Review – Steamers Lane Lager from Uncommon Brewers

Certain ingredients can overwhelm a beer. And a beer like a California Common lager is especially at risk of being lost to a potent ingredient like lavender blossoms. So I was curious to see if Uncommon Brewers has succeeded or not with their Steamers Lane lager….
I think the can design is lovely, especially the ragged top of the label and the color scheme. The color is right in the Cali Common spectrum and the lavender is light,which is good because it can be too much even in small doses. The dominant note in the flavor thoug is apple cider. There is a really nice crispness that balances with the malt notes and a nice British bitter aroma as well. But in the end it doesn’t quite work for me. It tastes a little old and I would like a bit more spice to work with the lavender.

City Beer Store


I stumbled upon this wonderful store when I was passing through San Francisco. Over 300 different bottles of really great stuff. I purchased Siamese Twin from Uncommon Brewers, some obscure Norwegian beer with spruce tips and the seldom seen Kriek from New Belgium. And if that is not enough, you can sit and have tastes while you are there!

There should be a place like this in every city worth its salt.

Craft Beer Fest LA

Yesterday was the 1st of hopefully many more to come of the Craft Beer Fest Los Angeles. I was there as both fan and volunteer from 2pm to 10pm so this will be a longer than usual post so find a comfortable chair. I will break it up into sections to make for easier reading.

Section 1 – The beer!!

Not a bad brewery in the bunch. And most importantly for me, new stuff that I really wanted to try plus new stuff from some of my old favorites. Here is what I had…..
1. Siamese Twin from Uncommon Brewers
Light golden ale, very different fruity taste to it. This beer really grew on me.
2. Automatic # 1 from Blind Lady Ales
Light Belgian ale. Had a bit of a tinny taste to me. A little astringent.
3. Scotch Isle from Craftsman
Very nice. Dark and malty. Not my favorite style of beer but this is well done.
4. Black IPA from Stone
Very good. I love IPA’s and this is an excellent beer.
5. Golden State from Uncommon Brewers
Hazy color. Light and flavorful. Great on a summer day.
6. Cuvee Jeune from The Bruery
Had this at Blue Palms a week ago and had to get some more. Excellent sour taste.
7. IPA from Hangar 24
Another really solid IPA. Not a hop bomb but citrusy and not too acidic.
8. Warm Water Wheat from Port Brewing
This was a really good banany hefeweizen. I hope they bottle this it is one I would like to have more of.

What I didn’t get to try and wanted to..
TAPS – Belgian White (which was really popular)
Port Brewing – Pig Dog Pale Ale

Section 2 – The Beer Panel
Moderated by Christina Perozzi with Mark Jilg from Craftsman, Ryan Sweeney from The Verdugo, Larry James from Wine Warehouse, Steve Grossman from Sierra Nevada and Victor Novak from TAPS Brewery.

Quite the interesting cross section of the beer community. They were all quite optimistic and passionate about making craft beer and where we are compared to the past and where we may end up.
It was so heartening to hear what they were saying and I wish they could have gone on longer. One thing that I took away was that there seemed to be a feeling that it was inevitable that craft beer would do to BMC (BudMillerCoors) what Starbucks did to Folgers. To that I say Amen!

Section 3 – Behind the Bar

All I can say is, I had great fun being behind the bar. I had never done it before and I am sure it showed but it was great to hand beer over to the smiling faces on the other side. It was not long before I was sweating from avoiding fellow volunteers and going all the way from one side of the bar and back with four beers trying hard not to spill. Thanks to Kevin, Alex, Liz, Bob and Ben for allowing a rookie to help out.

Section 4 – Who was there
Jeremy from Eagle Rock Brewery
Tomm from the Celebrator
Tony from Craftsman
Joel from 826LA
Patrick from The Bruery

All in all a really great time. If you weren’t here this year plan on it next year.

Uncommon Brewers

Uncommon Brewers is a community-oriented organic microbrewery based in Santa Cruz. Incorporating traditional Belgian brewing techniques, cutting-edge innovation from the modern West Coast, and grounded in the principles of sustainability voiced by the Slow Food Movement, Uncommon Brewer’s goal is to make uncommon beers for uncommon people.

Their beers include:
Golden State Ale – a golden ale made with poppy seeds
Baltic Porter – brewed with anise
Siamese Twin – a Belgian double made with coriander, kaffir lime & lemongrass