Brewers Association - 2008 Beer Style Guidelines
In February of this year, the Brewers Association (BA) published their updated guidelines which provide an "official" taxonomy covering all beer styles. As of the 2008 update, 139 separate beer styles are recognized by this governing body. The association has been publishing this inventory annually since 1979 with Charlie Papazian, Brewers Association president, managing the effort since 1993.
This list does for zymurgy (or zymology) what Linneaus did for biology. Linneaus devised the initial taxonomy of all living things when he published his scientific classification of organisms in 1795. As you may recall from high school science, Linneaus, and his successors, came up with the top level classification, termed 'Kingdoms' which defined plants, animals, and somewhat later with the help of the microscope, bacteria as the major groupings of living organisms. Similarly the BA has defined Ales, Lagers and Hybrids as their highest level classification of beers.
The dispersion of beers under these three 'Kingdoms' reflects the history of brewing. Ales, the oldest beer style account for more than half of all beers styles. Next comes, Lagers and then Hybrids with each accounting for around twenty percent of total beer styles. The numerical break-out is as follows:
> Ales - 75
> Lagers - 34
> Hybrids - 30
Looking at how these beer styles from a geographic perspective, based on place of origin, one is reminded that the BA is, after all, an American organization. Approximately one-fourth of BA's beer styles are categorized as American or North American. Next comes Germany which accounts for about one-fifth of the beer styles. The numerical break-out is as follows:
> North American - 37
> Germanic - 31
> UK/Irish - 27
> Belgian/French - 15
New for 2008 are eleven styles which give greater representation to the craft brewing segment of the industry. As part of this effort, five styles of barrel-aged beers were added to BA's style guidelines. This emphasis on greater recognition of craft brewing was explained by BA president Charlie Papazian, "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'"
BA Style Guideline updates for 2008:
(1) Fresh Hop Ale: ales which are hopped exclusively with fresh and un-dried ("wet") hops.
(2) American-Belgo Styles Ales: these beers portray the unique characters imparted by yeasts typically used in fruity and big Belgian-style ales.
(3) Leipzig-Style Göse: the original versions of this style of beer were spontaneously fermented German ales, similarly to Belgian-style gueuze or lambic beers.
(4) Belgian-Style Blonde Ale: Belgian-style blonde ales are characterized by low yet evident hop bitterness, flavor and sometimes aroma.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer: a wood- or barrel-aged beer is any lager, ale or hybrid, 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.
(8) 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.
(9) 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.
(10) 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.
(11) 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.
The full version of the 2008 Brewers Association Beer Styles Guidelines is available at: http://www.beertown.org/education/ ... e_2008.pdf
the Bier Kaiser