Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Anchor Liberty Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,553 Reviews
Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,553 | Ratings: 3,361
Photo of SeanChouffe
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A golden color, sparkling, with a fine creamy head that reduces to a thin layer. The lace is slippery.

Aroma: Hoppy, but well balanced with an earthy presence of malt as well as a fruits lurking in the background.

Taste: Presence of hops and malt, but also complex with fruit flavors, and a dry finish with a crisp bite.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and effervescent with a crisp, dry finish and lingering bite.

IMHO: A well-balanced Pale Ale with more character than most – not over hopped and pleasantly complex.

 528 characters

Photo of UnionMade
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a burnished copper color, with a sticky, lasting head. Great lacing, trailing like a cobweb down the glass.
Aroma is a balance between rich pale maltiness and agressive northwest hopping. Pronounced citric cascade aroma, with some estery floral quality to the malt. Not terribly complex, but simplicity lies within perfection.
Flavor is hoppy and tangy, with outspoken hopping and perfect malt presence to back it up. Hints of pear and mango, with a grassy floral hop flavor throughout the sip. Mild unassuming carbonation. Medium bodied. Moderately bitter finish, with sharp hopping, the bottled version seems a bit weaker. Aftertaste is slightly tart bitterness.
An excellent beer from a true american original. Accept no imitations.

 754 characters

Photo of Indybeer
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Poured a hazy orange color, with a moderate head that quickly receded to a smallish ring, leaving some lacing behind. Aroma is floral and citrus from the hops! Very nice. Taste is slightly malty, witha good hop balance and with moderate carbonation, this is a very drinkable beer! Very enjoyable.

 310 characters

Photo of Kongquistador
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber.

This beer looks nice, and pours with a billowy white head that sticks around. Eventually it seems to fade down to a thin lace with a little bit of stickage on the side. The color is a perfect amber, yellow with just a hint of reddish. Very pale for a pale ale, but not bad. Substantial carbonation. The aroma on this is pretty mild, nothing to get excited about. Mainly it smells lightly of hops at first, mostly citrus stuff. After awhile there is a faint malty scent, but it is hard for me to pick out. It also has a slight honey scent. The scent almost reminds me of the one Belgian ale I've ever had, although I don't know what the defining characteristics of that are.

Up front, the Liberty Ale offers a nice hoppy hit to the tounge, followed by a nice mellow taste. The middle of this beer has a slight taste of honey, which I find peculiar, but thats what I'm feeling. The finish is very mild as well, with some hoppy bitterness, but it isn't strong at all. The bottle claims Liberty Ale has "a distinctive bouquet and uncommon delicacy" and that certainly seems to be the case. I was originally going to rate this lower, but then I realized that just because I expected a strong hoppy taste and aggressive malts, didn't mean it wasn't a good beer because it didn't have them. In fact, in consideration, I like this quite a bit, precisely because it isn't overpowering at all. Very, very well balanced.

This stuff tastes and feels pretty good going down, and it has a nice sweetness that makes it a pleasure to drink without being soda pop. Can't fault the carbonation either, especially after it has wamred a little bit. This is definetly a nice beer to relax with, and drink without thinking about drinking.

 1,742 characters

Photo of longpondbeerman
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew, I was told, is a classic, the prototype for the so-called west coast IPA's, and from what I can tell it is an apt description. It pours a light amber with a modest off-white head that recedes quickly. The smell is, of course, hoppy, but not nearly as bold as some of its west coast descendants. The taste is light and hoppy--not much in the way of complexity, but extremely drinkable, especially listening to a Thelonius Monk CD on a late summer vacation evening.

 474 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is an amber, with a bit of head. The smell was very hoppy. The taste is very hoppy and dry, with some hints of malt. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Drinkability-wise, a good pale ale that I'd have a few more of.

I've enjoyed the other Anchor offerings that I've had, and this is no exception. A good, solid, West Coast pale ale.

 365 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – Nice orange color but a smallish head that quickly fizzles away leaving the glass dry.

Smell – Some citrus fruit at first, but then the hops kick in.

Taste – This has a similar flavor to Anchor Steam Beer. I poured this one right after it for comparison purposes. There’s a noticeable malt taste to compliment the mostly hop body. The citrus flavors come out as well, with a bitter finish tempered with an orange peel.

Mouthfeel – Nice, light carbonation gives this beer a comfortable tingle on the tongue, but it’s kind of clumsy going down.

Drinkability – Like post APAs, this one is rather dry and will probably go down well on a hot summer day.

Comments – The Liberty Ale is less authoritative in its flavors than the Small Beer.

 769 characters

Photo of beerinator
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straw colored with a hint of red. Off white long lasting head.

Aroma: Malty with strong hop aromatics. Piney. Sweet smell dominates.

