It’s fairly safe to say there have never been as many beer styles produced and sold by American brewers as there are today and one of the problems restaurant operators face is that customers right now are frequently more knowledgeable than serving staff. That makes it hard to gain props when trying to build a solid beer reputation, and slows the ability to convert customers into fans.
Now, the Brewers Association has another tool that can help. The craft beer styles guide, found here, showcases each beer style in a variety of ways. With lots of photos that provide visual representations of all the styles, the guide lets users sort them by color, bitterness, alcohol and flavor. The interactive beer glass images launch a dedicated page for each style, offering an overview of color, appearance, aroma and sensations, along with recommended food pairings, proper glassware, suggested serving temperature and commercial brand examples. The guide is accompanied by an introduction video and a concise tasting sheet.
For those who want to dive deeper, an extensive text guide uses an alphabetical list of triggers—from alcohol to yeast variety—to help describe possible characteristics of a specific beer style. “At CraftBeer.com we aim to provide beer lovers with exactly what they want to know,” said Julia Herz, publisher of CraftBeer.com and craft beer program director at the Brewers Association. “One of the best things about beer is the amazing variety of styles. From the beer beginner to geek from chefs to foodies alike these guidelines are presented in a groundbreaking new format designed for easy reference.”
The guides, the result of a two-year review of the top beer styles being made in the U.S. cross referenced with both Brewers Association and the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, examines 77 common U.S. beer styles inside of 15 style families, with unique information added specifically with the beer lover in mind.
These tools, increasingly available as craft beer extends its importance in restaurants, won’t do the trick all on their own. But savvy operators will quickly find a way to use these and other brew tools to train and test their servers on their ability to tell an imperial stout from an IPA, and to keep them on the top of their beer game.