I don't have the budget or the engagement in the wider beer scene to be able to put together something like the impressive 'Golden Pint Awards' trailed on Young Dredgie's page. But I did want to recognise some good experiences in the London beer scene, so I've designed the "Boggle Awards", which are awarded in four categories:
Best London Brewer - Kernel Brewing
Best London Pub - The Harp, Chandos Place
Best London Beer Bar - The Rake, Borough Market
Best Beer Retailer - Utobeer, Borough Market
I decided to differentiate between a pub and specialist beer outlet because I think they cater to different demand, though it's clear that in some cases the lines are blurring. As London suddenly has a healthy brewing scene, I wanted to acknowledge my favourite local brewer, and the retailer award takes care of the off-trade.
The retail side might look like usual suspects, but it's still early days as new outlets look to craft beer to grow their business. Cask Pub & Kitchen gets an honorable mention for this year, and this time next year I'm sure there'll be new on- and off-trade outlets vying for recognition. As things develop, I'm sure I'll develop some more rigorous criteria to help me decide winners in future years. Or maybe not.
I haven't bothered to pick out a favourite London beer, since I don't take notes and I've supped several excellent brews this year. My top 10 UK-brewed would include Lovibonds' astonishing Sour Grapes, Saltaire's excellent Triple Chocolate, Kernel's delicious re-imagining of a Baltic Porter and my go-to pint, Dark Star's lovely APA, but really, so much affects the beer-drinking experience, so I'm not going to try and reduce a good year for beer to a list.
Thanks to all the brewers, pubs and bars, and shops for providing me with these experiences.