Anchor California Lager - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

172 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 172
Hads: 922
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 9.55%
Wants: 27
Gots: 180 | 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: 172 | Hads: 922
Photo of wattoclone
2.58/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

As a fan of Anchor Porter and lagers in general, when I saw this recently I had to pick up a six pack. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with this one. It smells and tastes like an IPA, not a lager. The grassy hops pervade the nose and leave a lingering potent bitterness that only IPA lovers would enjoy. Yes, there is substantial maltiness up front, but it is quickly overcome by the strong hops. If the hops were cut to about a quarter of the current level this would be an outstanding lager. (500 characters)

Photo of MikeMcCl
2.6/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Possibly been sitting too long, but smelled and tasted a bit stale to me. Bought as single bottle. Couldn't find any bottle date. I'd have to try again (151 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.82/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Snatched this one up yesterday at Red Carpet Wine in Glendale. I'll try anything Anchor puts out out of respect for the brewery. Love the old school no-nonsense label, and Anchor's bottles are iconic at this point - distinctive and cute with the snub neck. Let's get into it, shall we?

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pry-off ("Use Opener") cap served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given the brewery's reputation and influence.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

I can't corroborate the ABV; I don't see one listed on the label.

A: Pours a two finger wide light white-khaki colour head. Soft smooth complexion. Nicely frothy. Fair creaminess. No real lacing as the head recedes. Head retention is pretty decent - probably 6 minutes - but that's not too impressive for the mild ABV.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper; vibrance is above average. Pretty standard fare for the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Not unique or special, but I don't notice any obvious flaws. Looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Two row malts; quite clean. Neutral efficient yeast; no spiciness or biscuity character here. Cream. Vague adjunct - corn maybe? Clean barley. Quite grainy; graininess is definitely dominant. Any hopping is largely unevocative; it's purely preservative. I suppose it's to style, but it does leave something to be desired. No alcohol is detectable. I'm optimistic given the brewery, but I can already tell it's not going to blow me away.

T: Clean. Grainy and malty. Hop character is unevocative, adding little. Clean barley and cereals. No yeast character comes through. No alcohol comes through. Some residual sugars on the back end leave it feeling sweet - almost like it was brewed with candi sugar. Weak, but I wouldn't call it bland. It's certainly boring, though. I do get some mineral notes - perhaps from the water. Light dough - especially on the climax. There's not much to say about it given its simplicity. No subtlety here, but decent balance. Flavour duration and intensity are average. It does feel a bit artificial, almost like adjunct was used.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Lightly crisp. Overcarbonated. Good presence on the palate. It's somewhat refreshing. Suits the flavour profile generally well, but it doesn't feel custom-tailored to it. A bit too thick. Not syrupy, viscous, harsh, gushing, or oily.

Dr: Drinkable but boring. I definitely wouldn't bother with this again. I do think it's necessary to point out that Anchor likely met their goals; I don't doubt this is an authentic recreation of the beer they based this on. I applaud the revere for brewing history, but frankly the resultant beer is just plain dull. Very pedestrian indeed. That said, this might be a great beer for easing macro-swill drinkers into craft/micros. It's easy sippin', but I wouldn't recommend it to friends. A dud from Anchor.

Low C (3,094 characters)

Photo of charlzm
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Consumed on draft.

Beer started off cold, tasting and smelling as probably intended. As it warmed, the aroma became awful with cabbage-like DMS. Could barely finish the pint. (177 characters)

Photo of TheSSG
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a loud, soft, soapy, white head that collapses quickly. Soft, sweet malt backing floral hops. Crystal clear, golden hue. Starts bitter with a grainy hop flavor, builds into a low-medium hoppiness, a flash of grassy hops, and then the malt finally shows through. Lingering hop bitterness.

This is billed on the label as an "all-malt brew." It's billed also as having a "balanced depth of flavor" and "smooth finish."
No. None of these things is true.
It's not bad, but it's not the smooth lager it's building itself up to be. I was hoping for something a la "Totally Naked" by New Glarus, but I got a light pale ale. Considering Anchor's bock, they over-hop their lagers. Again, not a BAD brew, but not a very good lager (especially considering the billing). (764 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a .5 liter mug.

Look: Clear honey golden body with lots of rising bubbles. Thick light cream colored head that doesn't recede for quite some time. A few random lines of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Malt sweetness and grains, a hint of wood and spicy hops.

Taste: Dry and woody up front. A touch of malt sweetness, almost honey-like, but otherwise bitter and hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy, dry.

Overall: Balanced between malts and hops, pretty creamy. Rated this based on the idea of it being a pre-prohibition style lager. (537 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.01/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden color. The head is about one fingers high, and barely off-white. Retention is acceptable, and the lacing is thin yet consistent.

S: Typically lager-y: tons of cracker, a touch of lemon, and some grass generally comprise the aroma. No twists, turns, or excitement here; it is well-done though.

T: Apart from the crackery malts, there are some diacetyl elements right before the finish: they neither take away nor take it to the next level. The finish is slightly lemony. Not much to say about this one, really.

