The Scoopies 2011

It's New Year's Eve. The awkward time in between supper and Hootenanny. Let's get pished and award the Scoopies.

The 'How Long Have We Been In This Pub?' Award - Sheffield Tap. Some say there was a grinding inevitability to this and that it had to happen one day. Well, indeed, it did. Instead of visiting the CAMRA AGM, I spent the thick end of eight hours in the Tap. The result was always going to be messy:

Thornbridge grabs a couple of Scoopies; the Most Often Read Post On This Website If You Believe Google Analytics award for the posts the attracted the most traffic, this one on their Sheffield pubs and this one on the opening of DAda bar. And DAda itself gets an award of it own for the Coolest Photography On A Table In A Bar:

This year's Top Referral Source To My Site Of Readers Who Really Ought To Know Better is once again Zak Avery at Are You Taking The Pith? Still not sure why. Perhaps he attracts people looking for good beer info and they then click through to me for a cheap knob gag or two.

The Googlefail Awards for the thirteen most obscure search terms that resulted in a visit to my site were:

- abba jansson filter
- brampton restaurants with humpty dumpty painting on the wall
- christmas cock party
- ginger merkin site:uk
- hire a keg of carling for xmas
- ilkeston slags
- is pvpp (polyvinylpolypyrrolidone) suitable for vegans
- pizza playmobil
- reluctant her first swingers party
- sue holderness cleavage
- true road racing circuits in the england
- ugly blonde train
- what is the location of the lord admiral nelson pub in the uncle bens sweet and sour advert.

Nice try by Kristy McCready of Molson Coors for number 5 on that list.

The Worst Beer Photo Taken When Drunk award was a shoo-in for the 'arty' pics of Brooklyn Lager I attempted late one evening after a day on the piss with Alcofrolic Chap and Rich from Brewsters:

As for Best Beer Photo... I'd quite like it to be this:

... but it's got to be this, in honour of all those who donned the Ginger Merkin at GBBF:

This year's beer and food award is a little different. The inaugural Respecting and Disrespecting Beer And Food award goes to Adnams Solebay; drank out of a champagne flute after a stunning meal at the Crown Hotel in the company of Fergus Fitzgerald, the head brewer at Adnams. And also drank straight from the bottle, bought for £2.50, with a cheeseburger at the Brewing Industry International Awards in the company of Stoph McBride, as pictured below:

The How To Avoid Drinking Beer In A Great Pub But Do Something Else Instead award goes to the Rutland Arms in Sheffield for putting up with me staggering in late on, buying two chocolate brownies and then sodding off again. Bonus points for the time they called round to the Sheffield Tap with some because I couldn't be arsed to get up and fetch them myself.

The Shit Me, Where Did That Brewery Come From? award has to go to Magic Rock. It's been a pleasure watching these guys take the UK beer scene by storm this year. High Wire has become one of my favourite cask beers, Dark Arts is one of the finest dark beers I've ever drank - especially on keg. Stu and Rich, pictured below, are genuinely good guys in a business that has its fair share of shitheels. And Magic Rock Scott makes a damn good sandwich, propelling the brewery to my coveted Best Hospitality During A Brewday award. Although the glasses of Bearded Lady helped too.

The Sitting Up Straight On The Back Of The Bus award goes to the European Summer Gathering. Breakfast at The Kernel. When I say breakfast, I mean outstanding Italian meats alongside kegged and bottled pale ale that made grown men weep. And then catching this beauty up to the King William IV in Leyton. On the way back, we drank Brodies beers from the bottle (Seven Hop was sublime) and sang 'The Wheels On The Bus'. Only in England...

Winners of the Scoopers Award For Exporting Beer From The People's Republic of South Yorkshire are the hopheaded dynamic duo Gazza and Dave Unpronounceable at Steel City. That I can pop up the road to the Old Oak at Horsely Woodhouse and drink the likes of Dark Funeral, DILLIGAF and Escafeld always tickles me.

The Blindsiding Beer Of The Year award goes to Vieille Brune by Brasserie Thiriez. Bought from a beer festival at a Derbyshire pub. Because Pete Hounsell, brewer at Amber Ales, fancied putting on something unusual at the Talbot Taphouse festival alongside his own beers. He'd picked up cases from Thieiez, including the fantastically floral Etoile Du Nord, but this stuff blew me away. People like Pete who put in the effort to source beers like this ought to be applauded by beer lovers.

Beery Person of the Year? It could be many. Brewers who grew their business in the face of straitened times and egregious taxation. Licensees who revitalised pubs and found that if you invest in the community, they pay you back in spades. Writers who have broadened my horizons. Editors who have published my work. The mad followers on Twitter who have been around to share a laugh, a cry, a joke and a bucketful of pisstaking.

But there can be only one. Mrs Scoop has been my rock, my muse and my little blue beer taxi. And so much more. Cheers me dears!

And to you rattlebag as well. Thanks for reading, for sharing a beer with me and for not setting fire to my merkin. 2011: done. 2012: come on!