Throughout the history of brewing there are styles that, for some reason or other, have fallen out of favor with brewers and as time progresses, these styles are threatened to be forgotten. Being American brewers originally hailing from Indiana, we have become enamored with the Kentucky Common; a style native to Louisville & the southern most parts of Indiana.
One aspect of this beer that is debated in home brew circles is whether it was soured or not. While Wahl & Henius make no mention of any tartness, "Hoosier Beer" states that "Until 1857, all beers were fermented by wild yeasts." "In southern Indiana, a specific style of beer made this way was called Common or Kentucky Common." they go on to describe the style's make up, stating that "The recipe used about 30% corn and 70% barley malt. Some roasted malt or artificial coloring was often added to the mix to darken it. Fermentation of Common was done by sour mash process. The brewery added (inoculated) a bit of beer from the last batch to introduce the yeast."
With so many different breweries once making this style of ale, variations would be expected as each brewer would impart his personal tastes to each offering. I imagine in its hayday one could find examples displaying various levels of nutty, caramel, roast and sourness, but we may never really know.
Local Option & New Albanian), our brew was conceived & brewed without having tried either. So with all of this in mind, Low Dive set forth to recreate this all but dead style of pre-prohibition ale. Our example presents itself light on the palette, although almost black in the glass. A slight roast quality up front is quickly met with a mellow tang provided by our sour mash technique. The beer is rounded out with a little nutty/caramel backbone before it finishes crisp and refreshing due to its low ABV. (3.8%).