|Sharing Lyle Brown's observations on some changes in the BA's new style guide.|
Interesting to note several things here:
1. Leipzig Gose is now its own category
2. Smoked Porter is a stand-alone American style category
3. American Style Black Ale - a hoppy beer, aka Cascadian Dark or Black IPA
4. 2 different styles: American Imperial Porter and Baltic Porter
5. 2 different styles: Keller/Zwickel Lager and Ale
6. 4 smoke categories: Weizen (ale), Helles, Marzen and Bock
7. Distinct categories: Marzen and Wiesen (Meadow)
More and more, "American" is synonymous with "hops" and in particular, uniquely American citrusy hops.
Look at #3, the American Style Black Ale, so-called because the central difference that distinguishes it from other black ales is the abundance of Yakima valley hops. We're talking New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale vs Laughing Dog DogZilla Black IPA: both American made, but one a throw back to Europe, and the other a celebration of newness.
Look at #4, where American Imperial Porter is split out from Baltic Porter as a new style because of the prominence of American hops. As soon as Baltic Porters became popular, craft brewers started working on "American" versions.
I find this very interesting. If one prefers European hops, there are plenty of brewers making great British, German, or Czech style beer with Hallertau, Tettnanger, East Kent Golding, or Saaz hops. Brewers using Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, or Warrior hops are going for a different, American style profile.
With a tip o' the hat to fellow DC-Beerian Lyle Brown