Taste: Strong malt flavor, hop presence is muted. The hops that are there aren't very citrusy. Smooth Flavors.

Notes: Very drinkable. Good beer for those seeking a beginner beer down the hoppy road.

 352 characters

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden/amber color with a nice fruffy head,the aroma is somewhat dry and hoppy with some slight sweetness in the background.The flavor is zesty and citruis-like with a malty sweet lingering backbone but the hop profile is the main taste I got from this brew.A pretty darn good ale even better if your a hophead.

 324 characters

Photo of KroMagnon
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't know what other BAs are like but I personally tend to drink many different beers than a lot of the same beer. This has become even more true since my family has tended to eat out less often. So its great to go back and revisit an old classic like Liberty Ale from time to time. The neck label has a great little tale about the beer and its inaugural brewing on April 18th 1975 (almost 30 years ago!) The main oval-shaped label features an anchor and a bald eagle, with "San Francisco" (a great American city) called out prominently at the bottom. The brew color is dark golden and the head was nice and white, with a good stability. This beer is famous for its dry hop aroma, but on this occasion I also pick up some estery notes like a very slight hint of bubble gum (VERY VERY slight) and perhaps a little bit of lemon (which may also be from the hops). (As an aside, I had this the same day as the New River Brewing Company pale ale and the latter seemed to have more hop aroma). The beer flavor itself was a delight - extremely well balanced, not a hop monster like many west coast pale ales and IPAs but definitely hoppy. The maltiness was evident and splendid without being oversweet. Back in 1975, I bet the beer was totally unique for American-made beer, but now you can find many others that are bolder. Nevertheless, I don't think you can find many that are as well-balanced as this beer, and the quality of Anchor's products (despite, or maybe because, of pasteurization?) is impeccable. In addition, to me, the ester notes that blend with the malt and hops in the aroma are also a welcome thing; so many micros display very little fermentation characteristics that you tend to forget how great they can be when you run across them.

For the BJCP style American Pale Ale, this is in the 4.3 / 5 mark - more hop aroma would help.

 1,849 characters

Photo of bmills1608
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This ale has a cult following and seems to be pretty legendary. After my first sip I could definitely see why. Anchor is the granddaddy of 'em all. Ales like this must have shown like a beacon of hope back in the 70's early 80's when the U.S. was still stuck in it's Dark Age of fizzy yellow crap beer.

It says on the label it was first brewed in 1975 to commemorate Paul Revere's ride. The British are coming! Well, not in this case...."Better beer is coming". Pours out a slightly hazy, nice deep golden color. On the nose is heaps of herbal hops, very fresh, with hints of lemon and citrus. Really inviting dry hopped nose.

My first sip, I new we had a winner, big time. A smooth but sturdy foundation of very lightly toasted malt provided the perfect backbone for this beer. A slightly honeyed maltiness start things off, followed by a spicy and herbal, rather complex hop twang, a bit of nice tingling bitterness, fresh hops, more lemon/citrus in the middle pallette. Dangerous drinkability and a prototype beer in terms of perfect balance. Beautify hopped. One word comes to mind - harmony. A light fruitiness also appeared toward the end of the glass as the beer warmed a bit. Finished with a slight malt sweetness combined with more fresh hop oils. Mouthfeel was awesome. A soft and light creaminess, incredibly soft. Perfect carbonation.

I was literally stunned at how much I enjoyed drinking this beer. I did not have overly big expectations. But every mouthful was a treat. For a pale ale to give this much satisfaction to the drinker says a lot. It's not an "extreme" beer, it's not over the top, it does not hit you over the head with heavy flavors. What it is however is a perfectly balanced ale with class and style.

 1,740 characters

Photo of jcalabre
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Rerate: 24 May 2003. This beer is HUGELY different on draught versus in the bottle. The previous rating is for the bottle. I had it on draught today, it has a nice hoppy nose, w/ a flavor that started out creamy & finished hoppy. My rating reflects my original 'bottle' tasting b/c that's more widely available. However, if you can get it on draught, it's far superior... This is a *nice* IPA but nothing compared to the other IPA's available in California. It's readily available, so that's a plus.

 499 characters

Photo of granger10
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer couldn't appear any better for it's style. Beautiful medium sized white creamy head. A golden amber color. Slight carbonation. The aroma seemed a little withdrawn for the actual flavor but was still quite nice. There were a lot of different hop flavors I noticed in this one. Citrus hops being the main flavor. Floral hops were also there along with some bittering hops. A grainy malt flavor was there to keep the hops in place but it didn't really ever stand out. Just kind of a backdrop for the beer. Finishes with a yeasty, grainy dryness mixed with some floral hops. Superb beer!

