Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
2,033 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: 2,033 | Ratings: 5,920
Photo of Spikester
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with two fingers of slightly off white head. Moderate lace noted as the level drops.
Smell is toasted bread malt with a bit of herbal hops.
Taste is toasted bread malt with a good herbal or grassy hop to balanced.
Mouthfeel is close to medium with ample carbonation. Finish is lightly dry with a touch of lingering bitterness.
Overall a well balanced pleasant beer that is so readily available that I think it taken for granted. The date code indicates this is right at two months old which is quite fresh. There is now a timeline mini history lesson under the bottle cap.

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Photo of plumberman63
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Nice color, good smell, bitter taste, acrid feel on tongue. just not my style of beer. A lot seem to like bitter beer, so this my be for you.
Wouldn't get again

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Photo of HoppyBastard
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, there is no "best by" date that I can find.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear amber color with less than one-finger off-white head that quickly dissipated until a thin, broken layer of small bubbles remained, there is some lacing on the glass, medium carbonation.

SMELL: sweet caramel and toasted bread.

TASTE: the taste follows the nose, initially sweet caramel and toasted bread then an earthy hop profile, this is a malt forward beer, very much like an amber.

PALATE: medium body and carbonation.

OVERALL: this is a good beer, nothing special but solid, I prefer more hops and less malt but this is a good malt forward beer, I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the style but personally would not seek this one out again.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drops substantial clarity into a light amber liquid, forms a nice 1/2" head, uniform lace, after deft retention. Aroma was kicking that cool lager/ale hybrid yeast fruitiness.

More of that yeast driven flavor, its light, there is a mild carbonation and hop kick to it. Sweetness dialed in. Always enjoyable when on tap at Pizza Barn in Fallon, NV.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12 oz bottle poured into a 7 oz Libbey Gibraltar glass.

Appearance: Clear, bright copper with a lively head of off white bubbles. Chunky lace and a bubbly froth crown the glass.

Smell: Tightly balanced toasty grains, lightly fruity esters, and earthy hops.

Taste: Restrained biscuit and toasty malt, hints of caramel, slight fruit and citrus; earth, tea leaves and grassy hops. A piercing, almost astringent bitterness keeps everything in check without dominating. Closes dry and crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very creamy feel and refreshing carbonation.

Overall: Balanced and refreshing while full of flavor and character; a longstanding standard.

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Photo of JakeScully
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one the first time in San Francisco a while ago and bought it in Europe a couple times afterwards, not easy to find here. A solid head, golden color and complex flavors leaving a dry finish. A very good brew.

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Photo of MaxHops
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Michael Jackson the beer hunter got it right when he rated this 4 out of 4 stars (World Classic) decades ago. Absolutely a classic and a unique beer. Defines "session" beer. Perfect at 4.9% for a long night. Beautiful bronze amber color, plenty of hops, though not an IPA, the Northern Brewers really feature well in this beer. A great intermediate transition beer for someone coming through the ranks of craft beer drinking in terms of hop hit. I remember my wife drinking these quite a bit after moving on from low hopped bears like Newcastle and then finally liking IPAs after these. Nutty, bready, some fruit with some of the dryness, sweetness of some lagers, some of the tartness of an ale it truly stands on it's own in style. 5s across for a world classic like this.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A much more solid beer than I expected. I was ready for a dated and boring beer but it was surprisingly complex and enjoyable. Looks very nice, a transparent orange-ish amber with a bright white head about two fingers. The head lingers and leaves good lacing throughout the glass. Smells sweet, like lagers often do. A pretty subtle scent to it, but there's hints of caramely malts and some faint hop aroma. Taste is actually pretty layered. Starts out sweet and malty, with caramel breadiness and hints of things like licorice and raisins. As the beer travels across the palate, some floral hop flavors and subtle bitterness develops, finishing with a crisp and somewhat dry feel. Flavors are clean and bright. Feel is smooth and creamy. This is a great beer to dissect the subtleties of or to just drink casually.

