Brewers association

Brewers Association Releases 2016 Beer Style Guidelines

Boulder, ColoradoApril 12, 2016—The Brewers Association (BA), the non-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small independent craft brewers, has released its annual beer style guidelines for 2016. Developed annually by the BA , these guidelines serve as a reference tool. for beer experts and judges, showcasing and celebrating beer styles from around the world.

More than 100 changes in total have been made in this year’s release. Of note, eight new styles have been added, creating 152 in total. This represents a net increase of seven from the 145 reported in 2015. Additions for 2016 include:

  • Breslau-Style Pale Schöps and Breslau-Style Dark Schöps – Schops are historic styles of beer (the first Prussian city of Breslau is now called Wroclaw and is located in Poland), brewed possibly as early as the 1300s, and by 1600s documented as primarily wheat-based
  • Contemporary Gose – acknowledging the wide variety of interpretations by modern brewers deriving from and diverging from traditional Leipzig-style Gose
  • Specialty Saison – recognizing the great diversity of brewers’ modern interpretations stemming from and diverging from the classic French and Belgian saison
  • Finnish style sahti – traditional Finnish style with juniper and baker’s or bread’s yeast
  • Swedish-style Gotlandsdricke – traditional Swedish style with juniper, hints of birch smoke and baker’s or bread’s yeast
  • European-Style Dark Lager – separating these beers from their Munich Dunkel Lager cousins
  • Pumpkin/Squash Beer – a new style to emphasize the perception of aromas and flavors of pumpkin and/or squash, without spices

Significant changes to existing styles, based on feedback from brewers and judges, or based on the creation of new styles, include the following:

  • American-style India Pale Ale
  • American Style Black Ale
  • Kellerbier or Zwickelbier Ale
  • Gose to the Leipzig
  • French and Belgian classic season
  • Pumpkin Spice Beer – reworked the old Pumpkin Beer category, whose entries feature mostly spice aromas and flavors, but not necessarily pumpkin or squash
  • Specialty Beer – clarified that characteristics of this style have to do with unusual fermentables, and further clarified that nuts provide much more flavor and aroma than fermentables, so beers containing nuts are better characterized as Field Beer
  • Brett Beer – many updates and clarifications, especially regarding fermented beers with a (relatively) neutral flavor Brettanomyces that taste like non-Brett beers

“The Brewers Association’s Beer Style Guidelines continue to serve as the authoritative resource on the world’s beer styles for brewers and beer enthusiasts,” said Chris Swersey, Competition Manager, Brewers Association. “This year’s update includes the addition of several exciting historic beer styles as well as numerous revisions that keep the guidelines relevant and up-to-date.”

Since 1979, the Brewers Association has provided descriptions of beer styles as a reference for brewers and organizers of beer competitions. Much of the early work was based on the help and contributions of beer journalist Michael Jackson. The task of creating a realistic set of guidelines is always complex. The Beer Style Guidelines use commercial brewing industry sources, beer analysis, and consultation with beer industry experts and knowledgeable beer enthusiasts as information resources.

The 2016 Beer Style Guidelines can be downloaded from

Contact: Abby Berman Cohen (on behalf of the Brewers Association), 646-695-7044


About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is the nonprofit trade association dedicated to America’s small, independent brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents over 70% of the brewing industry and its members make over 99% of the beer brewed in the United States. The BA organizes events, including the beer world cup℠, Great American Oktoberfest®, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®, SAVOUR℠: An American craft beer and dining experience, AHA National Homebrew Conference, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The new brewer magazine and its Brewers publications is the largest publisher of contemporary brewing literature relevant to today’s craft brewers and home brewers.

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