Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

5,382 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,382
Reviews: 1,963
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 173
Gots: 823 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
California Common / Steam Beer |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,382 | Reviews: 1,963
Photo of WineGuy3000
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Quick review. Imminently drinkable, dry, refreshing. First & best California common I've tasted.

Photo of putnam
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Red. Sweetly roasty nose like Boston Baked Beans. A smell of seaweed, American chocolate, redwood, Crackerjacks, Elephant ears. Like a carnival in some nowhere town on the Bay or New Jersey or Cape Cod.
I remember the last time in Sanfran, passing time in a bar, I ordered one of these on tap. My expectations were low, based probably on less-than-fresh bottles consumed in MI. But they didn't have any other good choices so... It was absolutely beautiful. Perfect, fresh and living. I recall it was lighter in color than what is in front of me now. Is this bottle contract-brewed somewhere other than in SF? There is no definitive statement of origin on the label. (brewed "by" AS, SanFran; rather than brewed "in" SanFran) I wonder...

Photo of longarm
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear amber beer capped with off-white and thin head. Still it's decently carbonated.

Softly sweet malt aroma evenly layers with light hops. It's not a smack in the face, but delicate, complex, subtle and certainly enjoyable.

Lightly toasted malt with some hop flavor...exceptional balance. Mildly astringent/briefly alcoholic finish is the only detracting feature.

Upfront bitterness followed with moderate chewiness and a quick, clean finish. More please.

I find it baffling that Anchor Steam only gets an 85 on B.A., since it's THE definitive example of the California Common style and one of the catapults for the craft beer renaissance 20 years ago as much as today. IMHO, if this ISN'T one of the most drinkable beers, then craft beer is dead.

Photo of NightINgale
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- The body has a Light amber/copper colour. Not cloudy, pretty much transparent. Give you a finger-thick off-white head, that dissipates in a minute or so.

S- A sweet malty scent, with some floral notes of hops. Quite bready, too.

T- A nice crisp taste. Starts out with the pleasant, moderate sweetness, followed into a pleasantly bitter, dry finish. Some pine undertones to it. Overall, very well-balanced, in my opinion. It has got enough sweetness, bitterness, and a nice bite to it.

M- Medium-bodied. Very effervescent, which is a good thing in this case, as it adds to the crispness of the beer.

D- Very drinkable. It gets a little dry with quantity, but it still goes down really smooth.

Photo of AlexLMS
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: almost hazy with a light coppery-orange colour. Head: slightly off-white, moussy and moderate to low. Good retention but no lacings.
Aroma: very nice aroma of malts, grains, a little caramel and fruits.
Taste: bitter herbal hops, grains and fruits, mainly citrus.
Mouthfeel: smooth, moderate carbonation, low alcoholic strength and medium to light body.
Finish: bitter finish that last for a long good time.

Overall: very good, well balanced and complex beer. I was impressed by the aroma that filled the room while the beer was being poured. My first Anchor and I really enjoy it. Shame it is so hard to find in Portugal.

Photo of mooner
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's tough to find a fresh pint of this in Boston, but when in San Fransico you'd be hard pressed to find a more drinkable beer. As far as adhearance to style its much like Duval, didn't they invent the style? A great ale-like lager, I'm sure the best selling craft in America (Sam) owes a great deal of its popularity to this predecesor.

Photo of Converge
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a pint. About time I got around to this classic craft brew!

A - Frothy off-white head off the pour atop a relatively clean light amber body. The head recedes to a thin soapy film, but never dissipates entirely, leaving a sticky bunch of lacing down the glass.

S - Mild overall, with caramel malt and crisp grassy hops coming through upfront. There's a touch of fruitiness as well, as well as some malty sweetness. Simple and balanced aroma.

T - Follows the nose, but still exceeds expectations. A nice base of toasty caramel malt, almost giving it an English feel, but the zesty hop profile pulls it back to America. Toffee-like sweetness to the malt, with lemongrass, clean barley malt, and a crisp citric character. The finish is punctuated with a mild grassy hop giving it a balanced feel overall. There's a mild fruitiness throughout as well that I can't quite put my finger on, though I'm almost positive I'm picking up some peach and apricot notes. Overall an immensely drinkable profile.

