Brewers Association Releases 2019 Beer Style Guidelines

The Brewers Association (BA) has released its 2019 Beer Style Guidelines, which help shape and determine the commercial styles of today. The BA’s style guidelines end up being the categories for judging at the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup® among other pro competitions. This year sees new styles, as well as the inevitable consolidation of categories and the elimination of others.

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.

More from a press release:

“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

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 ExperienceHomebrew 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® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: