Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
2,027 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
anchorbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,027
Ratings:
5,912
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
12.99%
 
 
Wants:
223
Gots:
1,228
For Trade:
1
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,027 | Ratings: 5,912
Photo of avaldivia
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me start this review by saying that I am giving this beer an A+, not because I think it is the best beer around but because it is the best beer in this style. Compared to other California Commons, it is king.

A: Nice hazzy golden color. Thick head that leaves great lacing

S: Nice bit of yeast funk and a really good hoppy note. Some dark fruit.

T: Good hop citrus note to start. Nice bready biscuity malt flavor. Bit of funk and fruit flavors.

M: Thick full bodied. Very well carbonated. Perfect.

O: I have tried many California Commons and this is still by far the best one I've ever had.

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-clear dark gold with an off white head that faded quick
S-sweet or mint aroma with some caramel
T-slight malt taste but a different hop bitterness that i am not use to, but it was pleasant
M-medium body and medium carbonation
O-Glad I pulled this out and tried it. This was different and I like this style

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours copper/amber with a thick off-white head that lasts for a good while. Not much lacing left behind.

S-Balanced between caramel malt and citrussy hops, yet the malt seems to slightly edge out the hop notes.

T-Near perfect balance between hops and malt. The hops supply a citrussy, yet grassy and slightly earthy flavor. The malt is slightly toasty with hints of caramel. I had guessed the hops were some kind of Noble hop due to the grassy favor I was picking up, but they use Northern Brewer. Regardless the flavor is very good.

M-Thick and creamy. Its a heavier beer.

D-The low abv. and great flavor make this one that you could enjoy many of during a single session. However, its a heavy beer which could possibly cut into the number consumed at one time.

Overall, this a true classic. I think it is one of those beers that often gets over looked and is under appreciated, especially in our culture of bigger and bolder beers. It is truly a great beer and every time I drink it I feel privileged to be able to drink such a masterpiece. To me its nearly a perfect beer.

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Photo of Oatsoda
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A light red/amber color. It has a thick head with big bubbles that disperse after a few short minutes into a thin white film.

Some fruity scents-- sometimes citrus, sometimes grape. One more aroma I can't put my finger on-- vanilla, maybe?

Initially more malty, with a not-too-bitter hop finish

Feels substantial, partly due to carbonation, partly to flavors.

Very nice, easy to drink beer. Not overwhelmingly strong, but it has plenty of flavor to keep you interested. I could drink this one often and seem to like it better from the bottle than from the tap.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Huge craggy head stuck around until I finished drinking. Transparent amber/orange color sorta like a pale ale.

S- Earthy malts and salty mineral water smells create a smell reminiscent of an ocean or lake.

T- Crisp, bitter citrus flavors from the hops at 1st followed by a salty, grainy malt flavor almost like a cracker. Aftertaste is clean

M&D- Clean dry feel that is easy to drink

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Photo of cbn
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours golden-amber with an off-white head that quickly settles to form a ring with islands in the midst.

Liight sweet malt aromas, a hint of honey and lemon.

Very rich pale malt flavor, good hop bite, yeasty ripe banana and lemon finish.

Interesting combination of flinty sharpness with an almost creamy softness, well done!

This beer looks and smells good, and keeps getting better from there.

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Photo of viperpiper522
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A beautiful ruby with a medium body head that dissapated at an average speed. No lacing.

S- Malt invites you in and at the end some hops foreshadows that experience to come.

T- Hoppy and full of complexities. Is it the high fermentation temperature that makes Anchor Steam so special, or is it the love put into the recipe? I don't know but I don't care. Delicious.

M- Leaves something behind that I enjoy. Sort of sticks around in between sips so you maintain that flavor.

D- Great If it wasn't so expensive here in MD I would make it a regular on my roster.

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Photo of Zodijackyl
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Medium amber color, clean pour with a very smooth head which doesn't stick around. Smell is biscuity caramel malt with a bit of hops. Taste is complex, bitter and mildly citrus hops blended well with an unrefined/raw grain taste. Creamy taste and feel, very smooth despite the strong flavors of both hops and malt. Long-lasting taste, with a creamy grain taste lasting, while the hops and stronger grain taste come first. Very drinkable, but also very complex to focus on the beer itself, I am able to sit through a pint sipping it and thinking about each sip and the finish.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Always saw this in the package store and finally got around to giving it a whirl. I was curious to see how a brewery invented its own style of beer basically, and man this shit is good. It's one of the most crisp and refreshing beers I've ever had. There's also this nice fruity character about and it is extremely drinkable. I like this beer a lot and wish my store carried more from this brewery.

