The Story of Transcontinental


One of the beers that we brew is not the most “common” among brewery portfolios, but it is one that is near and dear to my heart. The Transcontinental is a malty, amber ale with just a hint of spices and a very drinkable 5.6%. The style is called “California Common” and is based on the beers that German brewers created in San Francisco after the Gold Rush.

This beer was my first all-original homebrew recipe, I designed it after deciding I wanted to open a brewery. I had been reading a book of beer styles and California Common stuck out since I wasn’t very familiar with the style. I thought since I hadn’t tried many I should just brew one and see what happened (which is similar to how I brewed a Kolsch and ended up putting coffee in it).

I was really pleased with the results an continued to refine the beer for 4 years before Saint Benjamin opened. I named it “Transcontinental” because it was a traditional California style being made on the East Coast. I had the idea that images of the Transcontinental Railroad should be on the eventual label design. I was expecting this beer to be our flagship, but that was perhaps a bit premature on my part. It’s always had a solid niche which I am fine with.

The first summer that the brewery was open, I was able to really make this beer live up to its full potential by serving it in a firkin. Of all our beers, Transcontinental and Foul Weather Jack are our two best firkin beers. I look forward to getting more of this beer out and in people’s glasses, and of the day where I can put an entire batch into firkins.