M - Medium bodied, with just the right viscosity, and a fine carbonation that compliments the body perfectly. Crisp and slightly dry, but somehow velvety smooth at the same time.

D - An all around superb beer, and a true testament to the uncompromising quality of craft breweries, even ones as big as Anchor. A balanced, tasty, and incredibly drinkable ale; a true classic.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Never thought too much as to buy this beer, until recently seeing a little TV documentary on the Anchor Steam brewery and the rise of craft brews in America. Thought I'd give it a try.

Pours a very rich amber color with a nice tight creamy head that fades slowly. Very deep complex for a relatively easy drinking beer. The aroma is wonderful, sweet malts and fruity hops. Very crisp smelling. I get a small amount of citrus as well. The taste is also exceptional. Mild carbonation tingles the back of the tongue while the hops dance on the front. A nice malty backbone provides a nice platform for all of this. The mouthfeel is creamy yet thin and the flavors hang around for a while on the palate. A very drinkable brew, and with a low ABV, it makes for quite a flavorful session beer! Give it a whirl.

Photo of akorsak
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. I opened the beer at the start of the Sopranos (1 hour ago) and am getting to it now, so it has warmed considerably.

Appearance: The lager as an amber color, almost bordering on maraschino cherry red. It poured with a vigourous 2 finger head that left a small band of lace on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells like a cookie. The malts impart a sweet biscuitiness that are offset by a subdued hop nose.

Taste: The beer tastes like a rich, yeasty biscuit. The notes are subtle and sweet, leaving the faintest flavor in the mouth. The is a small hop presence that compliments the malt without detracting too significantly.

Mouthfeel: The lager is smooth with a dominating malty sweetness, very pleasing in the mouth.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Grab yourself a six pack enjoy the day.

Photo of Nixon
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam was one of the first 'other than Bud, Coors and Schlitz' beers I ever had back in the late 70s. I credit it with opening my eyes to what beer can and should be. My stepdad introduced me to it in San Luis Obispo while we downed a few along with some oyster shooters.

This evening I poured my Anchor Steam Beer from its beautifully labeled short-neck bottle into a tall, narrow German glass beer mug and the head was tall and rocky and stayed with the beer almost all the way down.

I too can detect fruit flavors along the line of cantaloupe-rounded flavors-that compliment the carmelized sugars present in the maltiness.

I also taste the perfectly balanced presence of hops, both in bitterness and flavor(ness?)...these flavors seem to be almost painted on to my upper palate and the back of my throat--making these areas feel sort of 'numb'- while the rounded fruit and malt flavors show up on the front half of my tongue.

I find Anchor Steam Beer to be delicious and very well balanced. They've done a great job of combining the classic beer flavors of bitter and sweet and even managed to seperate the places within my mouth where these flavors appear.

When I buy Anchor Steam Beer I feel like I've done something good. Thank you Fritz Maytag and your 'posse' for putting together such a wonderful product and sticking with it.

Photo of geexploitation
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a bright, nearly transparent amber with a substantial, fine bubbled head. Aromas of caramel malts and a touch of hops; not very expressive, but true to style. Rich, creamy, highly carbonated mouthfeel. Tastes of light fruitiness, citric hops, and dry, crackery malts at the finish. Very active toward the end. Lingers on the tongue a while. Overall, an extremely drinkable beer, understated but flavorful, that will pair well with lots of savory food -- pizza, sandwiches, burgers. Wonderful.

Photo of Braz
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper color with a big white fluffy head. Fairly malty and sweet aroma. Very flavorful beer. Interesting notes of sweet, salt, bitter, fruity and a little citrus. Good body with a big punch of carbonation. Great balance and a beer I think anybody could like. I had been wanting to try this for a long time and am glad I did. Looking forward to trying other beers from this brewery.

Photo of jcrow97
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

G: Poured into a 16oz becker.

A: Dark and amber with an off white eggshell head and good lacing.

S: Malt is more pronounced than the hops. There is some fruitiness there, but it mostly sticks to the style that it's made famous.

T: In addition to what was in the nose, some bready flavors.

M: Perfect creaminess and medium body. Moderate carbonation.

D: All around, this is a superb example of the style, and the definition of a good sessionable beer.

