Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer
Very Good
6,043 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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Ratings: 6,043 |  Reviews: 2,061
Photo of hasse67
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Pantalones
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last bottle from the six-pack I picked up semi-recently. Mysterious code on the back is "7A8," whatever that might indicate... I can only assume it's a coded bottled-on or best-by date, but I don't know how to decode it and I'm a little more concerned with drinking and reviewing the beer at the moment rather than looking up exactly how old it is!

Everything is really nice appearance-wise -- deep golden color, bordering on the lighter orange range, and very clear with streams of little bubbles rising from the bottom. Forms a decently-sized layer of slightly off-white foam when first poured, shrinking to a thin coating within a couple minutes but staying fairly solid even then (no holes forming in it or anything just yet.)

Every bottle of this beer so far has really struck me with how fresh-smelling it is, and this is no exception. It's mild, but what's there is just a really nice bready smell with a crispness/freshness to it that's unusually noticeable even when compared to other lighter-to-medium beers that you'd expect to have that sort of feature to them. There's a bit of a hoppy thing in the background but the bready malt is the most noticeable smell right away.

The taste is also nice and bready, with a bit of a yeastiness to it that pops in and reveals its identity as not quite your standard lager after all. Very crisp and refreshing, as you'd expect going by the smell. A bit of bitterness on the end, a bit of an almost European-ish but not quite hop flavor going on, but mostly what you taste is a nice bready malt and the yeastiness that I'm guessing comes from the use of a higher fermentation temperature. The yeastiness almost takes on a quality that's somewhere between doughy and banana-y after a while. It's not a super complex beer but it is a tasty one. I recall being reminded somewhat of celery seed when I first had this beer, but I'm not getting much of that this time around. It's still very nice either way.

The feel is light, crisp, noticeably carbonated, and quite dry. Goes down pretty easily but it's not a thin, watery "chug it!" sort of beer, more one that you can either take a sip or a gulp at a time depending on how thirsty you are at the moment. I imagine people back in the 1890s way out in California would lean toward big gulps -- I bet this would be one of those beers that would be really refreshing to have cold and drink fast right after coming in from being out in the summer heat for an hour or two.

Overall, a great beer and one that I'm glad I finally got a chance to try. Try it for the historical experience of a surviving beer from the California Gold Rush, for the novelty of getting to sample an oddball beer style that you don't see around often, because the label art is really neat, or even just because you want a beer -- but it's definitely one that you should try at some point, one way or the other.

 2,898 characters

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

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

Photo of StormAles
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of trllte
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

oh yah, yum

11 characters

Photo of TommyCable
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jbehlar
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Coltron23
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ckaire69
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of flyinhawaiian
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jhart96
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BellinghamBiker
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cmukid87
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of SmokySignals
4.82/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle served from neighborhood pub. Founders pint glass brought on request. Had fond memories of Anchor Steam, but cannot remember where or when...?

Nice pfffft opening and full head easily acquired. Aromas were fresh, and crisp, but being in a pub I'm sure they were overtaken. Unique and refreshing I will say.

Deep golden to light amber, slightly hazy. Inviting overall appearance and I can tell this wont last long!

Malty in a great balance between pale and caramel. Not sweet, not tart not heavy, all is just right with this classic. Perfect summer day slammer, waiting on pizzas, and also accompanies the food very well on my 2nd one.
I shall go and put many of these in my fridge, asap. Unique and about as perfect example of beer as can be found.
Exceeded my expectations and fond memories.

 814 characters

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

Photo of DamienArk
4.61/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of RossR
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sethcroisant
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sposter4
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of chrishiker1409
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Do any of you know what's so great about this beer? Some may call it "trash" because it lacks aroma, flavor and body, but when I look at this beer's attributes and think about days after fishing, playing adult league softball, and lawnmowing, this one does what one wants it to. No ifs, ands or buts, but most people in their right minds know the refreshing qualities this beer brings out. And I rarely find any beer ""refreshing," but that's often a matter of opinion.

The fact that this beer found it's way into ballparks nationwide and being able to go to many ballparks around the US and I still see this beer alongside some newer craft beer trends tells me that this beer itself will stand the test of time.
And just think you're not supporting a commercial brewer by drinking this beer. It may not be the next Heady Topper but at least most beer historians know enough to say "Thank you Fritz Maytag!"

 908 characters

Photo of jsbirnba
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of andrewh995
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful clear amber color with a white head. Smells of malts and light caramel. Takes of delicious slightly sweet malts, light citrus notes, and caramel. Medium creamy body with medium carbonation. This is an excellent beer, one the the most refreshing I've ever had.

 277 characters

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

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 6,043 ratings