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

Bought from Don Quiojte
Amber golden color
Medium carbonation
Medium mouth feel
Smooth, malt crisp taste
Overall a great beer. Wish it was cheaper, but I will still drink more of it.

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Photo of gandres
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured to wine glass (no bottled on nor drink byn5D3 marking on bottle
Appearance: Amber with medium off white head, minimal lacing
Aroma: Malty
Taste: Bitter, very good follow through
Mouthfeel: creamy, a bit over carbonated
Overall: Very good beer
Drank: March 8, 2016

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had at the SF Airport on tap. I have been drinking for 6 straight days so I wanted something a little less potent before I board the plane. Any ways, I always struggle with this style. I want to like it more due to the history of this beer, but I always find the malty aftertaste a bit unsatisfying. Fortunately for the Brewer I always forget this and will likely order this again. Hate to leave California ....beers out here are second to none

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

This is a good beer, you need to get it very fresh. My bottle has a Jan. 2018 expiry date, and probably was brewed in the last couple of months or so. It does remind me of the draft in California, so no complaints there.

It has decent, sweetish malt and good, flowery hops. My one issue is the lager yeast leaves a slight stink, it is IMO what other reviewers call grassy or "skunky". It's not skunky, just as many Euro lagers called skunky on the board aren't - look at many Heineken reviews - it's from the yeast, IMO.

It is at a fairly low level of detection, but still, I think it holds it back from being a great beer.

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Photo of Nin10dude64
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank at heroes bar in Claremont, served to me in a shaker pint glass (sadly)

A: bronze amber, head dissipates fast, but leaves residue
S: sweet fructose, with notes of apple primarily
T: medium bitterness at first, dry hopiness, you can just feel the rich, red malt. Apple aftertaste
M: creamy, slight dryness
Overall: a gorgeous beer, made me very jolly and with its low ABV I'd repeat this for a couple more pints

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Photo of Beginner2
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This may have been my first craft beer... in the 1970s when I moved to the Bay Area.
No matter what else I've tried, I return to Anchor Steam.
It is unique in flavor and the history of beverage.
Anchor Steam spawned a revolution in taste that still grows splendidly.
The world is a better place for this.
Anchor Steam is deservedly listed in the "1001".
MJ's 1999 edition gave it 4 stars of 4 and, most unusual for him, about 10 lines of copy.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"
Always remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

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Photo of MichaelProcton
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours nice and dark, with a hue that can range from amber to golden depending on how the light hits it. Not much in the way of head or active carbonation, but there is the thinnest of caps that sticks around, like a light dusting of snow. Smell is hoppy, but not in a sharp or aggressive way; plenty of malt on the nose, too. Taste is unique. Light hops, and a clear taste of dark fruit (raisins?) Mouthfeel is substantial without being heavy. Good, interesting cousin of the amber, and worth having, though not a favorite of mine.

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Photo of dee4maine
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic craft beer that cannot be missed by any true beer lover. perfection in looks. easy to overlook in the current day of "hazy tropical hop bombs". but easily worthwhile visiting regularly

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Photo of Arthuros
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very clear, golden orange color, with white medium foam.

Nose has notes of caramel, and anise. Flavor is sweet and dry, with caramel, dried fruit, little bitterness.

Not too fizzy.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice amber beer with a white head that leaves minimal lacing. The aroma is sweet malt, flowery hops and a hint of caramel. The taste is exactly like the smell except that the caramel flavor is big. The flowery hops and bitterness come in at the finish. Nice medium body and moderate carbonation. This has always been a good drinking beer.

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Photo of matcris
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

For the style.
APPEARANCE: Golden amber with a creamy, eggshell 2"+ head that lingers all the way down the glass. Lots of small bubbles rising in the glass. Leaves a thick lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Sweet caramel malt. Some dried lighter fruit, apricot. Some grassiness and earthy qualities to the beer, as well.
TASTE: Lots of sweet caramel and a nice but mild earthy bitterness in the mix. Lightly toasted quality to the beer. Pleasant, mild bitterness on the finish.
FEEL: Very smooth, a little slick. Doesn't finish particularly dry, but is refreshing. Nice bit of carbonation, but not overdone.
OVERALL: Great easy drinking lager with a nice sweet/bitter ratio. Reminds me of some popular Vienna lagers.

