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Anchor Steam Beer - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

4,885 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,885
Reviews: 1,862
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 132
Gots: 409 | FT: 1
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,885 | Reviews: 1,862 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +3.6%

JAHMUR, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pale clear amber with a sticky, frothy white head that retains nicely.

Smell: Biscuit-like malt, toast and a hint of earth. Fresh citrusy/herbal hops.

Taste: Dry and bready, malty sweetness is present but subtle. Light-bodied. Crisp biscuit-like flavors lead into a dry, mildly bitter and metallic finish.

Notes: A classic west coast session beer. Great stuff.

largadeer, Jul 16, 2008
Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an Anchor pint glass at ChurchKey.

It's been some time since Chumley's Passport thing introduced me to the Steam, so I figured I'd give it another go while CK is celebrating Fritz's wonderland of brewy goodness. It pours a clear copper-amber with a thumb of light off-white foam on top. The nose is primarily a humid melange of citrus and floral hoppy goodness, though a bit of medicinal/soapy notes stagnate in the background. Interestingly, the taste runs along these same lines, though the soap is gone, and there is an increased influence coming from the flowery and cirtusy hop elements and a very light twinge of caramel. The body is light, with active carbonation and a crsip, dry finish. It's all pretty straightforward, but nothing all that desirable. Can't fault the drinkability, though, as this guy is light and refreshing enough to warrant constant returns to the Steam room.

TMoney2591, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +3.6%

SocalKicks, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle. A rather specific style, to be certain, and nice to find at a friend's birthday party at an above average local pool hall.

This beer pours a clear, glassy medium pale copper hue, with two fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat creamy white head, which leaves some decent iceberg profile lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of bready, kind of biscuity grainy malt, softly tangy pome fruit, a hint of yeastiness, and earthy, leafy, faintly grassy hops. The taste is slightly biscuity, sour toasted grainy malt, tame citrus rind, lemongrass, subtle pitted fruit, and a mixed tea leaf bitterness that takes some of air out of the sails of the otherwise sassy bitter noble hops.

The carbonation is on the low side, with a hollow reminder of earlier exploits, the body a fairly solid medium weight, and duly smooth, with a not-so-subtle flirtation with creaminess. It finishes well off-dry, the kind of sourdough-like (maybe it's the San Fran on my mind) graininess parrying the lingering fruitiness well enough.

While not exactly comparable to its heady Cali brethren in the hop department, one shouldn't overlook the simple drinkability of this more reserved beer - malty, fruity, and yet duly balanced in a near-perfect old-world manner. Sure, no tastebuds will be burst here, but that's not always the aim - pleasing structure has its merits.

biboergosum, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours out an orange/amber color with a one finger head. Not much lacing.

S - Smelled malty and grassy.

T - Malt, grain and clove are the dominant flavors. Also, a citrusy kick.

M - It is crisp and light to medium-bodied.

D - A nice brew. I always enjoy picking one up but the price always seems to be a bit much for the quality.

zeff80, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright copper in color with a foamy off-white head and obvious, brisk but fine carbonation. The aroma is of a clean, rich malt and light fruitiness with some hops. A full body combined with the zesty carbonation gives a distinct mouthfeel. The flavor starts with creamy, lightly caramel malt and leads into a vast hop character of flavor and crisp bitterness as it crosses the palate. The finish is dry and lasting. The classic of the style.

NeroFiddled, Aug 02, 2002
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

possibly my favorite easy drinking ale on the market. pours a deep copper color with a welcomed 2 inch white head. smell is primarily malt based, not heavy, with some bitter and citrus hop fragrances. smells like a beer the revolutionaries would have been drinking in boston back in the day, it just has that important timeless nobility in its nose. flavor is amazingly well balanced, with more hops in the finish than the nose gave away. mouthfeel is nice and smooth. its down easy, but not in a throwaway sense, it is very enjoyable and every sip can be a pleasurable experience. great carbonation and a medium body. im happy to drink this all day everyday. it goes well with a lot of food, is reasonably affordable, and is interesting enough to old my attention. i am always excited to see it on shelves back east. this has been one of my go to beers for years.

StonedTrippin, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Small, off white head with good retention and lace. The body is copper colored, with good clarity.

S - Malty with biscuit and caramel aromas. There is a slight, spicy hop note and some honey lingering in the background.

T - Malty flavors up front with some toasted malt notes. Moderate hop flavor compliments the malt and sharp, assertive bitterness dominates the finish.

M - Creamy body with moderate carbonation and a dry, slightly astringent finish.

D - Very drinkable. Truly a classic American beer with a pleasant malt character and enough hops to balance.

nickfl, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of Jason
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 16oz brown "fatty" with the infamous anchor, hops and barley label. "Made in San Francisco since 1896" No freshness date.