Photo of Jedimaster1
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Highly carbonated copper color. Bubbles flowing throughout.

S: Smell of sweet. citrus malt.

T: Wow this beer is amazing. I had it long ago, and did not like it. I may have had an old one. But after trying a six-pack of it, now I know why people love this brew. You can really taste the combination of Ale and Lager. It has that citrus taste of an ale, yet that taste and carbonation of a pilsner. Nice hop bitterness at the end. Great beer!

M: Carbonation, but not too much that it becomes annoying.

D: Easy to have a sixer of these. Great session brew, especially during a hot summer day.

Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a decent head and a little bit of lacing

Smell: Nice waft of caramel malt

Taste: Starts out just like it smells, with a nice malty profile; soon, that is overtaken by the bitter, citric hops (lemon bitterness); in the finish the malt reasserts itself along with the hops for a well-balanced taste treat

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: With so many beers to choose from, you forget to pay occasional homage to the craft brew that started it all - and this is a good one to set that standard

Photo of JohnWaynes44
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured a clear burnt orange, with a lovely frothy head with nice retention. Smell of sweet grains, hint of raisin. Flavors of caramel and malt is nicely balanced with somewhat bitter hops, but hops aren't real noticeable, they simply hold back the sugars and balance everything, providing a kind of dry finish. This is so unique and very good. I love this beer. It is very versitile. By that I mean it is hard to pigeonhole into a category. I think it could satisfy many different style palates. Very well made and a classic in my house. Thanks Wal-Mart for the fresh sixer.

Photo of Bighuge
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is deep clear amber. Almost copper. Beautiful pillowy white head. I don't get a lot on the nose. Maybe some slight malt. Taste is nice. A nice bready yeast flavor is present. There's also a very slight fruitiness that accents nicely. Like apples and pears. Very clean taste. Easy drinking. Solid brew here.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up recently to break out of the hefe's and witbier's that I've been enjoying lately. Summer's gonna end soon, and as the weather cools, I'll need to adjust to heavier and hoppier beers. Thankfully, this one has always been one of my old standby's, and it's always had a great drinkablity and timelessness to it. Before I really got into drinking craft beers and microbrews, this was one of the first non-macro's that I enjoyed, and to this day, it's still up there in my view!

Great pour - a very nice burnt orange hue to it, generous head, and lots of carbonation, to boot. The lacing could have been better, but that's about the only problem I have with this beer. The taste is simply amazing, in that it never hits ya over the head, but it very slowy and subtly grows as the beer warms and the serving gets further and further down the glass. Floral, citrus, metallic, leather, and hop notes can all be felt here, but the bitterness is not as overt as it is in Sierra Nevada's or Stone's offerings. The bitterness is just right, lingers nicely, and the carbonation and foaming in the front as I swish it balance it out perfectly.

For the summer - it's light and filling. For the colder months, it has a very nice warming effect without breaking me into a sweat. For the novice drinker, the 4.90% ABV is a perfect reason to use this as a session beer and an introduction into offerings from the West Coast. This is a less-spicy version of Anchor's Special Ale and just as solidly crafted as their other non-flagship offerings. I can't say enough great things about this beer. Just as Todd said, everyone should try this once!

P.S. - I love this bottle shape!

Photo of sbe1
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great American beer and one of the granddaddies of the US craft beer scene.

Appearance: Gorgeous cloudy copper beer with thick beige foamy/sudsy head that dissipates to a thin lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Malt, sweet cream, caramel faint hop aroma.

Taste: Malt, caramel, a slight salt taste (?), light hop tickle, with a dry, clean, citrus finish.

Mouthfeel: Good body, refreshing, very faint carbonation, nice light hop action on the tongue.

Drinkability: Excellent. This is an absolutely wonderful session beer. A true American classic.

Photo of washburnkid
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful amber color with one finger frothy head that retains and leaves sticky lace throughout glass. Some malty notes but citrusy, crisp aromas are more pleasing to the nose. Taste is creamier than expected; balanced with grains, and citrus hops left behind. Medium body, carbonated well. This smooth beer is easy to drink and leaves a pleasant hop dryness on the tongue. I would have a lot with pizza. I would have a lot by itself. I really love this beer.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle> 16 oz. SA glass.
This brew is a brilliant amber, totally clear, big carbonation that easily creates a mighty fine smooth, creamy and even white head that dissipates only a bit and leaves plenty of froth hanging around.

