Pubpaper 584 – Awards and Office Parties

Posted: 30th November 2010 by admin in Pub Paper, Writing

I often criticise the Publican trade magazine for their association with Greene King. However this week they announced the winners of their 2010 Food and Drink Awards with not one award sponsored by them, and we had a local winner. The Shibden Mill Inn won “Sunday Lunch Pub of the Year”. It was also good to see a Yorkshire pub win Cask Ale Pub of the Year, the Sheffield Tap in Sheffield. I work in Sheffield and have heard very good things about this place, and will attempt to visit one lunch time. It was also a successful week at the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards where a real ale brewery won the award for Best Drinks Producer (Wye Valley Brewery) against the likes of quality cider and artisan spirits producers. As I have repeatedly said, and the sales figures prove, real ale is getting more and more popular, and prizes like this prove that it is beginning to challenge other more traditionally upmarket types of alcohol which used to dominate awards of this ilk.

In the last bit of news this week, you may not have heard the name Roger Protz, you will recognise his work, The Good Beer Guide, which graces the shelves of and features several of our local pubs and breweries. This week he named his top 50 micro brews, among them are some real crackers I have sampled recently in Calderdale. Among these are Moorhouses “Black Cat” (although I prefer the Blonde Witch), Harviestoun “Bitter and Twisted” and Kelham Island “Pale Rider”. You will spot my usual tendancies towards paler beers here, with the darker Black Cat slipping in like its namesake animal. While on the topic of good brews, this week saw several quality pints supped including Acorn Brewery’s Barnsley Bitter and Southern Cross IPA as well as Ossett’s Pale Gold on visits to the Ship Inn and Sportman at Ploughcroft. Although the pub doesn’t serve real ale, I must also recommend Caddyshack for it bar food, having sampled their spicy chicken wings, homecut chips and garlic mushrooms on a flying visit on Sunday, they hit the spot taste wise when it came to deep fried goodness (copyright Man v Food).

Its the time of year where pubs start fill with people who visit a pub once a year, think they can handle more than 3 drinks and can then be found declaring their undying love to someone they can’t stand for 364.75 days of the year. The xmas menu’s are breeding like rabbits and the ominous christmas tree is appearing in the corner of the pub. Come 12pm on any given night you can find drunk middle aged middle managers staggering around any of our local towns. I enjoy my beer 365 days of the year, so feel no need to go crazy just because a special child was born. I’ve got to the point where I’m happy with 5 or 6 pints even on a long night out, this is mainly due to the fact that come 7.30am, I’ll be up with my 10 months old who does not care how late I got in or how many fine real ales I consumed, all she wants is her milk.

The fact that I do drink beer made with quality ingredients and no chemicals helps me to avoid the hangover. My dad comments that he can drink 5 or 6 different beers on a night when visiting my usual pubs and wake up feeling fresh. However doing the same amount on his regular national brewery beers back at home is guaranteed not to have the same result. I’ve found the same when drinking the two products at home. Beer came from a position of being the healthier option to water, but was tainted when large scale brews dominated the market with very artificial beers. Along with every other sector in retail the trend has for many years to go back to basics, to its purest form, something a good ale does without even trying, relying on the skill of the brewer to turn hops, barley and water into golden ale. Without this we would be stuck drinking Tetley and John Smiths Smoothflow in the 9th level of hell in Dantes Inferno.