Brewers Association Releases 2019 Beer Style Guidelines

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, May 1, 2019.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,555) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew

    Boulder, Colo. • May 1, 2019—The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers—today released its 2019 Beer Style Guidelines. These guidelines serve as a resource for brewers, beer judges, and competition organizers including the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup®, and are assessed and adjusted annually by the Brewers Association and a panel of global collaborators.

    The 2019 version includes over 1,000 edits, revisions, formatting changes, and general housekeeping updates, as well as the addition, deletion and combination of several beer style guidelines made for brevity. Among the notable updates:

    Style additions:
    • Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale
    • Contemporary Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
    • Franconian-Style Rotbier
    • American-Style India Pale Lager
    Style consolidations:
    • Pale and Dark American-Belgo-Style Ale styles consolidated into one guideline
    • Kellerbier or Zwickelbier Ale and Lager styles consolidated into one guideline
    • Breslau-Style Pale and Dark Schoeps styles consolidated into one guideline
    • American-Style Light and Dark Wheat Beer styles consolidated from four guidelines to one
    • Wood-and Barrel-Aged Pale to Amber, Dark and Strong into one guideline
    • American-Style Ice Lager was removed as a category.

    “As brewers continue to innovate and evolve styles, so must the criteria which reflect their passion and their beers in the U.S. and global marketplace,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, Brewers Association. “The annual audit of the Brewers Association’s Beer Style Guidelines is a complex undertaking and a truly collaborative process allowing for robust dialogue and a great final product. We’re proud to put forth such an important resource for the global community of brewers, drinkers, and beer lovers.”

    The 2019 Beer Style Guidelines will form the basis for the 2019 Great American Beer Festival and 2020 World Beer Cup competition guidelines. Several of the style consolidations reflected in the 2019 BA Beer Style Guidelines will be expanded into multiple categories at those competitions. Examples include the various American-Style Wheat beer styles, and the Wood and Barrel-Aged styles.

    Since 1979, the Brewers Association has published beer style guidelines as a reference for brewers and beer competition organizers. The beer style guidelines are informed by the commercial brewing industry, beer analyses, and consultations with beer industry experts and knowledgeable beer enthusiasts.

    The 2019 Beer Style Guidelines are available for download at

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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,946) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  3. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (308) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    This is fine.
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,746) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, of course. It was "Canadian-style" ! :smile:

    (Yeah, yeah. The Germans created Eisbock. But the comparison to "Ice Beer" is like Miller Lite's "A Fine Pilsner Beer" claim.)
  5. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (260) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    I never liked these breweries entering their beers into lesser competitive categories. What fits should be a pretty standard guideline for entry.

    I know a local brewery has won in the German style pilsener category twice and then switched to the zwickle or kellerbier category with the same exact beer and won twice there. It was less competitive.

    Sculpin won a WBC medal in 2014 in the Australasian-Style Pale Ale or International-Style Pale Ale category. Four years prior, sculpin was a standard IPA winner.

    And isn't a strong pale ale just an IPA? What the hell is a strong pale ale? They've lost all legitimacy with some of their choices.
  6. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,667) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I've had the beer that they mention in the article, the Rotbier from the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof, but I found no other rotbiers in Nurnberg. That's not to say that they're not there, but having seen none I can't imagine they're common. The article also notes that the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof revived the style, but also that others have begun brewing the style as well - perhaps I just missed those?

    I'm curious as to why the BJCP would add this beer as there are very few commercially available brands, and as how it's also a fairly basic beer. Had it been something interesting like Gosebier, which was actually more of a soured hefeweizen with salt added than what we're brewing in the U.S., I could understand that.

    Here is my review if you're curious as to what a rotbier might be:

    4.01/5 rDev +5.5%
    look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

    Hausbrauerei Altstadthof "Nürnberger Rotbier"
    ,2l vom fass / 2,20€ at the brewery on 25.09.2017

    Look: Clear deep copper colored body with a reddish sheen and orange highlights beneath a rocky head of white - I can see where the name came from. Average head retention and OK lacing.

    Smell: Grainy, sweetish, and caramelish malt with just a touch of fruitiness and mild, dried grassiness.

    Taste: As the aroma suggests, the grainy, sweetish, and caramelish malt continues with a light touch of toastiness, a light hint of fruitiness, and some additional lightly herbal hops. A median bitterness balances it nicely, and the grainy caramelish malt and lightly herbal hops linger shortly in the mainly dry finish.

    Feel: Medium bodied and smooth with a limited carbonation that explains the head retention a bit. It's a fair trade-off though as the soft, creamy, seemingly natural carbonation adds to its malty character.

    Overall: Very nicely done. Quite charming, and massively drinkable.
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  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,946) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jim, I have not even had the one Rotbier that you had so you are more ‘expert’ here than I am.

    From a quick web search below are some more example:

    Dirigo Rotbier:

    Schanzenbräu Rotbier:

    Tiersteiner Rotbier:

    Cottbuser Rotbier:

    Konig Rotbier:

    As to why the Brewers Association decided to add this beer style for 2019 your guess is as good as mine.

  8. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,424) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Don't forget... this style list is for the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup®... I'd say there's a pretty good chance some brewers want to enter some Rotbiers! :wink:
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,946) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I will be interesting to learn how many entries are submitted for the GABF.

  10. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,584) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    First time I've heard heard of Rotbier and Breslau/Schoeps. Interesting to see those tucked in there. I wonder if Dutch Oud Bruin will ever show up before it goes extinct.
    I'm also a little curious how many of those will be entered for GABF and WBC.
  11. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,266) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Why bother consolidating then?
  12. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    For the future.

    Since the guidelines shape the competitions, one possibility is the GABF and the World Beer Cup are each less than a year from now. Thus, it could be that the consolidation in guidelines is planned to go into effect for the 2020 GABF Competition and the 2021 World Beer Cup Competition.

    In other words, they may think it is already be too late to change the rules for the next two upcoming competitions. (Wouldn't surprise me a bit if there are some brewers who have already been developing and testing their recipes for 2019 GABF.)
    zid likes this.
  13. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,412) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The judges are limited in number, so it makes sense to collapse some categories when you are adding others. The mechanics of running a big competition.
    sharpski, TongoRad, zid and 1 other person like this.
  14. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,412) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    My take is that the Rotbier category was added for WBC. If Brewers want to enter the category for GABF, then they can.
  15. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,266) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    But unless I’m misunderstanding, they are consolidated in the list but expanded for competition with judges.
  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,574) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    That actually could be an Altbier you're describing. I'm guessing the main difference is in the type of yeast used?
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,412) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    They have been vetting more judges as the competions grow. There is still the need to maximize the judges throughput. If a style has few entries, the judges would be done quickly, while others would be working for a while.

    I've been involved in a few competitions, so I can see what they are trying to do.
  18. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,667) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I didn't think the Rotbier that I sampled was as bitter as most Altbiers (although, technically, it was an altbier itself based on yeast), nor as dark as many altbiers - although, yes, I immediately thought of that at the time.

    I'm not sure why they'd add this minimally different beer. Why not add landbier as well? And, as @zid has said, why bother consolidating then if you're only going to add in a fairly unknown style?

    As to judging and GABF, I've been a judge since '93 and I constantly come across new judges who aren't up to speed. How many judges have actually tasted a Rotbier? I'm guessing not many. How many are truly familiar with the style? Well I've tasted one but I'm certainly not. Unless a judge has spent a lot of time in Franconia I can't imagine they're familiar with the style, or even aware of it. I'd doubt there are that many out there.
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