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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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2,014 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

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Reviews: 2,014 | Ratings: 5,850
Photo of chinchill
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear amber with an average white head that soon reduces to a lasting ring and leaves a modicum of lacing.

The light, earthy aroma is pleasing, but it is too mild to be very enticing.

The flavor (4.2) starts with a good hit of earthy/spicy hops, with the malt component becoming more apparent mid-taste. The hops are present all the way through, making this steam beer seeming to build in intensity through the finish. Great hops/malt balance leaves both bitter/sweet and other flavor components in exemplary balance. Excellent roster of malts.

Anchor Steam has a medium body; excellent carbonation, and a refreshing crispness.

O: excellent choice as a session beer or replacement for one of any light or macro-adjunct beer. Slightly milder than an average APA, but with as much flavor. Should work well with many lighter-flavored foods.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a cold bottle with a frigid, ice-crusted beer mug. Once I let both warm for about 10 minutes, I was all set to pour beer into glass. Dark amber with a heavy dose of orange. The head was eggshell white and firm. It had decent staying power and left several thick rings of lace.

The smell was of earthy hops, not a bit floral or citrusy. The flavor was of earthy hops and grain. There was a mild-moderate amount of bitterness without much hop flavor, but it was still pretty good stuff.

The finish was long and bitter and the beer dried out a bit at the very end. The mouthfeel was firm, seamless and smooth. Anchor Steam is a true American classic.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle purchased at Total Wine in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours an orangey-amber body with an inch of frothy, white head.

Smell: Mild caramel, bready malts with a savory spicy, peppery note and teensy weensy hint of berry fruitiness.

Taste: Lightly bready, lightly caramel-coated maltiness. Not much sweetness. Tiniest bit of fruit -- watch out or you'll miss it. Tiny touch of acidity. Spicy, peppery hops, maybe a small pinch of lemon zest, too. Medium-low bitterness. Finishes dry and quite crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Paired quite well with the film Karate Kid playing in the background. A fine, drinkable brew all around that appeals to my session beer sensibilities.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color with a medium dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt and a little bit of spice, fruit and hops.

T: The taste is fruity, spicy and malty, with flavors of caramel & citrus. A strong but complimentary hops presence comes in quickly and provides a very good balance without being over-powering. Once the hops flavor fades a bit, there’s a nice bready taste that remains with a mild sweetness.

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

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, this is good beer to stick with for an evening if you want something a lot of substance that isn’t going try to knock you over. I liked this beer and thought it was very good.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Finnegan's Wake third floor bar, Philly, PA

A: Clear copper, with a light white head, some lacing.

S: Crisp and clean with some citrus notes.

T: Clean mixture of malts and semi-citrusy hops.

M: Light body with some carbonation.

D: Good drinkability, but not something I have too often.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I actually had not had one of these in at least five years, so when I was in the store the other day, I just had to pick one up and give it a try. I had always had fond memories of it, and this was going to be no exception. I poured the twelve ounce bottle out into a pint glass and served it right out of the fridge.

Appearance - The pour was very nice with a rich golden amber. Very clear with a shimmering light passing through it. A good amount of carbonation could be seen streaking up toward the surface. A very nice three inch high head of white foam then came over the top and settled down gracefully leaving behind copious side glass lace.

Smell - The aroma was very earthy with a good amount of hoppiness to it. Some nice hints of caramel and grass, with touches of wet hay and a nice bit of grain. Very nice and airy aroma, mixed nicely in with a touch of orange and tangerine.

Taste - The flavor was outstanding on this one. Started out with a nice light caramel malt. Not overly sweet, but rather very nicely balanced with a light grain base and a touch of some nice little bit of herbs in there. A light and balanced floral hoppiness then came over it. Really well placed with some nice orange notes. The finish was crisp and clean. Drying out very quickly and leaving you looking for another sip rather quickly.

Mouthfeel - A very nice medium bodied feel, it was a bit fuller then I thought it would be to be honest. I really enjoyed how well it was put together, with a light and airy feel to it. A good carbonation profile then followed and kept the whole thing together really quite well.

