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Anchor California Lager - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

637 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 637
Reviews: 127
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 17
Gots: 64 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: esdeebrew on 02-15-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 637 | Reviews: 127 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RDW
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

RDW, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of g_jenkins
4/5  rDev +8.7%

g_jenkins, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of hoosier222002
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

hoosier222002, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
2.81/5  rDev -23.6%

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

kojevergas, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of woodychandler
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%

I was surprised when I saw this in the cooler at Monde Market in PHL on Thursday. "When did Anchor begin making lagers?" I wondered to myself. This has been a recent West Coast trend in response to many East Coast (read PA) brewers taking medals for Lager-style beers at GABF and jealousy will get you nowhere. My analogy is that of a stick shift driver to an automatic driver: if you can drive stick, you can drive anything. If you only know automatic and somebody puts you behind the wheel of a stick, you are going to grind a lot of coffee before you are done. If you can brew with lager yeast, you can brew anything, although some stalwarts don't even want to bother. If you only know ale yeast and suddenly decide to brew lagers, you are going to produce some evil stuff before you are through. Capice?

From the bottle: "Anchor Steam's roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. in 1876, thanks to an ice pond found 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 Claifornia 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 krausened 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."

California Lager?!? It seems like a contradiction on terms to me, but I promise to give it a fair shake, as I do for every beer. This is a very carbonated beer, so even a gentle pour seems to create a lot of dense, pillowy, French-vanilla colored head which also gives the beer a pseudo-cascading effect as it settles. Color was a deep-gold with NE-quality clarity and once more, Croesus and King Midas were fighting over it, now joined in the fray by Mammon. I have no time for their antics, so I leaned in for a sniff. The nose was clean, very much a lager, with a grainy maltiness and a grassy hoppiness that put me in mind of a German Pils. Mmmm. Mouthfeel was soft, I mean like as in soft water and the taste was very grassy, very much Noble hops, although I was not getting the malt the way that I did on the nose. Finish was dry and refreshing, but I kept thinking that I wished that they had allowed the malt to play better with the grassy hops. Not bad, but I know several PA breweries that make lagers that I will stick with/to, at least for the time being.

woodychandler, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of EastBay_Nick
3/5  rDev -18.5%

EastBay_Nick, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of wattoclone
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%

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.

wattoclone, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of TheSSG
2.85/5  rDev -22.6%

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).

TheSSG, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of Phillyz
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Phillyz, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of mufc
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

mufc, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of HattedClassic
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

HattedClassic, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of barnzy78
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%

12oz bottle, brilliantly golden with a creamy, white head that holds decent retention and leaves a little lace. Aromas are typical for the style - lager yeast, grassy hops, biscuity grain. Tastes are fresh & crisp, grassy hops, yeast, easy drinking. Creamy, lighter body, moderate carbonation. Overall, nothing wrong with this one - good example of the style.

barnzy78, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of gshackles
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

gshackles, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of Dools9
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Dools9, Jul 02, 2013
Photo of codynevels
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

codynevels, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of mc4z
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

mc4z, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of jkrich
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%

Poured from a code dated 12 oz. bottle: bright, shiny and clear golden hue with a sustained, foamy white-head that very slowly recedes leaving nice lacing on the glass.
The weakest point for this lager: very light and subtle hop aroma with little of the spiciness one would expect from an all-malt lager.
This is definitely a step above an "American style lager" in flavor profile. There is a soft, mellow flavor similar to a German helles. Only the steely hop bitterness reminds you that this is American. The Anchor website states this is a single hop lager. I think the very good flavor of this lager could be improved with an additional hop variety.
The mouth feel has a very nice, creamy and smooth profile with a slight and pleasant lingering vanilla on the palate.
It is good to see a world class brewery presenting a standard and flavorful lager. I will probably have this one again this summer.

jkrich, Jun 29, 2013
Photo of enelson
4/5  rDev +8.7%

enelson, Jun 29, 2013
Photo of kaelingirl
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

kaelingirl, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of Hibernator
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%

Anchor California Lager
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a Pilsner glass

Pours a golden color with an orange tint. Champagne bubbles race to the top of the beer. The head is fluffy and bone white. I'm most impressed with the trails of sticky lace on this offering.

A rather clean nose with whiffs of grains or cereals.

Toasted grain malt backbone with a really clean profile. Hints of grass, cereal gain and a touch of citrus (lemon). I detect that classic Anchor yeast in here too. Super drinkable, almost off the charts in terms of sheer drinkability.

A refreshing and simple (in a good way) way lager that is true to the style. Could be an excellent crossover beer for someone.

Hibernator, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of Zachtheporter
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Zachtheporter, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of mscudder
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

mscudder, Jun 25, 2013
Photo of Celtics76
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Celtics76, Jun 25, 2013
Photo of Wally1912
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

Wally1912, Jun 25, 2013
Photo of reverbking
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

reverbking, Jun 25, 2013
Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 637 ratings.