Anchor California Lager - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

174 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 174
Hads: 927
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 9.55%
Wants: 28
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.
View: Beers (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor California Lager Alström Bros
Reviews: 174 | Hads: 927
Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color. Lager yeast and floral hops. The taste is hoppy, yet bready and clean. Slight bitterness on a bready, not even buttery but lively palate. Crisp, clean, faint citrus and husk grain. Medium bodied, well carbonated and crisp. This is a beer, and a good one. (288 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #80 (Sep 2013):

What we have here is some no-frills, American-brewed craft beer that pays homage to California’s first lager brewed during the gold rush of the late 1800s. Brewed with both malt and hops from California to keep with the true re-creation of this beer. Beers like this, without any crazy hopping, bugs or barrel aging, can still reach a level of greatness, and Anchor Brewing certainly has found it here.

STYLE: American Pale Lager
ABV: 4.9%

LOOK: Epic froth, clear deep golden hue

SMELL: Fresh-cut grass, leafy, mildly citric, crackers, clean, faint lemon zest

TASTE: Perfect crispness, moderate-sized body, smooth, grassy, clean, peppery, ample hop bitterness, rustic bread, mild orange pith, slightly herbal, long grainy finish, ends dry (814 characters)

Photo of hardy008
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours clear gold with a bright white head, with good retention and lacing. Has a grassy and grainy aroma, with some bready malt.

The taste is much like the aroma. Grassy and grainy with bready malt, and hop bitterness at the end.

Light to medium bodied with crisp carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink. Worth buying again. (326 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 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 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 Premo88
4.31/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. can poured into pilsener

L: orange ... much darker than lager yellow, maybe even past gold ... a reddish gold -- beautiful; 1-inch head of foam is just a bit off white, almost beige, super sticky at the top; a tight column of bubbles is percolating hard in the brew, so much activity which is creating an almost full skin on top and a thick collar; lacing is cool -- this is a 5

S: sour grain and some citrus, orange-lemon ... hints of malt sweetness in there, just a little bread malt

T: cracker big time ... a little citrusy something, light lemon-orange, and the malt sweetness goes into the bready range, but the cracker for me is undeniable; some fantastic earthy hops are playing with the sweetness; damn is this good, very grounded with that cracker-malt foundation and the pinch of bitterness while the Cluster hops offer up a range of floral and citrus notes

F: fantastic midweight with good crispness ... again ... a 5

O: this beer is FANTASTIC! it's malty, it's hoppy, it's crisp, light, drinkable ... so much flavor, and the weird hint of orange something is a twist I've not tasted in any other brew -- it's hard for me to call it "orange" for it's a floral-orange-lemon thing bouncing off the malt that is truly unique. a beer I will buy over and over and over ... (1,298 characters)

Photo of Lagerquestrian
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new stand by for my fridge and collection. Into rotation. Goes right next to my NB Shift Pale Lager and Session Lager. Lucky to have this offering in my local Smith's grocery store. I like to pair this with meats and spicy dishes. Has a dry yet interesting finish. Feels like a Pilsner but not as grassy. Very refreshing and not boring. Sessionable and enjoyable. Well done Anchor. Quality shows. (399 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pilsner glass.
Aroma is malty, a little aqueous, a bit of sulfur, and only hints of green
Good looking. Quite clear and golden. Smallish white cap but good density.
Smacks and bites with a crispness that moves to tart. Strong drying on the finish with a lingering soft but noticeable bitterness. Nice malt flavors with a traditional American hops flavor running through it. Clean but not strongly so as it carries a little heft and the strong drying diminishes it some too.
A solid good drinking everyday lager. (532 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 leantom
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

A classic beer. Here goes:

A: Just OK. Pours a clear orange, has plenty of carbonation. However, only pours a one-inch head - no lacing either.

S: Very grainy - lots of cereal grains. Some lager yeast, though, which is good.

T: Very nice and crispy, albeit simple. Can taste cereal grains, some lightly-kilned malt. However, that's it. Good for what it's supposed to be, though.

F: Beautifully crispy. Best thing about the beer.

O: Good, but very simple. (472 characters)

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden with 1/2 finger of white head

Smell: Clean malt and biscuit aromas with slight floral hop smell

Taste: A nice hop bite of bitterness and finishes very clean

Mouthfeel: Well-carbonated and isn't thin

Overall: A solid lager (298 characters)

Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Crystal clear, amber color. Had a thick, white, head that died to a fine rim around my Boston Lager glass. The etching produced lots of carbonation. Looks nice for a lager.

S- The beer uses an all malt recipe, and you can tell that in the smell. It's two- row pale malt to be exact. And that is the smell. You also also get a lightly roasted grain note with a touch of caramel. A bit grassy. Smells quite nice to be honest.

T- Smell and taste are identical. Sweet pale malts and a lightly roasted, gaininess. Grassy type hops, but the hop note is very light. There is a touch of spiciness from the hops too.

M- The beer is medium bodied, but on the light side of medium. It is very refreshing, clean crisp, and easy/soft on the palate. Drinkability is super high.

