Last night I removed the chains shackling me to my New Times desk long enough to venture out to Four Peaks with a few friends (one of whom is as interested in home brewing as I am in downing draughts).
Hold on! Yes, I'm reviewing a Four Peaks beer, but it's a seasonal and an interesting one at that, so stick around.
Released March 19, Lost Dutchman is a California Common brew named after the gold-laden mine that may or may not exist depending on which tall tales you believe about the Superstition Mountains.
What is a California Common? At its base, a common employs the same techniques used to make traditional lager beers with one important exception: the temperature. Lager requires extremely low temperatures during the fermentation process to create its pale, golden color and refreshing taste. Commons on the other hand do not.
The California Common came into being during the mid 19th century when refrigeration of the necessary magnitude was very hard to come by. As a result, brewers used the same techniques and equipment critical for producing lager and allowed the yeast to ferment at temperatures higher than normal. Read more about this courtesy of Jeff Grant on Four Peaks' Brewers Blog.
With the history lesson over, I've got one question for you: has Four Peaks struck gold or should this lager variation have stayed lost?
Tastes: Much like the precious metal in the legend that is this beer's namesake, Lost Dutchman has a feint but noticeable metallic finish to each sip. It's a minor annoyance that we (my homebrew friend and I) ignored as we finished our pints. We were too focused on the crisp, California Common taste with hints of watermelon.
I Got Mine: at Four Peaks in Tempe and I enjoyed it while sitting outside watching collegiate drivers motoring past and listening to extremely loud rap music. Ah! How tranquil.
Goes With: searching for long-lost treasures or just hanging out with friends; especially if those friends are capable of going off on brewing diatribes. This guy has incorporated something delicious into his latest batch. Perhaps I'll shed more light on this in a future Brew Review.
Verdict: My pal and I reached the same conclusion. I don't like to use number ratings, but for the sake of staying true to our conversation last night, it's a six of ten. Maybe a seven. I can tell you this much, we finished our glasses and I could've had another one despite the precious metal after taste. Go in search of it and let me know what you think. You can actually find this Lost Dutchman. Whether or not you want its glimmering contents depends on you.