Anchor California Lager - Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager

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181 Reviews

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Reviews: 181
Hads: 967
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 26.47%
Wants: 33
Gots: 206 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: esdeebrew on 02-15-2013

In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California's first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager® is our re-creation of this historic beer. Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, this all-malt brew is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. Its golden color, distinctive aroma, creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and smooth finish make Anchor California Lager® a delicious celebration of California’s unique brewing heritage.
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Reviews: 181 | Hads: 967
Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

In bottle at the Apple & Pear Taphouse in St Helier, Jersey. Pours a clear golden colour with a thin white head. Aromas of American hops and pale malt. Taste is smooth of sweet malts with some fruits and pines. Very smooth mouth feel and finish. One of the best lagers I've had for a while.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.12/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Served in a shaker pint glass.

Another always-there-but-never-tried bottle thanks to the auspices of VDubb (though I apparently did have this before, a couple years ago). This one pours a clear sunset straw topped by a finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises mild sweet biscuit, light lettuce, and a breeze of lightly-briny sea air not unlike a coastal scotch. The taste generally brings in more of the same, but now with a heaping helping of vegetation and herb to make things completely awkward. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a very fluid feel. Overall, a decent enough brew, but the hops do no favors here, and everything else just comes across lackluster.

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Photo of Slaterlovesbeer
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poursb a wonderful golden color into a pint glass. Steady hrad that is light and airy. Very thick head that dies down at a slow and steady pace. Aroma is that of barley and grain. Flavor is all barley, almost zero hops. Very smooth with a nice refreshing mouthfeel. Overall a very nice lager. Budweiser is to Motel 6 as this is to the Plaza hotel. A fine, crisp, refreshing lager. And the fact some procedes go to help wildlife preservation is a plus (although it does not affect my rating). Overall pretty good. Will try again if its convinient.

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Photo of BikingDutchman
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Very clear pale yellow with a white head.
S- Sweet malt with a touch of floral hops.
T- Very clean and balanced. Floral and slightly earthy hops are more prominent than in the smell, but still retain a nice balance with the not-too-sweet malty flavor. Finish is dry, letting the hop flavors come back through.
F- Med/high carbonation that I like in most lager styles. The beer is light and fairly dry.
O- A nice easy drinking beer. I like the older-style cluster hops and their floral/earthy flavor.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Really well done lager by the folks at Anchor, boasting a fine fresh lager yeast nose, almost like salty ocean air, followed by a smooth malt palate, not excessively bready nor distinctive but satisfying nonetheless, and with just a touch of tangy hops. Easy drinkability, this is one of those lagers that should be part of everyone's regular rotation.

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Photo of mobrado
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a very pleasant, well-rounded lager, one of the few American-brewed ones that can stand up to the big boys from Germany and the Czech Republic.

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Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden hue with a small head. Smells of grain and faint lemon zest, plus grain and cracker and even biscuit. Taste is of crackers and sweet biscuit, with floral hops and a grain finish, with hints of orange and lemon zest. Overall an excellent lager. Well done.

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Photo of snowmageddon
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a bright, clean deep golden yellow with a puffy billowing white head that levees minimal lacing on my tulip.
S: grass, hay, light bready malts
M: the mouthfeel is actually a little on the creamy side for a pale lager, with some mild prickly carbonation.
T: biscuit, caramel, grass, hay. medium-length grassy/earthen hop finish
O: fantastic, refreshing beer that isn't mindblowing but does not have any huge flaws. I think the mouthfeel was a standout characteristic. Great summer beer.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance 3.5: Weak head. Lacing is also almost non-existant. Pours out a lagery pale gold. Nothing special.

Smell 3.25: Smells like a lager. Nothing bad at this level, but certainly nothing special.

Taste 3.75: Front is dry with some nice hop bitterness. Middle also starts out dry, with some residual hoppiness. This transitions into a slight sweetness that sneaks in from the edges. Finish is dry and refreshing. Only in the aftertaste do the familiar unpleasant lager elements sneak in: corn, boiled vegetables, etc.

Mouthfeel 3.75: Good. Again, nothing special or unusual.

Overall 3.75: A good lager. If anything, it is a bit dry for the style, particularly in the mid-level of the taste. Would be good with food, etc. However, price must factor into the equation and this beer is far, far too expensive ($25 for a case of 24 in ATL, GA) for what you get. There are better (Grolsch, Heineken, Moose Head, etc.) out there for much, much less.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a can
Soft creamy head retained for a while after I poured into a pint glass.

Not much smell

Light malt taste, even less hops

Light on the mouth
Very refreshing.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours golden yellow with a frothy off white head that settles to a thin layer and laces lightly.

S: Grainy, lemon grass, light fruity notes, and a little sweetness.

T: Floral, lemony, spicy, a little fruity, a bit grassy, and light grainy malt.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp.

O: Pretty solid lager. Not my favorite style, but enjoyable.

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Photo of pkalix
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A little thin but decent. Gone are the days, I guess, of simply using Beer Advocate as an organizer of beers I've tried. I've been holding on to BA for years, during untapped, etc but I suppose it's time to dump BA....

