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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 Holderness
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L -- amber with a thick, tan head. Moderate lacing
S -- mild. Fruity lager
T -- caramel, brown butter, hops, slightly metallic finish (likely due to fermentation in copper vats)
F -- full bodied with a light mouthfeel, especially given the intense flavors
O -- it really *feels* like you're drinking America's oldest craft beer

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Photo of ChristianAlexander
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A beer that's named as a homage to past times where 19th century steel and cotton mill workers lined up for miles after their fifteen hour workdays to drink locally concocted beer. These breweries of a bygone era utilized pipes to transfer simmering hot wort from the kettle to a fermentation tank which resulted in steam rising to the ceiling thus giving the beer its nickname. With a light yet subtly heavy taste, this beer is great for many pedestrians making their first steps out from the pavement of watery piss onto the highway of quality beer. Whenever I pass through San Francisco I make it my mission to visit this brewery for a couple or several beer flights before hitting the road again. And really the ability to drink relatively large amounts of this tasty beer while staying cognizant enough to drive and text a friend where I had just been is one of the many great qualities of this beverage.

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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 thebeers
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amber bronze in color with a finger of dense off-white heady. Bready aroma. Slight sweetness to the taste from the same bready malts, with just a hint of very muted banana, and moderate hop bitterness. Medium bodied mouthfeel with good carbonation. Almost like an amber Oktoberfest. This beer's a classic for a reason. Always happy to have this one.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 335ml bottle, pours a hazey burnt Amber colour with a good off white coloured head.
Aroma caramel, toffee, nutty, biscuit.
Taste woody, caramel, nutty, toffee, malty.

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Photo of ABabbidge
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The OG microbrew. Had to try it after watching Michael Jackson on youtube. Pours a dark amber color with a thin lacing. Tastes like a more malt dominant pale ale. Not too shabby.

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Photo of RonaldWilsonReagan
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drink this and I'm at a loss for words, it's that good. It's like the guru of brewing lagers came to San Francisco and this was his gift to the world. Great, great lager. Not good. Great.

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Photo of Lagerlivesmatter
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I remember my parents drinking this on occasion when I was a kid (80's). I recall drinking it in my late teens as well, although at that time I drank for the sole purpose of getting drunk and never really payed much attention to taste. This being on the slightly more expensive end of the spectrum here I've passed it over alot in my adulthood. However I've recently picked it up a few times and im glad I did.

Alot of people say its got a unique taste.. but I think every beer worth its salt fits that category. This is simply a well balanced lager, perhaps on the heavier side (as lagers go) but that isn't rare among craft lagers. I suppose the brewing process does give it a slightly more fruity; ale like quality. Very slight however. It actually strikes me as a more raw Boston Lager if that makes any sense.

All that being said, its an excellent beer and is exactly the type of beer I enjoy. A full flavored, balanced lager, with subtleties and character. Highly recommended.

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Photo of rex_4539
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Slightly hazy amber color, one finger white head, superb lacing, lots of carbonation.

S: Smoked booze.

T: Slightly smokey, malty.

F: Light bodied, not much going on. Lots of burping due to high carbonation.

O: OK beer but nothing worthwhile.

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Photo of FBarber
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear crisp amber color. Thin spotty white head disappears rather quickly. Lack of almost any head is disappointing.

Smell is nutty and bready. Fresh baked dark bread aromas come through. Simple, but very nice.

Taste has flavors of bread, nuts, slight hoppy bitterness on the finish, but ever so mild. Mild sweetness throughout reminiscent of maple syrup. Very nice flavor profile, simple yet very well done.

Feel has medium carbonation, light, and drinkable.

Overall I am really impressed with this beer. Its just a simple lager, but its very drinkable and tasty. Nice example of the California Common a style that Anchor pioneered.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle

Pours burnt amber orange with a dense creamy off-white foam head. Smells like sweet roasty dark caramel malts, bready toffee grain, toasted nutty biscuits, some orange citrus, mild apple and pear, with herbal earthy floral grass and pine. Tastes like dark caramelized orange citrus, dark toffee bread, toasted nutty biscuity malts, mild apple and pear, with herbal earthy floral grass and bitter pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and smooth with low carbonation. Overall a real nice and classic California steam beer.

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Photo of PorterPro125
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Alas, the legendary Anchor Steam Beer is available in New Brunswick!

A- Pours a clear Coppery Amber colour topped by a fluffy white 2 finger head.

S- Bread, sweet malt, and a bit of a rum-like overtone.

T- dry grain, sweet malt, and a slight bitter finish. Well balanced yet enough hop bite to keep things interesting.

M- Medium Body and moderate carbonation.

O- Top notch beer that provides a great flavour and drinkability. Nothing complex here, just a rock-solid brew.

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Photo of WhiteKazel
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad lager. Flavor is a tad bitter, but not like an IPA. Color is a light amber, next to no head at all, so no foam to drink through. An ok beer, not bad, but not great. Had in a 20oz pilsner glass.

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Photo of ronjohn
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very well balanced malt, caramel, hops. Somewhat rare for me to enjoy a beer like this w/ lower carbonation and served a little warmer than usual. I've drank this delight for years and I'm always a little disappointed not to find it on tap... If you like Sam Adams Boston Lager, you'll probably love this.