Caramel-sweet malt on the nose much like a vienna lager and with it's sour/sweet yeatieness. Very hearty scent as well with a spicey balance that is pretty aromatic. Way down there's vanilla and nutmeg.

The flavor at first is this honey-soaked breadiness with caramel and vanilla currents riding along side. Herbal, spicey and hearty flavors create a unique and even balance. The hop flavor is spicey and wheatie, not at all green or bitter. The last element is a roast beefy flavor that comes from the hearty wheat and herbal yeast effect. Still, a complex brew.

Medium bodied, big, clean crispiness and a delightful smoothness right at the end.

When this stuff is fresh, which can be rare here on the East coast this stuff is amazingly easy to drink and a real joy. An American original (with taste!)

Photo of BeanBone
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear orange/amber body with a huge and off-white craggy head that leaves decent lacing

Aroma: Caramel and toasted malt ride atop more subtle hops and lemon notes

Taste: Quite bitter up front with rich toasted malt, caramel, banana, and citrus right behind - this is a full-bodied beer

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a good amount of carbonation, leaves a nice grain-like aftertaste

Drinkability: While you can't doubt the boldness of this beer, it's still wonderfully sessionable

Verdict: This beer easily earns its status as an absolute legend by being both crucial to the revival of American beer and downright delicious. We owe this beer a lot, buy some and enjoy a few pints of your history.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I actually had not had one of these in at least five years, so when I was in the store the other day, I just had to pick one up and give it a try. I had always had fond memories of it, and this was going to be no exception. I poured the twelve ounce bottle out into a pint glass and served it right out of the fridge.

Appearance - The pour was very nice with a rich golden amber. Very clear with a shimmering light passing through it. A good amount of carbonation could be seen streaking up toward the surface. A very nice three inch high head of white foam then came over the top and settled down gracefully leaving behind copious side glass lace.

Smell - The aroma was very earthy with a good amount of hoppiness to it. Some nice hints of caramel and grass, with touches of wet hay and a nice bit of grain. Very nice and airy aroma, mixed nicely in with a touch of orange and tangerine.

Taste - The flavor was outstanding on this one. Started out with a nice light caramel malt. Not overly sweet, but rather very nicely balanced with a light grain base and a touch of some nice little bit of herbs in there. A light and balanced floral hoppiness then came over it. Really well placed with some nice orange notes. The finish was crisp and clean. Drying out very quickly and leaving you looking for another sip rather quickly.

Mouthfeel - A very nice medium bodied feel, it was a bit fuller then I thought it would be to be honest. I really enjoyed how well it was put together, with a light and airy feel to it. A good carbonation profile then followed and kept the whole thing together really quite well.

Drinkability - This had everything going for it. Low ABV, nice carbonation, good body to it. A nice light, and flavorful profile that really had a good pop to it. What more could you ask for.

Overall I thought this was outstanding. Really a great session beer and the epitome of the style. You really cannot get better then this, it really has a world of good coming out of that bottle, and there is really just no way you can go wrong wit this one in any way!

Photo of copasetic
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly cloudy deep orange with a thin creamy head that forms a film on the surface that lasts for most of the beer. As I drink this, I realize that it's been a long time since I've enjoyed an Anchor Steam beer and wonder how this can be. The aroma is faint malt, just a little biscuity, with a hint of non-specific hops. From the first taste to the last, this is an nice middle-of-the road beer: smooth with just a little yeasty spicyness, a little hoppy but not particulary high in bitterness, and vaguely sweet and rich, but not too rich. I suppose this is homage to the idea of the California Common beer --nice qualities from both beer worlds.

I'm very happy that I decided to pick up a six pack after a long hiatus. This is an excellent beer. You can't drink just one.

Photo of Aurora83
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: copper colour with a slight tangerine head. Aroma: Fruity esters from the yeast, caramel sweetness from the malt as well as a earthiness from the hops. Flavour: Caramel, candy like sweetness,pleasant bitterness. Like this beer a lot

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 5,382 ratings.