1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

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

4,107 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4107
Reviews: 1818
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
Ratings: 4,107 | Reviews: 1,818 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of gutbucket2

United Kingdom (England)

3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle. ap: amber, short-lived head. sm: herbal hop. ta: medium sweetness and bitterness, minty. mo: light med body, oily texture. ov: full-flavoured, prickly carbonation. A beer that I okay, not good or bad. Best before date unreadable on label.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2013 11:57:50 | More by gutbucket2
Photo of Ugarte_CP


4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tried this beer at Lombard's Restaurant at Universal Studios Florida. Was very pleasantly surprised to enjoy a good micro-brew at the theme park. Great taste with no bitterness. Paired it with the Turkey burger and calamari appetizer. I will have to find this one again.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2013 00:20:25 | More by Ugarte_CP
Photo of tviz33

New York

3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a short 12 oz bottle in to a nonic pint glass.

A- Pours a clean amber color with an inch of tan head. Very nice.

S- Again, pretty clean. Slightly hoppy and citrusy, and it even has some sour apple notes.

T- After the first sip I'm no quite sure what to make of this beer. There's a fairly solid hop presence and even some sourness up front. The flavors arrive early and linger around for a while.

M- Very unique mouthfeel. Creamy, slick, and slightly oily. The tongue is coated until the next sip. Moderately carbonated as well.

O- A good beer to try once for the hell of it. I guess it wouldn't be a bad session beer either since the mouthfeel tends to subdue some of the bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2013 01:53:41 | More by tviz33
Photo of SteveTheDog


2.55/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I poured this into a pilsner glass and it looked very enticing with a big head and a lot of bright orange bubbling action. The smell was a little citrusy and a hint of pepper but the taste reminded me of eating soap, as did the mouthfeel. Maybe I'm just not a steam beer kinda guy but be that as it may, I didn't like this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 21:27:59 | More by SteveTheDog
Photo of IchLiebeBier


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

Appearance: Amber; medium head; good lacing

Aroma: Light malt; light grassy aroma; light citrus

Taste: Juicy malt on start with a quick, light hit of hops; light citrus in the mid; finishes a little tart, bitter, dry and crisp; pretty refreshing and sessionable, but not complex

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 01:30:29 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead


3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into imperial pokal. Golden amber with a thick fluffy white head that collapses to a thick layer of foam and then sits. Smells a bit soapy, crackery and malty. Taste is crisp and clean, with crackery buttery malts and a slight hop twang to snip off the aftertaste. A delicious session beer, this would be great with a picnic or after doing yardwork in the hot sun.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2013 01:00:18 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
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 BeerAficionadoMCMXC


4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is amber, but who really cares about the color of the beer so much when men can't differentiate between colors very well. My apologies to the women. The smell is impressive though. It's nutty, caramel and has notes of ripe banana esters. The taste has notes of vanilla and some nutty tones, but it is balanced by a hop finish, balanced and appetizing. Mouthfeel is medium to medium full. Overall, this beer is a high quality low alcohol beer and is great for people who love their malty taste and low alcohol percentage. It seems to catch up to all of us in the end.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2013 07:14:08 | More by BeerAficionadoMCMXC
Photo of MDDMD


3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-slightly hazy amber color with an off- white head and decent lacing

S-malt, slight caramel, pine, earthy

T-nice malt, slight caramel sweetness, pine, nice bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, crisp and clean

O-nice crisp session beer for warm summer days

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2013 13:20:59 | More by MDDMD
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: 1/2" white head over cloudy amber liquid.

S: grass, oranges, honey.

T: Honey, orange, grass, herbs.

M: medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: very subtle, but not very exciting. I have a feeling I should be enjoying this beer more than I am because of its history. But then again, the Bavarian purity law is also a part of history and many unexciting beers as well.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2013 23:30:52 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of joaopmgoncalves


4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: It was low carbonated and it had a small beige head. Copper coloured.
Smell: I didn't get that much of its smell but thought I caught some cherries.
Taste: It tasted a bit like toasted caramel and anything else I quite can figure out, but it excels at flavor.
Mouthfeel: It has a strong body, it kinda felt heavy in my mouth. At the end of the sip it was a little bit dry.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2013 23:33:50 | More by joaopmgoncalves
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 HabiMendes

Rhode Island

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

The color is light cooper, with a slight off-white, bubbly neck that retains well. The body is clear, and emanates caramel very strongly, as well as earthy and piney tones. The light body brings caramel/toast nodes, with apparent hops. You can notice a discrete fruitness in the background (mango, bananas). The finish is strong, exposing so well the hops... It's a good Lager, with a more malty profile, and a slight background fruitness. Great beer - I like it!

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2013 03:21:24 | More by HabiMendes
Photo of mjurney


4.88/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Amber color, clear. Lots of fine bubble rising up. Thick rocky head.

Sweet malts, some caramel, faint fruitiness.

Bready, caramel, toasted, grassy. Some fruitiness. Hop bitterness is medium, mainly spicy-herbal, a little citrus. Sharp finish, yet very clean. Body is medium, crisp, smooth, semi-dry, well carbonated.

One of my all time favorite beer!

