1. 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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

4,074 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4074
Reviews: 1815
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%


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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Steam Beer Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,074 | Reviews: 1,815 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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

Copper tinted gold with the a very toasty complexion. Despite a deep set haze the beer is transparent, dotted only with steady paced streams of ascending carbonation. Its topping is thick and creamy, persistent and adhering. Its markings appear like some ancient scripture.

Steam beer (or 'California Common' as other examples must legally be referred as) is slightly more distinctive than other styles of standard ales. It smells no more exciting but it's an aroma specific to the style. It's a very earthy, pungently hoppy smell with an unexpected lack of caramel given the deep hue in its colour.

The flavour also makes explicit that you aren't drinking a typical ale. It's distinctive without anything obviously distinct about it. The flavour is quite toasty. I taste a bit of toffee and light apple. The character is quite grainy and dry. The hops again have a pronounced character and linger along with the crisp malty flavor.

This method of fermentation uses a significant strain of lager yeast, one that developed over the years in the cool, ambient temperatures of the San Francisco Bay area. It's a lager yeast fermented at typically ale temperatures - no wonder the beer is so distinctive!

The most common explanation for where Anchor Steam took its name is said to come from the steam that would rise from the large, shallow open 'coolships' that were traditionally used in the American West before the introduction of refrigeration.

San Fransisco is an amazing place. It's home to a founding brewery of the American craft beer movement as well as one of the world's most reputable and highly revered beer bars. If you do visit the city (which you should) and wish to visit the Anchor brewery (which you should) than I recommend that you make reservations way ahead of time; it's a popular spot.

I'm not sure if Americans cherish Anchor Brewing as much as I do. I am certain, however, that I can't be speaking solely for myself when I say that finding Anchor beer on the shelves was one of the pivotal turning points in my beer drinking life.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2009 00:47:27 | More by biegaman
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I've never reviewed this. This is the one that started the craft brew craze many, many years ago...
On tap at Maggiano's KOP.
Appears a copper toned gold with a small, fizzy white head that slowly fades into a gentle floating cap.
Smell is of caramel, floral citrus, with a touch of biscuit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a balanced flavor of caramel and light hops the meld together nicely.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly carbonated, balanced, a tiny bit sweet, and very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2009 03:19:03 | More by weeare138
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Detroit airport yesterday. Have had this beer many, many times... high time I reviewed it.

The beer pours the expected light amber brown color with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a lot on the nose, just a hint of malt and hops (it's been my experience that most airports tend to serve their beer excessively cold and with too much CO2, which I'm sure affects the aroma). On the palate, the famous anchor steam flavor. There is nothing else quite like it. The beer has a fascinating malty flavor, but with a huge presence of drying hoppiness. There is almost a peppery finish on the palate, and somehow this beer manages to taste a bit sweet and malty, yet dry and bitter, at the same time. Mouthfeel is pretty light, but the amount of flavor in this low abv. beer is nothing short of astounding.

Truly a classic. Nothing else quite like it. As excellent and intriguing today as it was 30 some years ago when I first tried it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-15-2008 13:29:21 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Finley's in Huntington.

Poured a slightly hazy medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a subtle fruity hop and a soft sweetness.

The taste consisted of a balanced clean grainand grassy hop. Slight esters detected as well.

The mouthfeel was average for the style (it is the style).

Overall a tasty and easy drinking beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2009 23:10:03 | More by plaid75
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a neat orange/amber, with a fluffy white head and good lacing. Smell is citrusy hops, smells crisp. Taste is deep and malty, with a nice hop bitterness and a dry finish. Good malty aftertaste. Taste is nice and crisp, smooth and easy drinking, tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 00:35:16 | More by Viggo
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Really cool clarity and amber pour with great lace retention. Minimal fruity aroma, no discernable specific fruit type (its the yeast I know).

Taste, like they advertise, its what, a lager yeast made in an ale or vice versa. Light body, ample hopping for a flagship brew from back in the day. Just the right amount of sweetness. Mouthfeel allows one to pick up some of the complexities and what sets this beer apart from a standard APA. Great summer beer, sometimes a little cost prohibitive, and a well known folklore regarding the dickness of those affiliated with the brewery prevent many from enjoying the finished product more often.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2010 19:41:44 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev +14%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2002 21:46:10 | More by Bighuge
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a ruby-orange with a sticky white head that left a very good lacing.

S: some fresh bread, grains, and sweet caramel with a nice hoppiness.

