Ho-ho-holy shit it’s been a good year for beer. So much has happened that my brain struggles to single out the most amazing happenings. There’s been new breweries popping up that make incredible beer, new beer festivals that celebrate brews of all shapes and flavours, and a continuous stream of epic concoctions that make my liver tingle with joy when I think back on them. It’s been a good year indeed.

Imperial stout at the copenhagen beer festival

My personal favourite memory from last year was walking around Copenhagen Beer Celebration, tiny glass in hand, knocking back beer made by some of the best brewers out there, one after the other. But this isn’t about what we think. We know that you don’t care about our feeble opinions. So we asked a bunch of the brewers and beer people we’ve talked to this year to give us their take on the year that’s behind us. Enjoy.

ANDY SMITH – PARTIZAN BREWING

Andy pouring one of the beers

What has been your highlight of 2013?
The birthday party.

Which of your own brews are you the most happy with this year?
Barrel aged barley wine.

What’s your no1 Christmas beer this year?
Has anyone else in London made one? I guess it would be ours. Kinda like the anchor one too.

What’s your New Year brewing resolution?
We’re doing a dinner and drinks thing with Northbar which could be good. Think I might even be popping into the kitchen, and get the chef into the brewery. Is that a resolution? Do people make brewing resolutions? Less computers???

BRYAN SPOONER – WEIRD BEARD BREW CO

Bryan Weird Beard at London Craft Beer Festival

What has been your highlight of 2013?
The highlight for me was actually getting our first few beers in the bottle and out into the public. It was a long difficult road to get that first brew out there, and at times it felt as though it may never happen.

Which of your own brews are you the most happy with this year?
For me it has to be a very late addition to our line up. I am absolutely loving Something Something Dark side. This is a beer that doesn’t really fall into any style. It’s kind of like an imperial stout, with molasses and honey, but then dry hopped to hell like a good double IPA

What’s your no1 Christmas beer this year?
The brewery isn’t my only job right now, and I am stuck working nights at the other job over the Xmas week. I have also been moving house the week before Xmas, so not really had the chance to get stuck into the beers I had lined up. I did manage to enjoy a bottle of Mikkeller Santas little helper 2012.

What’s your New Year brewing resolution?
Next year i hope to be able to organise my time a little better. There were so many things I wanted to do with the brewery and the beer, but the time just evaporated. But we now employ a good team of people, which should free me up a little.

DEREK PRENTICE – FULLER’S

Derek Prentice in the hock seller

What has been your highlight of 2013?
Being awarded Brewer of the Year by the British Guild of Beer Writers.

Which of your own brews are you the most happy with this year?
The Imperial Stout.

What’s your no1 Christmas beer this year?
Gales Prize Old Ale, which I will have with Christmas pud, and hopefully persuade the silly buggers here to let us produce another batch of.

What’s your New Year brewing resolution?
Keep on Brewing!

EVIN O’RIORDAIN – THE KERNEL BREWERY

Evin O'Riordain of Kernel

I’m afraid that you’ve asked the wrong person the wrong type of questions. I don’t create lists of hierarchies in my head, and don’t categorise experiences/beers in any form of order. As far as possible I try to experience things as they are and in the moment that they are there in front of me, and not extend that moment to some form or overarching truth or structure. There is too much beauty in the world to limit oneself to favourites.

And further, I can’t stand anything that calls itself a Christmas beer – anything that does so, and by that very fact, means it is not good enough for year round consumption. Also with resolutions – new year’s ones are no different from today’s or yesterday’s or tomorrow’s.

TOM CADDEN – CRAFT BEER COMPANY

Tom Cadden at the craft beer co

What has been your highlight of 2013?
My highlight would be either the Great British Beer Festival bringing an amazing selection of beer to the UK and having the best UK festival I’ve ever been to. Also Siren brewery opening up and pushing boundaries from day 1 has been ace.

Which beer have you been the most happy with this year?
Magic Rock with their Unhuman Cannonball release, and other new beers they’ve made this year. It’s been awesome.

What’s your no1 Christmas beer this year?
Orval, of course!

What’s your New Year brewing resolution?
To open 5 more Craft Beer Co pubs and have the biggest pub beer festival the world has ever seen!

RYAN WITTER-MERITHEW – SIREN CRAFT BREW

What has been your highlight of 2013?
One of the best memories, beer wise, this year was drinking Brodies Mosiac pale 3.0% during Bunny basher. I spent about 5 days at his (James Brodie’s) pub and every morning I woke up thinking ‘no way can I drink beer’. Then as if by magic a new cask of that beer would go on and lead to my ruin.

Which of your own brews are you the most happy with this year?
I am pretty happy with everything we have put out this year. I have made some tweaks on some stuff and have enjoyed seeing the beers getting better as I get better at casking beer. Näcken was probably one of my favourites this year, and the Whiskey Sour was one of the best “lets try this” working out.

What’s your no1 Christmas beer this year?
I don’t really search out Christmas beers after drinking too many in Denmark.

What’s your New Year brewing resolution?
More barrels.

That’s it for The Evening Brews for this year. Thanks to all of you, our readers, we still find it incredible that you come back to read our waffle. We’ll be back next year. Now if you excuse me, I’ve got to go and stuff my face with fat and alcohol. Cheers.