Julia Herz: Hi! I am Julia Herz, Publisher of craftbeer.com, a website by the Brewers Association. Today, I am talking about craft beer styles.
Styles range from sessionable pilsners to satisfying stouts and guidelines exist to help us describe characteristics and common processes used in creation of many of today's beers.
Now remember, it's up to each individual brewer to decide whether they want to create a beer within a specific style, or whether to forge a new path outside of style parameters.
We can not always assume a specific beer was meant to be labeled as a specific beer style. When in doubt, consult your server, local retailer or even go online to do a brand search. Plus many of today's craft beers also list the style type on the label.
Now guidelines provide detailed descriptions of common characteristics. These characteristic include aroma, flavor, bitterness or International Bittering Units, alcohol ranges, color which is referred to as SRM and carbonation ranges.
As one beer's journey continues, the desire for more information often follows. And understanding beer styles provides a basis to compare and discuss different craft beers. That's why style guidelines are helpful.
And there are currently more than 100 world beer styles as defined by the Brewers Association that fall within the following categories. We have ales, lagers, hybrid beers and then we also have specialty craft beers.
To learn about different beer styles, a great trick is to ask for a sample at your local brewpub or brewery tap room. This allows you to taste different beer styles at the same time in small quantities.
And there is no best style of beer other than the one you're enjoying at that moment. So knowledge of beer styles can help guide you towards that perfect craft beer for the occasion.