Cali Common vs English Strong BitterApr 05, 2022
In the second episode of TBS's Classic Style Side-By-Side series, Advanced Cicerones Chris Cohen & Chris Crowe taste and compare California Common & English Strong Bitter. We picked Anchor Steam to rep California Common. For Strong Bitter we went with Robinson's Trooper, a new addition to the 2021 BJCP Guideline's list of commercial examples. These are both widely available is the US and in many other countries, so hopefully you can get them and follow along.
These two are a great example of some common differences between American vs English beer. The Strong Bitter is very balanced despite the name, has fruity yeast character from ester production (lots of apple and orange marmalade), and it has rich caramel flavor from the malt -- none of these things punch you in the face. On the other hand, the Cali Common is more bracingly bitter and has a very clean yeast profile, which is very generally speaking how American brewers tend to do things. Anchor Steam also has toasty malt aromas and Cali Common is the only BJCP style the uses solely the minty Northern Brewer hop variety. It's clutch to get to know that particular hop aroma if you're prepping for a Cicerone exam. If they test you on a Cali Common in a blind tasting, it'll almost certainly be Anchor Steam. Do your reps! 💪🍺 Good luck!
In these SBSs we compare similar classic styles, discuss them, and provide tips on how to pick them apart in a blind tasting. This is all about helping you pass the Certified and Advanced Cicerone exams! Tasting blind is HARD, we're here to help!