2018: Golden Pints | Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog

Sunday, 30 December 2018

2018: Golden Pints

This year for us has been a wonderful blending of threads between people, beers, events, and countries. As such, you'll see a few themes starting to come out of our thoughts below, we've tried to avoid being repetitive but some of the things we've imbibed and the experiences we've had are just that good they needed mentioning twice. We've not massively stuck to the standard categories or formats of the original Golden Pints awards, just written about the things we've loved in the wonderful beery world in which we live.

Best UK Cask

Winner: Torrside - Rauchwine - consumed at the wonderful Smokefest at the brewery itself.
You can read more on our thoughts on the festival (caution, they're somewhat gushing) here. Fun fact - this is the third year in a row that Torrside have won this category for us, following on from Candlewick in 2016 and Route 366 last year. All totally different styles too, these guys are true champions in our eyes.

Honourable mentions: 
Fyne Ales - Jarl. An absolute classic and tasting at its fynest (see what we did there) at Fyne Fest.
Gibberish - Cole Porter (Shakespeare's). The best classic porter we've had in a long time.
Siren - Suspended In... series (Ekuanot, Cereal, Citra all good).

Best UK Keg

Winner: Siren - Odyssey 009 (Funk Fest) - This beer is quite simply a wonderful example of barrel ageing. We blagged this as a pre-release keg for Funk Fest, the beer festival we organised at our workplace Abbeydale Brewery. It's a blend of soured stout, saison and straight stout aged in PX, bourbon and sherry barrels. Layers upon layers of oaky complexity, with tart cherries and heaps of dark roast coffee. Simply wonderful and we cannot wait for the full release.

Best UK Bottle/Can

Winner: Marble - Sunshine Radler (2.8%)- wonderful in can straight out of the fridge in the garden on the hottest day of the year. Fruity, refreshing, glorious.



Honourable mention: Fallen - Double Barrel Chew Chew (Red Wine edition). OK so this was a 2017 release but we didn't drink it until early this year. Sumptuously slurpable and oh so rich and velvety.

Best Overseas Draft

Winner: Verzet - Kameradski Balsamico. Words can't describe how much Laura in particular has become obsessed with this 13.5% imperial stout/oud bruin hybrid. We first sampled this in bottle at Fyne Fest, where a kindly stranger brought it over for us to taste pre-noon. We were dubious at first but it blew us away. We then found it on draught at the wonderful Foeders in Amsterdam. We were eating a mountain of cheese with mustard and apple dips at the time and the combination of all of the things was so good Laura cried. It's sticky, it's sweet, it's deep, it's fruity, it's bold, it's elegant, it's BEAUTIFUL. And we can't find it anywhere, so please give us a heads up if you spot it!

Honourable mentions:
Oak & Dagger - Cryin' Over My Mojito Gose - drunk at Beer Temple, Amsterdam.
We also went to Krakow this year and as well as an admirable display of forward thinking tasty keg beer, we drank A LOT of very cheap (and very good) Polish lager. Warka came out on top, for anyone interested.

Best Overseas Bottle/Can

Winner: 8 Wired - Bumaye. A 16% New Zealand Pinot Noir aged Imperial Stout, need we say any more. We will though, because it was outstanding. Loads of body from the bold alcohol content, something we've stopped expecting from aged imperial stouts, which we often find thin out a little over time. A wonderful layer of deep grapey fruitiness that just lingered and lingered. Plus we drank it in a hot tub. A sure fire way to upgrade your drinking experience.


Honourable mentions:
Jolly Pumpkin - Turbo Bam. An upgraded version of the core and original Bam Biere, but with additional layers of spices including szechuan peppercorns, and lemon peel.
Magic Factory - Lickable Staves. A frankly wonderful red wine aged cherry sour. We drank this in the Rutland Arms during a slightly over the top bottle share.

Best Collaboration Brew 

Winner: De Kromme Haring and Wilder Wald - Kraftwerk. Brewed for Carnivale Brettanomyces, one of our festivals of the year (more on that below). A peach lichtenhainer with a modern twist and brewed with a yeast blend known as Mud King (a collaborative effort from Milk The Funk forum users). Soft tartness and true orchard flavour from the peaches. This beer got us both feeling better after a heavy night, sort of like the Bucks Fizz of the beer world.

Best Branding 

Winner:  Left Handed Giant. With an ever changing series of artwork across the beers, the brand always still feels cohesive and joined thanks to the intricate and cleverly crafted work of artist James Yeo. What a talent.

