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:
- Joshua M. Bernstein, author of The Complete Beer Course and First We Feast contributor
- Mike Lovullo, specialty brands manager for Union Beer Distributors
- David Brodrick, founder of Blind Tiger Ale House
- Ale Sharpton, beer journalist and author of Cruisin’ for a Brewsin’
- Julian Kurland, Beer Director, The Cannibal Beer & Butcher
- Bill Brooks, bartender at The Cannibal Beer & Butcher
- John Holl, beer journalist and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook
- Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43; host of Beer Sessions Radio; founder of the Good Beer Seal
- Austin L. Ray, Atlanta-based beer writer (@austinlouisray)
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.