Jonny Garrett is one half of the Craft Beer Channel’s, Youtube’s stupidest channel about beer.
Best UK Cask Beer
I had a true eureka moment with Vocation Pride & Joy at Tap East a few weeks back. Stunning grapefruit and mango, then a subtle sweet malt base balanced perfectly by the bitterness. It almost had an umami-like moreishness to it and is real proof of the power of cask.
Best UK Keg Beer
I thought Lammas Harvest (a gooseberry and lemon thyme berlinerweiss) by Celt Experience was damned near addictive at Craft Beer Rising, but it’s always Pressure Drop Pale Fire I’m most excited to see on the bar.
Best UK Bottled Beer
I make no apologies, Brewdog Born To Die was stunning. So much hop aroma, such clean fruitiness and a lovely bitterness with a little boozy warmth. Their best beer since the first Black Eyed King Imp. Howling Hop’s Black Pale Ale was pretty special too.
Best UK Canned Beer
IHL always and forever. I’ve had so many bad canned beers since it all took off, but never a duff IHL and that juicy fruit aroma is just to die for. That said, all the Moor beers were awesome in can too and I’m delighted they made that move.
Best Overseas Draught
Loverbeer Beerbrugna was one of a few beers I gave one sniff and cracked a huge smile about this year. So much plum and sherbert, it was like the first time I tried Fou’ Foune all over again. But I have to go with Omnipollo/Buxton’s Yellow Belly Sundae. I remember following vapour trails of that amazing aroma all around London Craft Beer Festival. Technically it’s brewed in the UK, but I feel like it’s an Omnipollo beer at its heart.
Best Overseas Bottled Beer
Of Foam & Fury by Galway Bay was the standout. So peachy and rich. I usually like my double IPAs a bit cleaner, which speaks volumes for how much flavour this beer has. It has to be that or Rochefort 10 just…because it’s probably the best beer in the world.
Best Overseas Canned Beer
Westbrook Gose always gets my puckered cheeks excited, even if Ballant Point Sculpin is like nectar.
Best collaboration brew
Lervig for their collab Farmhouse IPA with Magic Rock – it’s like someone turbo charged a fresh Orval, or dropped refreshers in a west coast IPA. And if you haven’t had the chardonnay barrel aged version, you haven’t lived.
Best Overall Beer
Can’t…even… I guess I have to go for my beloved Pressure Drop Pale Fire. It’s my go to beer and an absolute masterclass in balance and flavour at a relatively low ABV. It’s got more aroma than beers with twice as many hops, more flavour than IPAs twice is strength, and more body than beers that are 60% wheat.
Beavertown every time. I love Magic Rock too, but their labels are more samey and tell less of a story.
Best Pump Clip
Yikes, I haven’t really thought about that. I always enjoy Tiny Rebel’s FUBAR because I can’t believe the Portman Group haven’t had a (pointless) word with them. I mean, swears, teddy bears and grenades?!
Best Bottle Label
N’Ice Chouffe, for sheer refusal to admit this is the 21st Century.
Best UK Brewery
Beavertown hands down, for having the best branding, the best core range and the most consistency. They’ve had a rough year and a lot of growing pains but it’s never affected the beer and I really hope that continues. They have also done some good sours without going overboard, and I think we’re going to see some exciting barrel-aged stuff coming.
Best Overseas Brewery
I’m going to have to share this award between Lervig and Other Half. Lervig for the sheer weight of experimental beers that are top notch, and for doing so much to improve beer generally – pioneering craft beer in Norway, hosting What’s Brewing, and doing so many collabs with people to spread the word. Other Half just make crazy IPAs, that’s enough for me.
Best New Brewery Opening 2015
Vocation or Cloudwater. The area around Manchester is just silly these days and I’ve considered moving there on more than one occasion. Partly just so I can see Colin Stronge smiling and whistling on the way to work. He does that right? To pick between the two? Probably Cloudwater. I love the concept of seasonal brewing, and that British-hopped lager was awesome.
Pub/Bar of the Year
Mother Kelly’s because I go for one, stay for three and walk away with four in my bag. And usually full of meat too.
Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2015
Howling Hops! Tank fresh beer is a beautiful thing, and the beers more than match the high concept. A great place for some Sunday sipping, which is when I enjoy beer the most.
Beer Festival of the Year
I think London Craft Beer Festival was just incredible this year. Some insane beer and one hell of a party on Saturday night. It was the kind of celebration you just don’t see in the UK – it felt like we were dancing on the tables in Barcelona, forgetting the fact that we are British, reserved and there ARE RULES ABOUT THAT KIND OF THING.
Supermarket of the Year
Booths. It has to be seen to be believed. There are small indie guys who dream of such a range.
Independent Retailer of the Year
I have been to neither Hop, Burns & Black or We Brought Beer, but if Twitter is anything to go by they are both wonderful places where nerds go to be themselves.
Online Retailer of the Year
Well I work for Beer Merchants so I can’t really comment. But I think we’ve ALL done really well this year.
Best Beer Book or Magazine
I really like Original Gravity. It’s my kind of mix of geek and basic knowledge, presented well and for free. Long may it live and hopefully go full time.
Best Beer Blog or Website
Good Beer hunting. It has some of the best blogs on the internet, let alone best beer blogs.
Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer
This has to go to Matt Curtis, partly for his tireless pursuit of beer knowledge and how he shares it, but mostly for how he deals with some utter morons on Twitter who have a bizarre and suspiciously keen interest in his downfall.
Best Brewery Website/Social media
I do enjoy the Weird Beard blogs and wish more breweries would do them to open up and share the amazing knowledge that brewers hold.