Vocation

Golden Pints 2015

The annual Golden Pints awards are the UK beer blogging community's version of the Oscars and are gaining steam every year. We've been lucky enough to win eight Golden Pints awards so far this year (thanks Beer O'Clock Show, Brew GeekeryAndy Parker, Beer Is The Answer, Jonny Garrett, Kat Sewell, Beer Revere and Yeastie Boys UK), so thought we should do our own in return.

We don't get out much (which is why, for example, we haven't named a favourite pub below) so a lot of our opinions have, by necessity, come from our daily life running a beer shop. And for us, great beer is about the whole experience of drinking it - where, when, who with, what's going on around us - not just the technical expertise used to brew it. That's why we've adjusted the category names slightly, replacing 'Best' with 'Favourite' - they reflect our own personal and highly subjective journey through an awesome year of beer.

Likewise, we've steered clear of naming a Best Blogger or Tweeter - so many of the UK's greatest bloggers and tweeters are customers, and in some cases, they even write for us, so we wouldn't want to play favourites... You all know who you are. xx
 

Favourite UK Cask Beer

Jen: Moor B Moor Porter at the Crown & Anchor in Brixton. Enjoyed alongside a well-matched dessert and in the company of the two Justins from Moor - the pleasure, the privilege was ours.

Glenn: Arbor Beech Blonde at the Old Nun's Head during one of our more riotous Hop Burns & Boogie excursions. We love pretty much everything these Bristol superstars do.

Favourite UK Keg Beer

Jen: Magic Rock/Stillwater Pina Collision Pineapple Sour Saison. This juicy delight was the beery soundtrack to our summer, enjoyed with many a BBQ. Miraculously we even had enough left over to sell to customers.
Honourable mention: Cloudwater's magnificent DIPA.

Glenn: Wild Beer Tom Yum Gose. Andrew from Wild Beer was kind enough to meet with us before we opened the shop, taking us through the brewery with a full range tasting afterwards. We love the way they blur the boundaries and this crazy concoction was one of the favourites of our summer.

Favourite UK Bottled Beer

Jen: Mad Hatter Tzatziki Sour. Yoghurt, mint and cucumber just shouldn't work in a beer. But they do, and it's amazing. And I hate cucumber!
Honourable mention: Siren's Bones Of A Sailor Part III.

Glenn: My bottled beer of the year is an English bitter - a possibly unexpected result. Moor Ready Made 2, brewed with Birrifico Dada, is rich, caramel, malty, hoppy perfection. A beautifully balanced beer.
Honourable mention: Wild Beer Squashed Grape.

Favourite UK Canned Beer

Jen: Moor Return of the Empire English IPA. When we heard Moor were launching in cans, we knew Justin 1's fastidiousness would ensure they launched with the best cans the UK had ever seen. This IPA is a showcase for the new UK Jester hop and it's glorious. Moor's Hoppiness IPA usually gets all the love (and deservedly so), but my heart belongs to the Empire.

Glenn: Could have been any of the Vocation range so went for the one in the middle, Pride & Joy APA. Yet to have a bad beer from these guys - every can we've had in has been exceptional. Have my eye on a 750ml bottle of Naughty & Nice chocolate stout for Christmas Day too.

Favourite Overseas Draught

Jen: Yeastie Boys PKB Remix Dark Matta - one of the only two kegs in the UK, launched at the Beer O'Clock Show's live podcast in November. (Disclaimer: we invested in the Yeasties' crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, but this isn't the only reason this beer won. Though we do want a good return on our investment, right?) 
Honourable mention: Renaissance Fresh Hop Black The RIPA. We put this on at our NZ Fresh Hopped celebration event and people haven't stopped talking about it since. Tastes great in the bottle too.

Glenn: Unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell Tankovna at Duck & Rice in Soho. Almost as fresh as drinking it at the brewery door. The perfect accompaniment for a plate so loaded with sichuan peppers and chilli that it made the back of my head sweat. 
Honourable mention: Tuatara Sauvinova. Lush.

Favourite Overseas Bottled Beer

Jen: Alvinne/Stillwater Wild West, enjoyed at Nuetnigenough during our 36-hour beerathon in Brussels back in February. The staff at this restaurant really know their shit, and recommended us the most incredible beers to go with our food. Go there! 
Honourable mention: Tuatara Conehead, an "air-hopped" IPA (i.e. made with fresh hops that they flew over from Nelson to Wellington) from New Zealand. Dank and resinous, this blows the mind of everyone I push it on. Makes me feel a bit like Timothy Leary.