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Photo of SFNC
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anchor Steam Beer is an iconic beer, but to be honest more a historical one. It looks great in the glass with a deep golden color with tight white one finger head. The smell is grain and malts with a light flowery hop presence. The taste is crisp, with the grains and hops present from the smell. Lightly bitter with a strong carbonation, it's crisp and refreshing, not a WOW beer, but a consistent pleasant pour.

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Photo of bhblbagpiper
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I have about three beers I try to keep on hand and this is one of them. Real easy drinking and surprisingly complex. Its seemingly high carbonation makes it really refreshing and the malt character has many layers. From toasty sweet all the way to mineral. Mild hopping more on the floral side. Perfect gateway to other craft beers.

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Photo of KennethBlomqvist
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Finally found this at Systembolaget in Sweden after some hunting. Been reading up on Anchor Brewing Company from several books and my expectations was growing as I read the history around this beer. It was an OK beer and it would have worked better on a Swedish summer evening than in front of the TV on a winter night.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

355ml bottle into a conical 2/3 pint glass. Paid £1.79 for a single bottle.

Pours a clear, dark amber coloured body with a small amount of fine visible carbonation. A light, bubbly, two-finger in height, white head fades quickly to a patchy film and collar, leaving token amounts of spotty lacing.

Crisp, grainy, toasted malts and caramel lead the nose upfront. Mild grassy and floral hop profiles follow shortly after, along with aromas of lightly fruity yeast. The taste follows almost exactly, opening with crisp, toasted, pale and caramel malts before a vague fruitiness gently enters around the mid-palate. Light hop bitterness builds towards the back end, taking a mainly grassy form, along with some floral notes and perhaps a trace of citrus peel. In the mouth a light body and plenty of sharp, lively carbonation give a thin but clean and crisp feel. Moderately bitter hops linger just long enough in the finish to cancel out any residual malt sweetness, drying the palate slightly and increasing the sense of refreshment.

Overall this is a decent beer. It’s clean, crisp, refreshing, plenty session-able and widely available at an excellent price point (in the UK at least), but ultimately, so are a lot of other beers. Ignoring the history and heavy steam based marketing, judging on taste alone, this is probably still worth a try, but not worth seeking out specifically to do so.

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Photo of vikinggary28
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into glass from 22 oz bottle. Dark amber colour with a thin off white head. Mild smell of well balanced hops and malt. Taste is similar to the aroma but the hops are a little more piney and the malts hint of maybe a little caramel and fruit. This is a very well balanced beer. Not overpowering, this is great beer to introduce non craft beer drinkers too to get them on board.

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Photo of DEdesings57
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 30 days ago(Pretty damn fresh as far as NJ goes)

L: Poured out much more full bodied, heavier and darker than I imaged. I was expecting a yellow fisy lager or a pilsner like looking beer. I was presently surprised at its darkness. Looks like a Vienna Lager! Poured a large frothy white head, completely filtered. 5/5.

S: Wow, I smell citrsy hops, sweet beady malt, toasted brown bread, grains. Combine all those together and you have a light but very fruity aroma going on from the malts and hop(not hops - its singled hopped with Northern Brewer). Its almost smells like an American Pale Ale.

T: This is a lager? damn fine one. Taste like an American Pale ale with a well defined malt body. Champagne like carbonation, sweet beady malts in the background. The hops make this one finish dry and clean. I figured the IBUs on this one gotta be real close to SN Pale, and guess what they are 35 and SN Pale is 37. Like I said kinda taste like a pale ale. Really surprised me on the taste.

Feel: Its a little light on the body but then again its only 4.9%.

Overall: Amazing beer! classic brew! I cant believe that I have been drinking Craft beer for 10 years now and am just having this now.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,920 ratings.
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