Steam Beer - also known as California Common - was born of necessity in the 1840’s California Gold Rush. It is a hybrid beer fermented with special lager yeast at ale fermentation temperatures.
Along with the huge number of fortune hunters in the massive migration to California following the news of gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill, there came many men with less of an interest in gold than they had in starting businesses to meet the miners’ needs. Knowing that life without beer would be impossible for the miners, brewers also headed west in the migrations of 1849.
In the years preceding the gold rush the “lager revolution” swept across the American brewing world, so most of these brewers were firm believers in lagering beer and brought lager yeast strains with on the migration. To their dismay these yeast strains were not suited to the prevailing conditions. The temperate climate; primitive equipment; lack of ice for cooling; and mechanical refrigiration being out of the question made true lagering impossible.
Fortunately the yeasts mutated rapidly and brewers realised that fermentation in flat open tanks resolved the problems they were facing.
Gallows Hill Old Steamer is brewed using the methods developed on the American west coast using natural local and imported ingredients. The grain bill consists of South African 2-row and imported Crystal Barley, while a combination of Southern Promise & Northern Brewer hops fill in the flavour profile.
The beer has a rich malt character, caramel colour and a dry finish with firm hop bittering for balance.