This year's photo contest has been a real treat. A great response from prize donors as well as a great response from you the readers. We had 39 entrants email photos in time and then three more try to get their pictures in after the deadline. We have awarded 22 prizes in all and now have just one left. Again here is what the winner of winners wins.
♦ Oxford Companion to Beer, Oxford University Press.
♦ A subscription to TAPS The Beer Magazine as well as 2 TAPS glasses, a CBA glass and a TAPS t-shirt.
♦ A subscription to All About Beer magazine - as well as a high likelihood of the photo being featured in an edition later in 2012.
♦ A beery bar towel from Shipyard Brewing of Portland, Maine.
♦ Adrian Tierney-Jones and CAMRA have offered two copies of Great British Pubs.
♦ Beer and Economics, Oxford University Press.
In addition, they join the ranks of these five great winners to date.
Do you see my problems? I really like the one to the left, John Lewington's photo of the sinister black eye watching the urban English street outside the pub - but he's won it all before. I can't do that so soon in to the inevitable decades of the Xmas photo contest... can I? And two photos to the right of that Jeff Alworth has an amazing photo of the Cantillon koelschip. I like this shot a lot as we have had a number of entries from Cantillon but I like how this photograph is so three dimensional, how it shows the space well and also how it describes the process of opening the windows to let in the wild yeast. But Jeff is from Portland, Oregon and I will be damned if I am going to award 50% of all grand prizes to the same town over the course of more than half a decade... I won't have it. Frankly, this was the winner until I put that table together up there and remembered where Dave and Matt were from. Blame them, Jeff.
What to do? Between Jeff and John sits a fabulous lucky shot from Adrian Tierney-Jones from the moving brewing line from Jenlain of France. It dates from 2005 and Adrian told me he was being shown round the brewery by Raymond Duyck’s father who had been so instrumental in getting the brewery recognized in the 1970s. But Adrian has published what I am considering possibly the best beer book in a very good year for beer books. Fame, praise and wealth are sure to follow. He won't give a rat's ass about winning this come mid-February. Can that be the fate of this grand contest?
Finally, to the right, we have a gorgeous silhouette of a man and his beer in, I am pretty sure, Germany submitted by Boak and Bailey. Older gents in bars having a quiet beer and a smoke has been a surprising theme over the years. I always assumed they were dirty smelly drinks but when a keen eye gets involved they look like angel. Lars in Norway has submitted another couple of real gems in the genre. But hasn't it been done? I am just not sure. So, I need a few more moments to think about it all. Maybe I should pick on of these after all. Maybe I should pick that sweet shot that has grown on me since 2008. I need a moment more... I need a beer...