|Crate expectations: a quality haul this year thanks to|
In all honesty, I can't promise it'll be as dramatic as it has been in recent years. Had I done this in October, it would have been 'on brand', but November's been good to me and I see that spilling over into next month too.
Obviously, it's not going to be all jolliness and japes. No Beer Advent Calendar can ever avoid the inevitable, inescapable bout of misery and self-doubt (it's expected, no?). But I don't think I've ever approached one with more optimism since I started on this alcoholic undertaking nearly nine years ago.
And that's in no small part down to the unbelievable response to the Kickstarter campaign that kicked this year's calendar off. The target was smashed in less than a day. At close, it had reached 273 per cent of its funding requirement. That's secured the calendar for this year and another two to follow. If you contributed, you have my heartfelt thanks.
What tipped it over the edge was the 'Entire Calendar' sponsorship from Simon Green. I've known him for years, yet we've never met. I'd like to rectify that one day and buy him those pints I vaguely promised all contributors. A hugely supportive gesture that almost brought a tear to my eye and one I won't forget.
Not that I'll forget any of the other supporters. All have a day booked out in their name and I'm looking forward to shouting loudly about who they were and how they helped. I'll also genuinely buy them all a pint next time I see them.
But first, the beer. I went to Clapton Craft this year and had an able assistant to help me choose. I don't think I've got a duff one this time, but you'll know about it if I do. In keeping with the positivity theme, I'd say each choice was informed by anticipation and enthusiasm. You can't get much more optimistic than that, can you?
So yes. Looking forward to this one more than I've ever done before. It'll be shit, won't it?