Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: golden pints
Showing posts with label golden pints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label golden pints. Show all posts

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Golden Pints 2017

This year's been full of beery highlights. From trips to Dublin, Barcelona and Copenhagen, to UK festivals including Peakender, the Beavertown Extravaganza and Leeds International, all alongside working in the industry we so love, beer's been pretty difficult to escape at times but we wouldn't have it any other way. Here are some of our favourites of the year...

Best UK Cask

Winner: Torrside - Route 366 (Torrside Brewery Taproom) a 4.2% pale ale, with masses of flavour from Cascade and Ekuanot. Exactly what we want from a cask beer, full of flavour, great aroma and condition, but also easily sessionable. Perfect.

Honourable mention: Wilde Child - Opaque Reality (Beer Engine, Sheffield). Mango and passionfruit milkshake IPA, what's not to like?!

Best UK Keg

Winner: Fierce - Cranachan Killer (Herbert Kilpin, Nottingham). Dessert beers are often a hit in this household and this one hit just the right notes - sweet, fruity and creamy without being heavy, aromatic and packed with raspberry flavour. Yum.

Best UK Bottle/Can

Winner: Beavertown x Green Cheek - The You Zoo. We'd fallen out of love a little with Beavertown's new releases over the past couple of years, but this collaboration is one of the best beers of theirs we've ever tried. Brewed with yuzu juice and oolong tea, it's PACKED with flavour yet still ridiculously quaffable with every element balanced in perfect harmony.

Honourable mention: North Brewing - Volta. A rhubarb and blood orange sour that was fresh, zingy and hit just the right spot as part of a summer's picnic!

Best Overseas Draft

Winner: Crooked Stave - Nightmare on Brett (P Mac's, Dublin). I (Jim) love this beer more than pretty much anything. Even at €9.95 a half I still went back for another after the first half. It's an incredible 9.666% oak aged dark beer, with rich acetic acidity, bold flavours of cherry and deep oak, akin to a Flanders but the additional alcohol helps with the mouthfeel, that is sometimes lost in long aged beers. The only beer that makes me pull this face...


Honourable mention: Flying Couch - Gangrene IPA (Fermentoren and Ørsted Ølbar, Copenhagen). Exotically fruity and freshly tropical IPA, balanced by delicate pine. A fine example of the style.

Best Overseas Bottle/Can

Winner: Garage - Middle Child. We drank this at the new Garage brewery in Barcelona on a scorchingly hot day. We'd been on a long underground ride followed by a ten minute walk and this was just blissful refreshment and totally kicked off Laura's love affair with Ekuanot.

Honourable mention: Funky Buddha - Wide Awake It's Morning. An imperial maple bacon coffee porter that managed to do exactly what it said on the label. Simply sumptuous.

Best Collaboration Brew 

Winner: Lervig/Mikkeller/Lindheim Ølkompani - Pop That Cherry. A turbid mashed mixed fermentation beer brewed at Lervig and fermented with cherries from Lindheim's farm in Norway, this is a beer with a beautiful balanced acidity, a really well rounded oakiness and layers of light acetic acid, making it dance across the tongue.


Best Branding 

Winner: Naparbier/NaparBCN. Kinda creepy, in a cool way. Loved their bar in Barcelona too, which seemed to embody their branding entirely - something that's not often achieved.


Best UK Brewery 

Winner: Burning Sky - This year, every beer we have had from the brewery in the South Downs has been outstanding. Burning Sky produce a great core range of exceptional while also reliable and sessionable pales and IPAs, alongside their always quality Saison La Provision. But really they are our brewery of the year down to their aged and wild beers. Favourites this year have been Saison L'été, the base beer of which was flavoured with elderflowers foraged locally to the brewery, then flavoured in secondary with whole gooseberries, and Les Amis du Brassage, a mixed ferm saison blended with three year old lambic. Both utterly delightful. With spotaneously fermented coolship beer in the pipeline from this year, and big releases of Cuvee blended with Lambic that are released annually, we fully expect their meteoric rise to continue in the new year.

Honourable Mentions:
Buxton for their continued consistency and quality.
Torrside for their incredible affinity for rauch malt.
Thornbridge for always on form core cask and keg beers as well as great specials during 2017 as part of their Year of Beer.

