Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
2,033 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.

It is a process that combines deep respect for craft brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,033 | Ratings: 5,920
Photo of DPMomutant
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours with a medium-sized creamy head. Pretty good retention there. Some lacing here. The body is a very nice copper color.

The smell is pretty simple to my nose. It's a nice, medium-toasty malty smell. I'm having a tought time getting anything else from it but I like it just the same.

The taste at the beginning is actually a tiny bit sweet. In the middle the malt comes out and I catch some wheat in there too. The end brings some balancing bitterness. A very unique taste, indeed.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick in the body, thicker than you might expect from looking at it. The carbonation is lively but balanced. Smooth finish.

This is easily a good beer for sessions, whether hanging around outside or inside watching the game.

Overall this is a very solid beer and the availability is a very good thing if you're stuck somewhere you can't get much else.

 875 characters

Photo of njthebestofme
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- when poured into glass.. nice copper tone with a nice head.. overall looked very delightful and ready to drink

S- malt and barley.. little earthy tone to it.. hops

T- was great.. loved it nice hops and malts and barely.. it was great just the right amount of flavors

M- Greeat

D- get a six its gunna be a nice night.. cheer

 330 characters

Photo of Muddybuddy
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Honey colored beer with a good two finger head. Very clean and appealing to the eye. Head forms "islands" over a period of time but remains througout.

Aroma: Very floral and mild hops bitterness.

Taste: Brisk without being too hoppy, but definitely more than I expected. Mildly malty with a good balance to the hops. There is just a touch of biscuit to it as well. Overall it is a pleasing brew to me.

Mouthfeel: Kind of light on the tongue and slightly thin, but this is according to style and is actually quite quenching when paired with the lighter flavor of this beer.

 593 characters

Photo of kzoobrew
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My first taste of this iconic brew from the legend that is Fitz Maytag and Anchor Brewery.

Pours a beautiful amber fluffy white head quickly diminishes. Slight lacing left.

Smell is sweet and slight citric. Smells like our basic american lager only better.

Taste of malt and lemon initially. Slight hops and spice break through.

Mouth feel is light and crisp. Carbonation is slightly lively and refreshing.

Very drinkable. Crisp clean and has some level of dimension to it.

This is your average American lager, only it does everything better than your average american lager.

 581 characters

Photo of SassyBootblack
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in San Fransisco, for what that's worth.

Appearance: A nice, clear amber color. A finger of white head.

Smell: Clean malt. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

Taste: Malt, with some hops and a mineral water quality. Quite good and not over bearing. The hops aren't as "woody" as some imitators I've tasted and I mean that as a compliment.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean!

Overall: A delicious lager beer with enough character to be interesting.

 449 characters

Photo of LiquidBreadMan
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is Anchor Brewing's second-best offering, in my opinion -- and it's a top-ten among American made microbrews.

Anchor Steam pours a deep copper with an average life off-white head. Its aroma is fruity: meyer lemon and grapefruit, with an essence of roasted malts and hops. The taste is a similarly complex balance of flavors with a quick bite of hops, sweet malts and a citrus finish. Mouthfeel is a little dry, which is good in my book. This beer's drinkability is better than most I've tried, regardless of style.

 523 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big bottle with a batch # on the back poured into a Nonic.

A - Clear, well carbonated orange amber color with a huge, bone-colored head that was dense and lumpy. Good retention.

S - Malty sweet with a caramel aroma backbone and a very light hop aroma. Floral with just a touch of bitterness.

T - The sweet caramel malt backbone comes through in the flavor too with an overtone of slightly bitter and floral hops.

M - Smooth and creamy with a bit of a bitter dry hop finish that mellows out well.

D - Very nice drikability with a fantastic malty, hoppy balance that goes down very nicely.

 592 characters

Photo of jrsqc7
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

like big cheeseburgers and good french fries this is a great staple summer winter fall spring, good for fishing good for kungfu shaw brother enter the 36th chambers marathon pretty stellar mouthiness on this it's the best thing about the beer allows you to really dig your shovel into those dirty malt flavors while that sun shiny hops burns your neck red

 358 characters

Photo of cvstrickland
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12-ounce stubby poured into a pint glass yields a clear reddish-copper body with a steady stream of active carbonation crowned with two fingers of stubborn soft white foam that retains at a misshapen cloudlike structure and sticks in patches all over the glass.

Smells fruity with nice clean malts and grassy hops.

Tastes of light toasty caramel tempered by a wall of dry, hoppy bitterness that fills the mouth from start-to-finish; brown sugar, sweet grass and honey; minerally with a touch of tangy citrus and a little nutty, powdery dryness in the finish.

Silky smooth and substantial, excellent creamy character; well-balanced, wonderfully tasty, earthy, and perfectly refreshing. This is the prototype for the style for a's good.

 750 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle. Very big head, foamy noisey and lasted a long time. Clear with a copper colored amber. Surprisingly light nose, that was dominated by malt. Smooth malt character to the taste with sharp bitterness surrounding it. Finishes long and dry. Nice and full mouthfeel adds to the enjoyment. Feels like your really drinking something with some body, especially since it's not a stout or porter. This would be an easy beer in which to enjoy several.

 469 characters

Photo of jimmah120
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz "pear-shaped" bottle. no date.

Amber color with bone-white two-finger head. Smell is fruity malt(?). Taste is banana, pine, pineapple, and toasty, roasted malt. A spicy aftertase and a finish that is crisp, clean and refreshing. Mouthfeel is a tad watery.

Great session brew.

 282 characters

Photo of kboett77
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, what a beer. So different and interesting, and extremely drinkable. This is one of my top Session Beers. It is well structured in flavor, and drinkable with out being watery (aqueous?) or wimpy. I have difficulty describing the flavor, but I highly recommend you try it out right away.

 290 characters

Photo of nova009
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass

A- pours a nice golden brown, a fluffy one finger head is produced and retains well

S- malty and fruity, some floral notes are also present

T- sweet and fruity, the fruitiness fades into an almost nutty flavor accompanied by slight hoppy notes, pretty nice combination of flavors

M- nice medium body, good balance of carbonation, smooth but coats the palate nicely

D- fairly easy to drink and has lots of flavor, I'm really surprised, the first anchor I had really turned me off but this one is definitely a winner

 561 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has an enticing copper color and pours with a light beige head. There is not a huge amount of aroma to it, it smells clean, malty and a bit of floral grassiness to it. A light sweet/ malty taste up front that finishes with a good bitterness. This beer is about perfect balance between the hop and the malt. Just a wonderful beer that, because of its popularity/ availability, of the gets short shrift. In my mind this is one of the great everyday drinking beers.

 472 characters

Photo of budgood1
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

can't believe i haven't reviewed this classic yet!

anchor steam pours out a hazy amber color. there was the slightest bit of sediment on the bottom of the bottle that i made sure i swirled in. a foamy head dies to a fine lace. not much in the nose except some slight fruity maltiness and a bit of floral hops. tastes very fruity...maltiness evident and a slight stinging hop bite. a lot going on here. the creamy mouthfeel isn't really smooth, so to speak...adding to the unique and rough profile. alchohol is noticeable, and so is a slight sulphur note on the palate. seemingly full bodied; an enigmatic beer to say the least. finishes with a hop attitude which i found stimulating and pleasing to my taste buds. i can see why this is an all time classic. another brew i could easily drink many of!

 802 characters

Photo of Phigg1102
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear amber color. Bubblegum in the nose and taste, with a nice malt presence and sweetness on the end. Very smooth medium bodied feel that leaves a very clean grain profile.

 174 characters

Photo of fullsweep
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz./355 mL bottle poured into a pint glass.

Very thick head, upon a very slow pour. Beer is a deep amber/copper color, while the head follows suit but much lighter with a copper-tinged beige. Mouth-watering.

Smells rich and earthy.

Earthy taste with some bitterness, followed by a light honey (or perhaps caramel) sweetness. The bitterness dominates, but in a rich, earthy way.

Mouthfeel is also rich and syrupy, good carbonation but no bite per se.

High drinkability!

 476 characters

Photo of jtingue
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After some decoding... Bottled on Febuary 1st 2012.

Appearance. Pours with a finger and a half of head, which dissipates to a ring of bubbles around the glass. Very clear red amber in color. Bubbles rise through the beer slowly.

Smell. A more pronounced version of the "lager smell". Predominantly fruity, but delicate, with a more pronounced dark berry and grape fruit aroma.

Taste. Starts out with the fruity grape like notes picked up in the nose. A grassy hop starts to fade in as the fruit fades out, and the bitterness comes to a climax with a slightly herbal quality to it. Next comes a full bready malt presence with a bit of the herbal quality remaining. The finish is dry, with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel. Moderate body broken up by dense and tight carbonation. I would describe it as very mousse like.