Glenn: Bruery Rueuze. Everything I look for in a gueuze - funky, fruity, tart, thirst-quenching... Exquisite. Next time I won't drink it at 3am.
Honourable mention: New Belgium Lips of Faith Le Terroir 2015. Cheers Matt Curtis.

Favourite Overseas Canned Beer

Jen: Westbrook Gose. Salty sour goodness has never tasted so good. Could drink this by the bucketload and would, given half a chance.

Glenn: Founders Centennial IPA. For all the reasons Matt Curtis details here.

Favourite Collaboration Brew

Jen: Hawkshead/Crooked Stave Key Lime Tau was the hands-down stand-out at this year's Rainbow Day. I ran across town to beat the crowds at Beavertown and had to cram as much sampling as possible into two hours before heading back to work, which sadly meant a lot of pouring away of great beers. Drinking this - a kettle-soured, lactose-infused golden ale brewed with fresh lime zest and lemongrass - in the blazing sunshine with good people was pretty much beer heaven.

Glenn: Moor/Birrificio Dada Ready Made 2, as detailed above.

Favourite Overall Beer

Jen: Mad Hatter Tzatziki Sour.

Glenn: Wild Beer Tom Yum Gose.

Favourite Branding

Jen: Brick Brewery. When you stand behind a counter and look at 300+ beers all day long, you quickly work out what works and doesn't work on a beer bottle. I love Brick's branding because of its beautiful simplicity. Its clean design is reminiscent of Penguin Books' classic design.
Honourable mention: Wiper & True and Beavertown's clever 'starry night' initiative for limited edition can runs.

Glenn: Naming no names, but a lot of cans from mobile canning units look terrible. Vocation's labels instantly attract attention and make you forget they're just stickers on a plain metal can. On closer inspection, the intricate designs, different on every can, tell their own stories. 

Favourite UK Brewery

Jen: Moor, but Vocation and Arbor are close contenders indeed. And you should never overlook the Kernel - every time a coconut. It's impossible for them to make a bad beer.

Glenn: Wild Beer, for all the reasons given above and more. They've always blown my mind.

Favourite Overseas Brewery

Jen: 8 Wired Brewing. Saison Sauvin and Tall Poppy were two of my standout beers of the year, and there's nothing like Superconductor when you need a wake-up call. (On a side note, it's weird how New Zealand-centric many of my choices have been for this exercise given how much I couldn't wait to leave the place. But there's no denying the colonies are making great beers. And we're looking forward to trying all of them in January.)

Glenn: New Belgium. I've never been there but read Matt Curtis's blog and tell me it's not one of the most fascinating beer destinations on the planet. We were lucky enough to enjoy a muled bottle of Lips of Faith Le Terroir 2015 that Matt muled back from Colorado at our No More Heroes event in November... no words.

New stuff in store: 17 December

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So much incredible new goodness in store this week for Christmas that we've got no time to write it all up outside of a bullet-point list. Feast your eyes on the below, then come on in and treat your taste buds. (PS: make sure you take home the above can-tastic Star Wars trilogy if you're a fan.. Moor-sporting staff member not included with purchase.)

  • Brixton Megawatt Double IPA
  • Buxton Rain Shadow Russian Imperial Stout
  • Cloudwater Brown Ale
  • Moor TFA (Totally F***ing Awesome) Black IPA
  • Mikkeller Milk Stout and Nuclear Hop Assault Imperial IPA
  • Boon Oude Geuze Bone Dry Mikkeller Selection
  • Mad Hatter Brew Co Tzatziki Sour and Blueberry Pancake & Maple Syrup
  • Marble Chocolate
  • Vocation Divide & Conquer Black IPA
  • Summer Wine Sucker Punch Pale Ale
  • Plus the awesome new craft beer card game Hip Hops!
  • AND Beavertown's brand new Invasion of the Lupuloids IPA Series: Declaration 1 and 2 on flagonfill!

New stuff in store: 11 December

Deck the halls... with shedloads of beer. Here's what's in your Christmas stocking this week.