Best Overseas Brewery

Winner: Brekeriet - their wild fermentation beers have been part of a real awakening of sour and wild ales across the beer world, and they have been making some of the best thought out and well produced, blending traditional methods with modern techniques with absolute panache. More specifically we've loved Lilac and Cassis from bottle as well as Fruit Salad on draught at the Beavertown Extravaganza.

Pub/Bar of the year

Winner (UK): Rutland Arms, Sheffield. All of the elements of an amazing bar were already there, but the new ownership this year of Chris (formerly of Shakespeare's) and Kate (Three Tuns) has nurtured all of this and allowed it to fully flourish. The best food available in a pub (calling it "pub food" isn't really fair) in the city, ever improving beer selection and always the promise of raucous fun with the jukebox.

Winner (International): Abirradero, Barcelona. Quite simply for ticking all of the boxes... Astonishing beer range, the most delicious food, great staff and stylish inside to boot. We wrote lots more about this place here.



Best Taproom

Winner: Torrside. We mention these guys A LOT so it's probably no surprise to see them popping up more than once on this list. A brief paragraph can't do them justice, so we'll refer you back to this handy blog post we wrote after visiting them for their second birthday celebrations.


Honourable mention: Runaway - we loved their event celebrating the launch of the cross city brewery and street food collaboration project for Manchester Beer Week. A great space which although busy managed to maintain a relaxed atmosphere and all round nice vibes.

Best Beer Event

Winner: Beertown Malton. Co-ordinated by Bad Seed and Brass Castle breweries and held in the Milton Rooms in picturesque market town Malton, Beertown is a real celebration of, well, beer! The range was beyond compare, with cask and keg from all corners of the UK and beyond, the atmosphere was electric and we met so many brilliant people. Cannot recommend this festival enough.


Honourable mention: Our first visit to the Independent Salford Beer Festival was mega - we can't believe it took us four years to make it.


The top two here definitely shows that really, for us, the small and intimate is king. We enjoyed the Beavertown Extravaganza a lot, but it didn't quite have the personability that these two both did.

Best Beer Snack

Winner: Holy Crab - we've been lucky enough to come across these guys on a number of occasions this year, including at Belgrave's Food Festival event in Leeds and at Runaway's taproom in Manchester. Fresh oysters with tabasco, crayfish subs and crab fritters have all tickled our tastebuds this year and the first moment of trying their crab mayo was an epiphany.

Honourable mention: Tunnock's Teacakes, served for a brief but joyous time at the Railway Hotel on Bramall Lane.

Twitter Account of the Year

Winner: Pilot Brewery @pilotbeeruk, really who else would it be?!

Honourable Mention: Tom @Craftbeerhour for building a fantastic community. We can't wait to see what Tryanuary brings with Tom at the helm!

Here's to 2018... cheers!

Jim & Laura

Friday, 23 December 2016

Golden Pints 2016

We've had some amazing beery experiences during 2016 - from our own collaboration with Bad Seed Brewery, to brewery-led trips to Colorado, Bristol and Brussels, a rising standard across our hometown, Sheffield, and some excellent beer consumed simply at home. It's also been the first full year we've spent working in the brewing trade, and it is truly the most friendly, rewarding and exciting industry to be a part of. Here are some of our highlights...

Best UK Cask

Winner: Torrside - Candlewick. Sometimes, all you need is something classic, and this stout from Torrside is just exemplary of the style. Everything we've tried from these guys has been Very Good or better, and they're lovely chaps to boot. Looking forward to seeing more from them in 2017.

Best UK Keg

Winner: Buxton - Red Raspberry Rye (double raspberry edition). Drank at Port Street Beer House, this was a magnificent end to a day out at Indy Man.

Best UK Bottle/Can

Winner: Buxton - Axe Edge. Complex, juicy and consistently brilliant.
Honourable mention: Chorlton - Amarillo Sour. Another go-to and a staple in our fridge.

Best Overseas Draft

Winner: Crooked Stave - Silly Cybies. A barrel aged raspberry sour, bursting with fruity flavour, exploding across the palate, and a body that leaves your mouth literally watering in need of more. Simply beautiful. Gutted that this doesn't seem to be one of the Crooked Stave releases that makes it across the pond.
Honourable mention: Lervig - Sippin' into Darkness. The top beer of IndyMan, described to us as "liquid Double Decker", and we can't say it better ourselves. LUSCIOUS.

