What’s Your Beer Style?

The Brewers Association recently released their 2008 Beer Style Guidelines. The beer industry’s focus on developing craft beer was evident in the new categories that were added to the guidelines this year. Five of the 11 new categories introduced into the guidelines were added just for barrel-aged beers!

The Brewers Association President, Charlie Papazian, explained the guiding principles and their importance by saying, “These guidelines help to illustrate the growth of craft brewers in the United States and also offer insight and a foundation for helping appreciate the hundreds of beer types brewed for the beer lover.”

Different BeersI’m all for appreciating each and every type of beer out there, so I’m all for Charlie’s rationale. Bring on the beer! The more types of brew, the better!

Upon conducting some research, I realized that the guidelines have actually been around longer than I have. The Brewers Association has provided these beer style descriptions since 1979. Since then, brewers and beer competition organizers have used the guidelines as an important reference point. There is a method for developing the official guidelines. Each year, the Brewers Association looks to the commercial brewing industry, beer analyses and consultations with beer industry experts and experienced beer enthusiasts for information while developing the style guidelines.

The following are the newest categories, added for 2008:

Fresh Hop Ale
Ales which are hopped exclusively with fresh and un-dried (“wet”) hops.

American-Belgo Styles Ales
These beers portray the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in fruity and big Belgian-style ales.

Leipzig-Style Göse
The original versions of this style of beer were spontaneously fermented German ales, similarly to Belgian-style gueuze/lambic beers.

Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
Belgian-style blonde ales are characterized by low yet evident hop bitterness, flavor and sometimes aroma.

Australasian-Style Pale Ale
This style is a mild, pale, light-bodied ale with a color varying from light to amber. Hop bitterness and flavor range from very low to low.

Out of Category – Traditionally Brewed Beers
There are many excellent and popular beers that are brewed with traditional ingredients and processes, yet their character may vary from styles currently defined or included in these guidelines.

Barrel Aged Beer categories:

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
Any lager, ale, or hybrid beer, either a traditional style or a unique experimental beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Pale to Amber Beer
Any classic style or unique experimental beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Dark Beer
Any classic style or unique experimental style of dark beer beer can be wood or barrel-aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Any strong classic style or unique, experimental style of beer can bee wood or barrel-aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
A wood- or barrel- aged beer is any lager, ale, or hybrid beer, either a traditional style or a unique experimental beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood and has developed a bacterial induced natural acidity.

For more information and the full version, visit 2008 Brewers Association Beer Styles Guidelines.

No matter what style you’re into, we’ve got the couplers, faucets and glassware to get it on draft. One of the best ways to stay up on new types of beer is to make regular trips to your local breweries. I suggest grabbing a growler or a bunch of growlers, choosing a few different types and emailing KegWorks whenever you find something delicious!

[techtags:BEER, DRAFT BEER, BEER STYLE, BEER STYLE GUIDELINES, BARREL AGED BEER]

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