I think there should be other styles there. How does that happen?

We added eight new styles in the 2004 edition of the Style Guidelines. Here is how that process worked. We looked at entry data for the Specialty Beer category for several competitions and identified some common styles. We also looked at styles that were described in reference sources (such as Michael Jackson’s books) and that were commonly available in the US. We also looked at industry trends and innovations, and tried to accommodate some of the more popular styles. This gave us a list of potential styles. The Style Committee voted on each member of the list, and we selected eight for inclusion.

Once the styles were identified, we then entered the detailed research phase. We looked for authoritative reference sources describing the styles (again, Michael Jackson’s books, AHA Style Series books, etc.—the types of books referenced in the BJCP Exam Study Guide). We also collected as many commercial examples as we could and took structured tasting notes. We chose good commercial examples, and tried to research these beers. Statistics from labeling, brewery web sites, or published literature led to the style parameters. Structured tasting notes, compared against descriptions in reference literature, led to the range of descriptors found in the Guidelines.

We do encourage members to research and submit new styles. If you want to provide such a style, we ask that you put your writeup in our standard format using this Style Template. Post it in the BJCP Forums and it will get peer reviewed. If it looks good, we might post it on our web site as a provisional style and include it in a subsequent release of the Style Guidelines.

If we have a repository of provisional style descriptions posted on our web site, then brewers will be able to print out a standardized description of a style and include it with their beer when they submit it to competitions. This will provide information to judges in a familiar format, and will encourage the styles to be used and improved by the homebrewing and judging community. Provisional styles will likely be entered in the Specialty Beer category, but use the printed descriptions from the web site.