I decided, in the traditions of all the best publications, that it would be appropriate to end the year with my list of favourites from the past 12 months, with a look at the best of the last year.
Favourite Huddersfield town pub
Those who read the blog regularly will know of my affection for the Star. A great pub, no juke box, no gaming machine, just the craic from the customers, and some great beers to choose from. That along with the friendly and informed staff and the 3 yearly beer festivals make it an outstanding place to drink.
The Sportsman is also a credit to the Town, newly opened and again serving well kept beer in good surroundings, and ,well made home cooked food,put it high on the list of places that one must visit.
Favourite Huddersfield rural pub
The Commercial at Slaithwaite is another pub new in 2009 which has really taken off and with 8 beers on the bar, and has cemented its place on the Rail Ale trail. It is a real credit to Johnny and the team, and well worth a trip up the valley to visit.
Favourite out of town pub
Had this been written 6 months ago I would have said the New Oxford in Salford, but my recent visits have been slightly disappointing, so this accolade goes to the Harlequin in Sheffield. Again with around 10 beers on the bar, piped music, and several beer festivals throughout the year I think it deserves the prize - and for the record, one of the few things that Dave Unpronounceable and me agree on !!!
Favourite Huddersfield club
The Monkey Club at Armitage Bridge, with its beer festival and knowledgeable beer ordering by Festa continues to prosper.
Best Beer of The Year
This is where the problems start. The pubs almost chose themselves, the beer doesn't, and its hard work trying to remember what a beer tasted like back in January. Personal taste always comes into this, and some great beers are not to my liking so unfortunately don't get a look in.
The Marble '1425' was very good with its New Zealand hop flavours, so good that the brewery kept it as a regular and renamed it 'Dobber'. Pictish made many good beers but their single hopped 'Saaz' and their 'Mount Rainier' were exceptional. Salopian beers always came up with the goods throughout the year, and it was hard to choose the best one, but maybe 'Mafia'. Yorkshire Dales likewise always made plenty of good beers. On the dark beer front, Mallinsons 'Oatmeal Stout' was excellent along with Windsor Castle 'Mud City Stout'. There was even the appearance of Red Shield.
As you can see, there are so many to choose from that it is impossible to make an objective judgement - what one person likes, another dislikes, and vice versa, but here are my personal favourites, but don't go looking for them as many are one-off beers.
5. Mallinsons 'A Swift One'
4. Brew Company ' Hop Ripper Ipa'
3. Steel City 'Hop Manifesto'
2. Mallinsons 'Star 5000k'
1. Yorkshire Dales ' Hit For 6'
In 18 months Mallinsons have created a reputation second to none, and do they desrve it!! Every beer eagerly anticipated and seldom failing, they have even started bottling so you can now enjoy their beer at home.
Anything from New Zealand, but Nelson Sauvin gets the vote. Closely followed by anything from the Mount Hood area of America.
Don't be silly !!!
There we are, my view of 2009. A good year for the beer world, despite the continuing gloom spread about by the brew companies closing their share of pubs, and the closure of some breweries. Just hope that 2010 continues to provide good quality beer and interesting new pubs , if it does, things can only get better. Have no fear, us intrepid bloggers on 'A Swift One' will be there to bring the news of it to you.