I, like most people, have only ever had one "Common Ale" before and it's Anchor Steam. California Common isn't a style of beer many brewers do, in fact, you could say it's ...uncommon. Lame jokes aside, I don't know why California Commons aren't more readily available. Perhaps it has something to do with the popularity of Anchor Steam, it's a nice beer and one that has definitely defined it's style. If someone sells you a Common Ale and it doesn't taste like Anchor Steam you might not get many repeat customers. That being said, I'm anxious to try this Tippecanoe Common Ale from Indiana. Will it taste like Anchor Steam? Will it matter?
This bottle of L'Affriolante is a stowaway from a recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska. I hadn't ever heard of Le Bilboquet Microbrasserie before since they aren't distributed in any of the states I've been two in recent memory, so I figured I'd bring something back with me. The label on this beer says it is a beer brewed with honey and spices, which is all anyone ever needs to say if they want to sell me a couple bottles of beer. The bottle itself is a 500ml portly brown bottle with a dark red label, it's elegantly different without being terribly unique.
Weyerbacher is a brewery I saw on a lot of shelves when I was living in Delaware this summer but I never bothered to pick up any bottles of their beer. It's nothing personal, I just never got around to it. I'd like to think it didn't have anything to do with the packaging, but these labels are notoriously low budget... It looks like these labels were crafted from the finest clip art galleries available to a community college graphic design student in 1997. Labels don't have any effect on the flavor of the beer, but they might be the deciding factor for someone who isn't familiar with the Weyerbacher name.
TWO DOLLARS. TWO. DOLLARS. That's right, two dollars is all it costs to take home 22 ounces of Mission St. Brown Ale. Well, the sticker price is actually $1.99, but whatever... This is the cheapest bomber I've ever seen, cheaper than Stone and even cheaper than Lagunitas. I don't make a point to drink the cheapest beer on the shelf but I've had a couple really good Mission St. beers and figured I couldn't pass up this Brown Ale. I mean, $2 for a bottle of beer that's (more or less) brewed by Firestone Walker? That's just crazy cheap...
Stillwater Artisanal and De Struise are two brewers I've had very little from. In the past year I've seen a lot of Stillwater beers pop up on shelves at different liquor stores everywhere I've traveled. It turns out Stillwater, like Mikkeller, doesn't have a brewery of their own, so their beers are all collaborations that are brewed at a someone else's brewery. De Struise is a Belgian craft brewer that I've heard a lot of great things about but I've only had one of two beers that have carried their label. I'm excited to try this beer, but I'm not entirely sure what to expect... after all, the bottle just says it's a 10% ABV Belgian ale that was brewed with barley, oats, wheat, rye, hops, sugar and yeast. So, a lot of stuff, but nothing crazy.