Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
87
very good
2,015 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:
2,015
Ratings:
5,845
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
21.82%
 
 
Wants:
215
Gots:
1,172
For Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,015 | Ratings: 5,845
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.

 417 characters

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.

 332 characters

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.

 319 characters

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.

 1,398 characters

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.

 383 characters

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.

 1,203 characters

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

Poured into pint glass. It pours a reddish-amber with a thin white head and lacing. It smells of malt and faint dark fruit. The taste begins with biscuit malt and a slight caramel but it finishes fairly dry and bitter. It is a reasonably complex beer. It's medium in body and carbonation and a good session beer at 4.9% ABV. Overall, it's quite good. I seem to recall that it had a somewhat mythic reputation when it was harder to find on the East Coast. While there are definitely better tasting craft beers available, Anchor Steam is enjoyable to drink from time to time.

 581 characters

Photo of MostlyNorwegian
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice round nose with a balance of fruit from either the yeast or grain, caramel with a kiss of pine from the hops. With very slight haze in the glass, there's quite a bit going on for what is a basic everyday drinker.
But, it's also quite balanced and brings it all together very nicely. Some bitterness. That fruit and biscuit caramel maltiness come in to play with some astringency and a slight touch of sulfur around the edges on into the center of the palate. Lovely beer with medium amount of carbonation, and a head which lingers.
This is a quiet unassuming classic that has a lot happening underneath it.

 614 characters

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

This is a great beer, but for different reasons.
Everyone here has detailed the character of the beer... Toasted malt flavors, caramel and sugary flavors, juxtaposed with hops, that don't get it in the way and that only balance the strong malt and biscuit flavors.

As a beer, this is a high quality beer definitely in the Lager category.
Perfect for a Backyard BBQ beer on a hot day in July when you're looking for something not particularly strong, and not high in ABV.

As a craft beer, this beer may not impress your craft beer buddies. It is not a strong tasting beer.
What it is - is an exceptionally well-balanced and soft-spoken beer.

This is the PERFECT beer to introduce to your Budweiser and Miller Lite swill drinking buddies.
A beer that isn't too strong, and not too far left of center from what they're ALREADY drinking.
And perhaps you haven't found the perfect beer to introduce them to...
Now you have.

I think its the perfect summertime afternoon beer outside by the pool or grill.
And if I have some Budweiser Buddie's coming by - and want to be a good host - I'll have this in the fridge for them, as the thought of buying Bud or Miller just makes me cringe.

It's a classic. Some of your Budweiser Buddies may think so too.

Cheers!

 1,275 characters

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

L - Slight amber color
S - Malty smell to it
T - Unique Like an off-lager or something. Very good, though
F - Crisp, and slight bitterness which stays around on the pallette
O - Was not sure what to expect from this beer going in, but I know it has a good reputation. Now I know why. Enjoyable to drink

 309 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours a beautiful amber color with a thick white head. nice carbonation as well. great color for a lager-style beer.

smells sweet, typical lager aroma but good.

taste is great, clean and crisp yet complex. nice full bodied lager. hard to believe it's only 4.9%; such good body and full tasting. goes down smooth, an easy drinker.

overall this is pretty damn good. i've only had 2 Steam Beers and i like them a lot. they are complex and full bodied lagers. glad i got to try the original steam beer.

 501 characters

Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Stone glass.Smell is a very mild hops.Taste is really not that impressive.Mild hops not much else.Sad to say but it is a little like a bud or coors type of thing.I would not buy again.It`s not for me.

 227 characters

Photo of drmeto
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

-strong hop bitterniss
-strong caramel note
Finish is sweet,toasty with watery consistency.
Certainly not very complex, but miles better than your average Lager

 160 characters

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

Call it Old Faithful if you want this California Common isn't common at all. Slightly sweeter than the average lager it melds well with the crackery Pilsner malt, white breaded toast, barley nut and a bit of hop bitterness.

 223 characters

Photo of Shaler_Tate
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is a very "meh" beer. It was a little funky, and drank like a cheap pilsner. I might be a little too harsh because that is a style I am not fond of, but either way this was not enjoyable for me.

 199 characters

Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Moderate caramel , toasty malts – quite clean with some hops in the background.

A: Copper color, totally clear with a moderate head.

T: Caramel and toasty malts with low hop flavor and a lingering hop bitterness. The finish is dry and crisp.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: A Classic. Anchor’s caramel/toasty malt flavor is delicious when fresh! The beer is very well attenuated and sessionable.

 425 characters

Photo of janubio
2.53/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Amber colour, small head that fades soon, good lace. Smell of sulphur, caramel. Medium body, good carbonation. Rough palate. Taste of caramel, apples, some fruit. Not really the best Anchor I know, guess I'll have to give it another try.

 237 characters

Photo of ritwingr
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper pour with a Mideast head that leaves substantial pretty lacing.

Smell is malt dominant. Taste is a very clean malty one with hops only very slightly discernible in the finish. Very nice. Subtle. Below average carbonation. Nothing overpowers but the pleasant malt dominance makes for an enjoyable quaff.

 314 characters

Photo of Samlover55
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undecipherable date on 12oz bottle
Poured into BL glass
L- bottle says deep amber i think closer to a rusty orange similar to ice tea, one finger thick off-white head, decent retention and nice lacing
S- smells like sweet biscuit, fruity yeast
T- same as nose, also toffee some bitterness on the finish
F- medium bodied, crisp carbonation, has a creamy feel to it
O- is a pretty good beer does have a soury yeasty aftertaste which is a put-off but after going through a six-pack would say pretty nice lager

 507 characters

Photo of Lewarcher1949
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an English Pub-style pint glass.