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Photo of Davidstan
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A. Light golden with 1/2 inch head with nice lacing
S. Nice crackery, grassy aroma with slight Anchor hop signature aroma
T. Crisp and mellow at the same time, only Anchor can pull this off.
O. Perfect lager and comes in a can!

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Photo of Treyliff
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz can, no canning date, poured into a pint glass

A- pours a clear and bright golden color with a two-finger foamy and bubbly white head that quickly to leave just a ring around the edge

S- grainy aroma with some notes of bread crust, floral and grassy hop, a bit of sulphur

T- slightly peppery, with some toasted breadth malt, honey sweetness with a bit of citrus, grassy and floral hop with a grainy dry finish

M- medium-light body with moderate-light carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a crisp dry finish

O- an easy drinking lager that shows no obvious flaws, would pair well with food

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent look and lacing on this one. Sharp lemony hops and grain on the smell but the taste is even better! So smooth and well made. You get the sharp hops all the way through with a bready biscuit malt with a minimal grainyness comes through in the middle of the taste. Right up there with Boston Lager as my favorite lager!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ratings are correct below, but I changed some marks above to make the final rating as close as possible with Beer Advocate's "revamped" system. The 3.80 overall rating is accurate.

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Lagunitas mason jar
From: Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $8.49 for a variety 6-pack
Purchased: June 26, 2015
Consumed: June 26, 2015
Misc.: Grading this on a curve, since it was still a tad warm

Poured a golden, pale, clear color with 7-to-8 fingers of khaki white, fluffy head. That settled down to a nice top, but the head was crazy. Lots of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Minimal lacing on the sides of the glass. Poor retention on the top. (Sight - 3.50)

Smelled cereal, wheat, honey, corn, grass, caramel and bread. Like a lager should. (Smell - 3.88)

Tasted similar to the nose, reminding me more or a good American Adjunct Lager than an American Pale Lager. Got honey, corn cereal (Kix, Corn Puffs, etc.), grass, sourdough bread, honey wheat and caramel. (Taste - 3.75)

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt, crisp finish. (Feel - 3.88)

For the style, this was a good beer. I enjoyed it. (Overall - 3.88)

3.80 | 86 | B+

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Photo of Catracho5
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce can poured into a shaker pint

A: It had a big white, bright head that disappeared, clear golden color, lot of big bubbles come up from the bottom. Some minor lacing.

A: Malts, some slight floral hop aromas, bread, biscuit type aromas, slight citrus zest, alcohol is not present.

T: First thing I realized is that this is really smooth and easy drinking, flavors blend well, yeast up front, sweet malt flavors, goes into a nice mellow lemon zest flavor, there are some grassy and grainy notes, this beer has a lot of complexity, finishes slightly bitter, very good.

M: Thin mouthfeel, finishes dry, leaves a grainy feeling on the roof of my mouth.

O: I am very impressed with this beer, very balanced, easy drinking, lots of complexity on the flavor, the yeast flavor coming through is unique to compared to other lagers I've tried, very well done.

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Photo of drpimento
4.31/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Has a huge, thick head that slowly settles and some lace with a clear amber color. Aroma is fresh pale lager beer. Flavor is a nice, balanced bittersweet with just right tang. Body is excellent. Extremely drinkable brew. I really like this!

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Photo of tempest
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Let this one warm up, the pale malts are lovely and complemented by the spicy Cluster hops. The barley is doughy and bready with a little toasty note. Very drinkable and fun for beer geeks. Give it a shot.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great craft lager. Bought a box of six cans.
Malt, biscuit, salt 'n pepper grass, slight banana fruit.
Replace Bud cans with this and you'll be thankful you did.

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Photo of SFNC
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright gold pour with 2 inch white head. Smell is light, but hints of biscuit and sweet malt are present. A bit grassy. The taste is clean, sweet on the front end with a light malt presence, then slightly bitter on the back end with the hops rising to the occasion. The feel is clean with moderate carbonation. A slightly dry finish for a lager. Overall, a very good American lager, crisp, clean and refreshing.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks wise it gives great head
nice malty aroma
the flavour is slightly odd, the spicy elements create too much of a
'hairspray in mouth'
real good mouthfeel though

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Photo of StoutHobbit
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Clear gold, white foam
S: Sweet, grassy, and a little oath
T: Fresh cut grass, wheat, and a kick of bitter on the back of the mouth
F: smooth, down pretty easy,
O: a good lager, love to have it around the house, it's a current staple

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Photo of Edmond-Bird
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice, clean lager with distinctive Northern Californian traits. Beautiful golden color with good carbonation. Tastes upfront like a German pilsner but finishes with notes of sourdough bread and subtle, biting hoppiness.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle into a conical 2/3 pint glass. Paid £1.90 for a single bottle.

Pours an impressive clear, bright amber coloured body with a tall, thin white head. Retention is OK and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell is mainly of malt and a slight floral note. The taste follows the nose with simple malt and floral hints, not much more. Small bubbles give a good carbonation and a pleasant initial mouth feel. The finish is a little too bitter with more astringency than I was expecting. Dry hops linger in the mouth longer than I would like in a lager.

Overall this is a good beer. Good, but not amazing. I would recommend it to a friend, and certainly try it again, but not go out of my way to do so.

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.