For an overview of the world’s beer, mead and cider styles, America’s Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) offers a comprehensive style guide through its website, bjcp.org, and free iPhone app, BJCP styles.
As BJCP exists to train and certify beer judges, the guide uses brewing jargon liberally and assumes some knowledge of beer – so it helps to Google the terms. But even if you don’t, the guide still delivers a clear overall impression, history and commercial examples of 23 major beer families.
These include pilsner, bock, English and American pale ale, porter, stout, India pale ale, German and Belgian wheat beers and specialties like fruit, spice and smoked beers.
The section on mead may attract fewer readers. But the overview of apple and pear cider styles seems pertinent given their exploding popularity in Australia.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 26 October 2011 in The Canberra Times