Buxton are clear winners here, again. But I really struggled with the next two. At first I thought Magic Rock hadn’t done enough to make the Top 3, they’ve had some underwhelming beers in recent months. But after completing the above awards I realised that some of my very favourite beers this year have come from them. Various versions of Bearded Lady, Piña Collision and UnHuman Cannonball are all top drawer.
Marble take second spot for managing to reinvent themselves in the space of months. From great but fairly traditional – godfathers of craft, in a way – to producing beers as modern and innovative as anybody around.
Honourable mentions go to Kernel, Siren, Northern Monk, Wild Beer and probably several others I’ve enjoyed amazing beers from this year.
3rd: Magic Rock
1st: Buxton Brewery
I’ve been a huge Buxton fan for years. They have an entry in my ‘Top 3’ for pretty much every beer style I drink (Axe Edge, Wyoming Sheep Ranch, Imperial Black, Rain Shadow, Yellow Belly etc). They’re really varied and ambitious in the types of beer they brew yet somehow hugely consistent too.
They’ve had a fantastic 2016, starting with an interesting series of Belgian-style beers including Tripel, Dubbel & Quad. Followed by some stunning new beers like Guatemalan Coffee Extra Porter, King Maker and of course, Bourbon Skyline. Plus, amazing versions of already great beers too: Barrel Aged Double Axe, Single Barrel Rain Shadow, Brett Aged Raspberry Rye Sour etc.
And I didn’t even mention the collabs with Omnipollio!