I was getting ready to leave Taco Mac one fine Thursday evening when I heard the server at the table next to us utter those magic words, “We just tapped a keg of….”. Now, I’m going to tell you what they tapped a keg of as I was in the process of polishing off my mug of Anchor Flying Cloud Stout. But you’re going to have to work for it, first.
OK, not that hard. It was Southern Tier 2X Steam Double Uncommon. Southern Tier has made a reputation on imperial beers, but to be honest, none have ever intrigued me as much as this one did. California Common beers are rarely produced by American brewers, but a double Steam beer? That was a beer I simply had to try. In fact, Southern Tier calls this a “double uncommon” seasonal beer.
If you’ve ever had Anchor Steam Beer, then you’ve had California Common beer. It’s the classic example of the style, and this one wonders that Southern Tier hasn’t been sued yet over the use of the term” Anchor defends it vigorously. The name “steam” is derived from the fermentation process. The style is fermented with lager yeast but at ale temperatures. This throws off a lot of carbonation, so much in fact that the beer was said to “steam”.
Southern Tier 2X Steam is brewed following the original process, but with a higher original gravity in more alcohol in the final product. 2X Steam ends up with 8% alcohol by volume; compare that to the 4.9% alcohol content of Anchor Steam Beer. Southern Tier says they use three malts and two hops, though they don’t say which ones.
My Southern Tier 2x Steam Double Uncommon arrived a bright golden amber color with a light head of creamy foam and an enticing soft malty, caramel laced nose. Taking a sip of the beer I was really amazed how much 2X Steam tasted like a California Common should, only bigger. Delicious fresh chewy caramel malt, a bit of toasted malt, candyish crystal malt were all going on here. As you can see, a very malty beer, but gently fruity, too. There is lively carbonation as a steady stream of bubbles rise to the top of my mug, and an aggressive grassy hop finish. A lot like a fresh steam beer, but, well, more steamy.
Southern Tier 2x Steam might be my favorite beer from this brewery (though the 2XMAS gives it a run for its money). The Southern Tier webpage says it is sold in bottles, though I have only ever seen it on draft. Good news that there was no short pour here: $6.50 got me a full mug pour.
Well done, folks!
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.