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Photo of nectarofthegods1
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Anchor Steam is my favorite all around beer. I love the shape of the bottle and often don't bother pouring it into a pint glass since the bottle feels so good in hand. The taste is good, not really anything to write home about, but very easy drinking. This is what macro lagers should probably taste like. A great choice at the tavern (if you can find it on tap in the Northwest) or after mowing the lawn. I have to drive 45 minutes to find a store that carries it (Whole Foods in Portland, OR) but it is worth the time.

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Photo of Gardendk
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Crisp amber. White head that disappeared quickly

S: Bread. Nutts. Simply but clear smell

T: Mild. Follows the smell. Some bitterness in the end. Very well balanced

M: Crispy. Mild carbonation. Easy to drink but not watery

O: I keep coming back to this beer. Solid and never lets me down. Feel of quality and very well balanced. A good beer for practically every moment.

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Photo of udubdawg
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle

pours a gorgeous amber/copper color, very bright and excellent clarity. The sizeable head fades fast (although I drank it nearly as fast) and leaves decent lacing, but this is one time I'm not looking for retention - this is all about quenching thirst.

Aroma is pleasant but can only be called light. toasted grain and mild sweetness. Meh...let's talk about taste!

There's a great light bitterness here, light fruity flavor, plenty of caramel malt, and a drying finish. (though I admittedly have mere seconds to experience the drying effect before filling my mouth with another "sip") I think there's a bit of salt flavor, as whenever I have this I'm reminded of deep sea fishing trips as a young man, sipping a beverage with a fine salt spray hitting my nose and on my lips.

Goes down smooth, with a body on the light side and appropriate carbonation. A fantastic thirst quencher, and extremely drinkable. Coming home from a quick trip to the grocery store in a scorching hot car on a 100+ degree day, I couldn't wait to crack this open, and it did the job. I'd drink a few more, but tomorrow will be hot again...

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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 putnam
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Red. Sweetly roasty nose like Boston Baked Beans. A smell of seaweed, American chocolate, redwood, Crackerjacks, Elephant ears. Like a carnival in some nowhere town on the Bay or New Jersey or Cape Cod.
I remember the last time in Sanfran, passing time in a bar, I ordered one of these on tap. My expectations were low, based probably on less-than-fresh bottles consumed in MI. But they didn't have any other good choices so... It was absolutely beautiful. Perfect, fresh and living. I recall it was lighter in color than what is in front of me now. Is this bottle contract-brewed somewhere other than in SF? There is no definitive statement of origin on the label. (brewed "by" AS, SanFran; rather than brewed "in" SanFran) I wonder...

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

Clear amber beer capped with off-white and thin head. Still it's decently carbonated.

Softly sweet malt aroma evenly layers with light hops. It's not a smack in the face, but delicate, complex, subtle and certainly enjoyable.

Lightly toasted malt with some hop flavor...exceptional balance. Mildly astringent/briefly alcoholic finish is the only detracting feature.

Upfront bitterness followed with moderate chewiness and a quick, clean finish. More please.

I find it baffling that Anchor Steam only gets an 85 on B.A., since it's THE definitive example of the California Common style and one of the catapults for the craft beer renaissance 20 years ago as much as today. IMHO, if this ISN'T one of the most drinkable beers, then craft beer is dead.

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

A- The body has a Light amber/copper colour. Not cloudy, pretty much transparent. Give you a finger-thick off-white head, that dissipates in a minute or so.

S- A sweet malty scent, with some floral notes of hops. Quite bready, too.

T- A nice crisp taste. Starts out with the pleasant, moderate sweetness, followed into a pleasantly bitter, dry finish. Some pine undertones to it. Overall, very well-balanced, in my opinion. It has got enough sweetness, bitterness, and a nice bite to it.

M- Medium-bodied. Very effervescent, which is a good thing in this case, as it adds to the crispness of the beer.

D- Very drinkable. It gets a little dry with quantity, but it still goes down really smooth.

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

Appearance: almost hazy with a light coppery-orange colour. Head: slightly off-white, moussy and moderate to low. Good retention but no lacings.
Aroma: very nice aroma of malts, grains, a little caramel and fruits.
Taste: bitter herbal hops, grains and fruits, mainly citrus.
Mouthfeel: smooth, moderate carbonation, low alcoholic strength and medium to light body.
Finish: bitter finish that last for a long good time.

Overall: very good, well balanced and complex beer. I was impressed by the aroma that filled the room while the beer was being poured. My first Anchor and I really enjoy it. Shame it is so hard to find in Portugal.

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

It's tough to find a fresh pint of this in Boston, but when in San Fransico you'd be hard pressed to find a more drinkable beer. As far as adhearance to style its much like Duval, didn't they invent the style? A great ale-like lager, I'm sure the best selling craft in America (Sam) owes a great deal of its popularity to this predecesor.

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Photo of Converge
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a pint. About time I got around to this classic craft brew!

