Golden Pints 2020

Last year was the first time I had done a Golden Pints and like last year I still have reservations as to if I am independent enough due to what I do, however I have decided to give it another go for 2020, what’s the worst that can happen..? For balance I’ve not put in any of our pubs because that would be like picking a favourite child (but if you’re asking it’s…..)

This year I think I’ve drunk more from and tried to support those brewers whose route to market is primarily pubs, not available in major supermarkets as well as those that are more local to me. They may not be as hype or loved as much online as others or even have a marketing budget but they consistently knock out good beer.

So on to the awards:

Best Local (Huddersfield) Pub – Royal Oak, Upperthong, Holmfirth

Huddersfield has so many good pubs and places to drink great beer, however this year I have gone for my local. Where previously it was the sort of local that was like someones front room, where the music stopped and tumbleweed rolled by when a non-regular walked in (with average beer), during 2020 it has been transformed under a new landlord, it has now become a welcoming boozer with 5 great beers on cask and a mix of happy smiling clientele who will converse rather than look at you league of gentleman style. Oh and there are always dogs in, where they get treated with snacks, drinks and dry towels.

Best Non-Local Pub – Cobblers, Filey.

I’ve travelled in the UK much more this year and despite spending at least 5 days in last years winner – The North Riding, Scarborough, this time I have gone for the little micro in Filey. Decent beer selection in a small, compact and very welcoming bar. The sort of micro which is much more than the sum of its parts. Not a world beater in terms of products for sale but the staff, the regulars and the atmosphere were all bang on, even if it was a cold & wet February when I was there. Also probably the last time I was in a restriction free pub talking about normal stuff so gets extra points for that.

Best Overseas Bar – Vinomondo, Conwy

In normal years I’d have plenty to choose from with trips to Belgium and Eastern Europe featuring in my travel plans every year. However as we know 2020 was different so the only time I went ‘overseas’ was a week in Conwy, North Wales for an early September break. There was some strong contenders in Conwy with both the Albion Vaults and The Bank providing good beers and great Covid safe service but I’ve plumped for a wine shop that only had 4 keg offerings and an interesting beer fridge, it’s not even a pub or bar. However it has the best beer garden I’ve ever sat in and when it was boiling hot, the streets were packed and Conwy felt unsafe the peaceful hidden oasis of calm was superb. The staff were brilliant, the proprietor was friendly & knowledgeable and they even have a pub lurcher who’d come and see you, what more do you need on a hot late summer afternoon.

Best Cask Beer – Abbeydale Deception

As always there are plenty to choose from but this year the pints I remember most were those at the Cobblers in Filey. The Deception was on absolute top form, a delight to drink and I probably cleared half the firkin whilst it was on.

Best Bottled Beer – Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen

Despite my love of Belgian beers and the array of styles and flavours this is the easiest choice to make because Schlenkerla is the best bottled beer in the world and always will be. This years runner-up was Wishbone Black Imp, a high quality Imperial Stout which I enjoyed very much.

Best Keg Beer – Paulaner Oktoberfest

I genuinely can’t remember if I had a pint of keg craft beer this year however I do remember putting the Paulaner Oktoberfest on at The West and having one and it was absolutely fantastic.

Favourite Breweries – North Riding / Mallinsons

Since I’m a cask drinker in general and cask is just better through a sparkler then it has to be a brewer from the North who does great cask beer. This year I’ve gone for the two breweries whose beer I have drunk the most of this year. As always North Riding have knocked out some consistently good cask beer, the Mosaic a delight as usual. This year with the introduction of my ‘garage cask’ whilst the pubs have been closed the pins from Mallies have been a life saver as well as being consistently excellent (as well as the Mallies folk being lovely people as well).