Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Anchor Liberty Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,559 Reviews
Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The champagne-like bubbles, distinctive hop bouquet, and balanced character of Liberty Ale® revives centuries-old ale brewing traditions that are now more relevant than ever. First introduced in 1975, Liberty Ale® is brewed strictly according to traditional craft brewing methods, and uses only natural ingredients — pale malted barley, fresh whole-cone Cascade hops and a special top-fermenting yeast, and water.

The yeast used during fermentation produces many of Liberty Ale's subtle flavors and characteristics. A natural process called "bunging" creates gentle carbonation, and the practice of dry hopping (adding fresh hops to the brew during aging), revived by Anchor, creates its unique aroma.

Liberty Ale® was first brewed to celebrate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s historic ride. As the first modern American IPA brewed after prohibition and the first modern American single-hop ale and dry-hopped ale, Anchor’s Liberty Ale® is the original craft brewed ale and the historic beer that started a revolution.

Added by kbub6f on 11-18-2000

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,559 | Ratings: 3,383
Photo of Bone53
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit

Appearance: A hazy golden orange color with two finger off white head. Looks phenomenal in the glass

Smell: Citrus, grassy, with a balance of bready and caramel malts

Taste: Citrusy (grapefruit, lemon zest, oranges) and grassy balanced extremely well with sweet, toasted malts. Though balanced, the flavors are quite subdued than what I'm used to

Mouthfeel: Light body; Goes down smooth and crisp with a nice dry finish

Overall: Definitely on the English side of things. This one reminds me of the SouthHampton IPA I had a while ago. Although not great in todays craft world, I reckon this was mind blowing back in 1975. Something I will consider grabbing again if Im in the mood for a english style pale ale/IPA. In fact, having had their porter as well, I think Anchor does English style beers justice. The price is right, too.

 906 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pleasantly surprised. Wasn't expected exactly what I received, but it was good. A little grassy but ok with a hint of citrus to balance it. A well done ale that balances itself well and leaves a good taste in the mouth. Anchor brewing has always pleased me. Only point I would make is that with a little more attention, they could take all of their beers to the world class level or pretty darn close. Nice !!!

 410 characters

Photo of jmbranum
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I passed on this one many times in the past but it was in the bargain bin at my local liquor store in OKC, so I gave it a try.

Pours a very pretty crystal-clear golden liquid with a giant white head. Very attractive.

Slightly malty aroma.

Flavor is crisp. It reminds me of something in between a Pale Ale and a Pilsner. Some herbal notes. Fairly dry.

Medium mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.

Very good beer. It is hard for me to categorize. I'm not sure I agree with the Beeradvocate website in labeling it an "American IPA" but I might call it a American Pale Ale.

It also reminds me of a dryer version of Fat Tire.

 642 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy yellow-orange with a one-finger head that compacts to a 1/2" layer of bubbly foam that slowly fades away to some lacing around the top of the glass.
The smell may be the best part of this ale. Bread and citrus, maybe a little grassy and maybe a little peach.
The first taste comes on as a mild bitter. If I let it linger on the tongue, I even get a bit of burnt toast but mostly a pleasant, mild, and lingering bitterness. Also a little citrus. As it warms, I taste a bit more of the sweet malt but that mild bitter really hangs on. It is not unpleasant.

The mouthfeel is a fairly bubbly and thin.

Overall, a tasty and different IPA. I'd drink it again.

 716 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

355 ml bottle purchased from the singles bin at the LCBO for $2 CDN. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - clear golden color with copper hues. A finger of white head sticks around for a few minutes before leaving wispy foam on top of the beer. A steady stream of bubbles rise to the surface.

Smell - hoppy citrus aromas with a big dose of bubblegum. Also tropical overripe fruits. Don't know if the bubblegum is supposed be there and struck me as a bit odd, but melds well with the tropical fruits so maybe that was the intention. Nevertheless inviting.

Taste - hop pier and more bitter than expected on the nose, but that transitions to a serious malt bomb in the middle and to the aftertaste. Some faint fruitiness throughout but it's hard to pick it out since there are so many aromas and flavours flying around.

Mouthfeel - smooth, medium carbonation and moderately dry finish. Really good crisp feel to this beer.

Overall - a bit disappointed since there wasn't more harmony between the nose and the taste of this beer but in all it was quite tasty and worth trying again.

