Brewers Association Releases 2019 Beer Style Guidelines

BOULDER, Colo. — The Brewers Association (BA)— the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers— has 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 also 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 BrewersAssociation.org.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,800-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con and National Homebrew Competition. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and Brewers Publications is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Marketplace Listing

The Brewbound Marketplace features listings for equipment, services, and more. Post a listing today.

Brewbound's Database of Breweries

Brewbound's database of breweries includes thousands of breweries from around the world.


Brew Talks GABF 2019

Denver, CO ● October 4, 2019

Register Now
Brewbound Live Winter 2019

Santa Monica, CA ● Dec. 4 + 5, 2019

Early Registration Open
Cannabis Forum Winter 2019

Santa Monica, CA ● December 6th, 2019

Register Now
Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.