The Best Of 2012

It’s that time of the year when illustrious magazines and blogs announce their best of the year lists. I’m not even remotely illustrious but I am egotistical enough to feel that I should contribute to the deluge of lists that drown us every December. There are no prizes for the winners and there isn’t even any real prestige but, for what it’s worth, here’s what beer and music made 2012 worthwhile…

BEERS OF THE YEAR

The Winner!

The Winner!

6. Down Deeper by Arbor Ales

Oooosh! A powerful beast of an IPA… smells like a fruity toffee slush puppy and tastes stupor bitter. I’ve still got a bottle stashed away… for some sort of special occassion

 
5. The Wandering Woodwose by Badger

An 8% bottle conditioned beer from Badger! What kind of crazy parallel universe have I slipped into? 2 of these in fairly rapid succession does give you a rather pleasant buzz

 

 
4. Siberia by Ilkley

Wooo! Lovely… super-dry with a vibrant citrus tang & a finish reminiscent of strawberries & black pepper. And I was actually bought a pint of it by its co-creator

 
3. Paradox Jura by BrewDog

The finest stout west of Tokyo*

 
2. Single Hop Chinook by Hop Kettle

Fruity floral blossom blast at the front followed by a great bitter finish… I’d happily drink it all day long

 
1. DCLXVI by Arbor Ales & Steel City

Hooooooo! Über-Bitter… in some ways it’s like a super-hopped stout. Unlike any other BIPA I’ve encountered. Like being assaulted by a marauding band of grapefruit! Love it! Sadly, we may never see its like again

* * *

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

The Winner!

The Winner!

6. Americana/Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

2012 saw 2 albums from Big Neily: on the 1st he covered songs from the American Schools Songbook but he left in all the nasty verses and on the 2nd he covered Neil Young & Crazy Horse… perhaps they were a couple of lazy albums but lazy NY is still infinitely better than most other people’s finest offerings

 
5. Europe by Allo Darlin

Postcards from the girl you were always in love with but whenever your paths met she had a lover or you had a lover so you never became lovers

4. Love At The Bottom Of The Sea by The Magnetic Fields

Some of the most twisted and bitter but beautifully up-beat lyrics since the birth of the kazoo… and the music is as perfect as only The Mag Fields can be

3. Toquiwa by Toquiwa

The bubblegum rock n roll storm that your little sister and her friends whip up her bedroom… you pretend that you’re not interested but you listen in awe as the sounds smash through the walls and you can’t help feeling proud as bloody fuck!

2. The Seer by Swans

Gira treads where few men dare… or can be arsed to go. A dark and heavy and uncompromising slab of music but one that’s laced with optimism and immense beauty. When the end of the world is imminent Gira will lead us to salvation or damnation…

1. Valentina by The Wedding Present

A quarter of a century after Gedge & Co unleashed their debut they unleash their finest album. There are more ideas (that work) and fuck yeah moments on Valentina than most bands manage in their entire career. It’s obvious that co-writer Graeme Ramsay (man from G-Rothes, as I am) has helped propel David Gedge in new directions and onto new heights but it is still sounds exactly how we all want the Wedding Present to sound: beautiful tales of love-gone-wrong backed up by some up the greatest rhythm guitar sounds we’re likely to ever hear. And, of course, let’s not under-estimate the contributions of Charles Layton (one of the finest live drummers I’ve seen) and Pepe Le Moko (the coolest bassist this side of Kim Gordon). Valentina is a stunning album from a stunning set of musicians. I look forward to whatever David Gedge and his co-pilots unleash upon us in a quarter of a century’s time

* * *

SONG OF THE YEAR

Millionenspiel by Can

Okay okay, the song is actually 30 odd years old but it wasn’t really truly available until this year… the theme tune of my currently unwritten movie, The Last Days of the Kung Fu Mafia Warlords
Damo fae Can (who didn't sing on Millionenspiel but was in Can)

Damo (who didn’t sing on Millionenspiel)

* * *

GIG OF THE YEAR

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club at the Camden Barfly

The Auto Club’s first ever UK gig… the moment they took to the stage the place erupted and for the rest of the night we danced like loons
Slim & Munly

Slim & Munly

* * *

PUB OF THE YEAR

BrewDog Camden

Every time I walk through the door I feel like a kid in Toys R Us or a proper adult in B&Q
BrewDog in Rain

BrewDog in Rain

* * *

BREWERY OF THE YEAR

Hop Kettle

A new brewery just nine miles from my house… a new brewery just nine miles from my house that is brewing delicious tasting and thoroughly modern beers… and it’s attached to the pub that is home to Wiltshire’s finest selection of beer… Vive le Red Lion! Vive le Hop Kettle!
The Door to Hop Heaven

The Door to Hop Heaven

* * *

Beer Event of the Year

Copenhagen Beer Celebration

Probably the finest day of drinking that I’ll ever have… at least until the 3rd of May 2013
CBC Glass

Treasure!

* * *

Blogger of the Year

Oh Beery Me by Sheriff Mitchell

Every single day throughout 2012 Oh Beery Me has gifted us with a beer review… but it’s not merely a few words sent via a tweet or FB status update, it’s a concise but comprehensive overview of the brewery behind the beer, a little bit of historical back story that allows us to get a handle on the author’s relationship with the beer and/or brewery and a well written and honest review. It’s a phenomenal achievement and years from now I’m certain that people will sing songs in the Sheriff’s honour

* * *

… all photography by landells except the two captioned ‘The Winner!’ …

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~ by landells on December 7, 2012.

7 Responses to “The Best Of 2012”

  1. Still gutted I couldn’t get to try a beer which has an Entombed album cover as a pump clip… Go Arbor Ales! \m/

  2. anytime you get to see Slim Cessna in concert, it’s been a solid year.

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