Our 2022 Big Beery Advent beers revealed

Beer #24 - Simple Things Fermentations Belgian Christmas
And so to our Christmas Eve beer, the cherry on the top of our HB&B advent. Simple Things Fermentations is a small Glasgow brewery doing great things.

Here in South London, STF may not have the instant name recognition of, say, a Verdant or a DEYA, but the quality of the beers speak for themselves - every one's a winner. When founder Phil kindly sent us a sample of this Belgian-style Christmas ale, we knew we'd found our Christmas Eve beverage.

Lightly hopped, this is packed with all those classic Belgian flavours we love - rich malt, fruitcake, sherry - and drinking it provides instant warming comfort. We saved a couple of St John Bakery's excellent Christmas mince pies from the coffee hatch this morning and we're about to go in for the perfect pairing (alongside a wee slice of Mons' 1924 blue cheese too).

Christmas has officially landed. Festive good times, everyone! - Jen & Glenn & the HB&B team

Beer #23 - Drop Project Crushed New England IPA
Mitcham’s Drop Project has continued to go from strength to strength this year - its Session NEIPA Crush has been a firm fave in the HB&B fridges, along with tasty West Coast Pils offerings and some fruity goodness. 
Crushed is an amped-up version of that sessionable classic and perfectly showcases Drop Project's talent for hop-forward pales and IPAs. Lashings of Citra and Mosaic (very much the Chaz & Dave / Hall & Oates / Kenny & Dolly of New England IPA) with some Ekuanot give this beer all the sessionability of its baby sibling but with the dial nudged up. This is dangerously easy drinking - it delivers a hoppy slap round the face, but you’ll going back for more and more. Cheers! - Nathan
Beer #22 - Sureshot Immortality of the Crab Pale Ale
Without fail, you can count on Sureshot to deliver an interesting name (and a great beer), but do I have to confess I had to research what this name meant… From what I can gather, it comes from a Spanish phrase that alludes to someone daydreaming. (I personally prefer to daydream about a perfectly dunked chocolate Hobnob or what dog breeds are the most obese by kilogram.)
Sureshot has definitely been one of our favourite new breweries of the year, always consistent and the expert brew team puts their hand to any style. It’s of no surprise, considering head brewer and owner James was one of the co-founders of Cloudwater - pedigree doesn't come much higher than that.
To save you daydreaming, the current fattest dog in the world is an English Mastiff called Zorba weighing in at 155kg. - Max
Beer #21 - Brick x Vault City Spice 'N Stem Rhubarb, Ginger & Habanero Crumble Sour
Look, you've got a big weekend of drinking and feasting coming up. Couldn't you do with blowing out the cobwebs a little first? This beer will definitely do that.
It wouldn't be an HB&B advent without a nod to our love of all things spicy, and this habanero fruit crumble sour from Brick and sour powerhouse Vault City nods to spicy in a big way. Drinking this makes you feel like it must be doing you good on the inside. We'll wager it's the fieriest ginger beer you've ever had - and don't you feel better for it?
This is the Marmite beer of the box - you'll love it or hate it. Clearly, we LOVE it. - Jen
Beer #20 - Track High Noon Pale Ale
Sound the hop horn, it's a #TrackTuesday! You can always rely on Manchester's Track to deliver the goods when it comes to, well, pretty every style of beer, but especially hop-heavy styles like this delightful pale, High Noon, which brings together Mosaic, El Dorado and Waimea (a lesser known hop from my hometown of Nelson, New Zealand).
I love that on cracking open a can of Track, I know I'll be rewarded with super-fresh, hoppy goodness every time, and that's exactly what you get here. It's fruity up from with a dry, vinous finish - utterly moreish and perfect as a cheeky Tuesday treat as the build-up to to the big day ramps up. - Jen
Beer #19 - Utopian Unfiltered British Lager
In days gone by, the idea of a UK-brewed lager being on a similar pedestal to our European counterparts - the Germans and the Czechs - was often dismissed. Thankfully breweries like Devon’s Utopian, along with contemporaries including Lost & Grounded, Donzoko and Braybrooke (to name but a few), are at the vanguard of modern British breweries excelling at pushing the timeless beer style into new and exciting places within the UK market. The breadth of lagers inspired by those traditional European methods as well as new exciting developments in the style is further reaching than before. 
