Skip to main content

Brewers Association Announces New Beer Styles for 2018

When evaluating a beer, there’s more to consider than just the flavor. Obviously, the beer should taste good — but that’s a purely subjective qualification. The beer’s flavor, whether an individual preference would deem it tasty or trashy, should follow certain rules applied to its particular classification. That’s where style guides come into play, as reference points for evaluating beer in a non-partisan manner.

The Brewers Association is a non-profit organization promoting independent craft brewers. They maintain the official beer style guidelines used by beer judges in competitions. These guidelines are also used by professional and amateur brewers to influence recipe creation. As the landscape of brewing changes and evolves, the style guides must evolve too. Sometimes beer descriptions are modified to reflect current trends, and the guides can also bring brand new styles into the pantheon.

Related Videos

For 2018, the Brewers Association has added several new categories to the official beer style guidelines. All of these are directly influenced by the creativity and diversity in the current craft beer market.

The first is the Juicy or Hazy Ales category, which is then subdivided into Pale Ale, IPA, and Double IPA styles. Sometimes dubbed New England IPAs or West Coast Hazy IPAs, these new definitions make room for this booming style with official classifications.

Contemporary American-Style Pilsner is also on the docket. With this addition, craft brewers are free from the alcohol by volume and hop aroma regulations in the previous, broader specification checklist.

Pale Ales from Down Under have been separated from one to two categories: Classic Australian-Style Pale Ale and Australian-Style Pale Ale. Due to the increased diversity in the Australian beer scene, having two styles keeps the darker, less aromatic traditional recipes intact with Classic and allows brewers the creativity to continue evolving the genre with paler, hoppier and more flavorful variations in the base style.

Finally, Gose and Contemporary Gose were given some technical adjustments to better separate the historic base beer from the diversity created by modern brewing techniques.

Of all of these changes, the Juicy or Hazy Ales trio of additions stand to have the biggest impact on the marketplace, as well as related controversies. To define why they received three separate specs, Charlie Papazian, chief of the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines, said, “What we discovered and verified was that there was a wide range of alcohol content for what was being perceived in the public as just one style.” He went on to say that the other judging components of appearance, aroma, bitterness, hop character, mouthfeel, and overall balance also backed up the decision.

The new guidelines are available for download and reference now at Brewers Association website.

Editors' Recommendations

This St. Patrick’s Day, grab an Irish beer from one of these 5 craft breweries
Irish beer: Celebrate the luck of the Irish in the best tasting way possible this year
Group of happy friends drinking and toasting beer at brewery bar restaurant.

The annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day comes with a few guarantees. Green t-shirts will be adorned with obnoxious sayings. Leprechauns will be blamed for causing mischief. And the dry Irish stout Guinness will be inescapable on tap, in bottles, and in cans from coast to coast.
Guinness is so synonymous with Ireland, it is practically the national beverage. However, this mindset overlooks the dozens of smaller craft breweries found throughout Ireland’s cities and townships, and dotted along its famously beautiful countryside. If you’re ever lucky enough to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, enjoy your token Guinness in the airport and then head out to experience one of these independent breweries for an Irish beer you haven't tasted yet.

Galway Bay Brewery
Ballybrit, County Galway

Read more
How to make a caipirinha, a perfect day drink
Caipirinha: This refreshing and sweet Brazilian cocktail is amazing and a surefire hit


Novo Fogo Cascadian-Caipbeerinha.

Read more
Wine tasting etiquette: How to look like you know what you’re doing
Spitting, tipping, pressure to buy: All the things you've always wanted to ask about wine tasting and haven't
how to hold a wine glass what is the proper way

Wine tasting is an incredibly fun and educational way to spend a vacation, extended weekend, or even just a breezy, casual afternoon. Learning the ins and outs of ancient wine-making practices and methods, differences in varietals, flavor profiles, bouquets, and aromas are all valuable lessons in the world of wine education. And let's be honest, walking around some gorgeous scenery and sipping on every millennial's favorite beverage is a pretty fabulous way to spend your time.
But wine tasting is so much more than tipsily stumbling about pretty vineyards tossing around words like "demi-sec" and "assemblage." There's a real art to be found in good wine, and being able to see and taste it is something truly beautiful. But just as walking into the Louvre and trying to analyze the world's most renowned paintings can be a little bit intimidating, so is knowing how to taste and dissect a glass of wine. For this reason, many people are too intimidated to ask some of the more awkward questions or know exactly how to act during a wine tasting. We're here to help.

How much do wine tastings cost?

Read more