 1,089 characters

Photo of Retroman40
3.44/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a pale yellow with a persistent thick head and significant lacing.

S - Very fruity with just a hint of malt.

T - Hop fruitiness with a malt finish.

M - Rich with good carbonation.

O - Although listed as an IPA, I would consider this an IPA for people who really don't like IPA's. It is a good beer that I will have again, but it just doesn't seem to have the hop profile that I expect in an IPA.

 451 characters

Photo of Foyle
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: 2"+ off-white fluffy head slowly recedes and leaves significant lacing. Color is a somewhat cloudy light copper with moderate carbonation.
Aroma: citrus and pine hops dominant the smell. There is some sweet malt and yeasty bread dough in the background.
Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied, has the ’fluffiness’ of an ale with a mostly dry finish.
Flavor: more balanced than the aroma. The hops are still dominant with the citrus and pine leading the way but the sweetness of the malt and the yeasty backbone even this beer out nicely. Overall: Liberty Ale is a fine representation of the style.

 612 characters

Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anchor Brewing Company can trace its history all the way back to the California gold rush of 1849, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco with his family. Brekle later bought an old beer and billiards saloon on Pacific Street near Russian Hill for $3,500, transforming it into the brewery that, in 1871, would be renamed Anchor.Today, Anchor is located at 1705 Mariposa Street in San Francisco, California.

On this occasion, Bucky sample Anchor's Liberty Ale, first introduced in 1975 and brewed according to traditional brewing methods using only natural ingredients - pale malted barley, whole-cone Cascade hops, a special top-fermenting yeast, and water. Liberty Ale was first brewed to celebrate the bicentennial of Paul Revere's historic ride, an episode during that war in which our misguided American cousins broke away from the loving embrace of the Empire. Bucky found Liberty Ale ("Liberty") on the shelves of his local LCBO in a brown, 355 ml bottle with a best before date of July 2014 printed on the rear label. Liberty was 5.9% alcohol by volume.

Liberty poured a slightly hazy yellow/gold colour, with plenty of fine, fast rising bubbles visible despite the haze. Pouring produced about 1/2" of white head which lasted for about 2 minutes, leaving some modest spotting and lacing down the glass. The beer's aroma was primarily of grapefruit, with some other unidentified tropical fruits present...a bit subdued but nice all the same. Its taste was again dominated by the grapefruit, but with an increasingly noticeable orange flavour as the beer warmed...much more enjoyable through the second half of the bottle with a better balance between the bitterness of the grapefruit and sweetness of the orange. Liberty had a dry, bitter finish and the bitter grapefruit lingered for several seconds as an aftertaste. The carbonation was perhaps a bit prickly in the back of the throat to begin with, but mellowed as the beer warmed. I would describe Liberty as light bodied, and at $2.00 per 355 ml is quite reasonably priced. A refreshing beer that I would go to again, but next time I'll let is sit for 10-15 minutes after I take it out of the fridge.

 2,187 characters

Photo of JaimeLondon
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice american IPA of a golden color and a nice foam that grows everytime you shake the glass a bit.
Smell is the highlight here; really hopped and citric, some orange and grapefruit notes; an interesting thing I realized with a friend of mine is that there's a "sea aroma" present in this beer... awesome!
Taste is similar.. of a delightfull bitterness and deliciously citric.
Mouthfeel is similar to a good IPA, with medium body and carbonation.

 446 characters

Photo of MarkoNm
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very hazy orangey-golden color, topped with a nice and generous white foamy head.
The pleasant aroma of citrusy hops is easily picked up.
The taste is bittery, not too much, and finishes with a slight fruity feel. The aftertaste is lasting with slight and immediate metalic feel.
Very nice ale, drinkable and tasty.

 323 characters

Photo of Sam-VW
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. Lacing is good, thick cream coloured head.

Very hoppy and citrus smell.

Great balance of malt and hop. Not as hoppy as you would expect but in this case it is very refreshing.

Quite a lot of carbonation but great mouthfeel with a touch if dryness to finish.

 299 characters

Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into an IPA glass.

Presentation: Fluffy foam head collapses and leaves a good amount of sticky lacing. Crystal clear body. Golden with the slightest tint of amber in color.

Smell: Sweet citrus. Floral esters. Minor presence of grains.

