Originally Posted by tlarham
A California Common (aka Steam Beer) is (VERY simply put) a lager fermented at ale temperatures. There is no "steam" involved, that is just the name used by Anchor Brewing that they patented for their particular brand of California Common.
More Info: Here
the rumor goes that Anchor brewing use to pump the hot wort to there roof into their cool boats at night after brewing to take advantage of the cool San Fransisco night air, and the steam coming off the cool boats on the roof of the brewery is where the name "steam beer" comes from.
as for the recipe, why Rye?
also for my hop schedule, I also use norther brewer for bittering, and have used Mt. hood, Cluster and Chinook as late hop additions, and found Chinook is my favorite, but in vary small amounts.