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Photo of mklmcgrew
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass.

L: Pours a clear golden/copper color, with minimal head and lacing. Good carbonation.

S: Not much aroma. A little bread and some malt.

T: Well balanced malt and grain flavors, with some sweet and some bitterness, but didn't notice much of a hop presence.

F: Feels light and crisp, and a little astringent at the end.

O: I really like this as a good alternative to more aggressive IPAs. It has a unique flavor, and goes down easy. At 4.9% ABV it makes for a good summer BBQ beer.

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

Look: light clear Amber.
Smell: not a lot going on but pleasant enough. Some malt and a bit of hops.
Taste: much like the nose. A pleasant well made brew, nothing fancy.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served cold from 355ml bottle into nonic shape American pint glass.

L) Deep amber colour to copper. Clear. Lots of bubbles. Fluffy head has definite yellow tinge.

S) Dry malty smell, hints of fruitiness. Definite sweetness in there.

T) Dry, slightly bitter taste, malt is there but the hops bitterness is more prevalent than I remember from having this previously.

F) Easy drinking with mild carbonation and a pleasant slight bitterness on the aftertaste, nothing overwhelming.

O) Tasty Vienna-type lager.

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Photo of Kubishark
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco. This seems like a good everyday kinda lager that I'd drink if I lived in the bay area. Sort of a clear amber look to it, a crisp aroma to it, with malts and some light hops. Tastes similarly crisp, with nutty and caramel notes and more bitterness to it than I expected. Feel was pretty carbonated, with probably contributed to the crispness I was getting. Overall this beer went great with the Dungeness crab I was eating. Would drink again if I'm ever back in San Francisco.

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Photo of Beric
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Serving: Bottle
Served: 23 June 2016

Appearance: Had this one straight from the bottle since I couldn't get a glass without looking like a douche. Nonetheless, I really admire Anchor's classic branding, unique bottle shape, and good bottle cap design. Love these little California stubbies.

Smell: Soft, somewhat sweet malt notes. Standard sort of 'beery' smell. Some perceptible herbal and peppery hoppiness.

Taste: Really smooth and pleasant, especially on a hot summer day after working in the yard for 10 hours. Definitely more bitter than many other craft lagers, which was great to see. Nice herbal hop flavors without being hoppy, really. A well balanced flavor that is definitely more on the lager side of things than the ale side (there's some of that bready crispness).

Mouthfeel: Crisp, medium-low body, and high carbonation. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall: Perhaps one of the best summer beers out there and one that I'll certainly be adding to my rotation. Definitely recommended, especially for cookouts, BBQs, and outdoor summer meet ups. Will re-review this one when I'm able to pour it.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First look is a amber color with a nice milky head after pour. Has a smell malt and sweet hops. Taste is very nice, you can taste the hops upon sipping but not a lot of bite, and a smooth finish overall. This is a very enjoyable beer to drink any time of year, it was full on flavor and very easy drinking, always a go to beer for sure.

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Photo of Jaypeajus
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BA is down so I don't have any predisposition from other reviews or abv, ibu etc..dark golden/Amber pour with a soapy head two finger. Smells like a Hefeweizen but not as sweet smelling. Strawberry, cherry, although I just washed my hands in my wife's fancy soap, so these whiffs may be from that..Taste is pretty malty, not bitter. Unique for sure. Stings the tongue the carbonation does. Overall I like it. If there weren't a million other beers to try I'd do this again.

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

My first tasting of this style. Poured into a Nonic pint. Poured a clear Amber with a moderate head with little lacing. A pleasant aroma of malt was quite prominent. On the palate there was light carbonation and a pleasant hopiness without being overly bitter (I'm not a fan of hop forward beers such as IPA's or bitterness). While it didn't blow me away it was thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer that trademarked the term “steam beer” and the only beer considered a “California common” beer that I’ve ever tried. It is a beautiful hazy copper color with a fizzy white head. This beer is definitely more carbonated then most I’ve tried. Has a mild hop and strong malt character. Many people said that the hops really came through to produce a bitter initial taste for them, but I didn’t get it. Maybe I’ve been around too many IPAs, but the fact that I found the hops taking a backseat is a good thing to me. It has a mild fruit and possibly caramel flavor, but more than anything it just tastes like a really nice crisp lager. Reviews of the flavors in this beer are so wildly varied that it leads me to believe that maybe it changes a little from batch to batch. It was nothing earth shattering, but I can say I definitely enjoyed the one I got.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden-amber with a very decent head. This Anchor Steam beer has a crisp and refreshing overall feel, there are light hops flavors (without undue bitterness) and some caramel flavors. Overall, this could be drunk all night long. Nice, but nothing stand-out special.

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Photo of moodenba
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Anchor Steam Beer Draft on Long Island, New York, mid-may 2016.

Very traditional amber lager style brew. There is little in the flavor to hint at the higher temperature fermentation.

My old friends and I discovered Anchor Steam in the early 70's when distribution was extended to San Diego. I seem to remember a sharp hop- or fermentation-related aftertaste that I enjoyed then. That might have been before the brewing process was "perfected", but I have good memories of that brew's character.

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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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