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  • Writer's picturePaige Latham Didora

california common + thunderstorm

My day felt a bit like California, if only for a few hours. Lazy bike ride to work (where I only had to stay for one hour), a date with Sherlock Homes via my Kindle on an abnormally large beach towel at Cedar Lake, and finally climbing at Vertical Endeavors with my friends Shan and Helen (newlyweds!). That sounds like the West Coast, right?

Anchor Steam Bottle

So when I got my Thai takeout after climbing, I thought I would delve into a California Common.

California Common is listed in BJCP category 7 – Amber Hybrid Beers, with the altbier.

The flavor is defined as follows: “Moderately malty with a pronounced hop bitterness. The malt character is usually toasty (not roasted) and caramelly. Low to moderately high hop flavor, usually showing Northern Brewer qualities (woody, rustic, minty). Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a lingering hop bitterness and a firm, grainy malt flavor. Light fruity esters are acceptable, but otherwise clean.” – BJCP

California Common has characteristically high carbonation, and this is where the nickname “steam” comes from. Historically when the kegs were opened, they would make a hissing sound like a steamboat. These days, only Anchor Steam can print this term on their beer; the term “steam” is proprietary. Other beers in this category are still casually referred to as “steam”, however.

Anchor Steam has an earthy aroma which comes from the Northern Brewer hops. The head is fluffy and long-lasting. The taste fits squarely into the guideline – the malts are toasty and forward, and while the hops are serious they aren’t too aggressive. The bitterness is earthy and slightly herbal.

Anchor Steam Pour

I have to say that the spring rolls went very well with Anchor Steam!

I kid you not, as I am writing this I learned that Thai food and peanuts are listed as great pairings for California Common. Complete dumb luck.

Next time you bring home Thai food, try a California Common. The beer also goes well with a major thunderstorm and nearby tornado warnings, although I doubt that lends much to the experience.



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