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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

4,087 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4087
Reviews: 1816
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.66%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001)
View: Beers (21) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,087 | Reviews: 1,816 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RVigz


3.44/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer on tap at Kimballs Pub in Williamsport PA. It poured a clear amber color with about a half inch head. It smelled slightly sweet and sour. The taste was slightly sweet like dried fruit but it was a little malty/bitter. The best thing about this beer is that it is very very smooth with a creamy mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2014 03:38:18 | More by RVigz
Photo of fabiansoliz

New York

3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is the beer of choice when visiting San Francisco. It's somewhat of a dark beer but without a very heavy flavor. It's not a light beer and after only a few rounds the beer tends to give me that intoxicted affect.

I also had this in the bottle and didn't notice any differences. It definately has a signature taste. There is also a light lager version that I tried and it's probably what I would switch to when I'm ready to keep drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2013 05:02:23 | More by fabiansoliz
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam pours a darker clear amber color with a nice large lacing head. There is a weak aroma, but has bitter and floral notes. The taste is a bit bitter, and has long drawn out floral notes. A bit watery, but nice flavors, easy to drink. Overall a solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-24-2013 02:59:58 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of jeffjeff1


3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I had this last night at The Dead Fish in Crockett, CA. I had a liter of it which was awesome!

Appearance- amber color, pretty thin head

Smell- citrus hops, malt

Taste- light amount of citrus hops, malt, tastes lighter than a pale ale but stronger than a lager

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I have had this beer so much but never reviewed it until now. It is a very good beer and a great session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2013 21:48:35 | More by jeffjeff1
Photo of mactrail


3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The color is the classic dark amber in the mug with a modest head and a little fizz in the mouth. Slight grainy nose. Thin, dirty caramel is the main taste. Overall this is malty, tart, and somewhat murky. It's reminiscent of a Belgian minus the yeast. A touch of hops. Sort of earthy with bitter tones.

On tap at Comstock Saloon in North Beach. I've had it in the bottle in San Francisco as well and I just find this to be uninspired and not very drinkable, regardless of it's glorious history. It was more respected in the 70s when there were so few interesting beers to compare it to.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2013 19:55:47 | More by mactrail
Photo of Richiebaseball


4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The color is very rich, a copper color. This beer retains the head very well.a nice earthy smell. The slight piney smell certainly comes through. This is a pretty smooth drink with just a hint of aftertaste. I can see this being a sit around and drink a few with friends kind of beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2013 21:56:35 | More by Richiebaseball
Photo of tectactoe


3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've had this numerous times, just never really got around to taking notes on it. Seems like they have this all over the place in downtown Detroit on tap. Had this particular one at Park Bar. Pours a muddled copper color with lighter hues around the edges, closer to a rustic amber; half clear and half hazy. Slightly gray-tinted head turns to a skin and leaves some small dripping of lace on its way down the glass.

The aroma is pretty bleak and mild; but relaxing and calm may be a more appropriate description. Musty hops, seemingly of the Noble variety (perhaps Saaz?) with a slight touch of leafiness to accompany the musk. Faint grains are the backdrop for the hop play, yet they remain fairly quiet and never interrupt. Very light citrus zest on the tail end. Warming doesn't reveal any more aromas; this beer is pretty simple and straightforward.

The taste begins with a small mouth washing of light biscuit malts and heavy grains; a substantial hop bitterness hits the palate quickly up front and fades away during the remainder of the sip. Citrus zest, lemongrass, and a faint herbal tea leaf flavor comprise a good majority of the rest of the flavor. The finish contains some heavier lager yeast, leaving a crisp and mouth-coating finish; light bitterness and an even lighter fruit zest. Thin bodied with a different mouth feel - borderline "creamy" considering the style and thin body. Lots of carbonation.

Easy drinker; relaxed, mild, and highly quaffable. Nothing tremendous in terms of flavor or aroma, but then again, nothing off-putting or offensive, either. I respect the originality of the style but I think I prefer "Steamy Windows" from Liberty Street over this one, despite its history as the precedent-setter.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2013 16:08:04 | More by tectactoe
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass.

A- Dark amber color, thick white head that will not quit and leaves decent lacing. Bubbly carbonation and radiant color enhance the look.

S- Bready, yeasty, caramel malty, and some fruity hops.

T-Pale malt and caramel backbone with some tart California lemony hop flavor. Earthy and pungent.

M- Great body for a 4.9 abv beer, nice crisp carbonation, too. There's some teeth to it, bite but not overly bitter. Dry malt and yeast finish.

O- Unique as a lager/ale, truly craft. Enjoyable very time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2013 02:11:51 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of capnamerica


4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Anchor Steam

A: This was the most disappointing aspect of this beer. Great copper/rust color but little to no head.

S: Very malty with some slight caramel in there as well.

T: Amazing taste. A great balance of combining both salty and sweet flavors. Let the beer sit and warm just a bit and these flavors increase quite a bit,

M: Sticky and medium bodied.

