Tap Tidbits : 6/2/15
Vermont’s Take on a California Common
This week’s Tap Tidbits topic is brought to you by Simple Roots ‘Burlington Common’
The California Common (aka Steam Beer) originated in San Francisco during the gold rush of the late 1800s. It was originally known as a cheap, low quality beer that was the drink of choice for blue collared workers. However, in the early 1980s, Anchor Brewing Co. polished up the style’s image and transformed it into a respectable brew that is high in carbonation with a malty essence and aggressive hop flavors and aromas. They also patented the name “Steam Beer”, so for all other breweries, California Common is the name of the game.
Its “hybrid beer” status came more from happenstance than from a brewer’s well planned and thought-out desires. A lager yeast was used, due to its popularity at the time and it’s familiarity to German immigrant brewers. Yet due to the lack of refrigeration, the lager yeasts were treated like ale yeasts and brewed at a very high temperature. Hence the term “hybrid”.
As for the name “steam beer”, Anchor claims that during production a constant cloud of steam billowed out from the brewery because of an open air cooling technique which they employed. The locals referred to it as “the steam beer” and the name stuck.
If this Tap Tidbit has peaked your interest in this truly American brew, then saddle up and head over to Guild Tavern this Tuesday for half priced draft night and enjoy one for yourself.
Simple Roots ‘Burlington Common’ (16 oz. 4.5%) $3 on Tuesday!