Golden Pint Awards 2011

Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer:

Winner: Buxton Axe Edge

Runner up: Hardknott Code Black

Honourable mentions: Ilkley Mary Jane, Magic Rock Curious NZ

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer:

Winner: The Kernel India Pale Ale 100 Centennial

Runner up: Red Willow Ageless

Honourable mentions: Oakham Citra, Traquair Jacobite

Best Overseas Draught Beer:

Winner: Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout

Runner up:  Great Divide Rumble

Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Joint:  Stone Arrogant Bastard / Pretty Things Jack D’Or

Honourable mentions:  Stone Cali-Belgique 2010, Flying Dog Gonzo

Best Overall Beer: The Kernel India Pale Ale 100 Centennial

Best Pumpclip or Label: Redwillow brand/logo instantly recognisable

Best UK Brewery: The Kernel Brewery

Honourable mentions: Red Willow, Buxton, Hardknott, Magic Rock, Adnams

Best Overseas Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.

Pub/Bar of the Year: Winner: Mr Foleys (Leeds)

Runner up: The Sparrow (Bradford)

Honourable mention: The Grove (Hudds) – will feature heavily for me in 2012

Supermarket of the Year: Waitrose

Runner up: Morrisons

Independent Retailer of the Year: Beer Ritz, Leeds

Online Retailer of the Year: Winner: MyBreweryTap

Best Beer Blog or Website:
Winner: Ghost Drinker
Runners up: The Good Stuff, New Briggate Beer Blog
Honourable mentions: The Beer ProleHopZine, BeersIveKnown, Beersay, Boak & Bailey

Best Beer Twitterer: Joint: @Filrd and @BeersIveKnown always on hand with friendly banter and beer (and cheese) recommendations.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: The Good Stuff: SummerWine Diablo IPA with Baked Feta

In 2012 I’d Most Like To… visit the breweries that have kindly extended an invitiation.  Learn about brewing beer.  Brew more beer.  Await lottery win.  Sell beer.  Kick back.  Bad Back.  Employ Brew Monkey.

Open Category:

Most prolific beer rating site in the North West: The Ormskirk BaronCaptained by @Baron_Orm and ably assisted by @Christoper_R – keep up the good work chaps!

Beer and Food Alchemist of the Year: Tyler Kiley (@Tkiley1), Chef at Mr Foleys.  Oh and rumour has it that his triple cooked chips aren’t bad either.

Advertisements

It’s a Shame About Ray

Friday night I went to see The Lemonheads play live at Leeds University.  I would have been about 14 when I would copy my brothers vinyl to cassette using his massive 80’s stereo and then listen to them on my massive 80’s Walkman.  I was heavily influenced by his taste in music which spanned Sugar to Sepultura and The Cure to Corrosion of Conformity.  It was a great music education, but sadly one that I never made my own and now when someone asks me what music I like, I tend to mumble something about a band with enough conviction for them to change the subject.

As my brother and his friends reminisced about going to see the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Radiohead when they were touring small bars and clubs, I reflected on live music opportunities missed during my teenage years.  So I jumped at the chance to go and see an aging Evan Dando belt out tracks from their 5th album ‘It’s a Shame About Ray‘.

The Bearded Lady

We turned up to the gig fashionably late having made our way via a couple of public houses, I even nipped to Mr Foleys to quench my thirst with a pint of Durham Brewery‘s ‘Bullion’ and try Magic Rock‘s ‘Bearded Lady’, a 10.5% Imperial Stout which did not disappoint.  Once inside the University building we just had time to grab a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, before taking our place behind the sound desk.   The average age of the crowd was probably 35 and you could tell.  A sea of heads nodding to the beat in appreciation in what was a subdued [world weary] crowd.  As we were treat to every track from the album I sipped on a pint of Tuborg and took a trip down memory lane; remembering listening to these tunes while trudging the paths of my paper-round, on the school bus when I should have been talking to my girlfriend, and when I was old enough to make it into Tumblers night club where the Red Stripe flowed freely.

Image from Beersay

Music was definitely the focus of the evening but beer is never far from my thoughts and as I looked onto the sound desk, and beyond, I was intrigued by one of the engineers as he swigged from a two-litre milk carton.  I’m not saying this wasn’t milk, but I reckon it was a milkshake of sorts.  On the stage, Evan Dando refreshed his vocal chords between each song with a hit from a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Rock n’ Roll baby!

