There has never been a better time to be a beer lover. There are more breweries in the US than at any other time in history, with a wider range of styles than ever before. Craft beer is growing at an incredibly rapid rate, craft breweries now take in 19 cents of every dollar spent on beer in the US. This has got the big brewers worried, as they simply can't compete on quality and the evolving market is less concerned with price. Anheuser-Busch has been mocking craft beer while quietly purchasing craft breweries.
If you want to become more informed about all the different style that have got the big boys running scared you may want to take a look at the American Craft Beer Interactive Style Guide produced by the good folks over at CraftBeer.com excerpted below. It documents 77 styles in 15 style families. they provide a PDF study guide and tasting sheet. To top it all of - it's completely free to become a craft beer expert !
CraftBeer.com Beer Styles Study Guide
The CraftBeer.com Beer Styles Study Guide (below and available as a PDF) is for those who want to dive even deeper and includes quantitative style statistics not found in the Beer Styles section. Using an alphabetical list of triggers—from alcohol to yeast variety—this text will help describe possible characteristics of a specific beer style.
The best part of learning about craft beer is getting to taste and experience what you’re studying. Use this Tasting Sheet to help you analyze and describe what your tasting and if it’s appropriate for a particular beer style.
The Beer Styles Study Guide may provide more information than many beer novices care to know. However, as your beer journey unfolds, your desire for more descriptors and resources will grow.
Do All Craft Brewers Brew Beer to Style?
Craft beer resides at the intersection of art and science. It is up to each individual brewer to decide whether they want to create beer within specific style guidelines or forge a new path and break the mold of traditional styles.
Because so many craft brewers brew outside style guidelines, it is impossible to make a list that fully represents the spectrum of beers being created today. CraftBeer.com Beer Styles include many common styles being made in the U.S. today, but is not exhaustive.
Common U.S. Beer Styles
Craft brewers use a wide variety of ingredients to achieve the aroma, body, flavor and finish they desire in their beer. They often take classic, old-world styles from great brewing countries like England, Germany and Belgium and add their own twists by modifying the amount or type of ingredients or the brewing processes. Due to the popularity of craft beer in America, there are now multiple beer styles uniquely credited to the U.S.
Due to the constant experimentation and exploration by today’s U.S. brewers, new beer styles are constantly evolving. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fully document all types of beer being made at any given time. Another factor is that new beer styles usually become established by developing a track record of multiple breweries making the same type of beer over years and years. In other words, it takes time before any trendy new type of beer is deemed a recognized beer style.
To create this study guide, we looked at the world beer styles recognized by the Brewers Association (publishers of CraftBeer.com) and narrowed that list down to 77 styles in 15 style families. Descriptive terms are always listed from least to most intense.
To see the complete overview and get the study guide go to http://www.craftbeer.com/beer-styles-guide
American Craft Beer Interactive Style Guide
A Brewminati operative needs to have a firm grasp of as many different beer styles as possible