M: The malt backbone seems to cut in during the swallow, creating a brew that's just a hair too full. Meanwhile, it's hoppiness does a reasonable job of drying the (otherwise sweetish) finish out. Carbonation - if not low - is at least gentle.

O: A competent lager and a nice history lesson, just not very exciting. It's rather boring, frankly, but it would go well with food. (947 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours a clear golden color. Nice, frothy head. Head leaves sheets of lacing. Beer looks clean and refreshing.

S-Honey and cracker maltiness. Lager yeast and barley with some old-school hops. Simple, plain and inoffensive.

T-Animal Cracker maltiness with some light graham cracker and a decent dose of grassy, noble-esque hops. Yeast and grain with a sweeter finish.

M-Very easy drinking. Has just barely enough pop to keep my taste buds interested. A bit more body than expected.

O/D-Not really my cup of tea but it goes down quick and easy during a near 100 degree day. (576 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A clean yellow brown in color with a nice white head on top.

S: Grainy with a little bit of a pepper note. Slightly sweet.

T: Slightly bready, with a touch of bitterness, there is a little creamy thing going on as well as a bit more of peppery hint.

M: Medium light in feel, with very active carbonation, there is a little bit of a milky feel to the finish.

O: Overall pretty good, something a little more interesting that the typical lager, although not as amazing as some other lagers in the same vein. (514 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Anchor California Lager has a thin-to-medium white head, a clear, bubbly, gold appearance, and essentially no lacing left behind. The aroma is of bright, bursting, pungent barley malt and grain sugar. Taste is of sweet barley malt, sugar, a touch of honey, and a low background bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and a bit slick, and Anchor California Lager finishes mostly dry, easy drinking, and a bit dull. Overall, this is very good, but I don't think it is worth the price ($9.99 a six-pack). Michelob, at around $11.99 for a 12-pack, would be the better option. Plus, it's more flavorful than this one.

RJT (609 characters)

Photo of dukeandduke
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

3/6 (Bottle) - Pour a solid orange pour, minimal white head and nominal carbonation. Sweet orange, malt aroma, and a good texture. Taste was minimal, which was surprising based on the aroma. Lighter beer than I typically drink may have been a factor. (250 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a golden hue with a rather creamy three finger head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very beery it's herbal hops,pale malts and yeast,the feel is creamy,smooth bodied and well carbonated with tastes exactly like the nose it's herbal zesty hops evened out with those pale malts and yeah there is nothing exciting about it but a well executed lager and a nice session brew cheers. (386 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a light, clear, pure golden color. Clarity is high, like that of a lighter style lager. Small, 1 finger head that doesn't stick around long at all and leaves a light trail of lace down the sides of the glass.

S- Starts with a very light, almost fruity, malt presence. Slight grainy scent intermingles and reminds me of corn adjunct in some other beers. Stays light throughout the entire smell before displaying the slightest bit of hops flourish at the end.

T- Starts light and floral in taste before moving toward a more traditional, light malt flavor. Middle and end of the drink is all light malts and some light, grainy flavors. Ends with a crisp, light malt bite that doesn't linger.

M- Light and high in carbonation. Very easy to drink, being light in body and having low levels of hops. This feels like a classic lager.

Overall, this is a craft version of a macro style lager even more than the steam beer is. Good flavors, but nothing special as far as a breakout from the style. (1,000 characters)

Photo of ZoomanCru
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor California Lager – Lager (?%) - Anchor Brewing Co. (California)
☆☆☆½

App: Pours a dark straw to gold color. Darker than a lot of lagers out there, but I usually take that as a good sign. Off white head comes up quick and settles quick, but leaves a steady ring of bubbles. Carbonation evident. Some lacing.

Smell: Aroma is light and grainy, with a slight corn like character. Hop aromas very faint, with some herbal notes.

Taste: Slight vegetal and sulfur character. Hops are lightly bitter and earthy. Very well balanced against this beers subtle sweetness. Clean and crisp, with a refreshing bitterness that lingers after swallowing. Pretty narrow, but a pretty good representation of the style.

Mouth: Light bodied with solid carbonation that makes for a refreshing and easy drinking brew.

Home tasting, 12oz bottle into Tulip Glass. 5/4/14. (869 characters)

Photo of lsummers
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crisp straw yellow with a slight orange, nice one finger head that leave nice lacing.

Smells of malty molasses with a touch of pine.

Tastes of white bread with biscuit and toffee notes mixed with a touch of piny hops.

Mouthfeel is crisp yet round enough to feel like a substantial lager as apposed to a light beer.

Overall it's a great lager that reminds me of a German Octoberfest beer. I would like to try this on draft as a comparison. (450 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.44/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden amber color with a two finger head of just off-white colored head. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a fantastic level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is light overall with just some hints of a bready and graininess mixed with a very small amount of a floral and grassy hops.

