At the end of 2017 I pledged to increase the content on this blog from three posts every six years to 52 posts a year. Then I broke my wrist and couldn’t write. Six months of rehab later I settled in to pick up the pace and was immediately promoted, upping my workload by about 5000%. I think the lesson here is, don’t make promises.
Anyway, with a to-do list longer than a Leonard Cohen song, to quote Malcolm Tucker, Golden Pints is upon us once again. Merry 2018!
Golden Pints 2018
Boltmaker, Tim Taylor
Assaulted by an ever growing wheel of styles and new breweries whose beer list resembles a Body Shop stock take, it’s nice to get back to basics. Boltmaker is so pleasingly and so deceptively simple a beer. It’s smooth and flavourful, and is slept on in comparison with its glamorous sibling, Landlord. The pint of Boltmaker I had in the Fighting Cock was the best pint I have had all year.
Bourbon Barrel Cinnamon Bun and Pecan Pie Stout, Lerwig
The first official beer I had at this year’s IMBC (official in the sense that I had already necked a sour ale which had been dispensed into a water bottle while I was volunteering). It was a bold move to go straight for this, but it sold out only moments after mine was poured, so the right decision I feel. A rich, caramel cuddle in a glass, it was a moment of pure luxury.
Handyman Sour 03, HandymanXChapter
A couple of weeks after I broke my wrist I ventured out to Chester for an outdoor beer festival. The joy of drinking a sharp, fruity beer the colour of a Barbie Doll box in the warm sun was a pleasant relief from being stuck on the settee wondering how I was going to get into the bath later. This collaboration between Handyman and one of my local breweries, Chapter, was a breath of fresh air.
Trooper Hallowed, Robinsons
Bottled beers so rarely pull their weight when they’re at the budget end of the scale, but this bananified, malty darling from Robinsons is the taste of autumn, bottled. It has enough strength to give you a warm hug but in these times of global warming the flavour profile is slightly tropical to match the October heat.
Dead Town, Blueball
Still on a Hallowe’en theme, Dead Town is named after Runcorn’s very own zombie apocalypse film series (yes, of course we have one). At 6.5% it’s a strong red ale which is not to be trifled with, but it’s packed with rich flavours and subtle dryness. It was the beer of the festival at our recent Christmas bash.
The Fighting Cock, Bradford
It’s worth a walk through several auto centres and tire vendors to a Proper Pub which does exactly what pubs are meant to do; serve up well-kept ale in a comfortable environment where people can stay as long as they please as long as they’ve got a couple of quid and a story about their bowel surgery. Long may it reign.
Calan’s, Hebden Bridge
A tiny pub which offers a big welcome and an unmatched enthusiasm for bringing local people and good beers together. Award winning pork pies sit happily alongside an ever changing beer list which has impressive variety of styles. It’s clearly beloved by locals and the tables which spill out into its tiny courtyard are rarely empty for long.
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Whilst some pubs put their beer-related paraphernalia behind glass, the Albion Brewery allows you to step back in time and play bar billiards on a still operational table. Phipp’s Brewery have taken on modern drinking and new attitudes to the pub and come out fighting.
Society Tap Room, Runcorn
The existence of Society proves than any town can get a craft beer scene if the will is there. Tucked under a railway arch, where Korean and Vietnamese street food is served from a hatch, you could be in Hoxton if not for the £3.50 pints. Acting as the Blueball brewery tap, Society also sells the wares of other local breweries from its 16 pumps, and holds regular events. Don’t tell anyone though, it’s our secret.