The Best New Beers of 2013

Our crew of experts—including beer writers and bar owners—selects the craft brews that stood out from the pack this year. If you haven't tried them all yet, you've got something to look forward to in 2014.


For craft beer fans, it's been another banner year—something that's becoming the standard as the industry continues to dig its talons into the national consciousness. No, 2013 didn't have a posterchild trend like the emergence of the black IPA a few years ago, but it did see many brewing tropes continue to develop and mature—more beers were packaged in cans, more breweries turned their attention to mouth-puckering sours, and more new hops (like the white-hot Mosaic) made their mark on the American beer-geek palate. Meanwhile, the South continued to flex its burgeoning brewing muscle, and the idea of "sessionability"—the qualities in a beer (primarily low ABV) that make it ideal for sipping over an extended period of time—continued to find a foothold in a beer scene that has begun to question the "bigger is better" ethos that dominated the last decade.

But let's be honest: What you really want to know is, out of the hundreds (if not thousands) of new beers that hit the market this year, which are actually worth hunting down? Everyone's opinion on the matter is subjective, but certain folks—namely, beer writers, publicans, and other industry pros—were lucky enough to drink a lot more beers than the rest of us in 2013. With a wider sample size, they can provide a clear-eyed (well, as clear-eyed as you can be after a few pints) view of which beers are a must-order if you see it at your local bar or on your travels.

Here are our experts:

From barrel-aged barleywine to a canned gose we'll all be drinking for years to come, here are the new beers that made their mark in 2013.

Click to start the list
  • Ralph K

    Pretty darn sure Stillwater is not in Stratford, CT. Perhaps thinking of Two Roads?

    • Chris S

      Yep—Brian Strumke brews this one out of Two Roads.

  • The dude

    Westbrook apple brandy mexican cake?

    • oldhippievet

      Sorry dude, not even on my drinkability list.

  • Mark Johnson

    Every year you guys ignore the midwest completely, with the exception of a couple selections from Chicago and (this year) a cider from Michigan. It’s always East coast, West coast, and a smattering from Colorado.

    • Chris S

      @disqus_bUbwG95bjq:disqus given the location of the panelists, there is certainly a skew—not so much due to bias but what’s available in those markets. We are continuing to do our best to cast as wide of a net as possible. That said, Bells, Founders, Jolly Pumpkin, and Surly have all had strong representation on previous lists. Hope you found some beers to try in here at any rate…

    • Matt S

      Agreed. Lots of great sours here but missing Dan Carey’s Wild Sour Ale out of New Glarus is criminal.

  • Zach

    Alchemy Hour?

  • Jim C

    and another thing ‘one of your favorite IPAs, Zombie Dust from Three Floyds is not an IPA

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