These unique beers do not easily fit into any particular style. Each is considered to stand alone as a special beer.
Today, “Steam Beer” is a trademark of the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, CA. In the 19th century “steam beer” was a nickname for a local beers that were fermented with lager yeast, at ale yeast temperature, producing beers with ale-like character. It may also have been common practice to “top off” kegs of beer with beer that had not finished its first fermentation. The result was a in-keg fermentation that produced high levels of natural carbonation. With no refrigeration to control this fermentation a freshly tapped keg would produce copious amounts of foam or “steam.”
Anchor Steam Beer
Anchor Steam Beer is the standard of a style of hoppy, malty beer. It has the crisp flavor features of a lager, and the esters (“fruitiness”), complex aromas and flavor base of an ale. Dark amber in color, the grist is American grown malt (pale and roasted) and hops from the American Northwest.
Anchor Our Special Ale
Every year, since 1975, Anchor has brewed a Christmas Ale. It is produced in small quantities and is available only from late November until early January. Each year the recipe is changed and there is a special label designed around the tree, a traditional symbol of renewal. Properly refrigerated, this beer remains drinkable for years.
Kaiserdom is brewed in Bamberg, Germany. It is brewed from malt that has been smoked in a way similar to the process of smoking malted barley in the making of Scotch Whiskey. The technique of smoking malted barley to dry it and add color was used before the more modern method of indirect kilning was introduced. Kaiserdom Rauchbier is brewed from Bavarian barley that has been roasted over a fire of moist beech wood logs. Whole Hallertau hops are used to provide flavor and aroma. The fermentation is a bottom fermentation, and the beer is lagered for 3 months. The finished product is a beer of conventional alcohol content, with a dark color and complex smoky flavor characteristics.
Brewed just one day a year, on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day in Switzerland), Samichlaus is aged for ten months before bottling for the American market. The beer is bottled for a full year in Switzerland. Although it is a lager, this beer should be stored and served at cellar temperature (50F) in order to fully appreciate its flavor and aroma. Samichlaus has been called “the world’s strongest lager” by many beer experts. Alcohol content. 14.9% by volume (As of 2001 this brew may no longer be available.)
Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen
Traditionally, when the last of the winter season’s beer was brewed each year, in March, it was a made to be a little stronger than usual, so that the alcohol content would preserve it through the summer. By then the beer was very well-attenuated and sporting a relatively high alcohol content. Today that tradition continues with the brewing of Marzen, or “March Beer”. Paulaner Marzen starts with a two-mash process using dark and light colored brewing malt from two-row Bavarian summer barley. Hallertau hops are used for both bittering and aroma. Lager yeast is used and the beer is allowed to lager for approximately 4 weeks at minus 1 degree Celsius.