The Brewers Association has released the 2012 Beer Style Guidelines which gets updated every year. The guidelines currently describe 140 styles of beer and are used the Great American Beer Festival® and the World Beer Cup & more.
For this year, a new beer style has been added: the Indigenous Beer Category. The description:
“at least one regional combination of ingredients and/or techniques must be unique and differentiated from ingredients and/or techniques commonly used by brewers throughout the world…Examples of indigenous beers might include current day versions of highly regional and/or historic styles which are not represented elsewhere in these guidelines, such as Finnish-style sahti, South American chicha, African sorghum based beers, and others.” For competitions, brewers will provide 100-word descriptions of why their entry is relevant to the category, to aid judges in their evaluation.
Beers like Dogfish Head’s Urkontinent and Pangea come to mind. You might even be able to find Odell Brewing’s new Footprint Ale in the category too. The full Press Release is available here. The 35 page outline can be downloaded from the Brewers Association site, or by right clicking the guidelines link. [BA 2012 Style Guidelines]