New and Emerging Beer Styles

Hosted by Stephen Staples

Saison, Helles, Märzen…if you haven’t perused a beer list lately, you might be surprised by its sophistication. One of the major players in the rise of craft beer is Gordon Strong, an award-winning homebrewer, beer judge and author.

As the principal author of the Beer Judge Certification Program’s (BJCP) style guidelines, Strong has heavily influenced how microbreweries describe and market their beers. Join us for a discussion of beer vs. wine tastings from a judge’s perspective, how beer styles are defined and used, and emerging styles from around the world.

Strong is President Emeritus and the highest-ranking judge in the BJCP, judging at the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, and many international commercial beer competitions. In addition to authoring two books – Brewing Better Beer and Modern Homebrew Recipes – Strong is the style column editor for BYO magazine, and a frequent feature article writer. He is also the only three-time winner of the coveted Ninkasi Award.

Beer Styles from Around the World

Beer styles around the world are diverse and fascinating, each with unique characteristics influenced by cultural, historical, and geographical factors. Here are 10 key points about global beer styles:

  1. Pilsner (Czech Republic): Originating in the Czech city of Pilsen, Pilsner is a type of pale lager. It’s characterized by its light, clear color and its balance of hoppy bitterness and malty sweetness.

  2. India Pale Ale (IPA) (England/USA): Originally brewed in England for export to India, IPAs are known for their strong hop flavor, which was used historically to preserve the beer during long sea voyages. Modern American IPAs are often even more hop-centric.

  3. Stout (Ireland): Stout, particularly the Dry Irish Stout, is famous for its dark color and roasted flavor. Guinness is the most iconic example, known for its creamy texture and rich, complex taste.

  4. Saison (Belgium): Saison is a pale ale that originated from the farmhouses of Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. It’s typically fruity, spicy, and often has a high carbonation level.

  5. Weissbier/Weizenbier (Germany): A traditional Bavarian wheat beer, Weissbier is known for its cloudy appearance due to the wheat proteins. It often has a notable yeast-driven flavor that can be described as banana-like or clove-like.

  6. Lambic (Belgium): Unique to the Pajottenland region near Brussels, Lambics are fermented with wild yeasts and bacteria. They are often sour and complex, sometimes blended or flavored with fruits like cherries (Kriek) or raspberries.

  7. Porter (England): Porter is a dark beer that originated in London in the 18th century. It’s known for its dark malts that give it flavors reminiscent of chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

  8. Baltic Porter (Baltic Region): This is a stronger, sweeter, and more robust version of the English Porter, influenced by the Russian Imperial Stout. It’s popular in countries around the Baltic Sea.

  9. Barleywine (England/USA): A very strong ale, Barleywines are known for their rich malt flavors and high alcohol content. English versions tend to be less hoppy and more balanced, while American versions often have a higher hop profile.

  10. Bière de Garde (France): A traditional French farmhouse ale, similar in some ways to the Belgian Saison. It’s typically malt-forward, with a cellared, “musty” quality, and often has a higher alcohol content.

Each of these beer styles reflects the cultural and historical brewing traditions of their respective regions, offering a diverse and rich tapestry of flavors and experiences for beer enthusiasts around the world.

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