Monday, 1 March 2010

Year in Beer 2010 - Common Conspiracy

Students of style will already have accessed the various databanks and followed the blogs that detail the history and specifications for every beer under the sun, including Californian Common Ale. For *my* reader however, I'll summate, from memory, the salient points necessary to pass muster in the pub this month.

Gold rush days, West Coast United States. It's the mid-nineteenth century and California is teeming with prospectors and associated traders, including of course, brewers. Many involved are recent immigrants from Europe and bring with them their brewing yeasts and techniques developed in cooler climes where facilities are suited to the production of the new fangled, bottom fermented pale beers stored (lagered) in caves to the point of delicious maturity.

But this climate is warmer and ice a rare and prohibitively expensive commodity. What to do? By building broad and shallow fermenting vessels the cunning brewers allow the heat of fermentation to dissipate quickly and, though temperatures are more akin to top fermenting ale regimes, tasty and consistent beer is produced. This lager/ale cross-over is brewed extremely quickly and drunk fresh before ambient temperatures cause spoilage.

Today's Common Ale is typified by the use of German 'Northern Brewer' hops to impart a straightforward, crisp and clean bitterness with flavours of fresh grass, mint and a little wood. We used some German grains for fun (and for a juicy amber maltiness) and chucked in a small amount of West Coast grown citrusy hops for balance.


Pale amber, unapologetically bitter and deliciously drinkable.
Available in the usual quality licensed establishments across East Kent from today. While stocks last.

5 comments:

O said...

I swear that your descriptive powers could make something brewed from a heap of my discarded socks sound inviting. Fortunately I know that your brewing abilities actually exceed your prosaic prowess and so I'll be off in search of a Common Conspiracy just as soon as I can...

Brock said...

Me too.
Fascinating links with lots of stuff I should read to broaden my mind about stuff that I normally just guzzle to broaden my girth.
I'm intrigued by the small print on the pump badge though. What's an 'ESP collaboration' ?

Gadds Beers Hop said...

Owster - in the 70's it was common parlance to refer to 'running' beers (those brewed with the more economical grade of ingredients) as being brewed from 'old biscuits and bus tickets'. Some companies still do.

Brock - ESP: eddie, steve and phil. We collaborate on some recipe formulation.

Brock said...

Well I've happened across more than a couple of pints of CC in local parts this week and enjoyed it immensely. A pleasingly rich depth of flavour for a pale(ish) ale.
One thing that's bothering me though is the apparent difficulty bar staff are having in the orientation of your pump badges. I think you'll need to put a 'this way up' arrow on the back to protect your corporate image.

beersay said...

I tried this last night, one of the best beers I've had in quite a while. Nice one