Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
2,024 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:
2,024
Ratings:
5,900
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
12.99%
 
 
Wants:
223
Gots:
1,221
For Trade:
1
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,024 | Ratings: 5,900
Photo of Billolick
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer sampled. No freshness indication on the label. Pours a nice rich dark amber, with an off white creamy, dense head. Respectable lacing left behind. Sweet nose of caramel and brown sugar. Medium bodied, smooth malty base to this one, soft, creamy mouthfeel, very easy on the tongue. Smooth subtle hops in the finish, slightly dry very pleasant quafer/sessoner. Classic early/back in the day micro. thanks for the memories and for the fine suds for all these years!

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Photo of MasterSki
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've seen this beer around quite a bit in Chicago, but I've never bothered to pick it up. A friend brought over a few bottles so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Not sure how old this bottle is - it has 8LW punched in the back.

A - Very handsome beer with a rich amber color. Tons of head and carbonation - it's hypnotic watching all the bubbles.

S - Fairly understated smell - mostly malt, with some some hoppy bitterness.

T - Tastes like it smells, but with more presence. Hits you with some malty biscuit flavor at first, but leaves you with a citrus aftertaste.

M - Creamy and just the right amount of carbonation. Goes down easy.

D - I could definitely put back a few of these on a hot summer day.

This is a solid, but largely unexceptional brew. I might pick up a sixer if it was on sale, but there are a ton of equally priced brews that I like more.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a bright, slightly hazy, slow bubbling orange-copper coloring that has a thin, filmy, white head of very low profile. Aromas are very well blended, with a caramel malt presence and roasted characteristics. Flavors showcase a more tangy malt presence, with a good hops bitterness to balance from the background. The roasty character and the peppery spices from the hops are great accents to the malty backbone of the beer. Smooth bodied, with a crispness to the finish from the hops. The aftertaste is a good blend of the malt sweetness and the roasty notes. Very well balanced beer, and insanely easy to drink.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in October 2004. Purchased at the local Safeway. Pours with a deep copper/amber color. I very nice head, which some was still remaining after it was gone. Very little lace, but not expected either. Smells of hops, malt, maybe a bit of citrus. A very unique beer in my opinion. Has that lager taste, but also has that IPA taste to it. Even has a bit of citrus taste in the mix. It goes down very smooth. A very easy beer to go through a six pack and still want more. Possibly my favorite session beer, or at least for a nice hot day after working or playing hard. This was the first beer I was introduced to while growing up. I remember swimming in Eagle Lake (Northern California) and doing a little snorkling and finding a bottle cap from an Anchor Steam bottle. I must have smelled it for days. It was such a facsinating smell to me. This was when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Ahhhh, good old memories. Too bad it took me almost 20 years from then to try my first.

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Photo of Tone
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden/orange color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of yeast cleanliness, some hops, and some slight euro malt. Fits the style of a California Common / Steam Beer. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of some pale malt up front, then yeast cleanliness, a very slight hop background, and a hint of a light citrus flavor. Overall, a decent example of a Steam Beer from my previous examples, but still nothing to go out of your way for.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor steam is an interesting beer. People should check this out if for no other reason that there are so few steam beers and they are a truly American addition to the beer vocabulary. Poured from a bottle into an Anchor Steam pint glass, copper in color, nice head, falls away rather quickly with steady carbonation. Aroma is a mixture of malt and a lagerish odor. beer is easy to drink and tastes wonderful. This is one of my standby beers, I order when I see it at an average bar. Its a great beer "brewed in San Fran since 1896"

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a golden orange with yellow highlights that had a half finger of head and left great sticky lacing on the glass.

S: there was a big sweet caramel malt aroma along with various grains very slight citrus, and hints of wheat as well.

T: like the nose the sweet caramel malt was also dominate on the palate but the grains meshed really well with the malts and did add some depth. As far as the citrus it was very mild but did add a little bitterness along side the hops that were very faint.

M: the brew was medium body with a fair amount of carbonation that had a sweet malt crisp and creamy finish.

D: it drank very good and went well with cajun calamari and some cajun gumbo; pretty decent.

