­sal­ly bril­liant, it nonethe­less knocked us for six – the beer equiv­a­lent of a clas­sic ‘fruit cup’. (We have also found it good in bot­tles, but not as good as from the keg.)

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer: Thornbridge Tzara

Thornbridge beer bottle caps.The most con­vinc­ing Kölsch you’ll taste out­side Cologne and, debates over style and styl­is­tic sub-divi­sions aside, one of the best lager beers around. The most impres­sive thing about it is the malt char­ac­ter – sol­id enough to chew on. Not flashy but classy, and a real demon­stra­tion of brew­ing skill. (Here’s what we said back in Feb­ru­ary.)

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Boak & Bailey’s Gold­en Pints 2014”

Golden Pint Awards 1993

By 1993, Boak & Bailey’s beer newsletter was no longer a few stapled sheets.

goldenpints93-2

The Decem­ber edi­tion of that year was print­ed on glossy paper and con­tained fea­tures on the demise of Newquay Steam Beer; the mean­ing of the term ’bou­tique beer’; and a review of Bar­rie Pepper’s Bed­side Book of Beer.

As was tra­di­tion­al, it also con­tained nom­i­na­tions for the Dredge & Mogg Gold­en Pint awards.

Read the rest after the jump →

B&B’s Golden Pints 2013

Cheery-beery!

It’s that reflective time of year again when we try to remember a beer we drank in January.

When we for­get about a great pub we vis­it­ed in March. When what­ev­er we say will make some­one angry. When we offend per­son X by rank­ing per­son Y above them.

But it isn’t about us. It’s about the con­sen­sus that emerges from fifty such posts across the blo­goshire. With that in mind, here are our few drops in the ocean.

(With thanks, as ever, to Mark Dredge and Andy Mogg for organ­is­ing.)

Best UK Cask Beer

The cask ale we’ve enjoyed the most this year was prob­a­bly Oakham Cit­ra (4.2% ABV) at the Welling­ton in Birm­ing­ham, which we could still taste all the way back to Pen­zance.  But the cask beers we’ve enjoyed most often have to be St Austell Prop­er Job, St Austell Trib­ute, Spin­go Mid­dle, Pen­zance Brew­ing Co. Potion 9 and – brace your­selves – Bass Pale Ale. Let’s warm up by mak­ing sense of that:

  • 1st place: St Austell Prop­er Job
  • 2nd place: Oakham Cit­ra
  • 3rd place: PZBC Potion 9

Read the rest of our Gold­en Pints after the jump →

Golden Pints 2012

GoldenPint_2012

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.