T: The initial flavor was light sweet toasted malt, light dried citrus with a good floral hop bitterness. A little hop bite in the finish, with some light citrus notes.

M: a little thin but had a good flavor with a light smooth texture.

D: Overall some smooth toasted caramel malting but more of a tweener. Good for one or two but fails to satisfy in numbers.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2008 23:10:14 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy deep amber colour topped by an off-white head. The rocky foam thinned to a decent lace after a few minutes, which stayed supported by moderate carbonation. Yeasty aroma is prominent to start, but becomes quite mild after breathing for a short while. Moderate maltiness supports a minty, earthy hop aroma and a light fruitiness. Nicely balanced flavour with malts and minty/lemony hop flavour to start leading into some drying bitterness towards the finish. Medium body and not as carbonated as I expected based on the appearance. Overall, the slight mintiness was a delightful surprise.

650 mL brown bottle with freshness code stamped on the rear label.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2005 01:06:00 | More by DrJay
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as a single from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear copper color with a one-finger white head. The head sticks around for a while before dissipating into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells of a kind of sour, earthy malt - more earthy than sour - with citrus hop aromas that also are slightly sour.

Tastes of caramel malt joined by a very light sourness. Ends with a light amount of bitterness and the caramel malt flavors linger after the sip is over.

Mouthfeel is good. Good carbonation and good thickness make this one go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I'm not sure how many of these I could have, but one went down just fine.

Overall this is an interesting beer that reminds me of another I've had that I can't put my finger on. The taste is very distinct and certainly worth a try if you haven't had it already.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 03:39:38 | More by glid02
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer dispenses from the 12-ounce brown stubby bottle a crystal clear deep amber with a personable creamy light tan head that last for eons before dissolving leaving a fine coating of lace to conceal the glass. Nose is sweet malt, fresh and crisp, clean on the palate, start is lightly sweet with the malt pleasant and the top light to medium in feel, Finish has a pleasing acidity and the hops delightful in their spicy presence, dry aftertaste, a pleasant beer on a still hot Sunday afternoon in Phoenix.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2005 22:36:26 | More by Gusler
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A legend in the craft beer industry, I'm enjoying this refreshing brew on a rainy autumn afternoon.

A: Sunburst orange to golden in color, this beer has a massive, thick head like a cumulus cloud floating on a golden river. As the head recedes, it leaves a noticeable residue on around the circumference of the glass.

S: Malt, lager scents. Rather simple and inviting.

T: A really refreshing beer with a clean and easy taste, I find this to be rather enjoyable. There is a nice maltiness throughout, with a subtle hop bitterness near the back. There are delicate hints of fruit in there, as well. Overall, a very solid brew.

M: Medium bodied, and thicker than your average >5% beer. Again, a very pleasant beer to drink.

D: Very sessionable and enjoyable. Absolutely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2010 18:36:02 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2008 23:41:12 | More by Slatetank
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a copper color. Aroma is somewhat malty. Taste is somewhat of a cross between a lager and an ale, as expected. Some fruitiness of an ale balanced with the smoothness of a lager. Interesting combination of styles. Apparently, Steam beer is a style that's not prdouced as often anymore.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2007 03:13:40 | More by Brad007
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz picked up at the Boise Coop for about $1.45... shared with a buddy... poured into a tulip while grooving to Sasha Live at the Avalon and talking about beer and work.

Nice 3/4" off white head atop a very clear amber brew... lite lacing that dries to crusty bubbles.

Aroma is bunches of toasted and caramel malts melting perfectly into earthy hops... few other brews are like it... clean, no yeast esters at all.

This beer is dialed in... not really any way I can see to make it better tasting... toasted bread and lite caramel... clean bitterness and malts with a long lingering earthy undertow.

Anchor is always a goto beer when I can't decide what I want... I don't know what else to say except thanks to Fritz and Anchor for being revolutionaries.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 09:44:43 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. About time I review some Anchor Steam. The first time I tried it, was many years ago and it was tasty. Hopefully those old memories are still here since I occasionally have it.

Anchor Steam pours a nice off white head of a very large four fingers. It has a gorgeous clear color of dark to brown copper. Wonderful ice cream cone retention on the head as well, looks like a root beer float. Some small carbonation from the bottom. Some stickyness and lacing. She looks good in the pint!

A very faint airy malt aroma, but a very nice one. Small grain in the nose kind of lingers after you pull the beer away. Some very faint hops.

