Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
5,925 Ratings
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: 2,033 | Ratings: 5,925
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 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 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 Bob_G
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Unlike a lot of micros it isn’t an explosion of 1 single thing. I'm not loving the current fad of making beers that are a citrus-y explosion (can we cram even more hops into a glass of beer -- If I wanted grapefruit, I'd buy grapefruit juice, not beer).

Poured into a Pilsner glass, for me the immediate aroma is very yeasty – similar to the water/yeast mixture when I’m making home-made pizza dough. That quickly fades but it still smells nice without being overpowering. I find it to be very flavourful – almost bread-like. The hops and malt are almost perfectly balanced. Carbonation feels very light in the mouth. The bubbles are small but there are a lot of them. The carbonation leaves a mild sting in the mouth. Overall a delicious, satisfying beer.

I loved Anchor Steam when I first discovered it back in the early 90's. And today it's the brand I buy most of the time. It's nicely balanced and I respect that they're a smaller company and they just keep doing their thing without bending to any new "fad" in brewing. No disrespect to the IPAs and Double IPAs and whatnot, but those kinds of beer just aren't my thing. Anchor Steam is a "work horse" kind of beer. For what I'm looking for in a go-to beer, Anchor Steam is just about perfect.

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Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a comfort beer. It's so nice to return to this beer every few months. It may not be hyped, but it is consistently excellent.

Maybe the most beautiful beer ever poured. A perfectly crystal clear Amber-orange color. Very light beige head. Delicate floral and earthy aroma with a hint of fresh baked bread. Taste is bread crust, semi-sweet caramel, and a hint of floral/earthy hops, giving off a slight hint of a citrus character, as if a slight squeeze of lemon was put in every bottle. Mouthfeel is chewy and smooth. Super quaffable. A delicious beer.

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

Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. Body is clear amber, with a finger white head. Aromas consist of baked bread, caramel, plum, raisin, apple, and some spices. Flavors are the same. The feel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Foamy and easy drinking.

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Photo of marcpal
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

How have I not reviewed this before- a tremendous standy beer. One that led me to the craft brew scene on tap in SF many years back.

A: Darck gold with active carbonation and a fluffy white head.

N: Loads of dough, caramel and cheerios.

T: A nice spice up front with the sweet sugary caramel quickly following. You catch the hop presence that rounds this out to near perfection. Crap, this is good. Nice pine flavor.

M: Full and chewy, bready and the spices are constant.

D: Ultimate drinkability- not like the BMC commercials claim. This is a beautifully crafted beer and perfect for summer and a long session.

An absolute fridge staple.

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Photo of CamuMahubah
4.71/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have discovered a new session beer...

Beautiful amber...

Slight, ever so slight hoppy aroma, very clean...

Nice...I like the way the hop flavors express themselves after the clean, ever so smooth bubble gummy mildly malty taste!...Whatever hops were used are excellent and the recipe is divine! One can easily tell this is a session beer crafted with love!

Great medium bodied brew that goes down easy! So easy in fact this beer is now the offical "Pizza Beer" at my castle! Many many times macros have had to suffice at semi-fabulous pizzaria's across the kingdom. Not anymore, wifey's homemade canadian bacon and pineapple pizza and this beer now reign supreme! All hail the "Pizza King"!

Anytime is the right time for Anchor Steam! I love opening the fridge and seeing this beer! Went to the website just to see those big ol' copper kettles...reminiscent of the handcraftedness and integrity one observes when a pizza is baked in a real stone brick oven!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Anchor Steam Beer!!

Appearance- a beautiful orange/ copper with a nice thick light tan head. Lacing down the glass that marks every sip you took!
Smell- earthy hops, wood, a hint of citrus.
Taste- oh soo good! Malty with a strong yet smooth hop flavor a hint of bitterness that makes you take another sip and another...
Mouthfeel- crisp with a faint bitterness. Goes down too easy!

Overall, quite frankly 1 of the best beers ever!!! A beer that yo can slowly savor or drink several of hanging out. A beer that you can always rely on!!!

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Photo of SteveMcQueen36
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I found this beer in Big Sur for the first time and enjoyed it at the River Inn. Near a pretty decent river. I loved it. It tasted like how perfect that environment sounds. Look it up if you don't believe me. It's worth a vacation. Anyway, This beer is rich and strong. It's a powerful beer from a powerful state. Enjoy.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a pale amber with a fluffy, flimsy head. The aroma is classic malt sweetness with a touch of tropical fruit and and little earthy quality. The mildly bitter tropical hop flavor is present at the start of the sip, supported by a semi-sweet malt backbone. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. This is a classic beer. I often pass it over in the store, but I should give it more attention. Great in all seasons, awesome with a wide variety of dishes, this is a pure, everyday table beer.

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Photo of acevenom
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated May 31.

Poured into a pint glass. Pours clear copper with a tall, biege head that dissipates slowly. Some lacing is left behind on the glass. The aroma is of barley malt and some hops. There is a nice malty component to this beer in the taste. There is sweet up front with breadiness hitting at the middle. There is some hop bitterness on the back end with some aftertaste. The flavors are well-balanced. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. The finish is smooth and dry. The drinkability is very high. This is an excellent beer. I have to agree with a previous reviewer that this beer does remind me of an ESB.

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Photo of sjambok1
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

My first review and for an excellent beer.

A: Amber and dark with a good, thick head

S-Smelt of hops and caramel. Soothing and not too strong.

T-An excellent taste. Very hopy and somewhat sweet at the beginnign.

MF-Very carbonated, good, and smooth

D-Something I could drink plenty of and not have a problem.

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Photo of cbleary
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a bottle into a pint glass.