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color with a 1" head. Only a wisp of lace develops. The aroma was of bread and malt. The flavor was a well balanced and simple blend of caramel, bread, fruit, and mild bitterness. Definitely a bit on the sweeter side.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start with a crisp, slightly dry finish. Extremely drinkable, and a perfect brew to enjoy with a pizza.

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

On par with a craft amber ale. I cant say I can pick out the difference aside from more hops. Looks amber with a nice white head. Smells very caramel and tastes it with a nicely balanced bitterness. A pleasure to drink and great with rich food. I get a hint of alcohol as it warms, but thats really the only bad thing I can say. Cheers to this classic.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange amber with nice carbonation, a small white head and lacing. Nice aroma of sweet wheat, lemon and earthy malt. Taste is sweet malt with a dry hoppy bitterness; finish is dry and hoppy. Light flavor, not all that complex. Skirts on the edge of tasting like adjunct ingredients, but overall nicely made if a bit simple. Carbonation and flavors combine pleasantly.

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Photo of aasher
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a burnt orange in color with a billowing and soapy off white head. It's pretty translucent and is light bodied. The smell is lightly malty with little else, other than some slight sweetness to it. The taste is pretty solid. It's very malty and has some light caramel accent to it. It drinks pretty smoothly and is pretty light and well carbonated. The bubbling stayed active the entire time. It's pretty drinkable but I can't compare it to anything else from the style. I liked it for being a lighter beer but wouldn't necessarily go back.

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

Pours a light orange/yellow, with some haze and a fluffy white head. The head lingered for a while, but didn't last more than half the drinking time.
Smells of sweet malt, some citrus and a bit phenolic.
Tastes like a dry lager. Mostly malt and biscuit, yet a bit dry due to the hops. Some floral and diacetyl, but that may be due to the tap lines.
Crisp feel, especially if its colder. A nice low alcohol brew. Should try it again in the summer

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to small pint glass.

A - Translucent light amber colour with a yellow glow and a very small amount of bubbly off-white head.

S - Crisp hops and bready malts in a seemingly good balance. Clean and crisp.

T - Bitter crisp hop bite up front, followed by bready malts and then the crisp hop flavour returns in the finish. A slight sweetness is present throughout, which compliments the hops nicely.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation.

D - A very drinkable beer that would be as well suited for a hot summer day as it would a cool fall evening.

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Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is good. It is of sweet malts and a mild hops; very aromatic. The taste is good. It is dry and malty. It has a bit of a watery finish, but all in all it's pretty good. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low/medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer; an excellent sessions ale.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Part five in the Unorganized Invitation brings us to Anchor Steam Beer. Time to try to out:

In color, the beer is amber in color with a soild, desne head. The flavor is dominated by toasty malts, and it's damn tasty. A little fruity underneath the toasty flavor, creamy, and thick. Yum. I've found another option for a session brew.

I had hopes for this beer, and boy it did it hit the spot. It just took the lead in the Unorganized Invitational from it's brother Anchor Bock. It'll have to hold off New Belgium's 1554 to secure the title.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my all time favorites. One of the first micro's I bought in CA. Pours a nice golden/amber color with a nice head, but does not last long, very light lacing if any at all. Nice malty scent with a great light taste. I really enjoy this beer, very drinkable.

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Photo of tone77
2.94/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12oz. bottle. Has a pretty amber color with a 1 1/2 inch head. Smell is, well there really is no smell. Taste a tad malty and fairly bitter, I bit to bitter for my taste. Feels medium bodied and bitter in the mouth. Drinkability is o.k. I suppose. Overall this is a fairly mediocre offering.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased and drank at Aladdin's in Rochester, NY.

Pours a clear amber color, with a half inch head, and a small amount of lacing.

Smells include sweet grains, caramel, and grassy hops.

The taste is similar. Subdued and classy all around, a good amount of grassy and slightly fruity hops, with some mild sweet malt and grain flavor.

Light to medium bodied, high carbonation, crisp and very drinkable.

An original American lager, one that will be always be pretty tasty.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Plano Gingerman.

The beer pours and orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is grassy hops with some grapes and caramel malt. The flavor is toffee, grassy hops, grain and some metallic notes. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Good for the style, but this is a style I am not much of a fan of.

