WE are nothing if not topical and up to the minute on these pages. So, happy new year to you all!

It’s Chinese New Year today, marking the start of the year of the rooster. So, as a fifth of the global population celebrates, it seems only apt (not at all clichéd, you understand) for us to catch up with those fine folks at, you guessed it, Rooster's Brewing Company.

These are hugely exciting times at this increasingly-superb brewery, which has repositioned itself and rebranded itself adroitly to remain at the forefront of the beer revolution.

Roosters turns 25 next year, and it’s hard for any established brewery to remain fashionable in the face of so many new start-ups, but Roosters do it thanks partly to its good branding and marketing, partly to its willingness to adapt (it was one of the early embracers of cans), but above all thanks to its tremendous and innovative beers.

York Press:

Tom Fozard, commercial manager at Roosters, says the business is continuing to do well and says their thoughts are already turning to 2018, and the silver anniversary celebrations.

“We have a few ideas coming together for that,” he says – but nothing that they’re going public on yet..

For now, we can make do with a mouthwatering list of ideas for 2017, and particularly five new launches to look out for.

York Press:

First up: Howl. You may have seen a version of this in cask at the end of last year. It’s an imperial stout, aged on oak from rum barrels. But, on the sly, the guys at the brewery kept a batch of the original beer back and, conditioned it on figs, prunes, blackcurrants and oak from a used Glen Garioch whisky barrel.

York Press:

Most of it was then canned, and I tried it on Thursday night. It's pitch black, intensely rich and slightly treacly. And a very limited supply is being made available in keg. The six kegs are being shared between The Maltings in York, Harrogate Tap, Friends of Ham in Leeds and North Bar Social in Otley. Shaun Collinge, at The Maltings, expects his batch to go on the bar in mid to late February.

The next one to look out for is Throwback, described as an a"all new vintage stock ale". The brew includes muscovado sugar and it's conditioned on wood from red wine barrels.

Alongside those, you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking down Distant Sun, a chocolate brown ale that will be available until the end of March.

In April, you can then try Eight-Legged Groove Machine, a pale ale brewed with ginger and lemon peel. And then in June, if that's not fruit enough for you, you can look out for Scrambler, a pale ale brewed with fresh watermelon, an idea the brewery has been kicking around for a while.