The whole feel of the gig was rough-n-ready with a slightly awkward stage presence while a film of what looked like an episode of ‘Police Camera Action’ was projected onto the wall behind the band, all added to the atmosphere and a performance of little polish.

It was a great night out with my brother and some friends and we even had time to nip back to Mr Foleys for a few jars, with Hardknott Dark Energy fitting the bill nicely.  Music and beer, what’s not to like.

  1. “Rockin Stroll” 
  2. “Confetti”
  3. “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  4. “Rudderless”
  5. “My Drug Buddy”
  6. “The Turnpike Down”
  7. “Bit Part”
  8. “Alison’s Starting to Happen”
  9. “Hannah & Gabi”
  10. “Kitchen”
  11. “Ceiling Fan in My Spoon”
  12. “Frank Mills”

The Grove Inn, HD1

Image by Expolits of a Food Nut

My extended absence from this particular beer-paradise has been circumstantial and I had all but given up on visiting during 2011.  Enter stage right @GeekLeeds.  I met Gary (Geek Leeds blog) at the IPA Day back in August, Mr Foleys was packed and through the ‘random factor’ I happened to talk to him and as he didn’t seem to be a mentalist he is now one of the great bunch of people I have met so far thanks to great beer.

A couple of months back I received an SOS from Gary that read, “we need a beery adventure“.  It didn’t take long to agree on The Grove Inn.  Saturday gone, we embarked on our spluttering train journey, a short distance from Bradford and Leeds.  I know that Gary will be blogging about this in more detail than me, so I’ll cut to the bit at the pub.  When Tennyson penned this poem I’m positive it wasn’t with beer in mind, but as we entered the pub, and thanks to the right hemisphere of my melon , the one poem I know of popped into my mind…”crossing the bar“.  It was a moment I had built up in my thoughts and it seems to be a rite of passage for any self-respecting beer geek in West Yorkshire.  Apologies to the architect, but the pub is nothing to look at, it doesn’t draw you in and aside from the large BrewDog logo as you step through the door, you wouldn’t know this was going to be a trove of beery wealth.

It was about 5pm and there was a buzz about the place, a friendly enough mix of folk and we were greeted with “what can I get you“.   Usually this would be welcomed, no leaning over the bar to catch the Keeps attention, but when your head is spinning with choice all you want is a couple of minutes to steady yourself.  Not wanting to look like a total newbie I took control and ordered myself a pint of Hawkshead Windermere Pale, Gary a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur and Ben (@Boodrums) went for a bottle of BrewDog Hardcore.  Way to go Ben! He’ll learn from this, but at the time I couldn’t help feel a little bit jealous of his free spirit.

We settled for a table in the Public Bar as I sensed that the occupants of the Snug weren’t ready for our enthusiasm.  Someone had mentioned the artwork to me a few days before and I now fully appreciate what they were giggling about.   Lets just say the ambience is set to bohemian.  We settled in and slowly moved through the gears (exclude Ben from this) taking in a couple more cask delights in the form of Buxton SPA and Marble Dobber, before hitting the bottle menu hard.  I can’t remember the order perfectly but between us we sailed through BrewDog ABD, Kernel 100 Centennial and Columbus, Rogue Mocha, Little Creatures Pale and Hardknott Infra Red.  Tyler (It’s Just Beer blog) arrived to join us  (@tkiley1) and he influenced us to move onto Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Nogne O Triple Tiger, Porterhouse Plain Porter and a few others that escape me.

Image by Port Street Beer House

Before leaving we annoyed a fair few people, on both sides of the bar, by our drunken deliberations and eventual purchases to take home.  Safe to say that Kernel 100 Centennnial converts Gary and Ben cleared the cellar of this outstanding beer.  So rude.

While waiting for our carriage home, we had to time to nip into The Kings Head at the station for a quick half of Magic Rock Curious NZ, needless to say this was tasting great.  The journey home would see us swig freely from a communal bottle of Schneider Weisse Tap 5 which rounded a great evening.  Highlights for me were the Brooklyn Sorachi, the Porterhouse Porter and the Marble Dobber.  Looking forward to my next visit to HD1.

