Frisco, a California Common Beer

Brewery News

By: Dominic Driscoll

Meet Frisco

Frisco is our first interpretation of a California Common, the only native beer style to come out of the Bear State.  This is a so-called ‘hybrid’ brew – basically a lager fermented at warm ‘ale’ temperatures.  The best known example, first brewed in 1896, is Anchor Steam, brewed by the Anchor Steam Brewing Company in San Francisco.  Before modern ‘craft beer’ took off in the UK, this was one of the only ‘foreign’ craft beers you could find in bar fridges and was thus quite a few people’s first taste of what American beer could be like.

Here at Thornbridge, we have several different yeasts working away at any one time, depending on what we’re brewing at the moment.  For Frisco, we use our house lager strain, which we ferment our Helles Lager, Lukas with, but instead of a long, cold fermentation at 9C, the primary fermentation takes place at 18C.   This warm ferment gives the beer a light fruitiness, but it’s still definitely recognisable as a clean lager style.

The malt bill is pretty simple, just Maris Otter, Munich malt and Caramalt to give body and a touch of malty sweetness.  We decided to use this malt base to showcase an experimental hop variety from the US – Yakima HBC 522. It’s a brilliant new addition to the our hop store; not as pungent as Mosaic or Citra but with a distinctive piney, citrus character that works really well in this beer.  We didn’t want the late hop addition to overpower everything; Frisco is still a lager of sorts and we are aiming for drinkability with this style – but it definitely complements and balances the beer nicely with a genuinely modern twist.

As for the tasting notes, I’d say Frisco is burnished gold in colour, with a playful citrus aroma on the nose, followed by a crisp, dry finish – ideal for easy drinking.

Dominic Driscoll, Production Manager


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