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 20:27:04 | More by mjurney
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 RuEXP1


3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Served from 12 oz bottle into standard pint. pours a dark golden color. Little to no head when poured with a medium/heavy amount of carbonation, and a light amount of lacing.

S - Smells of fruit, maybe melon? Not to strong of a smell so it's tough to tell. Hops/malt come through as well.

T - Tastes of malt and some burnt caramel. Has a slight bitterness to it as well.

M - Has a nice tingle from the carbonation. Medium bodied beer that stays crisp the whole way through.

O - Solid beer that really embodies what a pilsner should be. I would say with this beer there is nothing 'new' about it. They set out to make a really solid beer and they did just that.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2013 04:04:33 | More by RuEXP1
Photo of machalel


3.26/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Dark amber with a strong beige head that settles down to about 5mm and lingers for the whole glass. A small amount of thin lacing down the glass.

Aroma: The first thing that came to mind was pineapples and rockmelon, but this was followed by some malt and graininess.

Taste: Initially, I actually could taste pears, but this disappeared after a few sips. The rest of it was a bit citrusy (grapefruit & lemon rather than orange) and a bit sharp. Some wholemeal bread and black pepper in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, medium body. A little sharp and 'zingy' on the middle of the tongue, but not in a bad way. Finish was a bit dry.

Drinkability: Well this was my first California Common, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. Overall, I think that it is a nice drop, one that would go with a lot of different styles of cuisine, but I'm not sure if I would buy it to savour on its own merits.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 08:56:25 | More by machalel
Photo of ranger7


4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Samuel Adams etched glass.

A - Amber and gold glow with a very minimal bright white head.

S - Smells a bit sweet, kind of like honey. Maybe a little bit of hops bitterness.

T - A slight tang of hops, but mostly a soft, sweet taste. Nicely balanced.

M - Hardly any carbonation, which is good.

Summary - Anchor Steam is really a great beer. It's hard to explain, but it is just so smooth and balanced and drinkable. There is just the right amount of hops and sweetness. Possibly one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2013 03:00:19 | More by ranger7
Photo of estlinska


4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a standard shaker from the bottle on 4/5/13. The color is a nice bronzed amber color with deep orange hues to it. It has a very active head of off-white bubbles and promises to be pretty active on the tongue. I've recently become a fan of the Northern Brewer hops and they definitely work well on the nose of this beer. The beer is very much full on malt and caramel with that distinctive lager yeast smell of fresh baked bread. The Northern Brewer hops play well to the background with good woodsy and minty smell to the background. The taste is fairly mild, but like expected, very active. It's a good malt and caramel backbone with that great scrubbing of the Northern Brewer hops giving that woodsy taste and a touch of lemon rind maybe to it. The mouthfeel is very full bodied and again, very active carbonation. This is a great session beer and very good overall. Without much surprise, it is the standard in my mind of a Steam Beer (I refuse to use California Common lol).

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 22:26:02 | More by estlinska
Photo of TheMarkE


3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber, decent head, good lacing.

Smell: Grains and yeast.

Taste: Mild. Malts and a hint of spice. Salty and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, crisp, and dry. Slight salty aftertaste.

The Verdict: Not bad. I know it’s highly regarded by many, but it’s a bit too mild for my taste. I did enjoy it, but not enough to go looking for it.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 02:47:06 | More by TheMarkE
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 CrazyDavros


2.53/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Pours dark amber with a large white head.
Nose shows grainy malt, cardboard notes, soft spicy hops and a bit of wholegrain bread.
Slightly better flavours, more malt. Other than that, not much difference.
Body seems watery.
Not sold on this at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2013 22:49:29 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of Waypoint

New York

3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A :Good light brown color nice carbonation.

S: Light malt aroma.

T: Mild flavor low amount of hops

M: Medium body smooth to swallow

O: A nice easy drinking beer refreshing but no wow factors. I liked the beer but I think that there are way too many other beers out there that are much more interesting.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2013 02:29:49 | More by Waypoint
Photo of GreesyFizeek

New York

3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased and drank at Aladdin's in Rochester, NY.

Pours a clear amber color, with a half inch head, and a small amount of lacing.

Smells include sweet grains, caramel, and grassy hops.

The taste is similar. Subdued and classy all around, a good amount of grassy and slightly fruity hops, with some mild sweet malt and grain flavor.

Light to medium bodied, high carbonation, crisp and very drinkable.

An original American lager, one that will be always be pretty tasty.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 13:42:53 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of AmitC


4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The old legend of craft brewing.

Poured from the atypical bottle style of Anchor brewing co. into a snifter. Amber color. Almost negligible head. Decent lacing. Some bubbles.

Aroma is of slight malt and some caramel. Some minor grains and hops are apparent too.

Taste is a lot like malt liquor with some qualities of a lager. Slight graininess, a decent amount of malt flavor and a nice balancing act by hops. Finish is a lot grainy and dry.

Mouth feel is light to slightly medium bodied. Low to moderate carbonation. Very light with no warmth and astringency.

Style Rate: 4.25
Personal Rate: 3.5

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 02:35:33 | More by AmitC
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,107 ratings.