It’s that time of the bastardin’ year again when after many IPA’s, stouts, Imperial beers, sours & every special-batch-infused-with-something comes about & beer writers/bloggers/podcasters/video makers hand out their favorite imaginary award for ‘Best of the year‘ in a flurry of aplomb, praise & thankfulness. And, HopAddiktion.com will be no different; hop torpedo’d on top of that bandwagon, riding it til the wheels fall off.
Best Irish Draught Beer: Yellow Belly Citra Pale Ale
I’ve had a few this year (and a few less than I would have liked in previous years), but the choice for me is really simple. This was a beer I could literally have asked to be intraveneously attached to the keg for. It was probably the single best Citra beer I’ve had in a few years.
Best Irish Bottled Beer: Crafty Brewing Company American Pale Wheat Ale
Bang for buck, this beer for me wins the day hands down in the bottles category. Flavour/mouthfeel/aroma/price – stunning, simply stunning.
Best Irish Canned Beer: Whiplash/Otterbank/3Fe Farami Coffee Stout
There are coffee stouts & then there’s this. There’s also stouts & then there’s this. On any given day, on any planet, in any intergalactic dimension, this beer wins hands down for me.
Best Overseas Draught Beer: Cloudwater DIPA v8
It’s just so hard to give this to any other overseas draught beer this year. Despite it being bloody expensive on draught (which I still find bloody questionable) CloudWater’s DIPA is just stunning. The argument begins & ends there frankly.
Best International Bottled Beer: Stone Brewing Pataskala Red X IPA
I’ve been incredibly fortunate this year to have had some incredible bottled beers from overseas this year. Alot of them I’ll admit, were from Stone Brewing. I’m also not shy about speaking about my love for Stone Brewing. They are & have been my spirit beer animal for a long long long looooong time. This beer was everything I could want from an IPA.
Best International Canned Beer: Fourpure Juicebox IPA
I’ll bet no-one saw me picking this one & expected me to nominate a Beavertown or a BrewDog beer here. But no, this one won it out for me by a E.L.E. sized landslide margin.
Best Collaboration Brew: Whiplash/Otterbank/3Fe Farami Coffee Stout
In a year with so many great collab beers, when this one resurfaced, it was only ever going to be the one that could get the nod from me.
Best Overall Beer 2016: Whiplash/Otterbank/3Fe Farami Coffee Stout
I don’t care who this choice irks. THIS is my all time favorite Irish beer (and I’m almost safe to say getting to the point where it has overtaken my love for BrewDog Tokyo* & Stone w00tStout – which is a monumental feat frankly). I know asking for this to be a ‘full-time’ beer is not only a bit much, & I know not something Alex wants to do with his Whiplash brand, but god damnit I can dream. I can, right?
Best Irish Craft Cider: Falling Apple Cider
Tough one for 2016 with so many great Irish Ciders on the market, but this one just pipped it all for me. 2016 was a weird year for me cider-wise. I consumed more this year than I ever have previously, & I think I’m starting to get my love back for this genre. In any case, Falling Apple was my Irish cidery tipple of choice this year.
Best Overseas Craft Cider: Lefevre
This is what cider would taste like if I was any good at making it. And I enjoyed the fuck out of this fancy, frilly french number copiously this year.
Best Irish Beer Branding: Yellowbelly Brewing
Wexford town’s own Simon Lambert & Sons brewery has just lain waste to the entire field of competition with their branding this year. It has been nothing short of innovative, stunning, distinctive & evocative. They already nabbed kudos from Beoir’s awards this year for their branding, & I know a number of other Irish beer writers have given them the nods in their Golden Pints for it.
Best Overseas Beer Branding: Beavertown
I still enjoy seeing Beavertown’s artwork & branding. I still get very excited by it. And that’s what branding should do – make you very fucking excited.
Best Irish Brewery: Rye River Brewing, Celbridge Co. Kildare
Nope, no bias here. Seriously. When I think back to the early incarnation of the brewery in Kilcock after the wet floors went in before the tanks, & I see what the brewery has become today in Celbridge, along with the beer ranges (McGargles/Whiplash/Crafty Brewing) & their taproom, along with doing things like bringing SweetWater to Ireland (and into Tesco no-less), this ‘best little brewery in Ireland’ is on its way to behemoth in craft beer circles. Add into the fact, they brought Simon Broderick on as a beer expert, while introducing hop torpedos, centrifuges & some insane hop contracts, this brewery has gone from so-so beers with alot of stick over their branding schtick and their founders to some of the hoppiest beers produced in Ireland in a few short years. It’s a hell of an achievement to go along with the sheer metric shit-ton of awards they’ve nabbed in beer & business circles in 2016. Just wow.
Bar/Pub of the year: Alfie Byrnes
In previous years, this nod went to The BrewDock from me. I just don’t like the vibe of the place since they’ve done it up & more improtantly, since Rachel left. It feels too much like GB’s ‘Beer Market’. End result? I think I visited BrewDock twice this year, while Alfie Byrnes was pretty much a weekly regular hangout for me for post-work pints.
Off-license/Beershop of the year: Corkscrew in Lucan
I buy alot of beer in bottles/cans. And I do mean alot. I therefore visit alot of offies to find beers I want. I also visit the usual popular haunts like DrinkStore, Baggot St wines. However; one place I go to alot is the Corkscrew. Not only is it nearby …ish, but they do the one thing I love more than anything; GREAT customer service. When I’m on the hunt for a new beer & they’ve not got it, they take my details & actually call me. When I’m in, the staff remember who I am & let me know of new stuff on the way in soon, & give me the option of having some bottles put by for me. I love customer service more than anything else. It makes me feel like my spending is important. And these guys do it bloody amazingly.
Supermarket of the Year: Lidl
This year Lidl have upped their craft game in a big, big way. Not only that, but their investment in their own brand of craft beer & cider has been game changing. They’ve had some of the best Irish Craft beers you can buy regularly with their IPA & Pale Ale, along with specials like their American Pale Wheat Ale (as aformentioned). While their range isn’t at SuperValu level; I’d rather go for quality over quantity when it comes to choice in a Supermarket.
Best Beer Blog/Vlog/Podcast: Irish Beer Snob Podcast
Before people roll their eyes & say ‘suprise-fucking-surprise‘, let me just explain myself. Wayne is a more than capable blogger & had been before he & Janice took up podcasting. Yes, I introduced him to podcasting & helped teach him it. But, very quickly the students (Janice & Wayne) have become the masters. Their podcasts in the last year have come on so far & so strongly. I am uber proud of the progress they’ve made, the improvements in pacing & the really natural flow they’ve come to with it.
Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: @IrishBeerSnob
No, it’s not a fix. Simply put – between their work on #IrishBeerChat on a weekly basis, the #BeeryChats live video sessions & their work on the beery charity front – they’ve been at it fast & furious, while retaining their good natures, & not become hop-drenched egomaniacs in love with the flow of their own 140 characters in the process. Well deserved.