Best Overseas Bottled 

Winner: Brussels Beer Project - Delta. A delicately balanced light beer reminiscent of an APA but with a quintessential Belgian twang of fruity esters, heightened by a classically American dry hop hit.
Honourable mention: Yeastie Boys - Xerrex. Because obnoxious in beer sometimes is needed.

Best Collaboration Brew 

Winner: Buxton/Lervig - Trolltunga. We've both thoroughly enjoyed this on keg and in bottle, on numerous occasions. Astoundingly refreshing and delightfully tart. Love the artwork, too.

Best Branding 

Winner: Mad Hatter - colourful, distinctive, just on the cute side of "a bit weird". Inspired!

Best UK Brewery 

Winner: Hawkshead. In our eyes, they've done no wrong this year. Their cask output is consistent and maintains their appeal to a more traditional local market, but in keg and bottle they've pushed the boundaries of what beer can be. Chuckleberry Sour and Tonka have made a welcome return, and new beers such as their Tiramisu stout have been some of the best we've drank all year. Bravo!
Honourable mention: Buxton. Similarly to Hawkshead, they manage to nail traditional styles at the same time as coming up with innovative and delicious beers. Pipped into second place simply as we haven't seen as many new releases from them this year as we'd have liked.

Best Overseas Brewery

Winner: This was a toughie, but we've gone for To Øl, largely for their range of dry hopped sours. Always interesting, often challenging, and largely delicious.
Honourable mentions: Omnipollo, New Belgium, Cantillon.

Pub/Bar of the year

Winner: Small Bar, Bristol. One of those places that you'd quite happily never leave.

Best Taproom

This is an additional award we wanted to add in here simply because we've had so many incredible experiences this year. January witnessed a two week long trip to Colorado, and the taproom game over there was just ridiculously good. From the mammoth machines of Odell, Oskar Blues and New Belgium (bigger read here), to cosy barrel rooms at Funkwerks and Great Divide, delightfully "pubby" afternoons spent at Equinox and Left Hand and being generally spoilt at Crooked Stave (more on that here), it's been very difficult to choose a favourite. Shits all over anything we have in this country (although we know there are many people coming close and we appreciate those efforts... plus we haven't been to Wylam yet and we have HIGH HOPES).
Winner: Black Bottle Brewery, Fort Collins - for it's warmth, friendliness, zaniness, complete openness to every single member of society, and stonkingly massive range of some of the tastiest beers we've ever drank. Also bottomless nachos. Utter perfection. (You can read more here if you feel so inclined).
Honourable mention: Brussels Beer Project, Brussels - proof that you don't have to do anything fancy to have a great space. We wrote more on this too.


Best Beer Event

Winner: Rainbow Project launch at Magic Rock Tap. We volunteered on the bar here and were made treated like one (well, two) of the team. Great beer, good vibes, top day all round.
Honourable mention: Karkli-Fest. A day in beautiful settings with Karkli's head honcho Kumar and his family, who are quite frankly some of the loveliest and most welcoming people we've ever met. Food, drink and company were all exceptional and it was one of those days where you come home feeling so lucky to be a part of this industry.


Online Bottle Retailer

N/A for us, as we are lucky enough to have three brilliant bottle shops within walking distance from our house (shout outs to Hop Hideout, Beer Central and Turners!)

Best Beer Snack

Winner: Karkli - crunchy, twirly, sticks of spicy joy.
Honourable mention: Smofo - a Sheffield based company making the best pork scratchings IN THE WORLD.

Twitter Personality of the Year

Winner: @ThaBearded1 aka Carl of Twisted Barrel. Hilarious, informative, beard nearly as good as Jim's and not bad in real life either ;) bonus point for having a cute bunny.

Cheers, all... here's to 2017!

Jim & Laura

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Our 2015 highlights

We've seen a lot of Golden Pints posts popping up recently, which got us thinking hard about what we wanted to do as a little overview of 2015. We've loosely followed the same format as the Golden Pints Awards as put forward by Andy at BeerReviews, but as we felt that some of the categories weren't as relevant as others for us (also we've missed the deadline!) we've cut some of them out and focused on what we've particularly loved this year.

Best UK Cask Beer

J - North Riding - Red Citra. In this brew North Riding have done much more with this popular hop than simply bunging a load in and expecting the hop to do all of the talking. It's rounded and well balanced with a well selected malt bill backing up the Citra to perfection.
L - Wylam - Remain In Light. A clean, hoppy pale ale that despite this fairly mundane description managed to be memorable enough to make it into this post. Just everything you could possibly want from a pale ale.