This is extraordinary beer. I think the bottle I had may have been just a little old, but it didn't matter. It poured with a lovely golden amber color with a generous head that left copious lacing in the glass. Gorgeous. The smell was a very nice mix of sweet malts and hops. The taste was a similar balance with the sweetness of the beer kept in check by the bitter hops. It was very drinkable, and I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of Umbra
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Burnt amber brew with a thick two fingered head. Decent retention and lacing. Aroma of bread and slight hops.
Flavor changes and is more complex than I remember. Initially hoppy in an English bitter sort of way. That changes towards the middle and end of the brew, where it becomes more caramel with a chalky, dry finish. Mouthfeel is medium and more hearty than expected. However, it's dryness and complexity would lead one to call this an excellent session.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into my Guinness tulip pint glass.

Appearance: Deep amber color with a beautiful foamy head.

Smell: A toasty smell with an almost buttery hint about it. Slight spicy hoppiness about it. Very pleasing aroma, but might take a couple tries to sense it well.

Taste: A toasty flavor and a buttery finish- expected from the smell. A nice hop bitterness about it that balances things out very well.

Mouthfeel: Good body, not too thick or thin. Carbonation is hard to detect right off, but it is definitely not flat.

Drinkability: If I was told that this is the only beer I would be allowed to drink for the rest of my life, I think I would be ok with that.

This is a beer I had been looking for for a while now and I happened to stumble upon it at a Kroger in Roanoke, VA. I picked it up and it was better than I expected- without a doubt one of my favorite brews. This could be enjoyed by both beer geeks and newbies alike.

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Photo of ronniebruner
4.62/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my all time favorite beers. If you have never been to San Francisco to Pier 39, its worth the trip just to go to the Anchor Steam brewery. This is some of the best American beer on the market and criminally underrated. The smell, taste, and drinkability are second to none, and this is an enjoyable drinking beer, perfect for just about any occasion. Well rounded and not lacking. Very very close to brew perfection!

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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 arguemaniac
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark orange/amber with a short-lived, light tan head that leaves a thin lace. Bready maltiness in the aroma and flavor, though the palate is a bit more complex: grain, caramel, a very mild roastiness, and some faint piney hops as well. The mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy with moderately active carbonation.

Not merely one of the best examples of the style, but arguably one of the best American beers on the market. I’ve said it before in various forum posts and I’ll say it again: this well-balanced, infinitely drinkable brew is THE perfect session beer. No one can claim to be a serious craft beer lover and never have tried this one! Highly, highly recommended!

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

I have had a renewed love affair with Anchor the last month or so. Since returning to my "roots" I thought I should re review this classic that is responsible for the micro revolution, it also started me in to the world of quality beer. This beer is a medium amber, head retention and lacing are excellent. Fresh malty and grainy aroma is prominent. Smooth, rounded, refreshing and a tad dry. Some caramel notes, Good hoppy bite. A totally drinkable beer, good year round.

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

Deep orange colour with some fluffy, sticky head off-white in colour. Smells of sweet caramel, earth, grains, with some light citrus odours. Taste is creamy caramel mixing into bitter citrus, grains, grass. Slightly drying finish. Carbonation fizzes in the mouth, with some bitter tingling to finish. Nice feel in the mouth, medium bodied. Tasty, refreshing, and I definitely want another.

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Photo of Redwood21
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Upfront: My review "MAY" be biased. This was my first craft brew, and it was love at first sip. If anything that should be a statement to its quality. Its fun because its steam beer, not a lager, not an ale...its steam beer.

A: This beer is probably my favortie to look at. It pours a great amber color. The head is sort of a tan/offwhite color that pours thick but then drops to form a nice lasting thin veil. Beautiful.

S: I was suprised that a beer style labeled steam was so fragrant. I later learned where the "steam" term came from and realized my earlier thought was foolish...any way when you pop the cap and get a whiff its just good.There is some malty aromas but overall its just a reat smell that makes me want to start drinking.

T: This is where all beers make their moeny, and this anchor steam is "my" favorite, Its a beer that no matter what mood, what meal, what occasion, ill know id love to have one. there is a malty grain taste, with bitterness as well. The flavours like the aromas meld so well, and are balanced so well its hard to describe seperate flavours.

M: Extremel smooth, not sure how else to say ityou wash it around your mouth and is just tastes great and goes down so easily.

D: Highly drinkable, my all time session beer. If i had to drink only one beer forever (right now) this would be it. extremely pleasant experience.

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Photo of cracgor
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You ever say to yourself, I just want something that tastes like beer? That is the place this beer has in my heart. It pours out with a tiny white head. The body is an amber color with a decent amount of carbonation. Nothing like the streams in a belgian, but nice, and well beer like. It has a very clean beer smell. A light melon like hop and a tiny bit of malt. This beer never ceases to amaze me with flavor. Delicious hint of fruit, but mostly a perfectly balanced beer. The hops have a couple of layers. The first flavor I taste is very fruity, but it opens into a peppery flavor as it goes down, and just after, the flavor comes out as a piney/citrusy flavor. Very fun to drink and easy to drink. This is the jack of all trades of could drink it as a lawnmower gusler or a sipping evening beer. Goes great with food too.

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Photo of bump8628
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lovely stuff. Rich caramel balances a slightly unruly herbal hop flavor. Further warming brings out some sourdough bread crust, black pepper, and leafiness. A hint of fruit and yeastiness adds depth. Great, full mouthfeel especially considering the sub-5% ABV. An original American style and Anchor Steam pretty much defines it, what more do you want?

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

Beautiful copper body. Rocky, fluffy just slightly off-white head. Excellent lacing. Wonderful mix of floral and citrus hops in aroma. Superb hop and malt balance. This beer could be drank all night. Paired with any food. Clean. Truly does exhibit ale and lager characteristics. Too often overlooked, an America Classic.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,925 ratings.
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