Monday, July 9, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

... make beer.

That certainly could be the motto of Port City Brewing. When last week's derecho knocked out their power, the Alexandria brewery had 13,000 gallons of beer fermenting, and no way to keep it cool. The company acquired a generator and saved the beer, but it turned out that one batch fermented a little warmer than planned.
[Brewery founder Bill Butcher] says one batch of lager beer - roughly 120 kegs worth - fermented differently than the brewers originally intended. 
"It turns out that there's actually a style of beer called 'California common beer' or 'steam beer' that is intentionally fermented this way, and so our lager beer will end up being a California common beer," Butcher says. "We're going to call it 'Derecho Common.'" 
The beer will be available on draft only in the brewery's tasting room and in restaurants and bars around the D.C. area that were affected by the storm. 
"From what we can tell, the beer is developing nicely, the flavors are going to be great, and we'll get it out in early August," Butcher says.

California Common, or Steam Beer, is created by fermenting lager yeasts at warmer temperatures. The most commonly known beer in this style is Anchor Steam from the Anchor Brewing Company. The term "Steam Beer" is copyrighted by the California brewery so other beers in this style are referred to as  "California Common."

See "Local beermaker brews derecho-inspired beverage" for more on Port City's handling of the storm.


  1. Once upon a time beer fermented just fine without electronic marvels. Good they were able to take advantage of the situation.

    1. And I'm hoping I'm in the area to try it when it's ready !


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