Best UK Keg Beer

J - Beavertown - BA Moose Fang, an imperial brown ale aged in Armagnac barrels. The description alone got my mouth watering, and it did not disappoint - rich and nutty with a massive, rounded malt backbone. Complex and absolutely delicious.
L - Hawkshead - Chocolate & Tonka Bean Imperial Porter, enjoyed at IndyManBeerCon in Manchester (a fantastic event!). Beautiful sweetly spiced rich aroma, that I can conjure up in my mind just from thinking about it, with a silky mouthfeel and an almost Mexican hot chocolate flavour, with cinnamon, vanilla and dark cocoa vying for attention. Sublime.

Best UK Bottle or Canned Beer

J - Buxton - Ace Edge. We love a bit of Sorachi Ace in this house and Ace Edge encompasses everything that's great about this hop. Buxton's Axe Edge is one of the best IPAs out there, and for me the addition of Sorachi just lifts it into that next dimension.
L - Weird Beard - Defacer. More Sorachi Ace in absolute spades (told you we liked it here!). Tropical, piney, oodles of that gherkin flavour that I always get from Sorachi hopped beers and which I simply love. We wrote more about this one here.

Best Overseas Draught

J - Omnipollo - Magic #90000, a blueberry/pecan/almond/vanilla smoothie IPA, enriched with lactose. Everything you'd expect from the name, a brilliantly crafted beer.
L - I've gone for Omnipollo too - Magic #3 Protein Shake IIPA. Never had a beer like this before, it just completely blew my mind... sort of like hopped up Ovaltine?! 
Both of these beers were part of the Omnipollo Buxton Tap House takeover - read more about it here.

Best Overseas Bottle or Canned Beer

J - Against the Grain - London Balling. Every sip of this wonderfully balanced and massively boozy English-style barley wine all the way from Kentucky was a delight. Barrel aged for 3 months in bourbon cask which gave a truly enormous flavour that took me two and half hours to drink. I enjoyed every second.
L - De Molen - Ball & Chain. Smoky yet sweet, sort of like a really good ham. What more could you possibly want from a beer?!

Best Collaboration Brew

J - Weird Beard/Brodies - Weird Brodmance. A big imperial stout enrichened with maple syrup and lactose. The balance between the dark malt, rich sugar and complex hop nature lifted this to being far more than just your "normal" impy stout.
L - Abbeydale/Hop Hideout - Marshmallow Meltdown Stout. My most "tapped" beer of the year! A really fun drink... boozy, chocolatey, gorgeous coffee notes in the backbone and sweet hints of marshmallow to finish. Excellent pump clip, too.

Best UK Brewery

J - Buxton - simply because I don't think I've ever had a bad beer from them. Their consistency and commitment to quality (including their arguments for ceasing making cask beer earlier this year) enables them to stay right at the pinnacle of British brewing and remain entirely relevant in a changing market.
L - Mad Hatter. I was drawn in to Mad Hatter's beers right from their start up simply because of the Alice in Wonderland-y link (it's my all time favourite book) and since then they've quickly become one of the most exciting breweries out there. Always imaginative and often outrageous, their concoctions never fail to deliver on flavour and to top it off they're bloody lovely chaps too. 

Best World Brewery

J - Crooked Stave. Some of the most interesting beers I've drunk this year - Nightmare on Brett springs immediately to mind. Progressive and exciting, it's great to see their stuff appearing on the shelves of bottle shops in the UK. We're lucky enough to be heading over to Colorado this year and a trip to their brewpub is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip.
L - Got to be Firestone Walker for me, quite simply because I've hugely enjoyed everything I've tried from them, with their Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA being a particular highlight of Matt Curtis's brilliant bottle club event at Hop Hideout earlier in the year. They seem to have a go-to beer for whatever mood I'm in, from their Easy Jack IPA perfect for a summer barbeque to the vintage series which demands thoughtful sipping.

Pub/bar of the year

Unanimous and instant decision on this one - Six° North Bar in Aberdeen played host to a phenomenally good afternoon for us, which ended in Laura singing along to Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights at 7.30pm (at which point we decided heading back to our hotel was probably a wise idea...). An absolute plethora of beers available on tap, with hundreds more featuring on a bottle menu, excellent food and a laid back atmosphere with friendly, enthusiastic staff. Enough said.

Cheers,

J&L