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Hello all, I must apologise for neglecting you so much, with going off to the AWESOME World Beer Cup and Craft Brewer's Conference in Chicago I haven't had time to blog at all.

Because I had an insane amount of work to get done before I went I was fried and it's partly for this reason I decided not to take my ailing/near terminally ill laptop with me because I wanted to give the week my focus - I did notice that a lot of the people tweeting & social mediaing like mad sometimes missed chatting to people, which for me is what it's all about, not a criticism just a small explanation of my view on it all! And besides, if I'd had my nose buried in my phone/laptop the whole time I would have missed out on a whole lot of hugs, which is always a bonus of going to US events!

Anyhow, in case you haven't already heard, the Brits made a pretty good showing, given that there were only a pitiful 51 beers entered, which I've got to be honest I'm really shocked about. I'm aware that times are hard in the industry but surely the world-wide benchmark competition is something you should always enter?

Anyway, two golds went to UK brewers, the first was a category that I judged (along with several other UK judges including the lovely Glenn Payne and the fabulous Mr Dan Fox from the White Horse) and it was the subject of some really lively debate, which was brilliant because only good beer provokes passionate responses - the upshot of this being that Rooster's took a one and two in this category with Leghorn and YPA respectively, so well done Sean, I'm thrilled for you and feel you've taken two well-deserved wins there.

The second gold medal winner was BrewDog for its new Hardcore IPA, which is utterly delicious and the type of beer I'd love to see this brewery do more of, they have such a flair for making drinkable beers that have a higher ABV than the norm without having to resort to publicity stunts - but that's enough of that, my views have been aired and Mr Watt looked so resplendent in his kilt I was inclined towards forgiveness! Just kidding James, I hear you've got enough crazed fans without me adding myself to the list!

Anyway, the UK beer I was most thrilled to see win on the evening was Bracia from Thornbridge - I've never made any bones about the fact I think this is one of the most delicious beers I've ever drunk in my life and think it's a undoubtedly a silver medal winner, I didn't get to try the gold which is from an utterly unpronounceable brewery in Lithuania, so goodness knows how amazing that is!

There's also a shamelessly selfish reason why I was rooting for Bracia as well, when I was introducing Kelly or Stef to people I kept on saying they'd entered this sublime beer and it really should medal - so at least I didn't end up with honeyed egg on my face there!

Also, congratulations have to go to Shepherd Neame for which took a bronze in the best bitter category, it's not one that I personally drink much of but for the people of Kent it's a positive institution and we should be owning that category anyway dammit! Bitter's ours!!!!

That's just the UK update, if you want to see all the winners then the link is here, I'll be giving you my assessment on the best of the rest once I've had a nap, I didn't sleep as well on the plane as I normally do due to a lack of alcoholic intake before take-off!!

So if there are grammaticals, spelling mistakes or anything else off-kilter with this post then I apologise but, stick a fork in me, I'm done!