Taste: Good hit of the malts up front: floral notes, bitter citrus - somewhere between grapefruit and lime. The flavorful hops sit on a decent malt body: crackers and grains.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Medium-light body.

Overall: Anchor nailed this one. It is simple, tastes great, and is pretty friendly on the wallet.

 587 characters

Photo of Karibourgeois
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Cloudy golden yellow pour with a large head and lots of carbonation. Nice hoppy/citrus flavor. Can taste a bit of lemon zest. Finishes with a nice bitterness.

 158 characters

Photo of oCervejalista
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark golden colour with white and persistent head;

Smell: citrusy and grassy with some malt on the background;

Taste: well balanced between the hops and malt. Not so heavy on the hops side, as you usually expect in this style;

Mouthfeel: medium to light body with high carbonation and a little bitterness at the end;

Overall: a nice beer, well balanced, refreshing. Drinkability is very strong with this beer.

 425 characters

Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

O = I like this ale, and although it's not as malty as I like my ales, it's got a tolerable level of hops that makes it very drinkable and delicious. I would pair this with a variety of hearty meals, and definitely would drink again.

A = a lovely burnt amber, not cloudy, with a nice amount of lacing left after the short-lived head dissipates.
S = slightly hoppy, fresh, with a tinge of grapefruit.
T = some malt, but my palate finished with an almost smokey hop quality.
M = Medium bodied and refreshing. Would not say silky, though. The alcohol level is quite balanced.

 573 characters

Photo of Leviathan5
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a shaker glass

A - Dark golden colour with a touch of ambar. Small white head that disspiates quickly and almost no lacing.

S - More malty and less hop pressence than in other more modern APAs and IPAs, but there´s still a touch of hops and resin

T - Malt and yeast lead the way, while the citrusy hops (orange, grapefruit) and the resin touch and more predominant in the aftertaste. Dry finish

M - Smooth in mouth, with medium body and medium-light carbonatation.

O - Though it might be light in hops for the more modern APA and IPA standards, one should take in consideration what it meant when it was released in 1975. It's a really nice beer that I would (and will) gladly drink again in the future.

 729 characters

Photo of alexrichman
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into glassware from a 12oz bottle

A) Pours clear with a golden hue that has the smallest touch of red. Small head that dissipates quickly with no retention.

S) Melon, peach, honey, grass, a hint of earthy spice

T) Lots of fruity flavor (still melon and peach) that is contrasted by a nice grassy hop flavor. Finish is wonderful leaving a slightly toasted malt flavor lingering on the pallet.

F) Nice feel, perfectly thick with appropriate carbonation. Highly drinkable.

O) Not sure I would call this an IPA but it is a tasty and complex brew.

 554 characters

Photo of Givemebeer
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: a darker golden with wonderful lacing and a two inch head

S: citrusy grassy and floral

T: orange peel lemon zest lots of citrus

M: a little thicker than your average ipa kind of silky

O: a very unique brew that I feel differently about with every sip. Overall though, well made and enjoyable

 298 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from the 12oz stubby bottle with a crystal clear, golden-orange body. White foam builds atop the beer to just under a finger high with decent retention. Frothy ring leaves patchy and spotty lace down the glass.

S- Yeasty with a light-medium strength hop backdrop. Yeast character reminds me of the other Anchor brews in the mix pack and has an apple fruit and bread feel. Hops are mostly spicy and herbal with a Euro feel. Tiny bit of citrus.

T- Again, the yeast leads the way for me with apples, pears, sweet fruits and bread coming to mind big time. Hops gain more of a citrus, grapefruit feel here but the spicy, herbal and floral notes are in the forefront. Hint of apricots.

MF- Creamy textured and light bodied with a high end carbonation to help carry the hop flavors. Finishes with a moderate hop bitterness.

I have had this one a few times now and it seems more yeasty than hoppy every single time. The hops are certainly respectable for an IPA but clash just a bit with the yeast.

 1,004 characters

Photo of I3eck
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle -> Wine Glass

A: Amber with a toasted orange hue, slightly hazy, 1/4" slightly off white/light tan head, spotty/stumpy lacing.
S: Malt, yeast/dough, butterscotch, white chocolate.
T: Roasted malts, floral notes - almost bubble gum like, apricot, nice slight bitter finish, mild hops in the background.
M: Nice CO2, medium-light bodied, long lingering finish.
O: Tasty brew and an easy drinker. Definitely has that rustic old-school brewery taste. I'm an American IPA lover but this is a nice low key alternative with an interesting flavor profile and old-school feel.