(See Tyler’s take on the evening here).

Saltaire Brewery Beer Festival 2011

 PictureWhen I bought my ticket for the Saltaire Brewery Beer Festival 2011 (September  16th-17) back in July, I was feeling rather pleased with myself as I usually leave it until the last minute and miss out.  When the Brewery started sending updates about the beers they were sourcing I couldn’t wait for the date to come around.  Just as Saltaire confirmed its lineup, CAMRA released its Good Beer Guide for 2012 with the news that Yorkshire has welcomed an impressive 16 new breweries in the past 12 months, making it the number one region for beer in terms of its choice of real ale and wealth of new and established brewing talent.  You can see all the details of the CAMRA findings in the Yorkshire Post.  Saltaire took full advantage of having an embarrassment of amazing beer right on its doorstep and chose a mouthwatering line-up including Yorkshire’s; Magic Rock, Kirkstall, Old Spot and not forgetting Saltaire Brewery’s six offerings, including Saltaire Blonde, South Island Pale and a couple of new ones in Madagascan Ale (5% Pale) and Bulldog a 4.6% Brown Ale.  South Island Pale being my pick of the bunch.
Other breweries of note and of particular interest to me were Buxton and Hardknott as I have tried and continue to return to their bottled beers time and time again.  And as if all that lot wasn’t enough,  you could also feast on beers from Marble, Liverpool Organic, Captain Cook and Dark Star to name but a few.  I did also find myself drawn to the cider tent, no not for the cider, although the choice matched that of the beer, but for the Sierra NevadaPale Ale and Kolsch.  At times I had to pinch myself, as there I was in Shipley, struggling to decide what I wanted to drink next, knowing that I had my alcohol tolerance working against me.Saltaire outdid themselves on the beer front (28 in total plus 10 craft ciders), but also on the infrastructure which has been born out of their successful monthly Beer Club.  In addition to the marquee, there was also extra seating under heated parasols, which as the weatherman had predicted were much needed and most definitely appreciated – it rained a little bit (ahem!).  Add to all of that the barbecued food on offer and it doesn’t take a beer geek to tell you that it was a very good night indeed.

I’m not sure if there was an official vote for the beer of the festival, but I do know that it was Magic Rock Brewing Co’s Curious a 3.9% Original Pale Ale and the breweries flagship beer which sold out first.  For me, my favourites of the night (from the 10 that I tried) included Magic Rock’s High Wire, Buxton’s Axe Edge and Captain Cook’s Schooner Grenville, although my pick of the festival was Marble Brewery’s Utility,their 5.7% IPA.  For anyone that tried it, no explanation needed here, for anyone wondering, I suggest you hunt it down and see for yourself! delicious!

Excellent work by Saltaire’s team and I’m looking forward to next years festival already!

IPA Day – the IPAftermath

Picture

Fact

For full details of International IPA Day (#IPADay), please see my blog below.
But, as the dust is settling, just a quick post to say that the International IPA Day feels to have been a huge success, in my humble opinion.  I can’t really put it better than Pete Brown does in his blog post ‘Cheers to International IPA Day‘.  However, if you don’t have the time to read that then Pete sums the event up nicely when he says: “…As far as I can tell there is no central organisational structure, no big budget or organisation, and yet it’s an idea that has caught the imaginations of beer lovers and gone global.”  And as I have commented on one blog already this morning, the concept and execution of this global event is testament to the notion that ‘Beer People are Good People’ or that “Good people drink good beer.” (Hunter S. Thompson).
Picture

IPAin

Considering my heavy-eyes and painful head, I’m going to be lazy here and just point you to a handful of blogs that tend to agree with said notion;
Eating isn’t Cheating