Overall, I highly recommend you check this beer out. If you like the Yuengling lager or even Anchor Stream beer, you'll like this beer. The major turnoff to this brew is it's $9.99 a 6 pack. I don't think for what you get it's worth that price on a consistent basis. I'll stick with Miller High Life consistently if I just want an easy drinking, cheap, but very well made American beer. But in general, this beer is worthy of your time! (1,208 characters)

Photo of kd45-music
4.41/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had never drank this Anchor brand before, but, I must say, I was impressed. It's so much tastier than the macro lagers. I particularly enjoy the bite at the end of a mouthful. Not too bitter, but just enough to remind you this is a beer to enjoy. It holds its head and carbonation fairly long, and like all beers, it is much better when poured into a glass. I hope to find this beer in a bottle next time instead of a can. I'll bet it's even tastier. (457 characters)

Photo of flyingpig
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

355ml Bottle from Beers of Europe (£2.19):
This one was a very nice Anchor offering, not their best by any means but certainly not their worst either, a great pale lager that comes out miles ahead of the run-of-the-mill macro crap. The clean and crisp taste with the hints of citrus were excellent and the beer was a very easy one to drink; a beer well worth picking up. (371 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A thick and clingy off-white head tops this golden-orange brew. Smells sweet and grassy. Crisp and fruit-forward with a hint of spice and a slightly bitter finish. Exceptionally well-mannered with a super clean body. Absolutely top-notch drinking right here. (262 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%

Pours a clear gold color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of pale malt, yeast, hint of sweet malt, hint of hops, and a doughy bread aroma. Fits the style of an American Pale Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong pale malt, slight sweet malt, slight yeast, and a hint of hop. Overall, an average to good American pale lager. Nothing outstanding, but a simple, flavorful, beer. (479 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2014-12-01 in Clarksville, Indianna from a can.

A - Yellow with a two finger white head and good lace.

S - Rising white bread, hint of lemon and spice.

T - Sourdough bread, lots of hoppy bitterness, herbal/medicinal, some pepper and lemon citrus.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Smooth. Thirst quenching.

O - Surprisingly bitter. Tastes a lot like a hoppy Pils. I enjoyed it. (395 characters)

Photo of JRed
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Transparent wheat field color with bubbly white head that fades. Aroma of fresh grains, cereal, mild honey. Tastes crisp: cereal, fresh grains, honey, cereal sweetness, and dry. Light in body with light carbonation. Crisp and mildly sweet. (239 characters)

Photo of MarkQ617
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Had this poured into a pint glass, my fourth Anchor review. Not usually a big lager guy, but I was in the mood, and this one wasn't bad I must say. The color is a clear golden, dark for a lager though. Limited head, but good lacing for a lager. The taste was malt and biscuits, definitely a slight sweetness to it. Mild aroma, nothing too exciting. Decent. (356 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a six pack of Anchor Brewing Company's California Lager a few days ago at Krogers. This is the first time I've seen this beer around and since I enjoy a nice Lager every now and then I thought I would take a chance on this one, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date on the can. Poured from a 12oz can into a imperial pint glass.

A- The can looks really nice, it's got a good design to it that goes really well with the name and I think it's eye catching. It poured a very clear yellow color that took on more of a golden orange color when held to the light with a little over two fingers worth of creamy white head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This was a good looking Lager, I have no complaints, it's just how I want a good Lager to look.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart some grainy, sweet malt, doughy and bread crust like aromas that are followed by a nice creamy aroma with just a little more sweetness. Up next comes that clean lager yeast that goes right into a light fruity aroma and the hops which impart some light earthy and light floral hops like aromas This beer has a good aroma, it's not nearly as bland as most Lagers.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of low sweetness followed by the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the exact same aspect that they did in the aroma with no single aspect sticking out the most. Up next comes just a slight fruity flavor that goes right into the clean lager yeast that's followed by the hops which impart the same hoppy aspect that they did in the aroma with no single aspect sticking out the most. On the finish there's a light amount of medium bitterness with a bready, grainy and slight floral hop like aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer, it had a good amount of flavor to it for a Lager.

M- Smooth, very crisp, fairly clean, a little prickly, on the slightly thicker side of medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a good mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and I thought it was a very nice example of the style, it had pretty much all the aspects that I look for in the style, but this one managed to have more flavor and more of a body while still keeping those nice crisp and clean lager characteristics, This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, very crisp, fairly clean, a little prickly, just slightly filling and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, I could drink a few of these, but they might start to get just a little filling if I really start to session it. What I liked the most about this beer was the taste and the mouthfeel, I liked how they managed to give this beer a bigger body while still keeping it very lager like. What I like the least about this beer was nothing, there isn't a single aspect that I didn't fit into the style and there's nothing that I would change since it's good just the way it is. I would buy this beer again when in the mood for a good Lager and I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the style. All in all I thought this was a tasty Lager and I enjoyed drinking it. It's now one of my favorite Lagers and I think it's one of the better beers that Anchor makes. Good job guys, this was one tasty Lager, keep up the hard work. (3,521 characters)

Photo of BrewChatKen
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Golden color with a big white head, it's light bodied and well carbonated. Has that classic lager aroma with a little lemon and slight banana esters. Taste had a slight tang which I didn't fault it for, it was malty and finished clean, but I definitely didn't note it for any complexity. A versatile beer that's refreshing any time. (332 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 pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Earthy spicy hops joined by light, grainy malt on the nose.
Brilliant gold, 1” off white head quickly dissipates to thick film.
Clean malt flavors suggestive of light graham cracker, traces of citrusy fruit, spicy, with a bitter hop accent of the finish.
Medium light body, medium to medium high carbonation. (313 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, hazy, golden amber color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of floral aroma! Piney hops, clover, cilantro, lavender, rosemary, thyme with touches of lemony citrus and finally, toasted malt.

Taste: Pretty nice. Strong flavors of toasted malt up front, imparting flavors of whole wheat crackers and freshly baked French baguettes. There is quite a bit of black pepper, some caramel-like sweetness, and finally, the beer finishes with quite a bit of floral, piney, hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and pretty smooth, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 4.9%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty good beer. Nice flavors of toasted malt and caramel-like sweetness. The only knock I have against it is that, to my taste, there’s a touch too much hops. I much prefer Anchor’s Steam beer over this one. Hop heads should really like this one, though. (1,111 characters)

Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.