Field House California Common: Am I a lager or an ale?

We live in an era of confusion, irony, and hypocrisy. Desiring deep interpersonal relationships while fixated by handheld devices. Applauding simplicity, yet driven by stuff. Liking the pictures of Instagrammers in the great outdoors while binge watching Netflix (sometimes while in the great outdoors).

Turn the clock back 150 years.

Here we find a simpler time. An era of relationships constructed from conversation and penned letters. When the outdoors was the big screen. When binge reading ruled the day – if you had access to books that is. A time when brewing beer was heavily influence by your natural environment, a bit of good fortune, and ingenuity.

Imagine the challenges faced brewing beer in the late 1800’s? Clean, cool water supply? Sterile equipment? Reliable heat source? Thermometers and gravity gauges? Dependable kegs, or bottles? Oh my goodness!!!!

Today it’s easy. Go to your local home brewing shop, grab the equipment, and a kit. Pick up some filtered water, and fill the propane tank on the way home. In a few hours the worts in the fermenter, soon you’ll be throwing it in a refrigerator to chill before cracking it open and watching the big game.

For the Common Man

Brewing beer back in the good old days was a challenge to say the least. Ales, being the easier of the two species of beer to brew, were common place. Primarily because they ferment quicker, and ale yeasts generally enjoy room temperature to do their thing. Lagers, on the other hand require a whole lot more TLC as the bottom fermenting yeast does its work in cooler temperatures over a longer period of time.

Some creative brewers in San Francisco, California used what little environmental controls they had (aka. cool wind off the ocean) to brew a beer using the lager yeast they were used to while employing ale techniques. Also called steam beer, the wort was brought to the roof top to cool in large open vats with the ocean breeze creating huge billows of steam. Tody this style of beer is popular with home brewing enthusiasts, and even has its own competition beer category known as California Common.

The name California Common comes from it being a beer for the common man. It was relatively inexpensive to brew, making it more affordable.

The Brew

20180118_182406Building on last year’s successful launch of a California Common, Field House’s head brewer Parker Reid, tweaked a few things (sans coldship) and brought it back as a seasonal offering for 2018.

The Details: Common, 5.5% ABV, 25 IBU

The Pour: Beautifully rich, clear and clean deep amber, with a short fluffy white head, settling to a nice thin layer.

The Smell: Reminds me so much of home brewing. Sweet rich malts with almost negligible hoppy aromas.

The Swig: Sweet, malty and moderately bitter all at the same time. Ends off bitter but that fades quite quickly. It is a bit fizzy to the palate. Reminiscent of a heavier malted and hopped German lager.

WIBTA?: For sure. I’ve been a big fan of their Salted Black Porter, and Dutch Pale Ale, but I’m thinking this would be that all around, any time of day sort of beer. If you’re new to craft beer, may I suggest giving this a try. It’s got all of the qualities of a craft beer in an easy drinking format.

The Closing Notes


A pleasant taste, moderate bitterness, and clean finish make it verifiably a beer for the common man or woman. Good job.

Where do I find this amazing beverage? Go to the link on their website showing various stockists around the province or visit Field House in person. I highly recommend visiting them in person as they have a nice food menu, great atmosphere, and a fine selection of beers to choose from for enjoying on premises, filling a growler, or bottles from the fridge.

Well that’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… Cheers!

*WIBTA is where I ask myself “Would I Buy This Again?”


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