What sets Utopian apart is its commitment to sustainability and nationally grown produce - its beers proudly boast ingredient bills made up of entirely British grown hops and malt. The hops are rarely irrigated and cut out much of the carbon footprint their imported counterparts can carry, and the beers are carbonated naturally to lessen CO2 usage, which is in increasingly dwindling supply. Focusing on cold conditioning and proper ageing pays dividends as evidenced by Utopian's clean, refreshing and remarkably quaffable lager range.
This Unfiltered British Lager is my favourite of the lot. It has all the hallmarks of a German helles - crisp, biscuity and difficult not to glug down immediately. It’s a summer holiday beer which still tastes great in the depths of winter. Cheers! - Toby
Beer #18 - Kees Caramel Fudge Stout Bourbon Barrel 2022 
Former chef Kees Bubberman was an avid homebrewer in the Netherlands since the late 1990s - in 2015, he turned his passion into a full-scale brewery in his hometown of Middelburg. Inspired by UK craft breweries like Verdant and The Kernel, Kees' beers have a modern and often experimental approach, often at odds with the more traditional Belgian-inspired beers that are common in the Netherlands. 
Kees’ Caramel Fudge Stout series has consistently adorned the fridges at HB&B for a while now, and here in Deptford they are definitely a cult favourite amongst stout connoisseurs. This Woodford bourbon barrel-aged edition is a luxury beer - it’s velvet smooth and hefty on the palate. The bourbon kick hits at the front, with luscious chocolate and caramel following, providing a delicious contrast in flavour. The addition of Sorachi Ace hops brings some subtle coconut to the party, one of many complex layers this beer carries. An absolute treat on a cold wet Sunday night. - Toby
Beer #17 - Polly's Brew Co Stay See IPA
If, like me, you prefer your IPAs to be of the East Coast persuasion, you’ll know, and love, Polly’s Brew Co. Although it produces a variety of beer styles, the Welsh brewery is best known for its hop-forward, pale ales and IPAs. Its core pale ale and IPA, Floret and Rosebud, and its frequent special releases are staples in the HB&B fridges - and also mine at home!
As Polly’s has grown, the brew team has been able to get their hands on even more of the latest and greatest hop varieties. Stay See has been hopped with Talus (daughter of Sabro, my favourite hop) and Vista (the new kid on the block, a hype hop from the USDA Breeding Program).
As soon as you open the can, you’re hit with the whiff of pure mango juice. The beer pours pure proper murk, really thick - a tropical fruit salad with masses of mango and papaya, ending with a slight, well-balanced bitterness. It’s a strong IPA at 7.2%, it’s Polly’s doing what Polly’s does best, and it’s a perfect Saturday night bev. Cheers! - John
Beer #16 - Pressure Drop Cheap Suit IPA

Unlike a cheap suit, this one fitted in my glass perfectly, as opposed to many failed attempts of trying to stuff my 12 year old prom suit into a John Smith’s pint glass for a bet. An absolute juice bomb giving flavours of mango and fresh citrus fruits, this is a firm favourite in the shop. You know you’re always in safe hands whenever you crack open a can from this brewery. I’ve also spent many a hazy night in Pressure Drop's taproom, co-owned with Verdant called The Experiment, which always has a top-notch tap list. 

Don’t do as I do, try and stuff your suit into a used glass of Pressure Drop, not a bitter you can have on the daily. - Max

Beer #15 - Verdant It's Pronounced DDH IPA 
Verdant is arguably the best brewery in the country and we’ve had the pleasure of stocking its beers since day one at HB&B. It’s been great to see the brewery grow and go from strength to strength. In recent years, Verdant has massively increased its production capacity and this year saw the opening of an all-singing, all-dancing, shiny new taproom in Penryn.
