So, here we are. Nestled in that hazy, overstuffed period between Christmas and New Year, feeling a little sleepy, barely able to move. As physical movement is far beyond the realms of possibility the only exercise I can consider is a quick run back through memories of the year in beer. Now, none of us in the shop are great users of apps or detailed databases to keep on top of what we have been drinking - I’m more likely to come home with a pocket full of crumpled receipts with tasting notes on the back – so you’ll have to forgive any glaring omissions. Feel free to let me know if you feel like I have unduly forgotten something.

The year started with one of my favourite stouts, Billionaire from Wild Beer was an awesome Imperial strength take on their Millionaire, with caramelised miso and tonka beans adding extra depth of flavour. Once again Cloudwater continue to keep beer fans in a froth over their DIPAs, but for me the best thing that they brewed this year was their Bergamot Sour. The sooner they get round to a core range – with that most definitely in it – and stop mucking around with limited editions the better. Slightly less hyped, but at least equally capable, Northern Monk absolutely knocked it out of the park with both their limited ‘Patrons Project’ beers (their ‘Moob it, Moob It’ DIPA was a firm favourite with staff and customers alike) and their core range providing year round pleasure, I probably drank more of their ‘Faith’ Pale Ale than any other beer this year. Thumbs up across the board too for Amundsen, Stillwater, Deya, Wylam and (as usual) To Øl.

For me (and also for Jane, our long suffering manager) the beer of the year was Brasserie De La Senne’s Bruxellensis, a beautifully fruity bretted amber that seems to sum up Belgium in a bottle. I’m glad to have a bottle of the Riserva edition waiting for me when the bells chime.

Before I go though, it would be foolhardy of me not to mention our best seller of the year which was our own collaboration with Fallen Brewing ‘Train Beer’, a Blackberry saison that turned out even better than any of us could have hoped for. So delicious, it certainly got me through a few ropey journeys on public transport. Thanks to Dave and everyone at Fallen for helping us brew what many people have called ‘the greatest beer of all time’.

Whist I’m doing thanks, thanks to you for reading and thanks to all of our customers for another wonderful year. We – quite literally – could not do it without you.

And so, without further ado, lets take a quick look at 5 beers to bring in the bells with.

Black Market Brewing Co. Cucumber Gose (£4.00/4.2%/355ml)

For me, any beer involving cucumber equals fun. This is no exception, tart, slightly salty, big on the cucumber, maximum refreshment!

The Kernel Table Beer (£2.30/2.8%/330ml)

The pinnacle of low alcohol beers, Hogmanay can be a long night so make sure you see the bells by enjoying this absolute cracker.

Omnipollo Mazarin (£4.60/5.6%/330ml)

I’m determined that we can do it this year, we won’t wake up on the couch covered in shortbread crumbs at half past one and crawl into bed. Low ABVs are our friends, and this beautifully packaged number has plenty of aromatic tropical fruit and a little herbal note to keep us company.

Pilot/Fallen/Cromarty/Tempest Seasons Project: Winter North Sea Stout (£3.30/7.5%/330ml)

Alright, alright, just one strong beer. The final in the Seasons collaboration project and – for my money – the most successful by far, this ‘North Sea Stout’ from Pilot and chums is a super smooth salty chocolate trip. Ending the year on a high, why don’t Pilot bottle more beers? They hate us, that’s why!

Magic Rock Dairyfreak (£2.20/5.2%/330ml)

A sweet treat to finish on, and a late contender for one of the beers of the year. Simple, effective.