It goes without saying 2020 has been one of the weirdest years to date, but despite the absence of touring, festivals, and conventional album releases, the music itself has still been second to none.
So, as the year comes to a close, we asked our team to put forward their number one albums of 2020.
We know it's been a challenging year for musicians around the world, but rest assured we'll be there in full force as soon as we can start putting gigs on again. Until then, let's raise a glass of Anthology to the artists, from all genres and formats, who have kept the culture alive this year.
Without further ado, here's our top albums of 2020 in no particular order...
Sam McGregor, Co-Founder: Dynamite MC & DRS - Playing In The Dark
Released towards the end of August, Dynamite MC & DRS' Playing In The Dark was an appropriate send-off to a summer like no other. We were also really proud to have collaborated with Dynamite and DRS, brewing a tasty smoked larger together, and putting on one of the most insane release parties for the album at our brewery.
Tom Bott, Co-Founder: Sports Team - Deep Down Happy
Released in the peak of a scorching lockdown, Deep Down Happy challenged Lady Gaga to the number 1 spot in the UK album charts, grabbed a Mercury Prize nomination, and went perfectly with a beer we brewed together, Long Hot Summer.
John Longbottom, Head of Marketing: Phoebe Bridges - Punisher
Closing track, I Know The End, is hands down the most powerful piece of music released this year. And the rest of the album isn't far behind. This record will make you feel things.
Charlie Simmonds, Booking Manager: Sial - Tari Pemusnah Kuasa
This record rules! It's fast and fun hardcore punk at its absolute finest, makes me wanna crush my fists through a hundred walls with a huge smile on my face.
Conor McGowan, Logistics Manager & Site Coordinator: Jack Garratt - Love, Death, and Dancing
Jack Garratt went on hiatus after the release of his debut album Phase to deal with anxiety and self-doubt. After 4 long year, he came back as a one man powerhouse and graced us with Love, Death and Dancing.
Bobby Dennis, Assistant Brewer: Enter Shikari - Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible
This album hit at the most perfect time right at the early stages of Lockdown 1.0. Nothing Is True... helped lift my spirits and crack on with what was already looking to be a tough year.
Steve Barrett, Sales: Boston Manor - GLUE
An album that took Boston Manor's sound to the next level, GLUE can only be described as just absolutely awesome. It's my top album of the year, simply, because it's great.
Hannah McDermott, Sales Admin: Tame Impala - Slow Rush
With an album release campaign that spanned from 2019 into 2020, Slow Rush is one of those early releases that just stuck with me through thick and thin this year. No one hits that psychedelic indie pop spot as good as Tame Impala.
Brendan Joughin, Taproom Supervisor: Fontaines D.C - A Hero’s Death
Just as punchy and attention grabbing as their debut, Fontaine’s second is a poetic dark comedy. There’s a lot going on that garners multiple listens with each track telling something different. Clear influences here of; Interpol, Television, The Clash, The Cure, The Strokes, The Beach Boys & contemporaries in The Murder Capital.
Jay Reid, General Manager: Run The Jewels - RTJ4
Released two days early in response to the ongoing protests across the world against racial injustices, RTJ 4 was as fierce and apt as ever. Without a single moment of pause, El-P and Killer Mike throw everything at this record, making it one of the most topical albums of the year.
Jonathan Doyle, Bar Manager: Liam Bailey - EkundayoLiam Bailey's debut release on Big Crown Records, Ekundayo is a weighty Reggae record, full of new & old textured riddims, but with subject matter that's more recognisable from a modern-day R&B record.
Braden Fletcher, Taproom Supervisor: Orchards - Lovecore
From start to finish, Orchards’ debut sprawls between rainbow machine'd math rock and hook laden indie-pop in a way that's almost TOO infectious. Elastic vocals matched with licks and riffs to dream of that take us back to the secret album launch at the Taproom just a few weeks before Lockdown Episode 1: Phantom Menace.
Chris Hambling, Marketing Assistant: Code Orange - Underneath
Dropped just days before the first lockdown back in March, Underneath soundtracked surreal trips to Sainsbury's - queuing outside for 20 minutes and scrambling for toilet roll & rice - and essentially paved the way for the onslaught of live streams, none of which came close to Code Orange's original show to no one. This was such a weird album for such a weird time and easily my top pick for 2020.
George Mason, Sales: Emancipator - Mountains Of Memory
It's a very chilled album and came out at the start of lockdown when things were boring but the weather was good. It was perfect to have on in the garden whilst reading, but mostly drinking C-Sharp, in the sun!
Ryan Evans, Drayman: Session Victim - Needledrop
A soulful, low-slung journey down nostalgia avenue.
So there we have it: our top albums of 2020.
We recommend listening to some of these with our new retrospective beer, Anthology - a rich, dark imperial stout that looks back upon a challenging but heartening year.