The Brewers Association has released its 2020 Beer Style Guidelines. Updated annually, the association’s guidelines reflect, as much as possible, historical significance, authenticity, or a high profile in the current commercial beer market, and are utilized by brewers and beer competition organizers, including the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.
The Brewers Association has provided beer style descriptions as a reference for brewers and beer competition organizers since 1979. The process weighs feedback from the commercial brewing industry, judges, beer analyses, and consultations with beer industry experts and knowledgeable beer enthusiasts as resources for information.
In addition to the hundreds of minor edits made across several beer styles, the 2020 guidelines include the following style additions and significant style revisions:
Contemporary American-Style Lager
Contemporary American-Style Light Lager
Significant Style Revisions
The former Emerging India Pale Ale: renamed as Experimental India Pale Ale and moved to the Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ales group
American-Style India Pale Ale and Imperial India Pale Ale, Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale and Imperial India Pale Ale, and American-Style Black Ale: revised to affirm distinctions between these styles and Experimental India Pale Ale
Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale: style name amended to remove reference to “Gueuze Lambic”
Session Beer: edited to strengthen the separation between beers made to lower alcohol levels relative to classic versions and beers that fall within classic versions, defined as containing alcohol levels under 5.0%
Rye Beer: altered to reflect broader range of mouthfeel and sensory attributes that arise from use of many different varieties of rye malt
American-Style Session Indian Pale Ale: moved to Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ales group
“The annual update keeps the guidelines accurate and relevant to today’s dynamic beer market,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, Brewers Association. “For example, the Juicy Hazy categories have been updated after two years to reflect trends in those popular categories. We’re very thankful to have a working group of brewers who engaged with us to ensure these categories are well-written.”
The 2020 Beer Style Guidelines are available for download at BrewersAssociation.org