Right. Here are my nominations for the Golden Pints 2012. I don't blog (at least yet...) and I don't want to clog up people's feeds so I'm just going to post it all here via TwitLonger.
Best UK Draught Beer
Greene King 5X at GBBF. A revelation. Why GK keep this beer locked up is anyone's guess.
Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
Thornbridge Kipling. Grapefruit in a glass. Consistently challenging and drinkable in equal measure.
Best Overseas Draught Beer
Mahr's Ungespundet. So technically it's been a couple of years since I had it on draught. But no foreign draught beer I've had since has come close.
Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer
Bear Republic Racer 5. It was love at first sight when we met at Byron. Where had you been all my life before then?
Best Overall Beer
Fuller's Chiswick. OK so I haven't nominated it for any of the categories above. There are beers that shout louder and dazzle more. But there is no beer which is better.
Best Pumpclip or Label
Pumpclips by Truefitt (http://www.truefittbrewing.co.uk/). I should declare an interest as I grew up on Teesside so there's an element of nostalgia in seeing the words Erimus and Ironopolis. But I think the simple, eye-catching designs are great.
Best UK Brewery
Fuller's. They pump out God knows how much beer each year and could take the easy route. But as well as keeping an amazingly consistent core range, a few of their specials this year have really impressed (Wild River, Traitors' Gate on draught, not to mention their Past Masters series).
Best Overseas Brewery
Cantillon. Hasn't done anything particularly extraordinary this year. It's just stayed the same. Which is really my whole point.
Pub/Bar of the Year
BrewDog Camden. It pains me to give this to somewhere that doesn't serve cask beer out of "ideology". But what wins it for me is the bar staff with their knowledge and enthusiasm, particularly when asked the question "What lager have you got?" If anyone will get the young hipsters off Peroni, it's these guys.
Beer Festival of the Year
GBBF, solely because of the decision to move back to Olympia. Felt like they'd put the "Festival" back in to GBBF.
Supermarket of the Year
Waitrose. Not the widest range but well-chosen. And it's through them that I first came across Thornbridge Kipling.
Independent Retailer of the Year
Utobeer probably edge it. Always my first stop in London if I'm looking for a few interesting bottles.
Online Retailer of the Year
Beers of Europe, who finally updated their, er, "retro" site and made it a pleasure to use. Others probably serve a few more specialist tastes but these guys have all the main players, and the prices are very competitive.
Best Beer Book or Magazine
London Drinker. Always a pleasure when it pops through the letter box. Pleasingly irreverent, and comprehensive when it comes to what's going on in the London bar and brewing scene.
Best Beer Blog or Website
Boak and Bailey. In truth the recent trend towards historical research isn't my sort of thing, but they consistently put a new angle on things and question assumptions. (Nice to meet them too at GBBF this year.)
Best Beer Twitterer
Pumpclip Parade. Fighting a lonely war with the odds stacked against them. But by God it's a war that needs fighting.
Best Online Brewery Presence
No-one. Yes, one or two breweries probably make the grade. But the huge majority of brewery websites are like something done by a ten-year old. So I'm refusing to nominate anyone here as an entirely futile protest. But it has made me feel better.
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Any Byron burger with anything on their craft beer list. I would eat there every night if my wallet and waist line could cope.
In 2013 I’d most like to...
Go on the Toer de Geuze. Which, with a bit of luck and advance planning, I will.
Open category – you decide the topic
Best Beer Tasting: a tasting of lambics organised by The Craft Beer Co (at their original home in Clerkenwell). This was an event which didn't patronise and went into some pretty obscure detail. But what shone most of all was the passion of the guy who was giving the talk. Informative and inspirational.