Honourable Mentions: 
Wander Beyond - essentially for the axolotls. Super cute.
Lewis Ryan (Lewy) - disclosure, some of our favourite beer art of the year has graced Abbeydale cans, but we feel that Lewy's eye for design, colour and theme is amazing and we feel genuinely honoured to have worked with him this year. Branding probably isn't the right word here as he's created pieces for a number of breweries (we particularly love the work he's done with Amundsen) but it seemed the most sensible place to put this.

Best UK Brewery 

Winner: Burning Sky - all round amazing at everything. But this year the standout beers of interest for us have been the Imperial Stout - a straight up stout, not a pastry in sight, just layers upon layers of malt. And their Coolship is arguably a landmark beer in the UK beer scene as one of the newest operational coolships in the country, to see this traditional method of beer production happening here with such balance in a finished product is an exciting start to this ongoing future.

Honourable Mention: Torrside, for their incredible affinity for rauch malt and putting on a jolly excellent festival.


Pub/Bar of the year

Winner (UK): Rutland Arms, Sheffield. Our adopted local and last year's winner for us too. Always an excellent selection across both cask and keg, food that inspires as well as fills bellies, and great staff who really know their stuff.

Winner (International): Foeders, Amsterdam. The sort of place where there are free monkey nuts on the bar and you are encouraged to dig in and throw your shells on the floor is inherently the sort of place where you feel instantly at home. Keg lines for days and mountains of cheese. We sat at the bar and the locals treated us like friends. Just the most welcoming bar we've ever had the pleasure of whiling away an evening in.


Best Taproom

Winner: Brew York. A great addition to the York beer scene, Brew York are doing many great things in the city. As well as the original tap room with a good number of cask lines and handful of keg taps in the corner of the brewery unit, Brew York have this year opened up a Beer Hall, with a 50 line keg wall, Asian street food and excellent beer cocktails.


Honourable mentions:
Griffin Claw based in Detroit are a brewery Jim brewed with earlier in the year, and their tap room cum full restaurant poured some of the best beers of the trip alongside some amazing food.

Best Beer Event

Winner (UK): Fyne Fest - Our first Fyne Fest but their tenth year, held in the glen behind the brewery farm, with more than 1000 people camping and a massive selection of cask, keg and small pack from some of the countries best breweries. Just the nicest vibes.


Winner (international): Carnivale Brettanomyces - A fantastic cross city collaboration across the beer bars, bottle shops and breweries across the city of Amsterdam. The festival as you may have guessed focuses on mixed fermentation, Brett beers and sours from around the Europe and the US. The bars of the city came together to showcase some awesome beers, our favourite venues included Foeders, Walhalla Brewery, and Proeflokaal Arendsnest. All totally different but all places we'd happily spend a lot of time in if we were resident over there.

Best Beer Snack

Winner: Smoked blue cheese a la Smokefest at Torrside Brewery. An absolute gamechanger.


Best New Brewery

Winner: Duration Brewing. We haven't had the opportunity yet to drink much from Duration, but what we have had has been absolutely solid and we are super excited to see how they grow and develop. Great team, too.

Twitter Account/ Beer Blog of the Year (we've combined the two as we chose the same winners for both!)

Winner: @ShinyBiscuit - Katie is a beautiful human and her writing is emotive, informative and inspiring. Personality just oozes out of every single piece.

Honourable Mention: @MarkNJohnson - honest, wry and always fair with his opinions. Bonus points for regular pictures of chickens. V pleased we've had the chance to catch up in person more this year too.

Here's to 2019.

Cheers!

Jim & Laura

BONUS CATEGORY: Beer Dog of the Year (Also potentially the reason you've carried on reading this far)

Winners (joint): Kami (Torrside Brewery resident pooch, we are excited to meet their new addition too!) and Stan (@Beerhoundergen). Two very worthy champs.





Honourable Mentions:
Marv, who we are yet to meet but want to cuddle
Marley, who we are also yet to meet, but Laura will continue to tell @MarkNJohnson she loves his dog every time she sees him
Barley, for joining us in a tent at sunrise
Alfie, for bringing the word "Affenpinscher" into our lives
Digby, our most local beer pooch who we hope to see more of now that Pour is open just down the road!
Plus a shout out to everyone who sent Laura a dog photo when she was neck deep in beer festival organisation and decided this wall was a good way to keep calm. It was a roaring success.


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