the Brewers Association (BA) — the non-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers — recently released its Beer Style Guidelines for 2022. Reviewed and revised annually by the BA, these guidelines serve as a model resource for brewers, beer judges and competition organizers and celebrate the great diversity of beer around the world.
The Brewers Association has been compiling beer style guidelines and descriptions since 1979 to aid brewers, drinkers, contest organizers and judges. Categorizing a drink as complex as beer is a difficult and multifaceted challenge. The Brewers Association relies on beer industry experts, physical analysis of beer, and sources from commercial brewers around the world as guides in developing this resource.
While there are no new style additions this year, there have been many significant revisions, clarifications, and hundreds of punctuation and grammar fixes, particularly in the following categories and areas:
- Experimental India Pale Ale
- Many details on the categorization of beers
- Session beer
- Session India Pale Ale
- Standardized verbiage in Juicy or Hazy styles
- Traditional Belgian Gueuze
- Bohemian Pilsner
- American lager beer categories
- American-style India Pale Lager
- specialty beer
- Spicy beer
Some examples of significant updates include: the addition of several India Pale Ale hybrid styles to the Experimental IPA category; modernize Session Beer and Session IPA to adjust the lower ABV limit down to 0.5%, as brewers’ interest in low ABV beers has grown rapidly over the past two years; and standardizing language on Juicy or Hazy Styles based on feedback from brewers and judges and adding verbiage about hop burning.
“As the craft beer landscape continues to evolve, we want to ensure that our beer style guidelines continue to be a trusted resource around the world and are in step with the innovation that continues to be put in place. forward,” said Chris Swersey, contest director, Brewers Association. . “We’ve taken 2022 as a year to focus on housekeeping, to fix some discrepancies in existing beer styles, and for a small number of significant updates to some beer styles.”
The beer style guidelines are a direct product and blend of historical significance, traditional authenticity, and popularity in today’s craft beer consumer market. Adding a style or modifying an existing beer style is taken very seriously and can only be done after thorough expert consultation, research and analysis of market factors. This process takes into account an array of elements and can take a long period of time. Another consideration when adding or modifying a style directive is that commercially available examples are still evolving and may not be representative of historical versions or recordings of the style.
“With so many diverse beers being made, we rely on expert feedback to help identify categories that need updating to ensure beer style guidelines remain as current and relevant as possible,” said Swersey said. “We are grateful for the feedback provided by drinkers, brewers and judges around the world, which helps us compile this trusted resource for the greater craft brewing community, and which in turn enhances our common understanding of brewing styles. international beer.”