Make Mine a Half 
She Likes Beer
The Pub Diaries

The Crafty Pint
I’n Here For The Hops

For my IPA Day celebrations I decided to join the crowd at Mr Foleys (@MrFoleys), Leeds.  I knew from my advanced stages of acute Twitteritus that there would be at least a couple of people going along that I already knew well enough to recognise and to talk to, as well as many others who I had yet to meet, but hoped to.  It was a tough call between Mr Foleys, The Grove and The Sparrow all of which were treating beer lovers to a veritable hop feast, but a persuasive Dean (Manager of Foleys) and a cracking line up on the bar gently twisted my arm.  I managed to sample all of the cask selection and a couple of the bottles/cans and can honestly say I enjoyed each and everyone.  Most importantly to me though, I was lucky enough to chat (briefly) with brewers and owners alike, from Roosters, Hardknott, Magic Rock, Buxton and Ilkley (the latter just there as punters like the rest of us – i.e. they did not have a beer on the bar on this occasion, but see Lotus IPA if you are yet to try their superb offering.  It’s not often that you get to ‘meet the brewer’ in the flesh, so to speak, but I took the opportunity to let most of them know that they inspire me to believe that I can make my brewery dreams a reality.  Along with the beer writers and bloggers there were the geeks and fanatics adding their own brand of passion to the evening, some more amorous than others.  But probably most poignantly for me, and by total chance, I found myself talking to a young guy who, in all fairness looked like he might have walked into the wrong bar, sharp suit and proud fiancé on his arm, he was making strides to convince his wife-to-be that beer is amazing and that she should jolly well drink some.  Despite his enthusiasm it transpired that the lady wasn’t for turning, but you can’t win em’ all.  He also revealed he is a blogger, new to the scene with – Geek Leeds, but who has been watching from a safe distance.  Each person I tried to name-drop, he responded with a knowing nod of the head.  This meeting may not seem too impressive to most, but he wasn’t connected to anyone else in the room and wasn’t even on Twitter! yet the friendly atmosphere and sense of occasion presented everyone there with the opportunity to talk about good beer.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be more in-depth blogs to come to show and describe the night at Foleys with more finesse, but that was my two-penneth.  I look forward to the next beer event whenever or wherever that may be.  Thanks to one and all for a great night out (especially Dean and his staff @MrFoleys – bravo!).

Picture
@MrFoleys @Tuff86 @BGRTRob @LeedsBrew @Nickiquote @LeighGoodStuff @EisntCNeil @TKiley1@Ol_Foz @Cheeeseboiger @mbell739 @fletchthemonkey @realalereviews@misterfrosty @ZakAvery @BrewDogUpNorth @MagicRockRich @BuxtonBrewery @HardknottDave @HardknottAnn @HardknottSooty @IlkleyBrewery
(Honorary affiliates: @Filrd @Tunks23)

International IPA Day in West Yorkshire

For anyone who is not aware of the International IPA Day celebrations on Thursday 4th August 2011, then please find a run-down of what’s going on for the lucky folk of West Yorkshire, including;

  • Mr Foleys Cask & Ale House, Leeds
  • The Grove Inn, Huddersfield
  • The Sparrow Bier Cafe, Bradford *updated 29/07/11*

Mr Foleys Cask Ale House, Leeds

Picture

August 4th has been designated ‘International IPA Day’ and Mr Foleys will be holding one of the biggest events in the country to celebrate! IPA Day was conceived as a social celebration of craft ale and lovers worldwide are encouraged to take part and interact via social networking such as Twitter.

International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles; the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with it’s broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories and regional flavor variations, making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice. #IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is an opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.

Picture

 Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!

At Mr Foleys we will have some of the finest examples of the style from some of Britain’s best brewers. Our beers will include four keg IPAs; two from Brewdog and one each from local West Yorkshire breweries Summer Wine and Magic Rock. We will have six cask IPAs coming from Thornbridge, Buxton, Kirkstall, Roosters, Hardknott and Red Willow. If that’s not enough for you, we will have a dedicated IPA fridge serving you some of the best from America, as well as a couple more rarely seen British brews. (confirmed list below)..

Picture
KEG
Magic Rock ‘Human Cannonball’ Summer Wine ‘7C’s of Rye’
Brewdog ‘Hardcore IPA’
Brewdog ‘My Name Is Ingrid’ (UK exclusive, brewed for Scandinavian market)

CASK
Thornbridge ‘RyePA’ (first pub to have it on sale, name may change)
Buxton ‘Axe Edge’
Kirkstall ‘Dissolution IPA’
Roosters ‘Underdog IPA’ (brewed exclusively for us by Ol Fozzard on the test kit)
Red Willow ‘Peerless’
Hardknott ‘Code Black’

BOTTLES
Odell Myrcenary Double IPA
Maui Big Swell IPA
Stone Cali-Belgique 2010
Victory Hop Devil IPA
Victory Hop Wallop Double IPA
Red Willow Ageless IPA
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Odell IPA
Goose Island IPA
Brewdog Punk IPA
Brewdog Hardcore IPA
Brewdog AB:06

Oh, I almost forgot.
DOGFISH HEAD 90 MINUTE IPA (only 4 bottles, first come first served!)