On taste it's at first a sweet grain, then gives way to a subtle hop finish. Fells a little carbonated in the mouth and wet but the body doesn't feel like complete water. Quite solid and good nothing fancy, just simple.

Anchor steam is still solid just as I remember it. Inexpensive to boot too and easy drinking. Not the most knockout beer I've had, but certainly one that is worth its price and then some and easily available.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 20:43:14 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a tan head that quickly dissipates.

The smell is mostly of malt- fairly light, and pleasing.

The taste is balanced, a little spicy, followed by some hop bitterness, followed by a lager aftertaste and some malt on the finish. Very bready tasting.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and fairly highly carbonated.

Quite drinkable- has enough interesting flavors to hold your interest, but also is crisp and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 01:22:18 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with no freshness date on it. Color is a nice light orange/straw. Head is just a slight off white that keeps for a while. Nice lacing observed.

Smells very subtle, but of hints of honey. Taste is very clean. Not much going on, but very wonderful. I would note the small taste of fruit in this. Very good carbonation.

Overall, this is quite the beer. I have never had a steam beer, but I do like it. I am more of a dark beer drinker, but I could see this being a nice session beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2008 01:02:33 | More by mothman
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled 1/11/2012. Pours slightly cloudy golden copper color with a very nice 3 finger dense off white head with incredible retention that reduces to a thick cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of bready grains, grass, floral hops, herbal spiciness, caramel, and a bit of light fruitiness. Some nice and well balanced aromas; but are a bit muted. Taste of bready grain, floral, grass, pepper, caramel, herbal, and light apricot. A decent amount of peppery bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of bread, pepper, herbal, floral, and light fruit on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a smooth and crisp mouthfeel as expected. No alcohol noticeable at all as expected for 4.9%. Overall this is a very nice brew from Anchor. Very crisp with a nice flavor profile; and easily drinkable. Definitely a great session beer contender.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 01:27:21 | More by superspak
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear amber color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin layer of bubbles across the entire top of the beer, though slightly thicker around the edges of the glass. Light lacing is observed.

S: Aromas are predominantly pale + caramel malts with a slight hint of lemon and hops.

T: The flavor is extremely malty with hints of caramel sweetness. There is a small amount of bitterness from the hops.

M: Light to medium bodied with significant amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: Pretty easy to drink and probably the best known beer in the style - I probably had my first one of these about 15 years ago. There is a nice complexity to the flavor and the beer is quite easy to drink. Makes me think of being in San Fran.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 02:06:57 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Copper-bronze, off-white head, good retention, some lace.

S: Earthy-mineral & floral hops with a slight caramel aroma.

T: Earthy-mineral, caramel, orange zest, slight hint of fruity esters. There's a slight nutshell-like bitterness that I'm not fond of.

M: Moderate body, slightly higher than moderate carbonation, dry finish.

D: Personally I'm not fond of that nutshell flavour.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2007 17:35:13 | More by Derek
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355ml stubby poured into pint glass sept27 2010

A clear copper with a thumbs width of foam that fell fairly fast and leaves no lace

S sweet malts with a little honey, citrus, and bread

T fruitier then I expected from the nose but quite pleasant lots of toffee to go along with what I smell

M lots of bubbles and a little slippery on the gum's

D good beer for a session, good flavors but low booze

I'm a little surprised to see I've never reviewed this one before, always good for a 6 pack beside the river

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 23:39:06 | More by wordemupg
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, from an assorted selection of brews in dad's fridge

appearance:pours a watery caramel-copper color with a foamy beige head and moderate lacing

smell: sweet maltiness, some fruity hop action, lots of spicy aromas, some caramel, slightly nutty, earthy

taste: sweet malts are dominant, caramel in nature with some dry spice flavors, hops are bitter and lemony, grassy and earthy flavors are a major factor in the taste

mouthfeel: some hop bitterness, smooth bodied, spicy and dry finish

drinkability: pretty drinkable

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 19:50:09 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden/orange color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of yeast cleanliness, some hops, and some slight euro malt. Fits the style of a California Common / Steam Beer. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of some pale malt up front, then yeast cleanliness, a very slight hop background, and a hint of a light citrus flavor. Overall, a decent example of a Steam Beer from my previous examples, but still nothing to go out of your way for.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2009 03:52:10 | More by Tone
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Short-lived head and average color. Crisp and not overly bitter, but not much to the finish. Slightly better-than-ordinary overall. It is really a good beer to break out of the macro mold with, as it it not too hard to find.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2002 13:52:49 | More by Dogbrick
Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 4,074 ratings.