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B e e r

A portal dedicated to beer


Selected article

Steam beer may be defined as a highly effervescent beer made by brewing lager yeasts at ale fermentation temperatures. It has two distinct but related meanings:
  • Historic steam beer, by all accounts bad-tasting, produced in California from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s;
  • Modern California Common beer, the official name for the beer family which includes Anchor Steam® beer.

Historic steam beer, associated with San Francisco and the U. S. West Coast, was brewed with lager yeast without the use of refrigeration. It was an improvised process, originating out of necessity, perhaps as early as the Gold Rush. It was considered a cheap and low-quality beer, as shown by references to it in literature of the 1890s and 1900s.

Modern steam beer, properly known in the brewing community as California Common beer, was originated by Anchor Brewing Company, which trademarked the name Anchor Steam® Beer in 1981. Although the modern company has corporate continuity with a small brewery which was still making traditional steam beer in the 1950s, Anchor Steam beer is a craft-brewed lager. The company does not claim any close similarity between it and turn-of-the-century steam beer.

Explanations of the word "steam" are all speculative. The carbon dioxide pressure produced by the process was very high, and one possibility is that it was necessary to let off "steam" before attempting to dispense the beer. According to the Anchor Brewing Company, the name "steam" came from the fact that the brewery had no way to effectively chill the boiling wort using traditional means. So they pumped the hot wort up to large, shallow, open-top bins on the roof of the brewery so that it would be rapidly chilled by the cool air blowing in off the Pacific Ocean. Thus while brewing, the brewery had a distinct cloud of steam around the roof let off by the wort as it cooled, hence the name.

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Selected person

Frederick Pabst
B. 28 March 1836 – d. 1 January 1904

Frederick Pabst was a German-American businessman who ran the Best Brewing Company, which was later renamed as the Pabst Brewing Company.

He was born in Saxony, Germany, but in 1848, he emigrated with his parents to Chicago. There he became, first a hotel waiter, then a cabin-boy on a Lake Michigan steamer. Eventually, he became a captain of one of these vessels. In this last capacity, he met a German, Phillip Best, the owner of a small but prosperous brewery founded in 1844 in Milwaukee, and married his daughter.

In 1862, Pabst was taken into partnership in his father-in-law's brewery and began to study the details of the business. After obtaining a thorough mastery of the art of brewing, Pabst turned his attention to extending the market for the beer and before long had raised the output of the Best brewery to 100,000 barrels a year. The brewery was eventually converted into a public company and its capital repeatedly increased in order to cope with the continually increasing trade. He became president of the corporation in 1873. Later, the brewing company's name was changed to the Pabst Brewing Company.

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Selected brewery

Primo Schincariol is a South American brewery and beverage maker based in Brazil. As of 2004, Schincariol became the largest Brazilian owned brewery, gaining this title after Ambev (Brahma e Antarctica) merged with the Belgian Interbrew. There are eight Schincariol breweries around Brazil, being the headquarters situated at the city of Itu, state of São Paulo. The company produces about 2,5 billion litres of beer a year, and exports its products to the Mercosul, Europe, United States and Asia. By 2005, it had 14% of the beer market share in Brazil.

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Selected beer

Red Stripe lager
Produced by Desnoes & Geddes Limited

Red Stripe is a Jamaican lager-style beer brewed by Desnoes & Geddes Limited. The first Red Stripe was brewed in the Surry Brewery in 1928, an ale style beer that was too heavy to suit local preferences. The current lager formulation was first produced in 1938 from a recipe developed by Paul H. Geddes and Bill Martindale. The modern brewery was opened at Hunt's Bay in 1958. In 1993, 51 percent ownership in Desnoes & Geddes Limited was purchased by Guinness Brewing Worldwide, now Diageo, an acquisition that has significantly increased the international distribution of Red Stripe. A new Red Stripe Light has also been added which is brewed in Jamaica and bottled in the Guinness facilities in Stamford, Connecticut.

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Selected quote

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
— Ben Franklin


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Terrapin Brewing Co. Rye Squared Imperial Pale Ale
Credit: Joe

Terrapin Brewing Co. Rye Squared Imperial Pale Ale

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