Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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2,010 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 2,010 | Ratings: 5,829
Photo of WillWillows
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured a dark golden color, generous head, nose smell was the good beer smell. The head stayed right with it while I drank. Mouth feels good, not bitter aftertaste. Nice hop taste, smooth and tasty. Good beer. Drink quite a few of these.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

A- Anchor Steam pours a very thick white head. Nice lacing. It is dark orange/copper. There are tiny, if any at all, particles floating around. But mostly a light haze to the look.

S- I get a big spicy note out of this beer. A little bit of caramel. Brown bread crust and an underlying grainy scent (not adjunct in nature).

T- Big spicy flavor. Light caramel. Grains, but clean tasting. No adjuncts here in taste or brewing process. Hops are there for sure. Lightly floral. There is some kind of undertone of some funkyness or bitterness there too. That aspect is hard to describe in words. It's got ale and lager type tastes. It's like a sophisticated Yuengling. If you like that beer, this one is right up your alley.

M- Light to medium. Crisp, clean, and refreshing for sure. Pretty dry finishing beer. Carbonation plays well with the hop spice if that makes sense. Also has a good clean water taste.

*Overall this is a pretty unique tasting beer and style. Never had anything like it. It's like an ale, but it's a lager in style and taste as well. Some of the flavors are hard to describe without sitting down with a glass of Anchor Steam and figuring it out on your own. But that makes reviewing and tasting beer fun. It would be great with hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, barbeque, or any grilled meats. Solid beer all around!

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Photo of dcscientist
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%

When in SF, you pretty much have to have an Anchor Steam. It's available everywhere, and it's what the locals drink. Goes great with seafood, as you would expect. Nice dark beer, and the style is better than that of a generic brown as far as I'm concerned. At some point I should try some other Anchor beers too.

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Photo of JLSIV
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, a golden bright copper color with a full finger of white head that dissipated quickly, leaving a thin lacing of foam.

Aroma: Nice toasted malt, with some toffee, black pepper.

Taste: Malty, and pretty spicy, slightly sweet and just a little hops, hint of black pepper.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied Moderate carbonation.

Overall, always wanted to try it, Nice historic beer that seems to stay within its style. It is a little middle of the road for me, but I wanted to experience this style. I would like to try it with seafood, perhaps a Cioppino, or crabs. Cheers!

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Photo of HazelEyedHippie
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

I'm in love with California made beers.. perhaps I'm biased, as I'm from the great Golden State. ;) This beer is delicious, plain and simple. Has a good amount of bitterness to it, but it's a pleasant one. I like it straight out of the bottle, and I love supporting CA. :)

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Photo of Forgottensaints
3/5  rDev -22.1%

It's ok it's pretty damn pricy here in NYC. I've only had this when friends had it in there fridge. I would never buy it. Give me a lagonitas IPA instead.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

Nose: caramel toastiness with fruit, mint to pine.
Brilliant deep gold to amber under a 2" bone white finely bubbled foam cap that quickly dissipates to a thick film, lacy.
Palate: Grainy, toasty rather than roasty malt, light fruit, a hint of melon, woody rustic hops, minty, slight acid tang with a long grainy, hoppy finish.
Medium body with carbonation just above average, creamy,

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Photo of dippy
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

This beer is much better than this app! Nice balance. Malty with the right spicy hop notes to bring it into focus. A nice brown with a prolific head after a hard pour. Nice lacing on the glass. Classic brew.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, golden/amber color with a full finger of white head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt up front, imparting notes of freshly baked French baguettes or English muffins. I also get notes of caramel, black pepper and maybe a touch of orange peel and coriander. Finally, I’m also getting some grassy/floral aromas of clover or honeysuckle.

Taste: Delicious! Malty, slightly spicy, slightly sweet and slightly hoppy. Lots of toasted malt up front, imparting flavors of cereal or whole grain crackers, followed by some caramel-like sweetness and a touch of black pepper. Finally, the beer finishes with a touch of well-balanced hoppy bitterness. I love it!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty creamy as there is very little to no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 4.9%, there is no alcohol on the palate at all.

Overall: A great beer! Malty and delicious! Definitely worth the legendary status that it has earned. I’m certainly getting much more of this!

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

A: very clear; bronze colored; 1 finger egg shell head that receded slowly to a thin cap; nice lacing;

S: nice balance between caramel malt and earthy hops;

T: follows the nose with moderate bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; carbonation is slightly prickly;

O: nice beer; not something I would seek out;

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Photo of JTuomi
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

355 ml bottle (bb 1 2016) into a pilsner pokal. Clear pale amber color, three finger white foamy head with good retention and really nice spiral lacing.

