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Anchor California Lager - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

182 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 182
Hads: 983
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 26.47%
Wants: 36
Gots: 217 | 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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 182 | Hads: 983
Photo of JRed
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of BrewChatKen
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.44/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

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.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
4.16/5  rDev +11.2%

Appearance - Light gold, nice fluffy white head. Head disappears quickly though, lacing on glass does not last.

Smell - Nothing truly stands out. Typical bread/cornflakes smell. Cannot really smell the hops.

Taste - Taste like it smells. Nice bread-like taste. Malt sweetness. Little to no hops.

Mouthfeel - Medium, nice carbonation. I cannot describe it but the mouthfeel is wonderful.

Overall - Great beer, I really enjoy it. Great drink-ability, light, nice balanced flavor. Its just great. 4.16/5

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Photo of ordybill
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 OZ. bottle into a tulip glass.
Aroma- has a strong sweet aroma with a backdrop of grass and hops
Appearance- pours a golden orange color with a thick white head.
Taste- Crisp barley flavored beer with some spice thrown in.
Palate- a dry beer with that is medium bodied with medium carbonation.
Overall- a really good beer from Anchor, not as good as their Anchor Steam or Porter offerings but worth a try.

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Photo of Tom_the_bomb
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

A super, historical salute! A great pale lager, hopped just right, and a tribute to Anchor's diversification! Love the cans !!! (though I'd suggest doing away with the red background, making it gold, and keeping the crest red.)

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Photo of rangerred
3.48/5  rDev -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

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Photo of tone77
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of malts, sweet. Taste is malty, light hops, a bit of sweetness and grains, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid lager and good session beer.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Paid about $2.50 for the single along with their IPA which I will review next. I had this at a Metal Concert and was impressed by its hop bitterness, mild skunky flavors, and distinct biscuit malt flavors. Head was appropriate and drink ability was OK I am not the biggest fan of Lagers but it went down fairly smooth.

Overall if your looking for a smooth lager with a good hop bitterness pick this up. Love the label with the bear.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appears a bright pale golden hue with a bright white head pillow like and thick.

Aroma has ripened citrus zest, dank floral, and marijuana notes a touch of sulfur on the nose as well.

Flavor super rich golden malts balance out earthy zest ridden earthy hops that a dug into each sip that crosses the palate.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with even sturdy carbonation that really brings out the aggressive nature of this pale lager.

Overall it’s easy to drink and quite pleasurable to consume I recommend at least a six pack to absorb it all in.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear medium golden, with just a touch of haze, crowned by a coarse, snow-white head. Thick, scattered lacing adorns the glass walls. A modest amount of slight carbonation drifts lazily to the surface.

Aroma: Caramel and bread malts vie with modest herbal hops.

Taste: Begins with somewhat sharp herbal hope at the open, soon followed by lightly-toasted malts. AS the taste progresses, the hops assert themselves more firmly. With the porgression of the taste, the hops assert themselves more firmly, culminating with a sharp, metallic bitterness at the back of the mouth.

Mouth feel: Fairly full, with somewhat sharp carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Very well-made, a tangible glimpse of a bygone era.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom brown glass bottle, with a twist-off crown, served in a Samuel Adams Boston Lager sensory glass. The label art, with its retro theme is really apropos, it feels like a beer rescued from an ancient cellar.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool looking can compliments of another6pack. Thanks, Trent for this and the OTHER 17 beers you sent me.

12oz can.

I didn't chill the can long enough as the pour brought a 3 finger head of foam but no worries, I'm a patient guy.

I now see a light golden coloured brew that now has a 1 finger HOF sitting on top. The foam shrinkage left some lacing.

It smells really toasty, a bit grainy, with a light nondescript bitterness.

The taste is very nice. A good toasted malt flavour backed up by grain and a pleasant citrus hop kick that keeps that toast from being TOO toasty. Yes siree, this is an easy drinker.

Light bodied, goodly amount of carbonation.

Wow, that can went quickly. Proof positive, that I dig it.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter.

A: Clear, golden with a white half finger head with bubbles in its wake. Light lacing.

S: Lemons and corn with a malty backbone.

T: Solid. Grainy, malty, tangy.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Very textured on the tongue. The mouthfeel is what sells it. The fullness takes it above just an average lager.

O: A good and sessionable lager, fine for summer cookouts. Everyone will like this one.