O: Highly recommended. Definitely a great find if you can catch it on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2013 00:44:34 | More by capnamerica
Photo of wethorseblanket


3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ SFO waitin for a jet airliner.

A: Pours a clear light copper with a quarter-inch white head which fades to the rim leaving some spotty lace.

N: Biscuit yeast, malts, caramel, fruity and floral.

T: Crisp, clean malty and fruity quality combine in an interesting way with yeast and hops. Getting some grainy and faint spices.

M: Semi-moderate body and carbonation. Somewhat dry and bitter finish.

O: Quite enjoyable classic style.

Serving type: on-tap

10-24-2012 00:44:32 | More by wethorseblanket
Photo of PorterLambic


4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Arrives in my greedy little mitt a dark amber liquid with a creamy, tan head. I suspect the retention is good but since the table got bumped and the head got spilled... Good lacing, though.
Smell is a well-balanced malt and hop combo with sourdough and a nut note. Very nice.
Taste is exactly what you would expect from the smell, malt, slightly evergreen hop note,sourdough bread and nuts. Great balance.
Mostly full bodied, lightly effervescent, with a faint dryness to it. Drinks so much like my perception of an English pale ale with a lessened hop note. Good all around.

Serving type: on-tap

08-31-2012 23:35:12 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of TheRealBigC


4.48/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

There is no beer in the world like Anchor Steam, and any attempt at making another steam beer has fallen well short of the high mark Anchor has set with this one. The California Common style is not one that will have any sort of worldwide presence, and you see on the style page how big of a gap there is in total reviews between Anchor Steam and whatever the #2 is. Anchor Steam is so unique and so good, that the style is basically named after it.

It's got a nice grainy smell. A powerful hop bitterness up front that mellows out with excellent malts and a mild fruitiness. That's the simplest way of explaining it, but really you won't have any idea what to expect. It's a beer in a league of its own. Maybe it's not for everyone, but everyone needs to try it.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2012 17:34:41 | More by TheRealBigC
Photo of Tucquan


3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-07-20 in San Francisco, CA

A - Mildly hazy brownish-orange with a 2-finger eggshell head that fades to 1/2 finger quickly leaving almost no lace.

S - Earthy spice, light-medium roasted malt, lemon flesh, touch of yeast. Not real strong.

T - Tangy hop bitterness, roasted malt, spice, lemon, tea. Dries quickly with a lingering and significant citrus juice bitterness.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation. Smooth yet crisp, refreshing, thirst quenching.

O - Very flavorful. An excellent session beer with a fine, balanced flavor that goes down easy.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2012 11:20:20 | More by Tucquan
Photo of thegodfather2701

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours copper/amber with a thick off-white head that lasts for a good while. Not much lacing left behind.

S-Balanced between caramel malt and citrussy hops, yet the malt seems to slightly edge out the hop notes.

T-Near perfect balance between hops and malt. The hops supply a citrussy, yet grassy and slightly earthy flavor. The malt is slightly toasty with hints of caramel. I had guessed the hops were some kind of Noble hop due to the grassy favor I was picking up, but they use Northern Brewer. Regardless the flavor is very good.

M-Thick and creamy. Its a heavier beer.

D-The low abv. and great flavor make this one that you could enjoy many of during a single session. However, its a heavy beer which could possibly cut into the number consumed at one time.

Overall, this a true classic. I think it is one of those beers that often gets over looked and is under appreciated, especially in our culture of bigger and bolder beers. It is truly a great beer and every time I drink it I feel privileged to be able to drink such a masterpiece. To me its nearly a perfect beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2012 20:52:22 | More by thegodfather2701
Photo of thecheapies


4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber in body with a finger and a half of dense eggshell head out of the tap. Clear as crystal. Lovely snowy lace-cicles. 4.5

Toasted malt grain with some apple/pear esters. Nice bready ale character with crisp hops and clean lager aroma. 4.0

Crisp taste with tart apple flesh, moderate-to-heavy toast, an almost metallic caramel grain note. Balanced flavors with an citrusy hop note. 4.0

Exceptional feel. Quenching with a lugging body that slurps as you drink. Light carbonation seems to work for not distracting from the subtle intricacies. 4.0

Never had another California Common, but this is the bar set for the style. 4.5

Serving type: on-tap

05-18-2012 02:17:03 | More by thecheapies
Photo of macrosmatic


3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at New World Brewery. Served in a pint glass.

A: Clear bronze with a thin white head. Medium amount of visible carbonation.

S: Pilsner malt, lager yeast, mild fruity yeast esters.

T: Lightly toasty bready malt, lager yeastiness with light generic fruitiness, and mild pine and grass hoppy bitterness in the finish.

M: Lighter body than it appears, good carbonation sensation, low alcohol presence.

O: This was an old standby for me back in the late '90s, and this was my first revisitation in a long time. Honestly it's still a really solid drink. I'm not sure it compares well to the best beers around now but I gotta give a thumbs up to history!