 593 characters

Photo of hotstuff
3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a medium sized white creamy head with fine-small sized bubbles that was long lasting.The body was cloudy and there was no carbonation observed.The lacing was very good on the sides of my glass.The nose was hoppy and also fruity. The mouthfeel was bitter and smooth.The flavor of this beer was bitter from start to finish.

 335 characters

Photo of edchicma
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance a well carbonated light gold with a nice lace down the glass. Smell was a nice citrusy aroma. Taste was a a nice hoppy tang followed by a nice full mouthfeel, with just enough aftertaste. A nice drinkable brew, very good for this category.

 250 characters

Photo of usualpulp
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color, with a very florally fragrant white head. The beer is very aromatic, lots of floral, and hop smell to it, with a very slight fruity smell. With the first taste the hops come rushing to the tongue and follow up with a very crisp and pleasing aftertaste. There was a lot of time and craftsmanship put into this beer, and you can tell. It is very smooth and easy to drink, hoppy but well balanced, a good session beer

 441 characters

Photo of nomad
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured an almost translucent light orange with a subtle golden-yellow hue - an interesting color. Also had a rocky head and a little staining. Smelled of fruity hops in a clean but not just anti-septic way. Also detected grapefruit and a tiny bit of pine and florals.

Taste was a mix of tasty bitter, a nascent fruitiness that grew in strength, and an ambered malt flavor. Had a somewhat chewy bitter finish, of a very bitter grapefruit sort but not overbearing. A surprisingly session-styled ale with a solid bodied mouthfeel. A true rarity: a mild American pale ale. A good thing though, and it went well with cheeses that have character.

For me, the definition of "go-to beer." Cascade goodness!

 704 characters

Photo of tar
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first had this beer four years ago and since then it has always been one of my favorites. Pours a clear orange/light amber with a nice white frothy head. The smell is inviting, of floral aromas and of hops. Very pleasant smelling and rather strong--the aroma can be detected without even lifting the glass. Taste is spicy and hoppy, with a dry finish. Outstanding flavor. The taste is dominated by hops yet not in an overpowering way. Feels surprisingly light, and this combined with its great taste and aroma, makes for a highly drinkable beer.

 547 characters

Photo of ElGuapo
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden copper pour with a big white head on top that eventually dies to a lace leaving its trail all over the glass. Very hoppy aroma to start. It is blended with grains to round it out a bit.

Some grainy pale malts provide a good foundation for this brew. Grassy hops take it from there to bitter a bit. It is well-balanced. Carbonation is light and the body is medium, very smooth. It is definitely a decent drinker as long as you are not anti-hops.

 455 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an orange color with a moderate head and not much lacing on the glass. The aroma is very soft and hard to detect, but it smells slightly of citrus. The flavor is fairly smooth and very malty and filled with citrus. It has somewhat dry of an aftertaste. Overall this is a good beer but just slighty more dry than I would prefer.

 343 characters

Photo of beerguy101
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium gold color, large head. Medium bodied ale. Moderately malty and fairly aggressively hopped. Good balance. Taste is smooth and clean. Nice flavor. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. Nice beer, light and refreshing.

 300 characters

Photo of dmarch
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours quite beautifully qith a clear golden color with a nice well retained head. Very nice hop character with a mostly citrusy taste and aroma. It's very drinkable, it wasn't long before I was ready for my next bottle. Not much as far a mouthfeel, but the hoppy flavor is enough to satisfy me. Great beer for football games and picnics.

 337 characters

Photo of drewbage
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Judged at the 2003 Lucky Baldwin's IPA Festival. (Blind Taste)

Beer pours a pale gold orange with a light hop haze.

Nose is slight vingery with a citrus hop note with a biscuity malt underpinning it all.

Flavor is citrus and grass hop bitterness towards the front with a biscuit malt that is quickly surmounted by a crystal malt and a bubblegum note shortly before a final hop blast to finish.

 403 characters

Photo of Popsinc
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely amber pour with a generous foamy head that doesn't fade too fast.

The nose is nicely hopped and there is the presence of some fruit, possibly sun dried apricot.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Exceptionaly hopped and complimented by a subtle fruitiness (but not sweet), this beer has great balance. Again, i really enjoy the hoppiness and find this beer to have exceptional body. Pleasant, dry, hoppy finish.

A great drinking experience. This is something i would buy again, and highly recommend.

 516 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this brew in a 12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. The color is a light orange and there is a good 2 fingers of head. There is just a little bit of lacing left on the glass. The smell is fairly sweet, with just a small hop aroma. The taste has a good balance of honey and fruit with cascade hops. If you love cascade hops, you'll love this beer! The mouthfeel is just a tad on the light side. This is a very drinkable brew, and is great for relaxing.

 459 characters

Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,553 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.
  • Quick Navigation

    Open the Quick Navigation

  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.