Taste – The taste begins a mix of a drier cracker and bready taste as well as a little bit of a caramel and floral flavors. The caramel fades more and more as the taste advances with a bit more of a floral hop and some grassy notes taking its place. Some graininess and a slight hay-like flavor join the taste profile at the end, leaving one with a very crisp and dry, but rather clean taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer quite thin with a carbonation level that is a little on the higher side. Both are perfect for the lighter abv and very crisp flavors of the brew, making for a nice easy drinking lager.,

Overall – Crisp, crackery, and somewhat moderately hopped for a lager. This is a nice summer time brew with a good flavor, but having a quite refreshing taste and feel. (1,245 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours golden with tall, long lasting, fluffy white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of piney hops and biscuit malt. Body is medium and crisp. Good amount of herbal hops balanced by biscuit malt on the palate. Finish is long and herbal. Nice summer brew. (265 characters)

Photo of hophugger
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nice color, good head. Nice clean hop flavor and a slightly caramel flavor. A good beer if drinking just a few, but may get a little heavy after several...just sayin". Anchor beers are dependably consistent and this one does not let you down. Also, a touch of bread/yeast???. Head maintains and dissipates slowly... (315 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains lager yeast, light caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of lager yeast and grain. Then some citrus and malt sweetness comes in along with a mild hops presence. The malt character is hearty and there’s a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

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

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid poundable beer to drink for a long time. (707 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

355ml bottle, thanks to United Distributors rep Susie for the sample - see, I remembered your name (even if I didn't spell it correctly)!

This beer pours a clear, bright medium golden yellow hue, with four brash fingers of puffy, foamy, and somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves some decent broken webbed lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of musty, almost meaty bready pale malt, yeasty muscat white wine and rising dough that's been left on the counter too long unfortunately providing a more focused olfactory sense, along with some meek and muted citrus and leafy hops notes. The taste is more of the same - yeasty, somewhat crackery pale malt, vinous fruit, some rather overripe lemon, and, well 'organic'-seeming grassy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, in a tightly frothy sense, the body an agreeable medium weight for the already sort of subverted style, and smooth, but with that weird house yeast caveat. It finishes pretty dry, the crackery, bready, yeasty, and brut white wine esters as strong as ever were.

At first glug, all I could think of was how much this resembles Anchor's purportedly (and thankfully) distinct steam beer (trademark duly omitted) - that weird yeastiness, bordering on some sort of unwelcome bacterial action, and an everyman pale maltiness. Colour me still uninterested, yet at the same time thankful for the freebie, in the sense that I didn't blow north of 15 bucks on a wasted (in the entirely wrong sense of word) sixer. (1,502 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Perfect clarity, golden-yellow body with nice carbonation, rich white head that, sadly, fades to barely anything. Bottle shape, art/styling/colors, story, everything is beautiful.

S: Grain/corn, kinda sweet.

T: Sweet grain, but no off- or nasty residual flavors., no real bitterness. It's not much, but it's exactly what it should be.

M: Medium body, good carbonation.

O: An 'ancient ale' that isn't gimmicky, and pretty good despite it's rustic, limited roots. (468 characters)

Photo of rangerred
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazy light gold with a fairly thick for the style one finger white head. Good head retention although lacing is a bit lacking.

Aroma is very bready with some light floral and grassy notes from the hops. Anchor uses cluster hops in this and it does have that distinct American lager aroma.

Bready grain in the flavor along with a very prominent hop note of grass/hay like what was present in the aroma. Bitterness is moderate but does remain restrained. Extremely clean finish with incredible drink ability.

This might be one of the best pre-prohibition lagers I have had. It is a very clean beer with just enough bitterness to balance things out. It's crazy to think this is what American lagers used to taste like (766 characters)

Photo of lynchmob9
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: amber gold-copper fusion, lacy head.
S: oaty, bready, wet hay, chalk, cucumber.
T: full-bodied for lager, good hop presence drying out malt. Interesting.
M: refreshing but full...would pair with richer or spicy food as can stand up to but not interfere.
O: good beer. Would I order another?! Still thinking about that... (324 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent bronze with 2 fingers of pearl colored head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Musty grain, crackery notes, plus a bit of perfumy hops

T: Some pear notes, leafy hops & some crackery notes up front. More pear & even a bit of green apple, plus leafy hops & mineral dryness. Leafy hops, dryness & muted pear in the finish

MF: Medium bodied, assertive carbonation, decent balance

I could do one or two of these, then it would be time to move on to something with a more agreeable flavor profile, was hoping for more from these guys (551 characters)

Photo of generallee
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a tall pilsner glass.

Appearance: It has a light golden body with some visible carbonation and a small white head that just hangs on to a thin layer of foam. Lacing is minimal.

Smell: There are some light biscuity maltiness and some mild grassy hop notes.

Taste / Palate: I am picking up the same biscuity and white bready maltiness. It’s dry overall and finishes with some mild grassy/herbal/botanical hop bitterness. The palate is light with a well carbonated feel. (533 characters)

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 172 ratings.