Serving type: on-tap

04-10-2012 01:43:30 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of wisrarebeer


3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery!! You just have to try the classic American beer at the source after a tour.

A: very light brown color, slight yellowish hues
S: slight malt
T: light but quenching, nice balance of hops and malt, nice light bitter finish
M: very light, nice bitter finish

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2012 00:36:08 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of BillH200174


3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper/amber color and formed a nice off-white head, that left some nice lace. The aroma was of malt and some hops. The flavor was of malt and hops with a slight citrus aspect. The finish was a touch astrigent, giving it a slight bitter aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2012 18:29:02 | More by BillH200174
Photo of SpdKilz


3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had in a most appropriate place, San Francisco, and with a most suitable food, clam chowder. Enjoyed at some random restaurant on the pier.

Appearance – Comes in a pint glass with a clear golden color and two fingers of fluffy white head.

Smell – Earthy grains, sweet malts, minor hops, yest.

Taste – A hoppy bite up front with some nice bitterness that then has a splash of lemon zest which fades almost immediately to grain malts and a caramel backbone. That’s about it…

Mouthfeel – Light bodied, plentiful carbonation, finishes quite crisp.

Overall – Paired with the chowder, this was a winner. An easy to quaff, slightly sweet overall beer that can quench your thirst. A solid beer though one I most likely won’t have again unless in the area.

Serving type: on-tap

02-17-2012 00:28:43 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of BucannonXC5


3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a draft into a Monster pint (33.9 oz.) at Woodstock’s in San Diego, Calif. Caramel looking. About a 1 ½ fingers of head. Nice white cloudy lacing. Sporadic and cloudy film on the sides.

Smelled bread and grains mostly. Kind of a freshness smell, but heavy (malty) as well.

Tasted pretty similar to the nose. Reminded me of a pilsner. Bready and grainy. Clean, light and crisp.

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Smooth, clean and crisp finish.

A bit disappointed overall. I don’t know why, but I was expecting a lot more.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 09:03:41 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of AnIrishCroi


2.08/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I flew into San Francisco airport and was stuck waiting for my "lost" baggage so I decided to have the amulet beer of northern Cali.

A: Clear, golden amber. LOTS of carbonation. Solid white head with good retention, lacing.

S: Malty, overwhelming yeast - sweet, nutty.

T: This is where I was shocked and disappointed, up to this point it seemed like a promising beer. Heavy malts. Extremely bitter, almost metallic. There wasn't much flavor, more so was just an assault on my tastebuds.

M: Light bodied, in the realm of BMC... leaves palate quickly, leaves mouth dry.

O: I was disappointed with this beer. Tasted incredibly bitter and not refreshing at all. I would put it on par with Bud/Miller but not as neutral.
I'll need to try again because there is no way this beer is as famous and world renowned as it is if it tastes as I had it. I was hoping by being in the hometown it would result in an above par experience but that was not the case.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2012 01:44:57 | More by AnIrishCroi
Photo of musicman575


3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor Steam is very flavorful and effervescent light bodied beer. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

I am suprised by the pleasant nose. It's yeasty and spicy, almost belgian, with floral hoppiness.

It's a completely different beer than what the smell suggests. The malt is definitely the most salient flavor - semi-sweet and very bready, almost musty. The hops are also pretty prominent and intertwoven with the other flavors. They're present from start to end. Finishes dry with a grainy, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2011 03:57:27 | More by musicman575
Photo of elNopalero


4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The flagship beer from an iconic brewery. This pours a autumn-straw burnt toast color with a generous amount of foam. Great nose, with a muted maltiness. I pick up a light malty sweetness with a bit of a dark biscuit on the taste. The effervescence keeps it light, with a crisp, dry finish. An old favorite and a classic standby.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2011 00:14:34 | More by elNopalero
Photo of cmq103

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a freshly tapped 1/6th keg into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: This had a nice light, hazy golden color with a decent 1/2" head that didn't mind sticking around. Lacing was spot-on, literally...

Smell: An initial caramel, malty, fruity nose. I know it's not a Hefeweizen, but I clearly picked up banana in the aroma. This is a good thing for me since I enjoy the Hefeweizen style. I just wasn't expecting banana in this "steam" beer. No booziness at all. I can tell already this is going to be a good session beer.

Taste: Again, light caramel, malt and mild citrus hops. Not bittering at all, with a hint of sweetness to it, making it an easy drinking beer with great flavor.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was a perfect match to the nice, clean finish.

Overall: I would recommend this for anyone looking for a session beer that doesn't take a backseat in the flavor department. This will make my kegerator again in the future for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2011 02:27:08 | More by cmq103
Photo of devinoconnor

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Anchor... 3/3 in my book. Being a huge fan of their porter and Humming Ale, I was very excited to try the Stream right where it's made: San Francisco.

Pours a bright, sunny orange with a nice foamy head. Smell is malts and citrus. Well-balanced, very easy drinking beer which is perfect for the warmer months.

Def a good choice.

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2011 21:56:23 | More by devinoconnor
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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,087 ratings.