Golden Pints 2019

I’ve never done a Golden Pints before as I always sort of thought it wouldn’t be fair what with the job I do and a feeling that maybe I couldn’t be independent enough. However this year I’ve decided to give it a go.

Having never done it I am not sure if all the categories and the like are correct but I’ve seen what others have done and decided to go for what seems to be the common ones. For balance I’ve not put in any of our pubs because that would be like picking a favourite child.

Since I work all day in pubs, I don’t visit that many and the bulk of drinking I do tend to do at home or when I go on trips, however I still probably visit pubs more than the average person on the street. This year has seen some great cask ale and the standard is better than ever, however I have found myself much limiting in styles I’ll drink. I have gone back to the twenty minute pint of cask that tastes of beer or the slow supping strong stouts as well going back and trying classics as opposed to the brand new thing and rediscovered the love of a well made pale that goes down quick and quenches your thirst.

So on to the awards:

Best Local (Huddersfield) Pub – Rat ‘n Ratchet

We are spoilt for choice in Huddersfield and it is somewhere many others travel to for a drink. The town and the villages boast some of what I think are the best drinking dens in the UK with over 20 brewers & cider makers in HD there has never been a better time to drink good beer & cider in Huddersfield. The Rat though is a pub, a proper pub with a great atmosphere, good beer & cider and a friendly face or two behind the bar and that gives it the edge.

Notable mentions to both Magic Rock Taps, Summer Wine Tap & The Corner

Best Non-Local Pub – North Riding Scarborough

I’ve not travelled much in the UK this year for whatever reason so I’ll have to put in what was memorable from last November so near enough. The North Riding – great beer, great landlady, sea views. That’s all you need.

Best Overseas Bar – U Zlateho Tygra

Normally this would a nailed on bar in Belgium, however I haven’t been this year as 2019’s Beer Holiday was to Prague. Spoilt for choice in the old town, plenty of new brewpubs and plenty of modern craft bars means Prague is still a top beer destination. However king of the lot is The Golden Tiger, smack in the middle of the Old Town, serving Pilsner Urquell by the bucket load to thirsty locals. The best beer I have tasted this year.

Best Cask Beer – Arbor Mosaic & North Riding Citra

Tough question so I’ve decided to play it safe and give it to two. I have had so many great cask beers this year that I couldn’t possibly choose between from brewers great & small so therefore I’ve put in the rule, which beer did I have repeatedly despite others on the bar that I wanted to drink. With this in mind there were only two beers that I remember doing this with so they are joint winners.

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 Delirium Barrel Aged.

Best Keg Beer – Summer Wine Pacer

I’m not a keg drinker in general as I prefer cask and drink it rarely. However the one place where I drink it more than anywhere else is Summer Wine Tap and Pacer is my go to when its warm and I want some cold refreshment.

Best Brewery – North Riding

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. So for range, variety & consistency of quality it has to be North Riding. Sorry to all the other great brewers that we use every day of the week, there has been some really good beer this year but North Riding are, in my opinion, the best at cask at the moment.

Best Non-Beer Drink – Real Cider

Leaving out the peat laden Islay malts that I love but drink rarely, this year I have tasted real cider and my what a difference to what I have drunk in the past. It will never beat cask beer for me but the good stuff really is good. I don’t know enough about blends and tannins and the like but I have been really impressed with some of the fine ciders I’ve had this year which included Ross, Pilton, Severn & Kentish Pip. All very different drinks but all were good and I would drink them happily.

Best Blog – Mark Johnson

I read many of them on the old Twitter. From the moaners to the brewers to the authors. A common theme on many is their ‘expertise’ of pubs despite not working in them and don’t get me started on the brewers who think opening the roller shutters once a month to sell some beer means they know about the running pubs….

However one blog that I always read is Mark Johnson. He covers a range of subjects in a relate-able and honest way and in general gets most things right about pubs.