  • Glorious new 750ml sharing bottles, including Anspach & Hobday's White Coffee Milk Stout, Wiper & True's Winter Ale Abbey Rye and Vocation's Naughty & Nice Chocolate Stout (also now in can too).
  • We went a bit overboard on Bristol breweries this week, knowing how much you love them. From Arbor, we've got their Grifter APA, Breakfast Stout and Basta Rosse, a red ale brewed with Italian brewery Mezzo Passo. We also see the triumphant return of their Yakima Valley IPA, one of the most-requested beers we've ever had. From Wiper & True, we've got Amber Simcoe Steam, Small Beer #13 and Sorachi Ace IPA in addition to the 750ml Winter Ale Abbey Rye. Be quick, these won't hang around.
  • On a South-East London stylee, we've got Partizan's delicious 300th Brew, Don Biere de Garde, as well as Late Knights' roasty Penge Porter and the return of the ultimate shirk, rest and play beverage, Deserter IPA.
  • Also from within the M25, say hello to Big Smoke Brew Co's sublime Underworld Milk Stout and the return of Weird Beard's Duke Of Dank Red IPA. (The clue is in the name.) A little further out, Siren's Pompelmocelo is a delightfully tart grapefruit IPA that will definitely put a pucker in your pint.
  • Brewdog has launched its annual Prototype series, where you get to have your say on which beers should make it onto their core line-up. We've got two this week: Milk Stout (see a theme here?) and Black IPA
  • One final Christmas beer joins the ranks: Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, a hoppy, sprucey, malty amber ale.
  • And finally - because: Star Wars - we've re-upped on Northern Monk's It's A Trap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New stuff in store: 19 November

It feels a little bit like the calm before the storm right now before full-on Christmas madness kicks in. The good stuff keeps on coming though... Read on.

  • We're very excited to announce the debut of two London sauce ranges. Sidekick Sauces are smooth, creamy delights that are packed with flavour and go well on pretty much everything. Slow Richie's come to you from the wonderful chaps who bring you the best street food south of the river, currently wowing the punters down at Brick Brewery. Their delicious sauces all incorporate Brick's beers and we know they're going to be a surefire hit. Standby for a motherlode of new sauce action coming next week, too.
  • Peckham meadery Gosnells has introduced their new spiced Winter Mead in glorious 750ml bottles - the perfect gift and a definite centrepiece for any autumn/winter table. Stay tuned for in-store tasting dates.
  • And speaking of beautiful 750ml bottles, Cidre L'Atypique is our new craft Normandy cider and it looks and tastes absolutely incredible. Who needs champagne when you have this?
  • On the beer side of things, our love for Buxton Brewery knows no bounds and we're greatly looking forward to trying out their new Double Axe Edge DIPA and Red Point IPA when they land later today. These guys never disappoint.
  • On the oop north brewery tip, we also welcome a third can from Vocation Brewery of Hebden Bridge. Pride & Joy American Pale Ale joins the exquisite Heart & Soul Session IPA and Life & Death IPA in the fridge. 
  • Back down south, Sussex way, we have new Burning Sky! Cuvee in big bottles, Vatted Potter in 330ml. 
  • Finally, Green Flash Hop Head Red makes its return - a big red DIPA from San Diego. This is definitely the season of the red ales right now and this caramelly, resinous hop monster is at the top of the field.

New stuff in store, 29 October

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We're always excited about new beers but some weeks, we look at the list and have to pinch ourselves because it's so good. This is one of these times. Every time a coconut. Read this and weep (with joy).

  • We're close to collecting the whole set of the 2015 Rainbow Project beers. The latest one from the amazingly inventive series of UK/US collaborations to hit the shelves is Violet Underground from Somerset's Wild Beer and California's Firestone Walker. This tart sour bomb is a blend of Wild Beer's Somerset Wild and Firestone's Cowbell and brings together yeast from Somerset cider orchards, Californian raspberries and French candied violet petals. We have it in 375ml bottles and look out for it when it hits the flagon-fill line-up.
  • Speaking of flagon-fill, we are beyond excited about putting on Magic Rock Cross Pollination Heather Honey IPA. The Twitterati went mental for this beer when it hit the taps at Indyman. Let's see what all the fuss is about. Keep watching the skies/flagon-fill page...
  • Speaking of people going mental at Indyman... Here's another star from that particular beer fest. Mad Hatter Tzatziki Sour. A Berliner Weisse with flavours of yoghurt, mint and cucumber. Has to be enjoyed to be believed!
  • Vocation cans all the way from sunny West Yorkshire. These both look incredible and rate off the charts. We've got the Heart & Soul session IPA and Life & Death IPA. 
  • Speaking of death... Brewdog Born To Die. It's back. Available from 6pm on Friday.
  • Other returns from beyond the grave include the uber-delicious Westbrook Gose and Evil Twin Molotov Lite - our best-selling 8.5% beer ever. We've also got more Evil Twin cans in the form of Bikini Beer, which provides a welcome contrast to the Molotov monster at just 2.7%.

That enough for you?