Yep, the moment has come when I reveal the winner of the first ever Ben Viveur London Pub of the Year competition. I'm sure everyone involved is quite literally tumescent with excitement.
What I find rather fascinating is that just two years ago, I hadn't been to a single one of these pubs. Indeed most of them didn't exist in their current guises. Even six months ago I hadn't visited three of them. The London beer scene is improving with an almost frightening rapidity!
There are, of course, some very good pubs that haven't made the top five and which won't be in the 2012-13 competition next Summer, but this is the business end of things and we're only interested in the very, very best now.
So, in fifth place... one of several pubs that scored 6/9, and decided by asking myself the question 'which of these pubs would I most like to go to for a beer right now?'... it's the Euston Tap.
|View from the (Catford) Bridge...|
Third place next, and it's a big win for the Antic Collective and the Catford area in general... it's the Catford Bridge Tavern. You guys rock and can feel deservedly proud of yourselves here.
The Winner unveiled!
And so, we come to the head-to-head between the two pubs which managed to bag shitblisteringly impressive scores of 8/9, and it's been a really difficult decision trying to separate them.
Again, I resort to the method of closing my eyes and imagining that I could be transported to a pub right now, about to 'choose my weapon' from the ales on offer. Where would I rather go? Where do I wish to be?
|BV Pub of the Year 2011-2012|
But modernity trumps tradition on this occasion, and the BV London Pub of the Year is, as I thought it might be some weeks ago, the Craft Beer Company in Clerkenwell.
Put it this way: If you died and went to beer-heaven, and had previously been to the Craft, you'd probably be thinking 'Hmm, this place feels familiar, I'm sure I've been somewhere very similar before!'
So, congratulations Will, Tom, Martin and everyone at the craft! I've spent countless happy hours drinking your excellent beer and you've set the bar higher than the Pole Vault world record.
It was a much closer competition than I anticipated though, and by this time next year there will, I'm sure, be a raft of new contenders on the scene, bidding to make drinking in London even better.
Now, stop reading and go and drink some beer in one of these fucking great pubs!