The Scoopies 2010

It's the end-of-year random-beery seldom-cheery awards that literally one man and his dog have been waiting for. Except the man isn't too bothered now and has sodded off to the pub. And the dog isn't allowed in the pub as it's a filthy shitting trip hazard.

It's The Scoopies 2010. Ta-da.

Most Pointless Beer Discussion - Black IPA. Discuss.

It's Cascadian Dark. It's new. It's old. It's hoppy porter. It's not porter. Dehusking, debasing, debating... I'm sure there's a cogent answer to the question 'So, what the blink *is* Black IPA?" ; I'm just not too sure I can be bothered to find it. And for the all the wasted hours I've spent arguing about it this year, I'm truly sad.

Bloke You Most Want To Lend You £20 For A Taxi - Kelly Ryan
Of course, the finer moments I spent with the Kiwi Tigger this year were, of course, talking about alpha-acid nuances whilst surrounded by the shiny-shiny of Thornbridge Riverside brewery. Honest. But the funniest moments were always at the Coach & Horses, Dronfield, with random beers shared between random beery people. And having just spent half an hour telling him why Black IPA was shit and his ideas for keg expansion were even worse, he still stumped up twenty quid for me when I missed the last bus home. He even called the taxi for me. Top fella.

The 'How Long Have We Been In This Pub?' Award - Churchill Arms, Kensington, Laaandun.

To be fair, I'm quite partial to a drop of keg Fullers London Porter. And to people watching. And to Thai food. Put all three together and the day just evaporates. And so it came to pass at the Churchill Arms. When you take a bar packed with tweed-wearing Irishman, clueless tourists, fashionistas, a Thai restaurant with the walls covered in butterflies, some of the best beer that the capital can muster and then cram it all into the same building, you're not even close in describing how wonderfully mad the Churchill Arms is. We managed a five-hour session this year. In fact, having partaken in lunch, we almost stopped for tea too.

The 'What Time Is My Train?' Award for Best Bar Near A Railway Station - Sheffield Tap.

I used to have a feature on here called Ales Near Rail which had a random selection of decent pubs and bars within a five minute stagger from a railway station. The Sheffield Tap would feature highly if I ever get around to rewriting that feature; it holds the royal flush of Thornbridge cask beers, international keg beers, superlative bottled beers, attractive architecture and actually being on the platform (1b. Where you catch the train to Adwick).

And there have been times this year when I only made it as far as the Tap before pouring myself back onto a train. I blame Yan Pilkington for that. He kept tweeting me with what beers were on. Sometimes, it was true.

My post about the Tap also happens to win the Most Often Read Post On This Website If You Believe Google Analytics award. Though as I have no idea who picks up this guff via RSS, Facebook etc I have no definitive way of knowing. Or caring.

Whilst I'm on an analytical vibe, let's have the Top Referral Source To My Site Of Readers Who Really Ought To Know Better award - Are You Taking The Pith? by Zak Avery. Thanks to Zak for actually including me on his blogroll. And apologies to all those referralettes who may have been expecting some learned discourse about beer.

Or maybe not. Because here's the Googlefail Awards for the Thirteen Most Obscure Search Terms that resulted in a visit to my site:

- a recent picture of phil lowry a micro brewer in england
- asda merry hill complaints
- english brewer pornstar
- dirty shitting grannies
- copulating draught horses
- oversized playmobil
- oxygenated terpenes
- is wickwar brewery beer crap
- reluctant orgasm
- reluctant scooper twat
- slags in newark
- stourport severn siders marching jazz band facebook
- trashy blonde first time old cock

So, many thanks to all you desperate perverts out there. And to Phil Lowry for Googling himself as per usual. By the way, Phil, you look like this. Congrats for fitting into an Orval glass, btw:

Which leads neatly into the My Worst Beery Photo Taken When Drunk award.

It obviously meant a lot to me at the time. Having almost finished it.

And so a segue into My Best Beer Photo of 2010. Very stiff competition, but it has to be a warehouse-full of Orval. I'm nursing a semi just thinking about it:

And that brings me sweetly onto my Beery Moment of 2010. I'd rather not choose one, to be honest, for the same reasons I'm loathe to pick a beer/brewer of the year for questionnaires like Golden Pint. But I'm a firm believer that the equation beer+location+time+company can equal serendipity. So the commercial director of Orval hands you a bottle of his beer straight off the bottling line. Before noon. And you gulp it down in one. And his face is a picture. And you wear a dirty fat grin on yours for the rest of the day. I have always had many, many reasons to love Orval. Since visiting this year, I have many, many, many reasons more.

Whilst on the continent, let's cover the Best Beer-And-Food Moment Without Really Paying Too Much Attention To The Beer award. Tied in first place; Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Cateau (serving Vivat Blonde) for their plate of barely-cooked kidneys in juniper sauce and, er, somewhere in the middle of Chimay that served the finest, freshest salad I've ever eaten alongside pike escabeche with lashings of Chimay Blue.

Just The Most Fun On The Tinternet That Doesn't Involve Gonzo Porn award goes to Stuart Howe for Real Brewing At The Sharp End. The Flavour Compound of the Week was inspirational. His writing about Orval (and that of ATJ) shamed me into not writing much about it myself as I could add nothing. But 52 Brews was revolutionary; someone who was prepared to put his balls out there and just brew stuff for the reason of - just because. And write about it with humour, detail, perception, irreverence.

(and as my wife and father both read this: I have no idea what gonzo porn is. It's just a phrase that the cool kids taught me. Don't Google it. Pleeeaase).

Best Website Printed In Ink And Tied Up With String award goes to Amber, Gold & Black by Martyn Cornell. I've underlined passages, pasted in extras, added marginalia, disagreed with parts and sought out his sources. Books should make you think; reading should not be a passive experience. Amber, Gold & Black reminded me that beer writing ought to be always thought-provoking and contentious.

And the most coveted Beery Person Of The Year goes to... Mrs Scoop. For every day and night trip in the Little Blue Beer Taxi, for her patience whilst I talked pish at the bar with a brewer, for agreeing to a holiday that involved staying with a brewer and then staying in a pub, for being gentle with me when my train was late coz I was too merry to be on the right platform at the right time... but mainly for being game and trying every bottled beer at home that I've opened this year, for having a great palate that could pick out subtle flavours (even when she hated them), for being a perry-head and for being mad enough to cope with ten years of marriage to me:

Lots of thank-you's to fit in. So many, so apologies for omissions: Stephen and Leslie at Humpty Dumpty for their generous hospitality this summer, Kelly and Cat for unmissable, unforgettable times at the Coach, a clutch of brewers (Marble Dom, Hopshackle Nigel, Crown Stuart, Brew Company Pete, Brewdog James), a landlordlady or two (Yan at the Tap, Liz at the Quin, Rog at the Smithy, Gray at the Brunnie), generous beery people (Beermerchants, myBrewerytap, Daas, Williams, St Austell, Dunham Massey), the Twissup and Ratebeer crews, Kristy 'Sweet Cheeks' McCready, Alex Buchanan and the rest of the raggle-taggle Thornbridge mob, Beer Advocate for publishing my first paid-for article, my stylist, my Indo-Welsh accent coach for all my racially-inappropriate jokes of indeterminate accent. And Rebecca (Mrs Scoop) again. Coz she's worth it :-)

That was the beery year that was. Now, let's go get pissed and do it all again tomorrow...


  1. That's a dreadfully unflattering picture of your missus. Please post a better one so we can see how lovely I'm sure she really is.

  2. Next time I'll lend you thirty quid!

    Cheers for hanging out so often with a misfit Kiwi brewer. Come visit in NZ!