So to this beer: Firstly, the name. Verdant has nailed it. A constant question we're asked by customers is “Am I saying that right? How do you pronounce it/etc?” Unlike Verdant’s clever social media video that accompanied the release of this beer, I’ll tell you how It’s Pronounced - it’s Verdant, like the colour, or lush rolling hills. I think… don’t quote me on that…
Oh, and the beer, I almost forgot. This is a big, bold IPA, hopped exclusively with Mosaic and with a lovely juicy haze. Yep, Verdant has nailed the beer too. - John
Beer #14 - Boxcar Solar Flare DDH Pale Ale
One of the best things about working in beer is working with beer people. Over the past eight years of HB&B (and before that too), we've got to meet so many fab folk, some of whom have become great friends - like Sam Dickison, head brewer at Boxcar.
We share a deep love of music with Sam and that's led to many a long night swapping tunes (just this morning I got a text asking "What's that Fourtet track that sounds like the bass is popping out the speaker? Need a soundtrack for cleaning out my fermenter..." - FYI the answer is Looking At My Pager). We also love his delightfully wonky way of looking at the world, something that's definitely reflected in Boxcar's beers and its branding.
We're not ashamed to say we picked Solar Flare for this advent based on its psychedelic label - and the knowledge that the contents within would be 100% banging. They are, of course, and this cheeky juicebomb is your perfect hump day beer. - Jen
Beer #13 - Newbarns Dry Bere
Something’s certainly bubbling up in Edinburgh, and a lot of it is the UKs best lagers with Newbarns and Donzoko sharing a facility in Leith. Newbarns is a team favourite, particularly some of their recent lagers - Super Gold, Scotch Annat and Lager Bere are some of my lager highlights of the year.
Team HB&B's long love of lager is well documented and we’ve got no regrets with packing in another one here - Newbarns’ Dry Bere, a new iteration of the brewery's heritage malt series, gives you that clean hop bitter snap, a super-refreshing dry finish and satisfying bready maltiness.
In addition to churning out fine release after fine release, Newbarns finally opened its taproom this year, which looks a huge departure from your regular taproom fit out, complete with darts board and bar billiards table. Another one high on the list for a overdue visit! - Nathan
Beer #12 - Villages Buddy Little Beer
It’ll come as little surprise that our Deptford neighbour Villages Brewery is back in this year's advent. It’s been another fruitful year of our partnership with two beer festivals at the team's beautiful taproom, celebrating our shared love of dark beers at Dark Matter and lagers at Das Harvest Fest, plus of course our regular Super Natural Wine Club, which is one of the hottest tickets in town.
Buddy is everything you’d want in a Villages beer, highly drinkable on any occasion. It’s an easy-goer to ease into the week with, low-ABV but with an impressive amount of tropical hop character from the new Cryo-pop hop blend that you’d expect from stronger IPAs. It went down a treat on Saturday night at the brewery’s sixth birthday celebrations, pairing particularly well with taproom manager Greg’s homemade carrot cake!
It’s a joy to see a local brewery continuing to smash it out the park with every beer - long may it continue. - Toby
Beer #11 - Duration Seeds Sleep In The Darkness Belgian Triple
How appropriate that on this bitterly cold day we come to a beer inspired by 'hygge', the Scandinavian concept of cosiness. So light a candle or a fire (safely, kids) and get ready for what folks we admire (including the phenomenon that is the Beer O'Clock Show) call their 'Beer of the Year' contender. 
Long time friends of HB&B, the Duration team has crafted this sensational Belgian-style tripel in collaboration with local clothing producer Carrier Company using foraged Norfolk fireweed.  Expect a modern take on a Belgian classic with notes of spice, dried citrus and honey with a lovely moreish malty backbone, perfect for warming up in front of the Christmas tree.  
In addition to making fabulous beers like this, Duration founders Miranda and Bates have had another productive year continuing to build their dream destination taproom and brewery at their Grade 2 Listed Stone Barn in West Acre. Hopefully we will get up to see them for an overdue visit soon... - Nathan
Beer #10 - Full Circle - Dooper
It’s always a joy to discover a brewery in their infancy that you’ve not come across before. I first stumbled on Full Circle, specifically its Looper IPA, in the midst of the first 2020 lockdown and I was well impressed. It was a perfectly balanced, juicy, New England-leaning IPA with just enough bitterness to make it stand out from the rest, and it looked enticing, glowing amber in the glass. I remember sipping it in my garden at the time and briefly escaping the madness of the world outside as I sank into my eighth day straight of playing football manager on the laptop (the Deptford shop was closed, so this became my full time job for a while).