Sweet malty smell. Soft and clean taste of grainy malt with a fruity note on the background, dry finish with a slight hop bitterness to balance the taste, moderately bitter hoppy aftertaste. Medium body and carbonation, soft and creamy mouthfeel, drinkable.

I happened to watch the episode of Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter about this brewery, having this beer in my fridge. The program gave a pleasant image about the brewer and I think that made this beer taste even better when I had it on the next evening. Good beer that tastes like a beer should. Nice looking bottle and label.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

My first of this variety so not sure how it compares. Other than that, it's ok, nothing remarkable. I don't think I would buy again but would drink if offered one.

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Photo of kgammell1
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Appearance 4/5: Nice, dark golden amber color. Spectacular lacing!
Smell 3.5/5: Slightly spicy, malty and whenever I think of a classic "beer smell" Anchor Steam is what I think of.
Taste 3.75/5: Clean and bright. Someone else described it as slightly spicy and I have to agree. Seems to have black pepper notes nicely balanced with the smooth, creamy maltiness.
Mouthfeel 3.5/5: Little carbonation, thin but not watery.
Overall 3.75/5: Excellent beer. Simply not my favorite style of beer but certainly unique. A classic and something easy to drink. Highly recommend to keep a sixer stocked in the fridge.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours translucent honey gold. The huge two inch eggshell head remains as a thick cap on top and leaves strands of lace.

The smell is of buttered biscuit and dust.

The taste is of grains, bread and faint caramel with a hint of hop bitterness.

The texture is medium bodied with high carbonation. A steady stream of tiny bubbles rise up throughout the drink down.

Grain and bread flavor dominates. A solid, classic brew.

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Photo of DrewsBrews450
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Copper color with a head that died to a thin ring.. spotty lace.. the smell is fruit, pear, clean malt sweetness.. tatse is the same fruit mostly a pear, tartness, yeast, very slight caramel.. thin lager body.. its decent for what it is.. would probably rate it lower if not rating for style.. just not a huge fan of the past 3 anchor beers i tryed.

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Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Dense, rocky, off-white head; clear, copper body. Aroma immediately gives off caramel with cool, earthy hops. Flavor is predominantly rich, toasted malt and hop bitterness with a lingering grainy malt quality in the finish. Medium body; crisp, substantial carbonation.

Crisp and refreshing with considerable bitterness complemented nicely by the malty sweetness. Alcohol flavor still comes through in the finish despite the 4.9% ABV.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.12/5  rDev -19%

Bottle dated 4UZ at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma very faint hoppyness
Head average (4 cm), off white, creamy, slowly diminishing
Lacing OK – broken rings and a few small islands of tiny bubbles
Body medium amber, clear
Flavor begins bitter, quickly becomes slightly malty: no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

Not to my taste but pretty much meets the style guidelines.
Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 3, Palate 3.25. Overall: 3.12

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Photo of ordybill
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass Aroma- strong toasted malt, nice smell Appearance- Vibrant amber color with thick white head. Taste- Strong malt flavor with a solid hop finish Palate- Medium body with moderate carbonation Overall- an excellent example of a California Steam Beer. Highly recommended

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

355 ml bottle picked up from the singles bin at the LCBO for $2.40 CDN. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - clear amber color with a plethora of bubbles and topped by a finger of dense white frothy head. Tons of visible bubbles. The head has a good retention time.

Smell - big malty presence with loads of bread aromatics. A light fruitiness permeates as well.

Taste - significant malty with some grainy sweetness topped off by a bitter finish that turns sweet in the aftertaste. Very different and unique. Almost a coffee like finish on the palate too.

Mouthfeel - well carbonated and light bodied with a tongue tingling finish.

Overall - definitely a unique beer, kind of reminiscent of an amber, but realistically not that close, as there's a lot more in terms of different flavours going on and a great sweet finish. Definitely worth repeating.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich, crystal-clear dark bronze to copper. Head is creamy, white, and lathery in texture. Good retention.

S: Aromatics are malty, but rounded. Grains are present and full of character. What should "beer" smell like? It should smell like this!

T: The taste is clean. Malts are lip-smackin' good, rounded out by grain. I taste barely. Like actual barley. I get bready, and cracker notes. But not overly sweet. There's enough mild bitterness to keep this brew nicely balanced. This is delicious. It's not a mind blowing brew, but here simple is good.