Drinkability - This had everything going for it. Low ABV, nice carbonation, good body to it. A nice light, and flavorful profile that really had a good pop to it. What more could you ask for.

Overall I thought this was outstanding. Really a great session beer and the epitome of the style. You really cannot get better then this, it really has a world of good coming out of that bottle, and there is really just no way you can go wrong wit this one in any way!

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Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Four Points Sheraton next to Round the Clock diner in North York, Pa. Served cold w/ a pils glass

A - A very light shade of bronze w/ a quick condensing head of beige that becomes a ring w/ a tight bead

S - Slightly citrus/tannic w/ green apple hint and an earthy estery combo of malt and subtle woody odors

M - A very effervescent and dry feel w/ a clean finish and nice tannic fruitiness w/ a slight grainy quality

T - Very crisp w/ rye and piney northern brewer citrus rind and spice flavor. There is a gentle rye taste w/ toasted malt flavor and a touch of sweetness w/ grapefruit in small quantities. The overall taste is dry and piney w/ a spice accent there are subtle earthy hop flavors as I taste bottle #3.

D - A fine hybrid beer - more ale like. I appreciate the historic relevance of this specimen to the American Brewing landscape. This is one I welcome to my lips w/ a great hop and malt balance. Pale ale in some repsects yet Steam beer deserves a category all its own. There is fruit and woody earthy flavor but the finish is clean and this one goes down refreshingly easy. I already mentioned I had three, but for a buck a bottle at a place that has a decent selection locally I couldn't resist. Kudos to Fritz Maytag for reviving Anchor and keeping this style alive.

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Photo of russpowell
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: A bit of caramel & fruittyness

T; A little fruittyness & some serious herbal hop snap up front. A little grainyness , fruittyness kicks in as this warms. Finishes dry, fruitty & quenching with a piney hop edge

MF: Medium bodied, perfect carbonation & pretty good balance

Drinks too easy, baseline for the style. Even better on draft

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Photo of Jason
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 16oz brown "fatty" with the infamous anchor, hops and barley label. "Made in San Francisco since 1896" No freshness date.

Appearance: Hazy copper with a thick, off-white, rocky, bubbly, sticky, chunky head.

Smell: Earthy malt aromas with semi-caramel sweetness.

Taste: Immediately, the mouth is hit by a sharp bitterness, some salt and slight lemon from the hops. This is a beautiful thing, full of flavour and character. After, a mildly astringent, earthy, highly toasted malt guides you to a dry, grainy, residual citrus after-taste.

Notes: You don't find other beers like this, not even close in their mimics. This is truly a unique brew, and a classic; a legend in the hand-crafted/micro industry.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear amber color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin layer of bubbles across the entire top of the beer, though slightly thicker around the edges of the glass. Light lacing is observed.

S: Aromas are predominantly pale + caramel malts with a slight hint of lemon and hops.

T: The flavor is extremely malty with hints of caramel sweetness. There is a small amount of bitterness from the hops.

M: Light to medium bodied with significant amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: Pretty easy to drink and probably the best known beer in the style - I probably had my first one of these about 15 years ago. There is a nice complexity to the flavor and the beer is quite easy to drink. Makes me think of being in San Fran.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in an Anchor pint glass at ChurchKey.

It's been some time since Chumley's Passport thing introduced me to the Steam, so I figured I'd give it another go while CK is celebrating Fritz's wonderland of brewy goodness. It pours a clear copper-amber with a thumb of light off-white foam on top. The nose is primarily a humid melange of citrus and floral hoppy goodness, though a bit of medicinal/soapy notes stagnate in the background. Interestingly, the taste runs along these same lines, though the soap is gone, and there is an increased influence coming from the flowery and cirtusy hop elements and a very light twinge of caramel. The body is light, with active carbonation and a crsip, dry finish. It's all pretty straightforward, but nothing all that desirable. Can't fault the drinkability, though, as this guy is light and refreshing enough to warrant constant returns to the Steam room.

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Photo of orangesol
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the The Batdorf into a standard pint.

A - Pours orange-ish yellow with a small one finger tall white head leaving spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of lightly toasted sweet buiscuity malt, earthy hops, and a touch of spice toward the end. Simple yet enjoyable.

