2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines

For years these guidelines were prepared for the Brewers Association by the author of The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, Charlie Papazian. Feedback from The Great American Beer Festival and from the World Beer Cup judges help to form these guidelines each year. Some of the updates include the addition of beer styles as well as removal of beer styles. The updated version of the Guidelines is usually posted in February or early March each year. Therefore, Brewers Association recommends annual updates to products based on the Guidelines.

While the task of creating guidelines for beer styles is complicated, many resources are used to ensure historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market. Beer styles that remain for long periods of time, as opposed to those that are considered fads, are more likely to be included in the style guidelines.

When the Brewers Association writes a style description, it is written independently of reference to other beer styles. The goal of these guidelines is to focus on the final evaluation of the beer, not the brewing process or special circumstances in regards to the ingredients used.

Download the 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines in its entirety here: