California Common Lager is a style that is not very well known in New Zealand; a fact we’d like to change, so we are putting it on the map. The most well known example of the California Common Lager style beer is Anchor Steam, an icon in its own right. The California Common Lager beer became popular with the working class during the California gold rush. Also referred to as ‘steam beer’ because at the time in lieu of refrigeration, large shallow open fermenters (coolships) were traditionally used to take advantage of cool ambient temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. The beer itself is a lager, using a lager yeast, but it is fermented at a warmer temperature, at the low end of ale ferments, which delivers a clean, yet distinct tasting beer.
These days, Cali Common lagers are defined around the flagship example of the style by Anchor Steam. The style is somewhat similar to an American Amber Ale but due to specific malt and hop choices delivers a slightly toasty malt profile and a more distinct hop presence than traditional lager beers. The hop of choice for Cali Common Lagers is Northern Brewer which brings a rustic, woody quality, delivering a beer that finishes dry and firm.
Our rendition of a California Common Lager is Anchors Aweigh, a beer we introduced in 2017 and has now made our seasonal lineup. This subtle yet distinct lager has won an award at the 2018 New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards and even though it’s not a well-known style, we aim to introduce it to a wider audience. With a name like that we couldn’t help but bring it back in 2021 as a good luck charm for Team NZ in the America’s Cup. And guess what? It worked!
Check it out at selected craft beer bars around the city and let us know what you think! Check us out on Untappd too!