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Brewers Association Releases 2020 Beer Style Guidelines

Last week, the Brewers Association – an American trade group of over 7,400 brewers, breweries in planning, suppliers, distributors and craft beer retailers, released its 2020 Beer Style Guidelines.

These guidelines have been serving as a resource for not just brewers but also beer judges and competition organizers (including the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup) since 1979 – and are evaluated and adjusted by the Brewers Association and a panel of global collaborators every year.

The latest update to the Beer Style Guidelines includes a few new styles such as another Hazy category while a handful of beer styles have been consolidated. Meanwhile, the much-coveted American-Style Ice Lager has been completely eliminated.

Here’s a quick look!

Style Additions

  • Contemporary American-Style Lager
  • Contemporary American-Style Light Lager

 Significant Style Revisions

  • The former Emerging India Pale Ale: renamed as Experimental India Pale Ale and moved to the Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ales group
  • American-Style India Pale Ale and Imperial India Pale Ale, Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale and Imperial India Pale Ale, and American-Style Black Ale: revised to affirm distinctions between these styles and Experimental India Pale Ale
  • Contemporary Belgian-Style Spontaneous Fermented Ale: style name amended to remove reference to “Gueuze Lambic”
  • Session Beer: edited to strengthen the separation between beers made to lower alcohol levels relative to classic versions and beers that fall within classic versions, defined as containing alcohol levels under 5.0%
  • Rye Beer: altered to reflect broader range of mouthfeel and sensory attributes that arise from use of many different varieties of rye malt
  • American-Style Session Indian Pale Ale: moved to Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ales group

Download the complete set of guidelines here: