This is a snapshot from waaaay back, over Memorial Day weekend. Cleveland friend Pete brewed some beer from the 19th century called Common Ale. He wrote an article about it awhile back, which you can read here, but May was the first time I got to taste it for myself.
A few evenings previous to sipping this beer, I had Ukranian food with The Alaskans, who have been been getting into beer drinking and brewing. Alaska Chris explained to me all the vocabulary used to describe the flavors of beer, things like biscuity and grapefruity. These flavors are generally created through various combinations of hops. But I imagned these terms to mean things like “grapfruit-like,” something with citrus notes, as opposed to actually like a grapefruit.
And then I tasted the common ale. It tasted just like grapfruit. Not in an extremely strong why, like straight up grapefruit juice. Not like some girly beer with grapefruit juice. But like grapefruit beer. It was amazing, delicious, and refreshing. I could never imagine that a combination of hops could deliver a flavor so close to an actual grapefruit..
If you’re a home brewer, I recommend taking a look at Pete’s recipe. The common ale is a great summertime beer: light and infinitely drinkable. It takes less than a month to brew, so you can sip it before summer’s end!
Update: Notes on the ingredients from Pete!
7lbs. American 2-Row Malt (Organic if you can afford it) If you’re an extract brewer, 4.5# of light dry malt extract would work just fine.
3lbs. Flaked Maize.
3oz. Liberty Hops.
California Common Lager Yeast — Wyeasts’ number is 2112 and ferments cleaner than White Labs’ yeast.