Pacific Standard California Common

The next brew is a quintessential San Francisco style: the California Common. Typified by the iconic Anchor Steam, the beer uses a hybrid ale/lager yeast and, most commonly, Northern Brewer hops to create a hoppy, light amber ale with a mildly fruity, crisp finish.

6.0 lb (75.0%) American 2-row - added during mash
1 lb (12.5%) Munich Malt - added during mash
.5 lb (6.2%) Victory® Malt - added during mash
.25 lb (3.1%) Crystal Malt 40°L - added during mash
.25 lb (3.1%) Crystal Malt 20°L - added during mash

Hop schedule:
1 oz (100.0%) Northern Brewer (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m

1.0 ea White Labs WLP810 San Francisco Lager

Pacific Standard is the first batch I’ve brewed that comes anywhere close to a lager—even if, flavor-wise, it’s closer to an ale. Fermented at the higher end of the yeast’s recommended temperature, the would-be the clean, crisp finish comes across a bit softer and rounder.

Poured into a pint glass, Pacific Standard is a mildly hazy amber color with a dense one-and-a-half finger white head that sticks around as a tight cap and leaves a bit of lacing. The aroma is of woody hops with notes of bread-like malt. The taste starts with a bit of malt sweetness quickly followed by earthy, herbal (but clean) hop character that lingers into a bitter, slightly fruity finish with a touch of hop astringency. It’s well-carbonated and has a medium body.
Anchor Steam (L) & Pacific Standard (R)
Side-by-side with a glass of Anchor Steam, it’s hard to tell the two apart (outside of a bit of chill haze in the Pacific Standard). The taste is pretty close, too—though the Anchor has a crisper finish.

So is Pacific Standard a perfect Anchor clone? Not quite. But it is a very solid rendition of this commercially-illusive style, and one I’ll definitely brew again.

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