T - The taste is pretty similar to the nose. Hints of sweet caramel malt, earthy hops, light spice, and the ever present buiscuity feel. The flavors are simple yet enjoyable. It goes down easy and often.

M - Medium-Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Light body with some lingering buiscuity sweetness in the finish.

O - This is my favorite Cali common. The flavors are simple and it is extremely easy drinking. I am glad we are finally starting to see more Anchor products in our area.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper color with a very foamy three finger head upon pouring. Great retention, slowly reducing to one finger for the majority of the time drinking, leaving behind thick lacing down the sides. Lots of bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Very biscuity. There is a strong malt sweetness and a light amount of hops and bit of spice. Upon warming a bit of grainy malt begins to come forward.

T: The taste is similar to the aroma, rather biscuity mixed with some sweetness. There is some light fruit and a little bit of spice and a slightly bittersweet finish.

M: Very smooth, medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Goes down very easy.

O: An extremely drinkable beer, the classic in its style. I don't drink it often, but when I want it, its always there.

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Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear and solidly amber. Moderate chaulky white head with good lasting power.

Good caramel notes in the nose. Light background hoppy aromas.

Much more bitter than the aroma suggests. It's not an IPA but the hop bite is quick to show and long to fade, even after the swallow. Still, I'd describe this as a well-balanced beer with lots of astringent malt background. Good body and slightly high carbonation.

If I were blindfolded, I'd presume this to be a typical APA. I imagine the uninitiated wouldn't realize that they were drinking the most original of American beers--the first of our own.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can honestly say that I have never been too fond of this beer in the bottle, maybe it's the trip across country it has to make to get here but there is always a funky grassy taste going on that does nothing for me. However on draught this beer pours a nice amber with a creamy off white head. Leaving a decent lace around the rim of my mug. The aroma is a sweet caramelly malty aroma with a nice solid back bone of hop aroma. The taste of this beer is unique due to the fact that when they orginally brewed this beer they had lager yeast, but no refrigeration to ferment it as a true lager. So, they fermented this beer at ale temperature using the lager yeast creating the California common or "steam" beer style. This beer has a wonderful hop bitterness with sweet apple tones and a nice full malt profile wonderful beer. The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated with a great smooth finish from this medium to light bodied beer. Incredilbly drinkable if obtained freshly.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A legend in the craft beer industry, I'm enjoying this refreshing brew on a rainy autumn afternoon.

A: Sunburst orange to golden in color, this beer has a massive, thick head like a cumulus cloud floating on a golden river. As the head recedes, it leaves a noticeable residue on around the circumference of the glass.

S: Malt, lager scents. Rather simple and inviting.

T: A really refreshing beer with a clean and easy taste, I find this to be rather enjoyable. There is a nice maltiness throughout, with a subtle hop bitterness near the back. There are delicate hints of fruit in there, as well. Overall, a very solid brew.

M: Medium bodied, and thicker than your average >5% beer. Again, a very pleasant beer to drink.

D: Very sessionable and enjoyable. Absolutely worth a try.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh the classics. Tangy kind of tone to this one. It doesn't push it to an obnoxious level, but it's almost a bit too much for my preferences really. Flavor delivery is smooth and consistent. Feel is smooth. A pretty easy drinker, but a bit too tangy for me personally. Still a good one though (of course).

Side note: as this one warms, you can really get a sense of the grain in there.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a a light amber color with a relatively thick head that fairly quickly becomes a thin lace. There is quite a bit of carbonation at first. But that too disspipates after a brief time.
The smell is light. After smelling it, I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a hint of caramel flavor. Nothing special, but nothing offensive.
The taste is thick but without much of a distinct flavor, except a bit of refreshing sweetness. Tastes good but nothing special.
It does leave a refreshing feel in the mouth, as there is nothing offensive, while nothing special about it either.
Overall, it is a decent session beer.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with a thick fluffy head that sticks around forever. Smells of earthy hops, a bit of toffee, and sweet grainy malt. The taste follows the aroma. Earthy hops and sweet malt with a long lingering mild hop bitterness in the finish. Medium body, creamy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. I drank a lot of this beer in the mid nineties it was somewhat of a gateway beer for me. Delicious in its simplicity, yet interesting enough for my ever changing palette. Great session beer!