Appearance: Hazy copper with a thick, off-white, rocky, bubbly, sticky, chunky head.

Smell: Earthy malt aromas with semi-caramel sweetness.

Taste: Immediately, the mouth is hit by a sharp bitterness, some salt and slight lemon from the hops. This is a beautiful thing, full of flavour and character. After, a mildly astringent, earthy, highly toasted malt guides you to a dry, grainy, residual citrus after-taste.

Notes: You don't find other beers like this, not even close in their mimics. This is truly a unique brew, and a classic; a legend in the hand-crafted/micro industry.

Jason, Aug 04, 2002
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can honestly say that I have never been too fond of this beer in the bottle, maybe it's the trip across country it has to make to get here but there is always a funky grassy taste going on that does nothing for me. However on draught this beer pours a nice amber with a creamy off white head. Leaving a decent lace around the rim of my mug. The aroma is a sweet caramelly malty aroma with a nice solid back bone of hop aroma. The taste of this beer is unique due to the fact that when they orginally brewed this beer they had lager yeast, but no refrigeration to ferment it as a true lager. So, they fermented this beer at ale temperature using the lager yeast creating the California common or "steam" beer style. This beer has a wonderful hop bitterness with sweet apple tones and a nice full malt profile wonderful beer. The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated with a great smooth finish from this medium to light bodied beer. Incredilbly drinkable if obtained freshly.

WVbeergeek, May 09, 2003
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color with a medium dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt and a little bit of spice, fruit and hops.

T: The taste is fruity, spicy and malty, with flavors of caramel & citrus. A strong but complimentary hops presence comes in quickly and provides a very good balance without being over-powering. Once the hops flavor fades a bit, there’s a nice bready taste that remains with a mild sweetness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, this is good beer to stick with for an evening if you want something a lot of substance that isn’t going try to knock you over. I liked this beer and thought it was very good.

TheManiacalOne, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with 2-3 thick fingers of off-white head. This settles down into about a solid finger’s worth, leaving back a creamy latticework of foamy lacing. The aroma is thick in the nose, with a mix of fruit, caramel, and bread, which is then softened on the edges somewhat by notes of leafy earth and a light spicy feel.

The taste has a crisp bitter bite to it, which snaps across the tongue. This is well balanced by a strong backbone of caramel sweetness, which has some sturdy toasted edges to it. The finish is dry and lightly spicy, with some lingering notes of bitter fruit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a lively and crisp feel that dances around in the mouth, before smoothing out into an easy creaminess across the back.

This is the beer that started the craft beer revolution in this country and it’s still going strong all of these years later. I hadn’t had this in a while and sitting down with a 22 oz helped me realize again how flavorful and just plain drinkable this can be when you sit down with it. 40 years later and still going strong, this beer is a winner.

Kegatron, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh the classics. Tangy kind of tone to this one. It doesn't push it to an obnoxious level, but it's almost a bit too much for my preferences really. Flavor delivery is smooth and consistent. Feel is smooth. A pretty easy drinker, but a bit too tangy for me personally. Still a good one though (of course).

Side note: as this one warms, you can really get a sense of the grain in there.

RblWthACoz, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Four Points Sheraton next to Round the Clock diner in North York, Pa. Served cold w/ a pils glass

A - A very light shade of bronze w/ a quick condensing head of beige that becomes a ring w/ a tight bead

S - Slightly citrus/tannic w/ green apple hint and an earthy estery combo of malt and subtle woody odors

M - A very effervescent and dry feel w/ a clean finish and nice tannic fruitiness w/ a slight grainy quality

T - Very crisp w/ rye and piney northern brewer citrus rind and spice flavor. There is a gentle rye taste w/ toasted malt flavor and a touch of sweetness w/ grapefruit in small quantities. The overall taste is dry and piney w/ a spice accent there are subtle earthy hop flavors as I taste bottle #3.

D - A fine hybrid beer - more ale like. I appreciate the historic relevance of this specimen to the American Brewing landscape. This is one I welcome to my lips w/ a great hop and malt balance. Pale ale in some repsects yet Steam beer deserves a category all its own. There is fruit and woody earthy flavor but the finish is clean and this one goes down refreshingly easy. I already mentioned I had three, but for a buck a bottle at a place that has a decent selection locally I couldn't resist. Kudos to Fritz Maytag for reviving Anchor and keeping this style alive.