Still not enough? We will have brewers or brewery representatives from every brewery mentioned above and each will be holding mini ‘meet the brewer’ segments to promote their beer to the assembled crowd. We will also have guest appearances from beer writers Zak Avery and Mark Fletcher, who will be talking you through the history of IPA, why they love the style and some of their favourite beers.

With all this beer we will be in need of food. Curries will be supplied by the fantastic @manjitskitchen.  We feel that top quality Indian cuisinenot only fits the history of the beer, but that beers big in bitterness and hop character are the perfect accompaniment for spicy dishes.

So join us on August 4th at Mr Foleys Cask Ale House (159 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5RG) for an IPA extravaganza! We can be found on twitter @mrfoleys, by phone 0113 2429674, email mrfoleys@mitchellsinns.co.uk or on our blog www.mrfoleyscaskalehouse.blogspot.com

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

Picture

Picture

International IPA Day featuring BUXTON BREWERY
Thursday August 4th has been declared International IPA day! And as you well know, here at The Grove we love IPA, so who are we to turn down an opportunity to showcase this most hop-tastic of beer styles? We don’t expect you to take our word on it though, so we’ve called in some friends who know a thing or two about brewing IPA…

We’re delighted that Head Brewer James ‘JK’ Kemp and Director Geoff Quinn from Buxton Brewery will be joining us on the evening to talk about the brewery, their beers and most importantly, IPA. Buxton are, in our opinion, amongst the most exciting and interesting breweries in the country at the moment and we’re delighted to have them joining us. We shall have 3 of their own IPA’s on the bar – Black Rocks, their 5.5% Black IPA, Axe Edge, a 6.7% hop monster, and for the first time their brand new IPA – WILD BOAR (5.7%).

That is not all! As well as these excellent IPA from Buxton we will have up to 9 other IPA’s on the bar, from cask and keg, featuring more of our favourite breweries from around the world, Including… Magic Rock, Thornbridge, Gadds, Liverpool Organic, Marble, BrewDog, Flying Dog, Great Divide, and more besides! And that’s before we even get to the bottle delights that will be filling up the fridges…

We will be running a tasting card scheme on the night to allow you to sample as many of the draft IPA’s as possible for the best possible price, as well as putting on some Indian themed nibbles to help soak it all up.

Those of you who are social media ‘savvy’ should get involved online on the day, using the hash tag #IPAday to help us all loudly spread the word of IPA and above all great beer!

LONG LIVE IPA!

Contact us on Twitter:
@GroveBri
@GroveChloe

The Sparrow Bier Cafe, Bradford

Picture

Picture

International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, bars and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.International IPA Day featuring Saltaire Brewery
A global toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: INDIA PALE ALE
On Thursday 4th August The Sparrow & Saltaire Brewery will be celebrating International IPA Day.

Picture Featuring:
*FREE samples of Saltaire Stateside*
*Saltaire Brewey talk*
*5 draught IPAs*
*Over 10 bottled IPAs*

DRAUGHT:

  • Saltaire Stateside *updated 29/07/11* – the cask in question has had some additional dry-hopping attention over and above that which Saltaire Brewery normally dry-hop their Stateside IPA. Rather than the usual Cascade Hop plug (approx 13-14g) the IPA Day version will include a blend of Double-Cascade hop plugs with more than double Amarillo & Nelson Sauvin
  • plus 4 other beers to be announced soon including a black IPA and a double IPA.

BOTTLES:
Maui Big Swell (can), Great Divide Titan, Goose Island, Odell IPA, Brewdog Punk & Hardcore, Flying Dog Snake Dog & Raging Bitch, Sierra Nevada Torpedo and more!

Contact us on Twitter:
@theSparrowbd1
@SaltaireBrewery