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Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a crystal clear golden color with a three-fingered head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Doughy with a hint of graham cracker; slightly grainy and grassy

Taste: Doughy and crackery, up front, with lemongrass flavors developing; grainy and grassy, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with crisp carbonation

Overall: I was expecting to be underwhelmed but this is actually rather good; a great crossover beer to bring to a BBQ

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling right now on 7/3/14. Comes in a nice brown bottle with a great looking label. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner flute glass.

Pours a golden honey in color with a good 1/2 finger white thick head that lasts the whole drink. Lots of lacing is seen when sipped that clings along the sides of the glass. The aroma is of malts with a slight hint of caramel as well. More going on with the taste actually as the malts, crackers & biscuit and grassy hops comes together with a slightly dry finish. Crisp and clean with no harsh or bitter aftertaste. Perfect carbonation. Usually not a big fan of Pale Ales but this one is very good.

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Photo of champ103
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a perfectly clear straw yellow color. A dense two finger white head forms with good retention and lace.
S: Biscuit malts, light grassy hops that lingers just a tad. Very simple, very clean.
T: Biscuit and cracker like malts with grassy hops again. Lager yeast that is ultra clean an soft. Light lingering bitterness fading in the finish.
M/D: A light body with nice effervescent carbonation. Ultra smooth at the same time and one of the cleanest beers I have had. All day with this. Really enjoyable.

Almost to simplistic, but so clean and enjoyable for the summer. Not my favorite lager, but already growing on me more as I finish the bottle. Something I really enjoy and will revisit.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 12oz can to a fat, stubby tulip; no canning or freshness date visible on the can itself, but I’m optimistic that this isn’t very old. Sold as a single at Whole Foods, the date of the UPC code was 6/14, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that it came into the store’s stock a couple of weeks after canning.

Appearance (3.75): About two and a half fingers of dense, creamy foam come off of the pour, capping a perfectly clear, honey-golden body sporting a steady stream of bubbles rushing to the surface. The head dies down slower than average, leaving first a cratered surface before leaving a thick film on the surface. Some suds and lacy legs stick around on the surface of the glass, showing decent but not outstanding lacing.

Smell (4.5): Extremely floral with a distinct but subtle lager yeast character—very, very nice. Honeyed biscuits, wild flowers, pear juice, fresh cut grass, some garden-fresh herbs, and soda bread. Smells fantastic for the style.

Taste (4.25): Spritzy citrus notes and a floral character jump right out, while still retaining a somewhat restrained, smooth hop character that blends with the malt body: biscuits, a touch of honey, and more soda bread. A solid, grassy-floral bitterness comes in next, showing green tea, edible flowers, and sweet grass. That bitterness moves into a mostly grassy finish that clings for half a minute before dying down. Really, really enjoyable.

Mouthfeel (4.25): Smooth carbonation leads the charge, followed by a light- side of medium-weight body with a dry feel that almost comes off as lightly tannic. The hops and dry malt, grassy with soda bread, really aid the dry feel. Very easy to drink, but satisfying at the same time.

Overall (4.25): This, in my opinion, is an outstanding example of the style, hitting all the right notes while still incorporating some distinct flourishes—light but not too light, refreshing but not without character, flavorful but not overpowering, etc. Awesome beer, and even better that it’s in a can.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pale golden color with soft clarity. The head looked nice. Almost started to lace.

Barley malts, light hop grassiness, and semi-chalky yeast. Soft, but distinctive, with lagered smoothness.

Very clean. True barley grain flavors with a moderate bitterness level. Low in hop flavor, with some light grassiness. Easy drinking mouthfeel with balanced flavors, carbonation, and light body.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Anchor attempts to take up back to history, even before the brewery itself was established. It's said to be based off the first lager to be brewed in the state of California. From a 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Soapy with the head, yet sticky and retaining very well. Underneath is a bright golden colored beer with marvelous peppy bubbles running from bottom to top. The city which Anchor resides in is known for its sourdough bread. The aroma hints some of that sourdough goodness. Vague malt hits the nose too. Minerals and a twang of citrus come and go.

Simple lager with a wrinkle of fruitiness. The beer starts with a flavor of sweet grain with a hint of citrus. There's a pleasant fruity ester taste which I have come to expect from an amber lager, not a golden one. There's something in that yeast, me thinks. A light bitterness dries the beer out in the aftertaste.

A little different from other good lagers. Not necessarily better, but different.

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Photo of Sam-VW
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Golden with a medium white head that dissipates to a thin cap. Bubbles rise slowly the whole time.

S - Lager malt, piny hops, slight toffee

T - Sweet malt followed by a long piney hop. Leaving a bitter grassy aftertaste

M - Great amount of carbonation to this style. Goes down well and one of the only lagers you can drink slowly and enjoy.

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.