A - Frothy off-white head off the pour atop a relatively clean light amber body. The head recedes to a thin soapy film, but never dissipates entirely, leaving a sticky bunch of lacing down the glass.

S - Mild overall, with caramel malt and crisp grassy hops coming through upfront. There's a touch of fruitiness as well, as well as some malty sweetness. Simple and balanced aroma.

T - Follows the nose, but still exceeds expectations. A nice base of toasty caramel malt, almost giving it an English feel, but the zesty hop profile pulls it back to America. Toffee-like sweetness to the malt, with lemongrass, clean barley malt, and a crisp citric character. The finish is punctuated with a mild grassy hop giving it a balanced feel overall. There's a mild fruitiness throughout as well that I can't quite put my finger on, though I'm almost positive I'm picking up some peach and apricot notes. Overall an immensely drinkable profile.

M - Medium bodied, with just the right viscosity, and a fine carbonation that compliments the body perfectly. Crisp and slightly dry, but somehow velvety smooth at the same time.

D - An all around superb beer, and a true testament to the uncompromising quality of craft breweries, even ones as big as Anchor. A balanced, tasty, and incredibly drinkable ale; a true classic.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Never thought too much as to buy this beer, until recently seeing a little TV documentary on the Anchor Steam brewery and the rise of craft brews in America. Thought I'd give it a try.

Pours a very rich amber color with a nice tight creamy head that fades slowly. Very deep complex for a relatively easy drinking beer. The aroma is wonderful, sweet malts and fruity hops. Very crisp smelling. I get a small amount of citrus as well. The taste is also exceptional. Mild carbonation tingles the back of the tongue while the hops dance on the front. A nice malty backbone provides a nice platform for all of this. The mouthfeel is creamy yet thin and the flavors hang around for a while on the palate. A very drinkable brew, and with a low ABV, it makes for quite a flavorful session beer! Give it a whirl.

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Photo of akorsak
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 12 oz bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. I opened the beer at the start of the Sopranos (1 hour ago) and am getting to it now, so it has warmed considerably.

Appearance: The lager as an amber color, almost bordering on maraschino cherry red. It poured with a vigourous 2 finger head that left a small band of lace on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells like a cookie. The malts impart a sweet biscuitiness that are offset by a subdued hop nose.

Taste: The beer tastes like a rich, yeasty biscuit. The notes are subtle and sweet, leaving the faintest flavor in the mouth. The is a small hop presence that compliments the malt without detracting too significantly.

Mouthfeel: The lager is smooth with a dominating malty sweetness, very pleasing in the mouth.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Grab yourself a six pack enjoy the day.

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Photo of Nixon
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Steam was one of the first 'other than Bud, Coors and Schlitz' beers I ever had back in the late 70s. I credit it with opening my eyes to what beer can and should be. My stepdad introduced me to it in San Luis Obispo while we downed a few along with some oyster shooters.

This evening I poured my Anchor Steam Beer from its beautifully labeled short-neck bottle into a tall, narrow German glass beer mug and the head was tall and rocky and stayed with the beer almost all the way down.

I too can detect fruit flavors along the line of cantaloupe-rounded flavors-that compliment the carmelized sugars present in the maltiness.

I also taste the perfectly balanced presence of hops, both in bitterness and flavor(ness?)...these flavors seem to be almost painted on to my upper palate and the back of my throat--making these areas feel sort of 'numb'- while the rounded fruit and malt flavors show up on the front half of my tongue.

I find Anchor Steam Beer to be delicious and very well balanced. They've done a great job of combining the classic beer flavors of bitter and sweet and even managed to seperate the places within my mouth where these flavors appear.

When I buy Anchor Steam Beer I feel like I've done something good. Thank you Fritz Maytag and your 'posse' for putting together such a wonderful product and sticking with it.

 1,347 characters

Photo of geexploitation
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a bright, nearly transparent amber with a substantial, fine bubbled head. Aromas of caramel malts and a touch of hops; not very expressive, but true to style. Rich, creamy, highly carbonated mouthfeel. Tastes of light fruitiness, citric hops, and dry, crackery malts at the finish. Very active toward the end. Lingers on the tongue a while. Overall, an extremely drinkable beer, understated but flavorful, that will pair well with lots of savory food -- pizza, sandwiches, burgers. Wonderful.

 498 characters

Photo of Braz
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper color with a big white fluffy head. Fairly malty and sweet aroma. Very flavorful beer. Interesting notes of sweet, salt, bitter, fruity and a little citrus. Good body with a big punch of carbonation. Great balance and a beer I think anybody could like. I had been wanting to try this for a long time and am glad I did. Looking forward to trying other beers from this brewery.

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Photo of timfelix
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a balanced brew. Something that one can drink with or without food. Enough flavor to stand alone, but not so much to overwhelm you.
If there was only one beer and this was it, it would be a good choice

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,912 ratings.
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