Look: Dark caramel. Little head. Fair amount of of carbonation.

Smell: Slight malt with fruity overtones. Not a lot of alcohol.

Taste: THIS is what a lager should taste like. Balanced and mild, but not watered down. Yummy. And for someone who is not a fan of lagers in general, that's saying a lot.

Feel: Fairly substantial for the style, but not overwhelming.

Overall: Near perfect. This stuff is my jam! My go-to beer. Whatever else I may get, I will always get a six pack of Anchor Steam.

 541 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Perfect amber body, cute army of bubbles rising. A thin tan head remains to blanket the surface, spots of lace. Very classic 'beer' look. Smell and taste are both grain-forward, the taste being a little dirtier. Biscuit, lemon, even sulfur. Definitely tastes like a 100% barley bill. Not sweet, gentle bite of bitterness. Body is full, smooth, assertive but not intruding carbonation.
Yep, that there's a beer right there.

 422 characters

Photo of Myotus
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled 09Jul15) into a pilsner glass.
LOOK: Pours with 2 finger's worth of off-white foam that actually started to increase in size (an incredible first for me). It grew about a finger's worth outside of the glass and cohesion kept the very dense foam head from spilling over. The head never decreased in size due to the plethora of medium and large bubbles ascending to the top. Amber-copper in color. Lacing is very thick but moderate and spotted.
SMELL: Mild biscuity malt and caramel aromas entangle with subtle aromas of floral and spicy hops. Hints of corn can also be detected.
TASTE: Mild flavors of biscuity malts and caramel first enter. 3 seconds pass as mild floral hop and subtle spicy and bitter hops flavors finally enter the palate. By this time, caramel flavors continue to press on, but biscuity malts have grown stronger. A subtle amount of corn flavors enter the palate lastly as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Full-bodied with hints of carbonation. Goes down smooth and creamy. Finishes with a moderate dryness.
NOTE: I usally don't like to taste corn in my beers, but this one managed it very well. The first of its style for me. I look forward to trying more.

 1,216 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wait, what, huh, I've never said anything ever about this?
No time like the right time for this.
Every time, I've ever had it, always the pint glass.
The appearance was a blissfully yellow transparency. Carbonation always feeds the head at a moderate pace. The head dissipates within/about less than a minute. Lacing speckles and slides into the beer.
The smell is crisp sweet grains, light sweet corn, and sweet biscuits.
The taste is basically the same. There's a sweet bready aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is light bodied and speckles my tongue with sweetness from the corn and bread.
Overall, hey, what's not to love! Its pure baseball park beer that has nothing obscure about it. To all of the bullshitters who say, its bland because it doesn't have the "complexities" of Alesmith's Speedway Stout or something else of that nature, ask yourselves this, why in the hell are we comparing apples to oranges. Praise to Fritz Maytag for creating a style that hasn't gone the way of the buffalo and when I wanna drink light, this is what I go for. There's nothing off in this one, its in your heads.

 1,094 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jeez, took me about 20 years to revisit this. Great looking pour of chill-hazed copper with thin, though dense head. Aromas are excellent bready malt and caramel with a faint alcohol. All very complementary. Flavors are similar, thought the sweetness anticipated is subdued, and a clean/dry finish ensues. Slightly rough mouth-feel, but otherwise a winner. Wish I had more than one.

 382 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355 mL bottle from a sixer picked up at the LCBO; best before Sept 2017. Listed at 4.8% and served barely chilled.

Pours a gorgeous, clear copper-amber colour, throwing up nearly an inch of fluffy, bone white-coloured head that displays superb retention. It gradually dissipates into a thick, creamy cap, leaving behind a curtain of lacing as it crawls downward over the next ten minutes or so. Very visually impressive, but the aroma keeps things in perspective for me. It smells clean, but straightforward - some bready, doughy malt sweetness, with a touch of caramelized sugar, earthy silage and fruit skins - I'm leaning toward apple and white grape, but the fruity facets of the nose are fairly ambiguous in stripe.

The flavour profile follows in the footsteps of the aroma - it is nowhere near complex, but you can tell that quality ingredients went into its making. Clean, bready barley malt sweetness is the name of the game for the first half of the sip, followed by a hint of caramel/honey sweetness and some additional ambiguous orchard fruit esters. It gets earthier toward the back end as the hops begin to strut their stuff, including wet hay mixed in with some floral notes. Bittersweet in the aftertaste; emphasis leaning towards the bitter, but still quite well-balanced overall. Light-ish in body, with moderate carbonation that offers up a restrained bite. Super-quaffable; rarely have I classified something as a "session beer" with more enthusiasm.

Final Grade: 4.22, an A-. Anchor Steam is a solid little brew, and one which the bulk of beer drinkers should find to be highly approachable. Indeed, it's not difficult to understand how this time-tested recipe has remained popular over the years - it is downright tasty and perfectly balanced. While there is certainly no shortage of more exciting styles to explore these days, well-brewed classics such as this will always manage to retain the business of consumers who appreciate a quality session beer. The quintessential steam beer, and totally a must-try.

 2,034 characters

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,845 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!