Fast forward to 2022 and Full Circle is arguably the most exciting name in the Newcastle beer scene and becoming firm favourites at HB&B. Dooper is the amplified double IPA version of Looper and remarkably it’s even better. A lovely opaque orange hue in the glass, aromas of lavender with bursts of mango and a grapefruit bitterness on the palate. I cracked it open last night after a long week of moving house and it brought me instant relief from the arduous hours of lugging my possessions up and down the stairs. It’s not messing about at 8.7%, but is a fitting treat for a sub-zero Saturday night if you're watching England lose/win (probably lose). - Toby
Beer #9 - Elusive Level Up American Red (Level 29 - Mosaic & Galaxy)
We wanted to celebrate the mighty Elusive by showcasing the Finchamstead brewery's flagship beer, the beer that started it all for "nicest guy in brewing" Andy Parker. Level Up was the winning entry at the Craft Beer Co’s National Homebrewing Awards in 2014 and this gave Andy the confidence that maybe, just maybe, he could do this professionally...
Fast-forward to 2022 and Elusive is thriving. It's famous for the best West Coast styles in the UK, successfully initiated the #BIPAComeback and Andy even took home the Brewer of the Year gong at last month's British Guild of Beer Writers Awards. This is a brewery whose time has very much arrived, and this is a beer that's absolutely bangs. Here's to you, Mr Parker. - Glenn
Beer #8 - DEYA My Window Observations IPA
My only window observations recently have been bin collection day on Fridays, but if more were like this hazy tropical citra bomb, I’d definitely think about looking out of it a whole lot more!
I can remember back in my craft beer youth when DEYA cans were few and far between, but now they’re much more easily available which in my eyes can only be a positive. As a shop, we all love DEYA across its range, but especially for its IPAs. That’s why we’ve chosen this one - a proper banger - as DEYA's inclusion for this year’s advert and will hopefully take the edge off an absolutely freezing Thursday night. - Max
Beer #7 - Pastore Raspberry Tiramisu Pastry Sour
Pastore Brewing & Blending, where to start? Possibly by giving this brewery the Lara Award for “Best Brewer of Fruit Sours in the UK”? (A bit of a long title, I know.)
I’m a huge sour beer fan and Pastore is by far the best (IMHO). With truly decadent flavour pairings, this beer is certainly going to help with those mid-week blues. A father and son team based in Cambridge, Pastore's fruit-heavy sours make the perfect Xmas gift - jammy goodness all round in that stocking. This beer in particular is one of my favourites, maybe because I’m a huge fan of tiramisu. Be warned, it packs a punch, but nothing you can't handle... Hope you enjoy this beer from the advent today - I did! -  Lara 
Beer #6 - Burning Sky Things To Do Today American Pale Ale
As the newest recruit at HB&B, I came in blissfully unaware of the infamous battle between the West Coast and the New England IPA. When someone mentioned the phrase “West Coast Best Coast”, I simply stared with a blank, confused expression. But after working at HB&B for a couple of months now, I am much more attuned to these two styles and have formed some opinions of my own… So, let’s get into it with Burning Sky’s Things to Do Today West Coast APA.
Burning Sky and HB&B have a long-time friendship. Founded in 2013, its amazing brewery is located in the beautiful and inspirational South Downs, occupying refurbished farm buildings - making them a proper farmhouse brewery. The team crafts constantly stunning, award-winning beers across a wide range of styles and we just had to showcase them in our 2022 advent calendar.
Things To Do Today is a spot-on example of a West Coast pale - clean yet intricate, with classic hop usage to create a perfectly balanced, bitter drop. In fact, I’m drinking it right now as I’m writing this. As you can probably tell, I’m a West Coast player all the way - well, until I drink a stunning example of a New England juicebomb and get tempted to the other side… I hope you enjoy this beer as much as I do, and maybe it’ll convert you to the West Coast. After all, it's the best coast! - Lara
Beer #5 - Donzoko Citra Pils
One of the tedious things about beer rating sites is seeing those check-ins: "Don't like [xx style of beer]. One star." Yawnnnn... This is why lagers - which suffer a needlessly bad rep - never get high ratings on these sort of sites, but who cares? Lager is glorious and one of our long-term goals at HB&B is to get more people boarding the lager express. (We also know never to take beer rating sites seriously.)
