San Francisco, CA — A nationwide celebration hosted by the independent craft brewers shaping America’s exceptional beer scene into what it is today, American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) takes place for the 12th year in a row from May 15 – 21, 2017. Brewers across all 50 states host exclusive events spotlighting the incredible ingenuity happening within America’s rich beer culture. At ThirstyBear Organic Brewery in San Francisco, Founding Brewmaster Ron Silberstein and Brewmaster Brenden Dobel pay tribute to the golden era of mid-19th Century California with an innovative 2017 twist with the release of three new draught beers brewed with the San Francisco indigenous yeast strain “California Common.”
Throughout American Craft Beer Week 2017, ThirstyBear offers a special tasting flight of CALIFORNIA COMMON (AMBER LAGER), THE 49’ER (GOLDEN LAGER), and CABLE CAR IPC (INDIA PALE COMMON). The flight will be available all day (three specialty beers, 5 oz. pours, $8) from May 15 – 21.
In partnership with the California Historical Society, ThirstyBear will launch a social media contest for three lucky winners who have the chance to win a free tasting flight of the “California Common” beers for themselves and two additional friends. The contest begins on Thursday, May 4 on facebook.com/ThirstyBearOrganicBrewery and facebook.com/californiahistoricalsociety, and winners will need to correctly answer three questions pertaining to San Francisco’s famed brewing history.
Along with the tasting flight, ThirstyBear celebrates ACBW with San Francisco’s exclusive premiere of Blood, Sweat, and Beer — a documentary film about the explosive growth of the craft beer industry and the dramatic journeys of two start-up breweries. The film screening of Blood, Sweat, and Beer takes place at ThirstyBear on Saturday, May 20 at 8pm ($10: admission + one draft beer). Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.
California Common and the Origination of Steam Beer
California Common is one of five beer styles considered to be of American origin along with Cream Ale, Pre-Prohibition Lager, American Light Lager and the “Imperialized” craft brews. A specialty yeast strain fermented at higher temperatures as opposed to the typically cool fermentation of lagers, California Common is a bit like the K?lsch from Cologne or Alt from Dusseldorf in that they feature unique “ambidextrous” yeast strains. California Common beers have the cleanness of a lager with the complexity of an ale.
California Common developed in San Francisco along with the Gold Rush in 1849 with German immigrant brewers bringing their cherished lager yeast strains to sell beer to the massed gold diggers. Without the Bavarian Alps with plentiful ice and caves to store the lager, they improvised and fermented in shallow coolships allowing heat from the boiled wort to rapidly dissipate. The hot wort was pumped up to the coolships located on the roof where the cool Maritime fog caused billows of steam to rise from the breweries. Once the wort was cool enough, yeast was added to start fermentation.
The original lager yeast used by the German brewers eventually adapted to their un-lager like working conditions and higher temperatures, producing a beer with a good amount of ale-like esters, but with the dry finish of a lager (which is now considered part of the style). Although steam beer originally was brewed by multiple San Francisco breweries, by the 20th century, only one brewery remained brewing the style — Anchor Brewing Company. Shortly after Fritz Maytag acquired the brewery, Anchor trademarked the term “Steam Beer.” If a brewery now brings a steam beer style to market, it must be labeled “California Common.”
ThirstyBear Organic Brewery’s Craft Beers Brewed with San Francisco Indigenous Yeast Strain “California Common”
CALIFORNIA COMMON (AMBER LAGER)
ThirstyBear brews a true to style “California Common” fermented with the specialty yeast strain while featuring Munich and Biscuit malts for a toasty, bready flavor, along with a touch of crystal and chocolate malts for an amber color and rich malt taste. The hops Perle and Sterling are used from “Noble” heritage, which are closer to what hops would have smelled and tasted like before the rise of modern hop varietals that exhibit pine/citrus or tropical notes. Perle and Sterling are woody and spicy.
THE 49’ER (GOLDEN LAGER)
When formulating the second beer fermented with California Common yeast THE 49’ER, Brenden Dobel reminisced about the primitive, “uncivilized” condition of San Francisco in 1849 and the lack of resources available to brewers. The 49’ers and the brewers had to make the best with what they had. Unlikely to have access to specialty malts of various colors and flavors, Dobel brewed a golden beer with a simple mash bill of traditionally floor-malted British Maritime Pale Malt coupled with Perle hop for a refreshing elixir in honor of their labor.
CABLE CAR IPC (INDIA PALE COMMON)
ThirstyBear’s third exploration of the native yeast is CABLE CAR IPC, with the IPC standing for India Pale Common. CABLE CAR IPC is a spin on the other 19th Century beer style the India Pale Ale (IPA), also created under challenging conditions for the East India Trading Company. In brewing CABLE CAR IPC, Dobel plays with higher hopping rates prevalent in the modern American craft beer movement and its hop forward preferences. A solid malt bill that’s generously hopped with two American classic varietals, Cascade and Centennial, provides sumptuous pine and citrus aromas.
ThirstyBear Organic, Small Batch Beers Are Available Fresh, Only On Draught, Only At ThirstyBear!
About Blood, Sweat, and Beer
Blood, Sweat, and Beer follows a trio of 23-year-olds as they struggle to start The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company in Braddock, PA. Matt, Asa, and Brandon hope their brewery will help this once-prosperous steel town bounce back from decades of neglect, violence, and population loss. The film also tells the emotional story of Danny Robinson, a boardwalk brewery owner and restaurateur whose empire is threatened by an aggressive trademark lawsuit that could leave him penniless. Four entrepreneurs, two brand new breweries, and one ultimate goal: to quench the thirst of the craft-craving masses.
About ThirstyBear Brewing Co.
Established in 1996, ThirstyBear Organic Brewery is the first and only brewery in San Francisco to brew certified organic beer and become a certified Green Business. Born out of Founding Brewmaster Ron Silberstein’s commitment to support sustainable agriculture, ThirstyBear brews CCOF and FDA certified organic beer. ThirstyBear sources its hops and grains from the world’s most renowned malt houses and premier West Coast organic hop farms to provide innovative, distinctive and always delicious flavors. ThirstyBear pairs its hand-crafted beers with equally exquisite Spanish cuisine. Since 2002, Silberstein has collaborated with Brewmaster and Certified Cicerone Brenden Dobel to define a singular German-influenced West Coast style of brewing, with a special emphasis on pilsners, ales, IPAs, stouts, Belgian-inspired ales, cask conditioned ales, session beers, and barrel aged brews. Dobel’s expertise with German beer styles is the result of his extensive training at Doemens Brewing Academy in Munich, Germany.
As one of the first critically acclaimed Spanish tapas restaurants to open in the Bay Area, ThirstyBear’s Executive Chef Robert McCarthy serves some of the City’s top paella, tapas, charcuterie/cheese and beer pairings, flatbreads, 100% grass-fed beef burgers, and specialty dishes prepared not only with beer, but with beer’s raw ingredients (hops, malts, yeast). In addition to its constantly rotating lineup of specialty, seasonal and classic craft beers, ThirstyBear also proudly serves local wines from kegs to reduce its overall carbon footprint.
According to the Brewers Association, which keeps the most comprehensive information on craft breweries in the United States, ThirstyBear brews and serves more craft beer in-house than any other brewpub in San Francisco. ThirstyBear celebrated its 20th Anniversary in September 2016 as San Francisco’s longest operating brewery-restaurant.