Hogmanay. The perfect day for naps and announcements. It's been a tough job this year. The holidays got a bit in the way but I kept coming back to the photos submitted and thinking about them. The various views of aspects of beer are one of my favourite things I get from running this contest. I am sure you may have picked other entries for the top five but that's life. Here are my picks:
#1 - The splendidly named Fabio Friere, an expat Brazilian in New York City, sent in this photo and I am declaring it the grand champion. I liked it from as soon as it came in. I like the meaty paw on the handle of the pitcher. The angle of the shot is great too. But best of all is how common the image is yet it makes the beer entirely appealing.
T#2 - There is a three way tie for second place. I am a sucker for the XY graph sort of composition as well as black and white so this image of a brewer cleaning open fermenters at Anchor Brewing of San Francisco, CA submitted by Zak Rotello of the Olympic Tavern in Rockford, Illinois is naturally going to appeal to my eye. But the subject matter, the boring even lonely task that must be done, is perfectly captured, too.
T#2 - Ezra Johnson-Greenough aka Samurai Artist is the creator of The New School as well as founder of Portland Beer Week. One word came to mind as soon as I saw this. Bulk. Sure, I thought green, too, but we often forget that even craft breweries are manufacturing a repetitively produced products made out of bulk materials. Who knew hops would look like this? Unless this is a mound of emerald geckos.
T#2 - Martin of the Dimple Mug sent in this one of, I believe, the Racecourse Hotel. Again, I like the composition but I love the glow. Sadly, the bar closed last May. I love the green, red and brown as well as the layout of the seating. The dual curved upholstered couches under the window are gorgeous.
#5 - Ray, the not-Boak half of Boak and Bailey, sent in this image. I like the way the ale's colour rings off that wee bit of cherry red glass in the window. I like the moment even if it is a still life. This is the fifth best entry this year which sound well down but it was my choice ahead of 120 other photos so there you go...
HM - Honourable mention goes to John the Beer Nut of Ireland for this behind the scene look at a beer fest. I liked everything about it except it is ever so slightly out of focus. Or it was too dark and the light wasn't available. Or something. John will receive my warmest regards for the New Year. But you all get that. So really all he gets a mention.
Prizes? I have two copies of the Beaumont-Webb Atlas, one each of the Brewmasters Table, Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room and AJTs homage to the British pub as well as a couple of wallets from the Craft brewers Re-cycled Art Project. Boak and Bailey have thrown in a grab bag of authentic records of recent brewing history and Alistair Reece has pledged a t-shirt from Fuggled.net. I will be in touch but Fabio will get a group of prizes while the other four will get one each. Only right. Email comments for manual posting to email@example.com or comment at Twitter.