My Golden Pint 2012

imageThose of us who indulge, have indulged, and Golden Pint Awards have been blogged.  It’s the time of year where you can show your appreciation to some of the brewers and brewery owners who have created something for our enjoyment.  It’s hardly ever possible to reach out properly and say well done, but this tradition is one I enjoy despite the difficulties in picking between tens of great beers.

I picked Buxton Brewery’s Imperial Black IPA as my beer of the year.  Why? because I love the beer and because it’s a beer style that taunts me. It’s a pale beer that’s black, it’s hop aroma should be understated, yet it dances in front of my nose like a fame-hungry contestant on one of THOSE shows, and it promises to warm me up, but doesn’t mind being served cold.  It’s a beer style that keeps me guessing and one that I have tried brewing on four occasions, each brew resulting in a different black/dark brown beer.

To the other smashing beers that made me smile this year, I have to say that it was more than me just flirting, I loved you all dearly, and it wasn’t you, it was me.

You’ve Got a Friend in Meat

Saturday night was the much awaited opening of Friends of Ham, Leeds’ newest bar and charcuterie adding more meat to the healthy bones of a thriving beer scene.  I received an invite having spoken a little with the owners via social media and having briefly met Claire Kitching when she was out and about sourcing beer.  There were a few bloggers circling the premises on the night and they will give you the full rundown of what you can look forward to if you get to visit.  I left my bloggers hat at home, resting on my notebook and camera…. I was unarmed.  The photo above is the only one I took on the night and is testament to the fact that my attentions were solely on having a night out.   Claire and Anthony (or Kitch as you may know him) have worked tirelessly to transform their new home-from-home into a sleek, inviting and comfortable space.

Along with Head Barman Tyler, Claire and Kitch have put together a very respectable selection of beer and if Saturday is anything to go on, then you’ll never be wanting.  On tap I enjoyed Redchurch Gold, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and from the fridge Magic Rock High Wire.  I had already been at a brewery and visited a few pubs so had to leave it there.  This time around I missed out on tap-treats from The Kernel, Hawkshead, Huyghe, Magic Rock and Red Willow.

Neil over at Eating isn’t Cheating describes the food on offer much better than I could, but I did enjoy more than my fair share of Iberico Ham.  As I understand it, the food that was on offer was really just a taster and there will be much more in the way of breads and cheeses in the coming weeks.

Their clever strapline is A friend of ham is a friend of ours, and to that I say “A friend of beer is a friend of mine“.   Whether you are planning a trip to Leeds or just passing through, then their location on New Station Street is perfect.  I’ll be back there as often as I can make it, but don’t take my word for it, I recommend you go and see for yourself.

You can follow their updates on Twitter and Facebook.