Brewers Association Releases 2017 Beer Style Guidelines

Brewers Association Releases 2017 Beer Style Guidelines

The Brewers Association (BA) has released new beer style guidelines to help brewers and competition judges navigate style nuances.

The comprehensive 55+ page document from the BA (publishers of serves as the go-to resource for brewers, beer lovers and beer competition organizers.

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These are the guidelines judges use to award medals at premiere competitions including the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup(SM).

“The Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines perennially serves as a trusted reference on beer styles for brewing competitions around the world,” explains Chris Swersey, BA competition manager.

What’s New in the 2017 Beer Style Guidelines

The BA says the 2017 update is more user-friendly.

“This year we completely revamped the guide, making it even easier to comb through,” said Swersey.

The 2017 Beer Style Guidelines also include:

  • A concise new format removes redundant language.
  • Style Updates: Hundreds of updates have been made to existing beer styles. The BA says this helps underscore the balance between classic definitions and current market trends.

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Since 1979 the BA has provided beer style descriptions as a reference for brewers and beer competition organizers. Creating a realistic set of guidelines is always a complex task.

Much of the early work was based on the assistance and contributions of beer journalist Michael Jackson. The current beer style guidelines also source information from the commercial brewing industry, beer analyses, and input from beer judges.

You can view the new beer style guidelines at is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.