A New Guideline for an Unusual Style of Beer, Indigenous Beer

by Kevin on February 8, 2012

Indigenous Beer

The Brewers Association has released their 2012 Beer Style Guidelines.
This year, a new unusual beer styles was added, Indigenous Beer (Lager or Ale).

Guidelines for what qualifies as an Indigenous Beer:

• At least one regional combination of ingredients and/or techniques must be unique and differentiated from ingredients and/or techniques commonly used by brewers throughout the world.
• Brewed with either non-traditional or traditional ingredients and/or processes yet their character may distinctively vary from all other styles currently defined or included in these guidelines.
• These grain-based beers are brewed reflecting local beer culture (process, ingredients, climate, etc.).
• This category recognizes uniquely local or regional beer types and beers distinctively not defined in any recognized style in these guidelines.
• They may be light or dark, strong or weak, hoppy or not hoppy.
• They may have characters which are unique to yeast, fermentation techniques, aging conditions, carbonation level – or higher or lower levels of profound characters normally associated with other beer types.
• Beers made wholly unique by use of multiple local ingredients and/or techniques, with the resulting beer being highly representative of location, as well as differentiated from traditional beer style categories.

 2011 GABF Category 15: Indigenous Beer Results:

  • Gold: Hqt, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
  • Silver: Monticello Reserve Ale, Starr Hill Brewery, Crozet, VA
  • Bronze: Hot Rocks Lager, Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, CA

Indigenous Beer (Lager or Ale)
This beer style is unusual in that its impetus is to commemorate combinations of ingredients and/or techniques adopted by or unique to a particular region. At least one regional combination of ingredients and/or techniques must be unique and differentiated from ingredients and/or techniques commonly used by brewers throughout the world. There are many excellent and popular beers that are brewed with either non-traditional or traditional ingredients and/or processes yet their character may distinctively vary from all other styles currently defined or included in these guidelines. These grain-based beers are brewed reflecting local beer culture (process, ingredients, climate, etc.). This category recognizes uniquely local or regional beer types and beers distinctively not defined in any recognized style in these guidelines. They may be light or dark, strong or weak, hoppy or not hoppy. They may have characters which are unique to yeast, fermentation techniques, aging conditions, carbonation level – or higher or lower levels of profound characters normally associated with other beer types. Examples of indigenous beers might include current day versions of highly regional and/or historic styles which are not represented elsewhere in these guidelines, such as Finnish-style sahti, S American chicha, African sorghum based beers, and others.

Other examples might include beers made wholly unique by use of multiple local ingredients and/or techniques, with the resulting beer being highly representative of location, as well as differentiated from traditional beer style categories. Beers brewed with non-traditional hop varieties, grains, malt, yeast or other ingredient that still closely approximate an existing classical category would be more appropriately entered into the classical category. New and innovative beers that do not represent locally adopted techniques or grown ingredients would be more appropriately entered into the experimental category.

Proper evaluation of entries in this category requires the need to provide judges with additional information about the beer. A written summary illustrating the intent, background, history, design and/or development of the beer as well as describing any regional and/or stylistic context, choice of ingredients, process and any other unique information, helps establish a basis for comparison between highly diverse entries. Entering brewers must provide a statement of 100 words or less illustrating the above and why it is an indigenous beer without revealing the company’s identity. This statement should be carefully crafted and will be evaluated by judges and carry significant weight in their decisions. Statements that contain information which might identify or otherwise create bias towards the entry will be modified by the Competition Manager. Entries not accompanied by this information will be at a profound disadvantage during  judging.
Original Gravity (ºPlato) Varies with style ● Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) Varies with style ● Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style ● Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style ● Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style

2012 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association

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