Evolving GABF Style Guidelines

The Brewers Association has new style guidelines out, and in a couple weeks, I will return to them for some more meaty analysis.  For the moment, have a look for yourself (.pdf).  There are some significant changes to the methodology to go along with the usual adjustments and additions. 
  • There are now more "American-style" beers listed than beers from any other national origin.
  • There are 35 subtypes listed under the catch-all "hybrid" category, more than lager subtypes (30)
  • Bamberg gets a lot of love: four subtypes reference the city.  (No other city, including Munich, is listed more than twice)
  • Countries now referenced as origin points for styles: England, Scotland, Ireland, US, Germany, France, Belgium, Poland, Netherlands, Australia, Czech Republic, Austria (sort of--Vienna lager), and Japan--plus "Baltic-style," "Australasian," "Latin American," and "indigenous."

Australasian for bee-ahr.
The last thing I'll leave you with is this statement in the preamble to the rules.  It is, more than anything else, a distillation of the American view of brewing.  I have no problem with that as far as it goes--each country has very different brewing philosophies--but because the GABF and World Beer Cup are so influential, I do despair that this view should infect the thinking beyond our shores.
Each style description is purposefully written independently of any reference to another beer style. Furthermore, as much as it is possible, beer character is not described in terms of ingredients or process. These guidelines attempt to emphasize final evaluation of the product and try not to judge or regulate the formulation or manner in which it was brewed, except in special circumstances that clearly define a style.

Go have a look and share your thoughts.