Slatetank, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: A bit of caramel & fruittyness

T; A little fruittyness & some serious herbal hop snap up front. A little grainyness , fruittyness kicks in as this warms. Finishes dry, fruitty & quenching with a piney hop edge

MF: Medium bodied, perfect carbonation & pretty good balance

Drinks too easy, baseline for the style. Even better on draft

russpowell, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of MasterSki
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've seen this beer around quite a bit in Chicago, but I've never bothered to pick it up. A friend brought over a few bottles so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Not sure how old this bottle is - it has 8LW punched in the back.

A - Very handsome beer with a rich amber color. Tons of head and carbonation - it's hypnotic watching all the bubbles.

S - Fairly understated smell - mostly malt, with some some hoppy bitterness.

T - Tastes like it smells, but with more presence. Hits you with some malty biscuit flavor at first, but leaves you with a citrus aftertaste.

M - Creamy and just the right amount of carbonation. Goes down easy.

D - I could definitely put back a few of these on a hot summer day.

This is a solid, but largely unexceptional brew. I might pick up a sixer if it was on sale, but there are a ton of equally priced brews that I like more.

MasterSki, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that is semi readily available around here, and I got it as an extra from AgentZero, but hey, its an extra so I can't complain. In fact, I've had it before and think its a pretty good clean drinking ale, so here comes the review finally.

A: Nice frothy 2 finger head with some pot marks. Extremely brilliantly crystal clear with a very light amber color.

N: Some light toasty malts, amber ale malt aromas, and light earthy hops. Almost a slight banana aroma too, but that might be my imagination. Crisp aromas and pretty clean.

T: Pretty similar to what you would expect. Some nice toasty earthy malts, crystal malt flavors, some light caramel, earthy toasty malt flavors. The some light earthy hops that add a nice flavor. A slight malty sweetness and some very light fruity flavors.

M: Semi light, decent carbonation, crisp and refreshing.

F: Finishes semi bitter but pretty dry. Semi light but pretty crisp finishing flavors, reminiscent of a nice lager. A slight spice and some slight earthy flavors linger a bit. The nice malty flavor fades nicely but leaves the nice bitterness, which also doesn't hang out for long. Pretty crisp and refreshing.

jlindros, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'd had this in bottles before and thought it was just fine enough, but on first tasting it on draft, my eyes and tastebuds blew wide open, and were all the happier for it! WOW!, what a difference freshness makes!
Appearance: clear, bright amber hue, and a frothy, thick off-white head.
Aroma: soft and clean, with hints of fruit, bread, cream, nuts.
On the palate: smooth and fruity, with a small hop contingent, and very, very tasty. Body is light/ medium, texture is good, finish is long and friendly!
The fruity flavor stays on the palate for the greatest portion of this drink, and continues to reward it's consumption. With every sip, the flavor jumps aboard with zeal and vigor, fresh and ready for the task (of refreshment!). Tasty, and tangy, and, again, very giving.
A bright, beautiful hybrid beer that goes down smooth and easily, always accompanied by flavor. A great American brewing accomplishment, I always say! I'm forever glad there's always Anchor Steam around!

feloniousmonk, May 24, 2003
Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor steam is an interesting beer. People should check this out if for no other reason that there are so few steam beers and they are a truly American addition to the beer vocabulary. Poured from a bottle into an Anchor Steam pint glass, copper in color, nice head, falls away rather quickly with steady carbonation. Aroma is a mixture of malt and a lagerish odor. beer is easy to drink and tastes wonderful. This is one of my standby beers, I order when I see it at an average bar. Its a great beer "brewed in San Fran since 1896"

drabmuh, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of oline73
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this in a dark brown plastic bottle at Citizen's Bank park in Philly.

Appearance: From previous experience. The beer is a clear amber color with a half finger of off white head that leaves a layer.

Smell: Mild and mild forward. Some dark fruit and mild caramel notes.

Taste: Less malt than in the smell but it is definitely still there. Some dark fruit notes with a bitterness in the finish. Quite light and refreshing in the heat.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with lots of carbonation that's not too harsh. The finish is dry.

Overall: This is always a nice easy drinker. Not too complex, but quite good.

oline73, Aug 09, 2012
Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Finnegan's Wake third floor bar, Philly, PA

A: Clear copper, with a light white head, some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean with some citrus notes.

T: Clean mixture of malts and semi-citrusy hops.

M: Light body with some carbonation.

D: Good drinkability, but not something I have too often.

Rifugium, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of mactrail
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

mactrail, May 23, 2013
Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is good. It is of sweet malts and a mild hops; very aromatic. The taste is good. It is dry and malty. It has a bit of a watery finish, but all in all it's pretty good. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low/medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer; an excellent sessions ale.

WesWes, Jan 09, 2004
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

mendvicdog, Jan 28, 2013
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,885 ratings.