 580 characters

Photo of Hops4Pops
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle.
My personal taste and preferences would have had me rate this beer lower. However, considering that it is the grandfather of the modern style IPA and was first brewed in 1975, I am scoring it very highly. Also, after having three of these over several hours tonight, its growing on me. Of note is that it was constructed to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States of America. Way to go Anchor!
A: Poured into a pint glass. Giant off-white head 3 fingers. Bubble sizes from foam to a full 1/4 inch. Receded over several minutes to a surface foam leaving a lot of sticky lacing behind. Color is a medium, slightly-reddish amber color. Slightly hazy. Carbonation is fantastic and is steadily feeding the surface.
S: Subdued compared to other more modern IPAs. Cascade hops, citrus, grapefruit, lemon, floral, toffee. I can smell bitterness in it. It smells very basic.
T: Same notes as the smell but stronger. Tasting the sweetness of the malt now. Finish is crisp and bitter then goes to sweetness again. More bitter than anticipated and very nice.
M: Smooth, a bit of crispness on the tongue. The carbonation is near perfect on this beer. It gives a giant head to protect what is in the beer from escaping. Then it lets you nose it for a bit, taste it, let it linger and want some more.
O: This is the grandfather of the modern IPA. It is simple in construction but is very well balanced and true to style.Was first brewed in 1975 to commemorate the bicentennial. Definitely a must try for any hop enthusiast. Also a great beer for anyone new to IPA who wants to try one that won't knock their head off. It's not my favorite AIPA but it is the first, the traditional one, the oldest, very simple and well built.

 1,742 characters

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 355 ml bottle into a pint glass. An American IPA from well before the era when American IPAs became cool, this beer is a light flaxen amber color, just shy of bronze, with a decent quantity of off-white head. Releases a bright, fizzy hops-forward aroma of yellow grapefruit and lemon citrus rind, currant leaf, and clean grainy malts. Palate is quite bitter, perhaps more than expected on the basis of the preconceived notion that a brew predating the current era of hop bombs must be quite mellow, with plenty of bright green grass and lemon hop flavors. Indeed, this may be one of the most lemony brews I've had in terms of this particular flavor standing out ... There's some grapefruit and tangerine as well, white pepper, and ample Cascade hop character. The malts put in an appearance as well, some toasted caramel and even a little sultana fruit in what is otherwise a pretty dry and bitter (but not coarse) finish. Carbonation is assertive but this works well with the overall intent, which is to showcase green hop flavors without a lot of background sweetness. Obviously a classic brew and any IPA hardcore should try this at least once, if for no other reason than the historical context it provides. My view is that this beer is worth a taste on the basis of its own merits, though. Fits somewhere between pale ales and modern West Coast IPAs.

 1,369 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampling right now on 12/26/13. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler. Poured into a pilsner glass.

Pours a nice golden color with a good 1+-finger slightly off-white foamy head. Doesn't last too long but does leave lots of lacing when sipped that stays on the glass. Perfect carbonation. The aroma is of some sweet grains with a hint of citrus. The taste was about the same and even better even with just a slight 'hoppy' finish BUT doesn't last long at all. Very pleasing. Very drinkable for being a "American I.P.A." as I am not a I.P.A. fan. An exception for sure!

 585 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a slight hazed golden color with a fresh off white head
S- citrus malt bread some caramel
T-bright citrus hops with a big dose of malts fruity tastes with baked bread malts
M-medium carbonation with a balance of hops and malt
O- an icon of a brew IMO been around forever always enjoy this one

 300 characters

Photo of SteveB24
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

appearance; hazy gold, small bubbles that continuously rise to the surface of the glass,a finger of nearly white head.

smell; mild but evident citrus, some earthy notes, bit of malt.

taste; mild but not weak citrusy hop taste, with a bit of malt in the finish.

mouthfeel;slightly crisp, medium carbonation, strong body, very dry in the finish.

overall; more drinkable then an IPA. a bit too much dryness and flavor could be a but stronger, but its fairly unique in its mild but solid flavor and its drinkability, would buy again when I'm in the mood for an american ale but not an IPA

 588 characters

Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 3,383 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!