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Photo of plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Finley's in Huntington.

Poured a slightly hazy medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a subtle fruity hop and a soft sweetness.

The taste consisted of a balanced clean grainand grassy hop. Slight esters detected as well.

The mouthfeel was average for the style (it is the style).

Overall a tasty and easy drinking beer.

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

Copper tinted gold with the a very toasty complexion. Despite a deep set haze the beer is transparent, dotted only with steady paced streams of ascending carbonation. Its topping is thick and creamy, persistent and adhering. Its markings appear like some ancient scripture.

Steam beer (or 'California Common' as other examples must legally be referred as) is slightly more distinctive than other styles of standard ales. It smells no more exciting but it's an aroma specific to the style. It's a very earthy, pungently hoppy smell with an unexpected lack of caramel given the deep hue in its colour.

The flavour also makes explicit that you aren't drinking a typical ale. It's distinctive without anything obviously distinct about it. The flavour is quite toasty. I taste a bit of toffee and light apple. The character is quite grainy and dry. The hops again have a pronounced character and linger along with the crisp malty flavor.

This method of fermentation uses a significant strain of lager yeast, one that developed over the years in the cool, ambient temperatures of the San Francisco Bay area. It's a lager yeast fermented at typically ale temperatures - no wonder the beer is so distinctive!

The most common explanation for where Anchor Steam took its name is said to come from the steam that would rise from the large, shallow open 'coolships' that were traditionally used in the American West before the introduction of refrigeration.

San Fransisco is an amazing place. It's home to a founding brewery of the American craft beer movement as well as one of the world's most reputable and highly revered beer bars. If you do visit the city (which you should) and wish to visit the Anchor brewery (which you should) than I recommend that you make reservations way ahead of time; it's a popular spot.

I'm not sure if Americans cherish Anchor Brewing as much as I do. I am certain, however, that I can't be speaking solely for myself when I say that finding Anchor beer on the shelves was one of the pivotal turning points in my beer drinking life.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has an enticing copper color and pours with a light beige head. There is not a huge amount of aroma to it, it smells clean, malty and a bit of floral grassiness to it. A light sweet/ malty taste up front that finishes with a good bitterness. This beer is about perfect balance between the hop and the malt. Just a wonderful beer that, because of its popularity/ availability, of the gets short shrift. In my mind this is one of the great everyday drinking beers.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: completely transparent with a nice golden hue; head is giant, white and tenacious.

Smell: smell is subtle but interesting; getting a nice fruity maltiness.

Taste: very dry malt flavor with a hint of graininess. Hops are floral in character and sparing in presence, but overall it's a pretty good effect. I can't put my finger on it, but this beer really reminds me of autumn.

Mouthfeel: body is light side of medium and there is a tiny bit of an astringent quality which is interesting.

Drinkability: this is a very interesting beer to me which I like because it is different. I think it would pair great with something unctuous like salmon or fried whitefish.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz picked up at the Boise Coop for about $1.45... shared with a buddy... poured into a tulip while grooving to Sasha Live at the Avalon and talking about beer and work.

Nice 3/4" off white head atop a very clear amber brew... lite lacing that dries to crusty bubbles.

Aroma is bunches of toasted and caramel malts melting perfectly into earthy hops... few other brews are like it... clean, no yeast esters at all.

This beer is dialed in... not really any way I can see to make it better tasting... toasted bread and lite caramel... clean bitterness and malts with a long lingering earthy undertow.

Anchor is always a goto beer when I can't decide what I want... I don't know what else to say except thanks to Fritz and Anchor for being revolutionaries.

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

Pours a clear beer that is a deep bronze color.

Smell is mostly of hop perfume. There is also malt, grain and toffee smells here.

Taste is of malt balanced by hops, it is a little sweet but then the hops dry the flavor out without being bitter. Mild caramel and citrus are in here. Many ghostly flavors to this, you taste it and then it changes or hides. Succeeds in being flavorful without being harsh in any respect, an excellent brew to convert the Budweiser drinkers of the world.

Mouthfeel is solid.

Super drinkable, mild yet flavorful.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,900 ratings.
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