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Photo of tdm168
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a bottle poured into a pint glass at Sawmill Tap Room on 4/28/12

A - pale amber; thick white head; great retention

S - caramel and lager yeast

T - straw, caramel, grassy, yeasty

M - medium bodied, crisp, good carbonation, smooth

This is a decent beer. A classic for sure. It has great drinkability, it's smooth, and has a refreshing flavor. It being a classic, I'll probably be back to it as some time.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'd had this in bottles before and thought it was just fine enough, but on first tasting it on draft, my eyes and tastebuds blew wide open, and were all the happier for it! WOW!, what a difference freshness makes!
Appearance: clear, bright amber hue, and a frothy, thick off-white head.
Aroma: soft and clean, with hints of fruit, bread, cream, nuts.
On the palate: smooth and fruity, with a small hop contingent, and very, very tasty. Body is light/ medium, texture is good, finish is long and friendly!
The fruity flavor stays on the palate for the greatest portion of this drink, and continues to reward it's consumption. With every sip, the flavor jumps aboard with zeal and vigor, fresh and ready for the task (of refreshment!). Tasty, and tangy, and, again, very giving.
A bright, beautiful hybrid beer that goes down smooth and easily, always accompanied by flavor. A great American brewing accomplishment, I always say! I'm forever glad there's always Anchor Steam around!

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Photo of smakawhat
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle. About time I review some Anchor Steam. The first time I tried it, was many years ago and it was tasty. Hopefully those old memories are still here since I occasionally have it.

Anchor Steam pours a nice off white head of a very large four fingers. It has a gorgeous clear color of dark to brown copper. Wonderful ice cream cone retention on the head as well, looks like a root beer float. Some small carbonation from the bottom. Some stickyness and lacing. She looks good in the pint!

A very faint airy malt aroma, but a very nice one. Small grain in the nose kind of lingers after you pull the beer away. Some very faint hops.

On taste it's at first a sweet grain, then gives way to a subtle hop finish. Fells a little carbonated in the mouth and wet but the body doesn't feel like complete water. Quite solid and good nothing fancy, just simple.

Anchor steam is still solid just as I remember it. Inexpensive to boot too and easy drinking. Not the most knockout beer I've had, but certainly one that is worth its price and then some and easily available.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've seen this beer around quite a bit in Chicago, but I've never bothered to pick it up. A friend brought over a few bottles so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Not sure how old this bottle is - it has 8LW punched in the back.

A - Very handsome beer with a rich amber color. Tons of head and carbonation - it's hypnotic watching all the bubbles.

S - Fairly understated smell - mostly malt, with some some hoppy bitterness.

T - Tastes like it smells, but with more presence. Hits you with some malty biscuit flavor at first, but leaves you with a citrus aftertaste.

M - Creamy and just the right amount of carbonation. Goes down easy.

D - I could definitely put back a few of these on a hot summer day.

This is a solid, but largely unexceptional brew. I might pick up a sixer if it was on sale, but there are a ton of equally priced brews that I like more.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has been a while since I drank an Anchor Steam...I forgot how good it is! The color is a rich amber and clear. Decent white head that laced pretty well. There was not much to smell other than hints of malt and bread. The taste was good....definite malt base that was balanced neatly with hops. The beer had some body but was still light on the pallet. Mouthfeel was great...very easy to drink and had anice clean finish.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had to try Anchor Steam since it is one of the few American classics. Appearance is a dark copper with medium-sized, creamy head. Smell is clean, slightly hoppy, with a note of sweetness. Taste is nicely balanced. Mild malts and hops combine for a fairly complex taste. Slight citrus taste is noted on the edges of the sip. Thankfully, Anchor Steam is a full-flavored brew that doesn't feel too heavy for high drinkability. Overall, I really liked this beer, but didn't find it to be the most exciting style around. Anchor Steam is a must-try though, it's not often you find the originator of a style of beer.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,850 ratings.
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