The giveaway is in the name. Small batches, great beer. This example is a thoroughly American style of beer from our sky blue shores.
Uncommon Galaxy from Batch Brewing pours somewhere around a pale amber colour. The light glinting through the glass gives it a beautiful rusty tinge.
Pouring it slowly, a lively snow white head billows up the glass. It sits nice and creamy when it settles.
The aromas are subtle and quite sweet. There’s some fruity hop smell but it seems like the focus is on the bittering hops rather than the aroma hops.
This promises a beer which is nice and bitter. Although perhaps when I drank it some of the hop aroma had faded.
It’s a delightful, balanced beer which is very easy to drink and lends itself to sipping slowly. The finish is clean and dry, a bit like a lager. The bitterness promised by the aroma is there but it’s slow and subtle. Overall it’s a very refreshing beer.
There’s a little bit of fruitiness in there, including a touch of passion fruit which could possibly be from Galaxy hops, giving it an Aussie twist, though I’m not certain.
As you sip away, it leaves quite frothy lacing down the glass which looks awesome. (Seriously, in my books, good lacing gives major plus points to a beer, it just looks so damn good!)
For a 6.3% beer it goes down almost too easily. Many would call it sessionable.
It’s a very pleasant beer. I think this particular one could have been a touch fresher but it’s still tasting very nice!
A brief history of Steam ale
Steam ale, or California Common as it’s also known, is a style which is unique and original to the United States. Possibly the most famous modern example is Anchor Brewing’s Steam Beer. However, it’s not certain how similar this is to the steam ales of the 19th and early 20th century.
Traditionally Steam ale was brewed with lager yeast but fermented at higher temperatures than usual for a lager.
There are a few suggestions as to where the steam ale name comes from.
For some it’s due to the traditional high pressure brewing processes where brewers would have to let off steam from their equipment before dispensing the beer.
Others, including Anchor Brewing, suggest it comes from chilling the very hot wort (beer liquid before it’s fermented) in the cold air on the roof of the brewery, where steam would rise from it.
There’s also an explanation that it comes from an older style of German ale, the name of which literally translates to steam beer.
Regardless of the origin, it’s now known as an incredible popular and uniquely American style of beer.
With the California Common, there’s a few ways you can drink it. (As long as you enjoy it!) I drank mine from a small, narrow pilsner glass. Although a variety of pint glasses would work too.
I only chose this glass because I like drinking lager style beers from it, and it’s small enough to allow me to sit with the 640ml bottle, taking my time over it and pouring it a few times.
Beer style: California Common / Steam Ale
Bottled on: 21/04/2015
Pair with: Tex-Mex
Batch Uncommon Galaxy isn’t made anymore but if you managed to get hold of it, let me know what you thought in the comments.