Four ‘New’ Beer Styles Officially Added to Brewers Association Style Guide

by Amy Myers

Before you head out on your next beer run, take a look at these four new beer styles that made it into the Brewers Association Style Guide. These new varieties have technically already been circulating bars for a while. However, their addition to the Style Guide will bring them more recognition and make them more widely available. Within the Guide, you’ll now find Kentucky Common Beer, New Zealand-Style Pale Ale, New Zealand-Style IPA and Belgian-Style Session Ale.

The Brewer’s Association is a not-for-profit group that prioritizes small and independent craft brewers. Since 1979, the Association publishes a yearly guide that describes all recognized styles of beer. The Brewers Association Style Guide serves as a resource for brewers and competitions. It also aims to “celebrate the great diversity of beer around the world.”

“Craft brewers in the U.S. and around the world continue to push the boundaries of beer by reviving long lost styles and by innovating in new beer flavor spaces,” said Brewers Association competition manager Chris Swersey. “The 2021 Beer Style Guidelines reflect many exciting trends in brewing with numerous additions and updates for accuracy.”

Now that these varieties are officially part of the publication, it’s likely big brand names will try their hand at mastering the new varieties.

Without further ado, here are the additions to the latest Brewers Association Style Guide.

A Breakdown of the Four New Beer Styles

Introducing the Kentucky Common Beer. Don’t be fooled by its casual name. This beer will tickle your sweet tooth with notes of caramel and toffee. From its malt aroma to the rich aftertaste, this variety is definitely the most decadent of the new beers. Back in the 1800s, this variety was extremely popular in and around Louisville, Kentucky. However, following Prohibition, the Kentucky Common Beer became a lost art–until now.

Next up of the four brand new beer styles are the New Zealand varieties. Before the addition of its new beers, New Zealand was mainly popular for its prized varieties of wine, including sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. However, now the nation is making a big debut in modern beer varieties with its Pale Ale and Indian Pale Ale.

The best word to describe a New Zealand-Style Pale Ale is “refreshing.” In contrast to the dessert flavors in a Kentucky Common Beer, this variety has highlights of tropical fruits with a hoppy aroma. Meanwhile, its counterpart, the New Zealand-Style IPA, has more floral notes in its body. The best word to describe this variety is “crisp.”

Lastly, the spicier of the bunch is the Belgian-Style Session Ale. This variety is a bit different from the previous three beers, as its entry in the BA Style Guide comes from a past version. Now revised with updated guidelines, the Belgian-Style Session Ale nods to Belgian brewing traditions and relists its APV to a modest 2 percent.