The alt-weekly newspaper for which I write, The Austin Chronicle, just published its 21st Annual Best of Austin Awards. Our readers poll always gives an interesting glimpse into what Austinites love best about their city (and yes, to answer your next question, we work hard to weed out the ballot-stuffers), and through our critics picks, we on the Chronicle staff try to turn Austinites on to some stuff we dig.
There were three specifically beer-related awards this year.
In the readers poll, under Food & Drink, The Ginger Man won "Best Beer Selection," and the Spec's liquor store chain won "Best Beer/Wine Prices" (as well as "Best Liquor Store.") Not specifically beer-related: "Best Convenience Store" in Shopping category went to Whip-In, which loved by beer geeks for its selection.
In the critics picks, under Food & Drink, we gave "Best Brewery" to Live Oak – perhaps a controversial choice, seeing how (512) won in the I Love Beer poll? Well, next year I think we'll let the readers decide for themselves – now that the Austin professional brewing scene is reaching something of a critical mass, I've lobbied our BOA guru to put a "Best Brewery" category in the readers poll, and she said that sounds like a good idea.