Fringe Box



Guildford Micro-brewery Steams Ahead With A New Beer

Published on: 31 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 2 Apr, 2017

Guildford’s very own micro-brewery, The Little Beer Corporation, is steaming ahead with another new beer.

Pictured from left at the launch of Little Geyser at the Queens Head in East Clandon: The Little Beer Corporation’s founder and CEO, Jim Taylor; Paul Hutcheon from the brewery; Guildford’s honorary remembrance, Matthew Alexander; and standing behind, the pub’s deputy manager Milos Viravec and general manger Adriana Morar.

It goes by the delightful name of Little Geyser and is what is known as a steam beer.

The beer was officially launched last week at the Queens Head pub in East Clandon, and a select group of ale tasters were on hand to sample the new brew.

Jim Taylor, the brewery’s founder and chief executive officer, explains what a steam beer is: “Steam beers (or Californian common beers, as they’re also known) are the only true American style of beer.

“They originate from San Francisco, where over 100 years ago a bunch of German brewers who has emigrated there were determined to re-create their beloved pilsner.

“Unfortunately the conditions in San Francisco weren’t quite the same, and they didn’t have temperature control for their lager yeast. So instead of fermenting at 10 to 12 degrees centigrade, as would be normal for a pilsner, their beer fermented at ambient San Francicso temperatures, ie around 20 degrees.

Little Geyser by The Little Beer Corporation. It is on sale at the Queens Head in East Clandon and other pubs owned by parent company Red Mist Leisure, including the Wheatsheaf in Farnham. The beer can also be bought direct from the brewery on the Guildford Business Park, Midleton Road.

“Under such conditions, the fermentation in the wooden barrels they used was vigorous to say the least, and the beer ‘steamed’. With the warmer fermentation of the lager yeast, the beer also didn’t taste exactly like a pilsner, but had ale-like qualities as well. So was born ‘steam’ beer, a hybrid style half way between a lager and a ale.

“Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco was the pre-eminent brewer of this beer, and still is today.

“We have developed our own steam beer, called Little Geyser, because we love the crisp drinkability of the style. But whereas in the US, steam beer uses Northern Brewer hops, we find this hop a bit harsh and so have tailored it for the UK draft beer market by using the best of the English hops, Brambling Cross.

“In this way, with Little Geyser we have developed an English steam beer.

“This is like going full-circle, in that in virtually all US beer styles, the brewers have taken European styles and re-purposed them – so now we have American IPAs, American wheat beers, etc. Whereas with our Little Geyser, we have taken a US style and re-purposed it for the UK.”

On hand at the launch to try Little Geyser was Guildford’s honorary remembrancer and former curator of Guildford Museum, Matthew Alexander – a man who knows a great deal about the area’s brewing history and a self-confessed lover of fine ales.

The Guildford Borough Ale Taster’s special bottle opener!

He brought along his special bottle opener with town’s coat of arms featured on it. Matthew recalled that back in 1986-87 he was bestowed the title Borough Ale Taster by the mayor for that period, the now late John Ades.

Technically, Matthew not longer officially holds that title. However, as he pointed out, in days gone by an ale ale taster was appointed by the town’s court leet. But no other ale taster has been appointed in Guildford as the court last met in 1835!

Matthew gave Little Geyser an excellent rating. The beer certainly packs a punch in its taste, yet it is not a strong beer, having an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 3.6.

It will be available in a selection of pubs in the Guildford area including the Queens Head that regularly sells brews by The Little Beer Corporation.

Jim Taylor thanked the staff at the Queens Head for hosting the launch of the new beer and said he likes the pub very much as it is a popular place with a good community atmosphere.

The Queens Head is part of the Red Mist Leisure groups of pubs. Little Geyser will be sold in its pubs including the Wheatsheaf at Farnham.

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