Really a new experience for me. It really does skirt the line between lager and west coast style ale... leaning more toward the lager profile, both flavor wise and smell wise.

 1,003 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355 mL bottle from a sixer picked up at the LCBO; best before Sept 2017. Listed at 4.8% and served barely chilled.

Pours a gorgeous, clear copper-amber colour, throwing up nearly an inch of fluffy, bone white-coloured head that displays superb retention. It gradually dissipates into a thick, creamy cap, leaving behind a curtain of lacing as it crawls downward over the next ten minutes or so. Very visually impressive, but the aroma keeps things in perspective for me. It smells clean, but straightforward - some bready, doughy malt sweetness, with a touch of caramelized sugar, earthy silage and fruit skins - I'm leaning toward apple and white grape, but the fruity facets of the nose are fairly ambiguous in stripe.

The flavour profile follows in the footsteps of the aroma - it is nowhere near complex, but you can tell that quality ingredients went into its making. Clean, bready barley malt sweetness is the name of the game for the first half of the sip, followed by a hint of caramel/honey sweetness and some additional ambiguous orchard fruit esters. It gets earthier toward the back end as the hops begin to strut their stuff, including wet hay mixed in with some floral notes. Bittersweet in the aftertaste; emphasis leaning towards the bitter, but still quite well-balanced overall. Light-ish in body, with moderate carbonation that offers up a restrained bite. Super-quaffable; rarely have I classified something as a "session beer" with more enthusiasm.

Final Grade: 4.22, an A-. Anchor Steam is a solid little brew, and one which the bulk of beer drinkers should find to be highly approachable. Indeed, it's not difficult to understand how this time-tested recipe has remained popular over the years - it is downright tasty and perfectly balanced. While there is certainly no shortage of more exciting styles to explore these days, well-brewed classics such as this will always manage to retain the business of consumers who appreciate a quality session beer. The quintessential steam beer, and totally a must-try.

 2,034 characters

Photo of vabchbrewer
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First time trying this one. Pours a nice, clear amber. Medium head, slight lacing. Nice flavor wave as the earthy toasty malt flavor rolls across the front of your tongue, then tweaks the side and finally a slight hop burst at the back. Balanced, satisfying beer.

 263 characters

Photo of mightymoksha
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in pint glass.

Pours a translucent, dark amber, with a rich, off-white head. Mild retention and lacing.

Clean, earthy aroma, with hints of toffee and raw pecans.

First up is a soft hop bitterness, followed by a clean, mild malty sweetness and notes of lemon and very faint caramel. The latter become more prominent in the dry, prickly aftertaste.

Full-bodied mouthfeel and moderate carbonation make this beer very pleasant on the palate.

Very drinkable. When suggesting new beers for friends unfamiliar with craft brews, this guy is one of the first on the list.

 574 characters

Photo of DaveUK
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - clear amber brown, small head of large bubbles which fades to lacing.

Aroma - Toasted and fresh malts, some hop bitterness present.

Taste - Fresh and juicy malt with notes of butter and bitter coffee. The finish is bitter with citrusy hops in the background.

Mouthfeel - well balanced with carbonation, medium to heavy presence. Surprising for such a crisp beer.

Drinkability - Definately good, I could drink this beer all night. A superb choice for a session.

 477 characters

Photo of palma
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber body with a creamy long lasting tan head. Aroma is sweet malt, brown sugar, and floral with an enticing hoppiness. Taste is caramel malt and some spiced hops. Earthy flavor comes through strong but it's not overpowering. Nice lingering grainy aftertaste. Carbonation a little high. This brew went down surprisingly easy. I would love to try this one on tap. This is a step above their Liberty Ale in my opinion.

 423 characters

Photo of Toddv29424
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a classic beer. There is an homage to this beer at the Magic Hat brewery in Burlington Vermont, and it is clear why. The taste is light but still full, with a crisp malt to it. Drinking it is really easy, especially if you are used to seeking out the more extreme varieties of beer, its a welcomed change. The smell has hints of wheat in it, but the carmalized notes peek through as well.

 393 characters

Photo of RocketWidget
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one is quite pleasing. Pours a dark copper color, could use a little more head. Despite this, I love this beer. The hops here have a perfect balance to the malt, and this beer has a crisp, refreshing aftertaste. Exceptionally drinkable. Like a pilsner, this would go with nearly any meal, yet it is more hearty and full bodied than that style.

 348 characters

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,920 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.