M: Medium bodied and lingers on the pallet. The creamy head adds great texture and contrast. This is one smooth brew..

Overall, I really like this brew. Will definitely try again. This isn't the kind of beer that will inspire a revelation or challenge your convictions--although, it might be a revelation in that to me this is what a basic, simple beer could and should be and it might challenge your convictions if you've been succumbing to pretension and fad brews, thinking that only an esoteric style or brewing method or exotic ingredients can result in a glass full of joy. This beer is... zen like for me!

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an IPA glass.

Look: Slightly hazy amber body. Cream colored head. Film of retention. Light lines if lacing.

Aroma: Malty, spicy, fruity.

Taste: More of a woody, spicy opening. Good malt body. Dried fruit finish.

Mouthfeel: Very sharp, carbonated.

Overall: Really tasty! Mouthfeel was the weakest link, but this is a great session beer.

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

Purchased at the LCBO as a single. Served at 5deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens ok. Pours a good 1" head that stays for a bit

S- Malt and yeast. Pretty smooth on the nose. Hint of grapefruit

T- Malty good. Not too roasted at all but lots of it. Touch of hops that are overpowered by the aforementioned malt!

M- Dry and crisp

- Ok. Nothing special and will not buy again. Don't get me wrong it's not bad, just nothing special that's all

Food Pairing

This ok beer went well with... Hamburgers. I don't use a lot of toppings so for me it's meat and bun off the BBQ


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Photo of TheVenerableMead
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz into a conical pint.
A - Orangey- gold with a hint of chill haze. Not much head, but a decent short-lived lace.

S - BLAND. Not much muchness. But not terrible. A hint of something resembling a respectable beer.

T - Very fruity with wildflowers.

M - Dry fruit and some... thing.

O - Begging forgiveness. Not at all familiar with California Steam beer. This just wasn't bad at all. It's like my opinion of Belgian beers: they just have their own little thing going on. My first impression? Honestly? "So this is what happens when you ale a lager!" Give me another try next summer.

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Photo of JLaw55
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beer icon of sorts. Sort of like an Amber, but different. Amber color and clear with bubbles rising throughout. A nice half inch of head that dissipates moderately quickly, but leaves just a touch of lacing on the edges. Bread and malt flavors dominate. It is shockingly light for what you see in the glass. Has a nice crisp finish and is easily something you could throw back a few of. It has an almost refreshing characteristic about it.

Not going to beat you over the head with an assault of flavors, but it is different and pleasant.

Would Drink Again: Yes
Would Purchase Again: Yes

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Photo of doktorhops
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer: one of the original steam beers. What's a steam beer? There's a fascinating story behind this style: Back in the late 1800's in California Lager was a fast growing style, however it was difficult to brew in the warm climate (Lager yeast works best between 9 to 14 °C and Ale yeast works best between 13 to 24 °C) so the brewers "trained" a Lager yeast to work at Ale yeast temperatures and BAM! Steam beer was born. Steam beer has the characteristics of an Ale but is technically a Lager.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy copper bodied with a cream coloured lush half centimetre head, bit darker than the other steam beers I've tried, however Anchor owns the trademark so this is considered THE classic steam beer.

S: Sweet caramel malts mingle with earthy and herbaceous hops providing a decent Ale aroma. There are also notes of peach and lemon lingering in the background giving the hops a touch of fruitiness as well.

T: Flavour is well balanced, but favours the sweet caramel malts a little more than the fruity/earthy hops. There is some lemon rind bitterness asserting itself in the finish and after taste. It also has this moreish quality that keeps you coming back for another sip, which is the sign of a well-crafted brew.

M: The mouthfeel of this beer is awesome - medium bodied with a creamy dense carbonation, not unlike a top shelf Hefeweizen.

D: This beer is modest in its entirety - it screams nothing, it just goes down easy and has the right balance and an interesting enough flavour to keep it unique - a class act all the way. The hard part is deciding which of the two Anchor brews I've tried that I like more, the Liberty Ale is also top-notch, hmmm... I am more of an Ale than a Lager man and the Liberty does tickle my taste bones, yeah I'm gonna go with the Liberty Ale FTW.

Food match: This is such a well-crafted and balanced beer that it would match with almost anything - Beef, pork, poultry, and fish they would all work with this, you decide.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,010 ratings.
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