We can all stop calling it India Black Ale, or Black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale. Apparently the Brewers Association wants us to call it American-Style Black Ale. That is how the Brewers Association refers to it in their new Style Guidelines. Officially, the name used to be American-Style India Black Ale, by the way.
The new name makes more sense really. I guess. Most commonly I have heard these beers referred to as “Black IPA.” My friends will tell you that the name has always troubled me (understatement). I mean, to begin with, how can a beer be both black and pale?
I think the industry gravitated toward calling this style of beer Black IPA because of the ever-increasing popularity of IPA. Any beer with IPA in the moniker is going to attract more attention these days. IPA is a style of beer. Period. Done. Make it big and call it an imperial or a double. Acceptable. But what’s next? Sam Adams American IPA Lager? It’s both Indian and American: a lager and an ale.
That’s just one of the changes introduced with the release of the Brewers Association’s 2011 Beer Style Guidelines—the official set of guidelines used to judge some of the most prestigious beer competitions in the country.
Here is the press release from the Brewers Association.
Boulder, CO • January 12, 2011—The Brewers Association (BA) recently released its 2011 Beer Style Guidelines. Updated annually, the guidelines currently describe 140 styles of beer and are used in prestigious beer competitions, like the Great American Beer Festival® and the World Beer Cup®.
For 2011, several beer style descriptions have been significantly updated:
- Belgo-American-Style Ales
- Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin/Oud Red
- German Bock
- Rye Beer
Additionally, two beer styles have been renamed. American-Style Sour Ale is now known as American-Style Brett Ale, and its description has been significantly revised. American-Style Black Ale is the new name for American-Style India Black Ale, and it too has updated style guidelines.
Since 1979 the BA has provided beer style descriptions as a reference for brewers and beer competition organizers. The beer style guidelines developed by the BA use sources from the commercial brewing industry, beer analyses, and consultations with beer industry experts and knowledgeable beer enthusiasts as resources for information. Much of the early work was based on the assistance and contributions of beer journalist Michael Jackson. For 2011, revisions were aided by over 150 comments and suggestions from Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup judges, as well as other beer industry members.
“These guidelines help to illustrate the growth of craft brewers in the United States and also offer insight and a foundation for helping appreciate the hundreds of beer types brewed for the beer lover,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association.
The 2011 Beer Style Guidelines are available for download in the Publications section of BrewersAssociation.org.