Here in the UK, one of the bona fide masters of the lager arts is our good pal Reece at Donzoko and this Citra Pils is a fine example of his craft. It's an absolute banger of a beer - crisp and dry, with zingy lemon and lime notes and a touch of tropical from the Citra hops. Someone described it as a West Coast pils and I'm totally here for that too. This is Monday night drinking at its finest. - Jen
Beer #4 - St Mars of the Desert Quadruple
One of our regrets this year is not having made it up to the SMOD taproom in Attercliffe, Sheffield - not just because everyone whose been there says it's one of the best there is, but also so that we can finally meet the mighty Dann and Martha after all this time.
SMOD is one of those breweries that's just a delight to work with, from Martha's relentlessly cheerful emails to the little add-ons of joy we receive in every delivery, from snazzy stickers to cards full of well wishes and even, this year, a little advent calendar. Of course, it helps that the beers are bloody good too.
Today's beer is perfect Sunday drinking - rich, sweet, sticky, indulgent. A Belgian-style quad that could confidently hold its own in Belgium. A decadently boozy treat to savour before you get back on the grindstone tomorrow. Go on, take another sip. You've earned it. And Dann and Martha - we'll see you at the tap soon, we promise. - Jen
Beer #3 - Baron VIM IPA
I don’t think there’ll be much argument amongst the HB&B team that Baron has been one of the standout newcomers to our fridges this year. A one-man-band doing great things out of Great Hormead, East Hertfordshire, we jumped at the opportunity to get Jack's awesome beers into our shops.
I personally love the ‘nerdy bits’ that are added to the back of the can - these definitely feed the beer geek within. This beer, Vim, is a perfect Saturday night sipper. Three big name hops combine to create a fruit salad New England-style IPA. It's my preferred style for any day of the week, but definitely a Saturday night. Enjoy! - John
Beer #2 - Finback Helo Double IPA
To bring you the finest (and first!) beery advent calendar, we put in the work. Sourcing 24 beers from breweries we love is only a small part of it -  there's the packing, the shipping, the making a list and checking it twice. The other thing about a beery advent calendar is selecting the order of the beers. It's just like a fine playlist, thinking about where each beer lands in the month. So on this, the first Friday of December, we had to have a DIPA straight out of the gate to kick off your weekend, and as an extra special treat, it's an advent calendar exclusive for us from the mighty Finback!
These days, with the emergence of so many amazing UK breweries making world-class hop-forward beer, we've found ourselves stocking fewer US brews, cutting out some of those air miles, but sometimes we can't help ourselves, so we make sure we hand-pick only the finest breweries and beers coming over to these shores.
Finback, from Queens NY, is world-renowned for both its hop-forward styles and decadent dark beers. A few of the team and many of our lovely customers have come back from the big apple raving about the Finback taproom and beers, and we managed to get our hands on just enough of their recent Double IPA Helo, hopped with Citra, Nelson, Idaho 7 (a personal fave of mine!) and Belma. Expect Finback's trademark soft juicy mouthfeel, tons of tropical fruit, peach and a little sweetness - a knockout way to start December, I really hope you enjoy this year's selection, I'm very excited to talk to you about some of the other beers coming up later in the month - cheers! - Nathan
Beer #1 - Hop Burns & Black x Beak BOP IPA
Well, we had to start with this one, didn't we? Nathan and Jen headed down to Beak's beautiful Lewes brewery to get our brew on and celebrate our 8th birthday. We go back a long way with Beak - founder Danny used to enjoy a beer on our sunny outside tables from our earliest days when Beak was just a twinkle in his eye, and we've loved seeing the brewery go from strength to strength. 
One of our favourite beers is Beak's core IPA Parade - with this beer, we wanted to create our own version, using the team's favourite hops of the moment: Citra, Strata and Cashmere. The result is everything we dreamed off - zesty, sweet and supremely drinkable. Happy birthday to us and hats off to Beak - we love you! - Jen