I'm studying to take the Certified Cicerone exam in December and the one piece of advice I've been given is to "over study". Like anyone reading this, I like to have a good beer, well daily... at least. So while going over the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines over and over I quickly became aware that there were many beer styles I was not familar with. Now, I may have had a beer within that style but not that I knew it or could describe it. So, I've been intentionally seeking out beers within a style I'm not familar. One style I recently pursued was the California Common Beer. So a local pub had the Anchor Steam (the classic example of this style) and the Old Scratch Amber Lager by Flying Dog Brewery. This beer style is labeled as an Amber Hybrid Beer and shares the same classification as the Northern German Altbier and Düsseldorf Altbier.
The BJCP Style Guidelines tells us this about this classic American beer style:
American West Coast original. Large shallow open fermenters (coolships) were traditionally used to compensate for the absence of refrigeration and to take advantage of the cool ambient temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. Fermented with a lager yeast, but one that was selected to thrive at the cool end of normal ale fermentation temperatures.