The Scoopies 2012

It's that time of year again. And what a year it's been. The best of times, the worst of times. But always the beeriest of times.

I promised myself I wouldn't drink myself into a situation where I'd have to award the How Long Have We Been In This Pub? award this year. Sadly, I went to the Thorn Tree in Waingroves with a bunch of muppets. We drank Steel City and Buxton. There was Smurf face painting, crude pubic hair jokes and kissing of brewers. I made a small child cry. There was six-ish hours of beer-addled relaxed mayhem. And there was Mike James from Buxton Brewery infiltrating a puppet show:

This year's Top Referral Source To My Site Of Readers Who Really Ought To Know Better goes to the Grauniad who referenced a post from last year about ten-sided beer glasses. Which means I can now stop blogging and live off the hits from that for years to come.

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

- 4 letter word for beer
- cartoon hairy bollocks
- budweiser bottle tits
- big massive coffee tables
- amber notts porn video holly howard
- contour ploughing in India
- is phil lowry the english brewer married?
- is it normal to have all kinds of shit in the bottom of a straffe hendrik
- playmobil cow
- reluctant to strip in a bar
- wet rubber apron
- sue holderness cleavage photos
- beer bullshitter

Good to see Sue Holderness's cleavage making the top thirteen for two years in a row. For the record, it looks like this:

The Worst Beer Photo Taken When Drunk award goes to this. No explanation needed:

Best Beer Photo had stiff competition this year. The double-merkin action of me and Brewdog Becca was good...

... as was Jen's super clown ginger muff at The Bimble That Went Wrong:

But this year there could be only one. Step forward Richard Chamberlin, the departing Brewster's brewer, painted up in a death metal stylee. Holding a rubber chicken. And two inches away from fellating a priceless stuffed squirrel at Brewdog Nottingham.

The inaugural Pricking About With Photoshop award would have gone to one of those My Name Is badges that are far too offensive to show again. Especially that one about Matt Wickham.

So it has to be this. Apparently I have irrevocably scarred several people's fond memories of their cartoon childhood.

Good to find several brewers vying it out for the Shit Me, Where Did That Brewery Come From? award this year. In the end it was a dead heat between Tiny Rebel and Beavertown. Both excelled with a robust beer range, smart marketing and consistent quality.

Here's a few self-congratulatory awards for my own posts.

The Shits And Giggles Award for the Post I Enjoyed Writing And You Lot Seemed to Have Enjoyed Reading Too goes to The Craft Beer Manifesto. Awesome!

The Cashing In On An Internet Fad To Post A Cheap Joke With Sexual Innuendo Award goes to Fifty Shades Of IPA.

The Pretentious Sixth-Form Poet Twat Award for Most Affected Blog Post With Over-Ambitious Literary Ambitions goes to any of the dozen posts still sat in draft, written around 2am after a long drinking day. You've no idea how close you came to having that guff inflicted upon you.

New for 2012, the Bribery Will Get You Anywhere award goes to Gazza Prescott from Steel City Brewing and soon-to-be-brewing Hop Craft, bringing you awesome beer from the heart of Ponyclub Pontyclun. Cheers for buying me that beer last night, Gazza!

The City That Put A Self-Satisfied Smile On My Face Award goes, maybe surprisingly, to Derby. Pubs started to do the simple things well: The Furnace Inn offered interesting beer from breweries never seen in the city before (like Magic Rock, Tiny Rebel). The Alexandra Hotel kept delivering superb beer, a great atmosphere, humongous cheese cobs and a pub rabbit. And the Exeter Arms just kept getting it right: beautiful cask by Dancing Duck and guests, quality keg in the shape of Chiron by Thornbridge, superb food (the British Tapas board in particular), open fires, leather sofas under cover outside, a nineteenth-century cottage you can drink in...

Beery Person Of The Year? Simple. You knew her as Mrs Scoop. She's Bec Emerald on Twitter. She's the demon behind the wheel of the Little Orange Beer Taxi. And she's bloody lovely.

And that's all that's fit to blog. Many, many, many thanks to the brewers and licensees and writers and academics and louchebags and barflys and mates and total numpties who've answered my questions, put the world to rights, inspired me, reviled me and picked me up when the pavement swallowed me.

And I got through this whole post without mentioning cask versus keg.


Have a merry New Year. See you on the other side at the bar.