California Lager
Anchor Brewing Company

California LagerCalifornia Lager
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Lager - American
Ranked #116
Ranked #39,368
3.7 | pDev: 11.62%
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
California LagerCalifornia Lager
Notes: In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California's first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager® is our re-creation of this historic beer. Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, this all-malt brew is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. Its golden color, distinctive aroma, creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and smooth finish make Anchor California Lager® a delicious celebration of California’s unique brewing heritage.
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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 1,289 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RaulMondesi
RaulMondesi from California

4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don’t want to come in here all bombastic like Lebron after winning a title (I’m a Kobe guy), because this isn’t a bombastic beer. It’s just there, chilling like a good hound dog after eating his supper. And while drinking this thing, that’s all I want to do: chill.

Be at ease, my children.

Thursday at 03:00 AM
Photo of robin13791
robin13791 from England

4.66/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious balanced taste that is crisp and has a dark caramel smell and taste. It is not heavily carbonated but it does have a thick feel on the tongue. A beer that I have bought on more than two occasions.

Mar 11, 2021
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daliandragon from Maryland

3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

This is the only the second beer I have ever had that has bragged in the description of the "krausening" process. The other, of course, is Old Style. Absolute clarity in the body, mild barley in the nose. This has a precise amount of carbonation and goes down quite nicely. Flavor is basic but limited. The aftertaste seems watery, if that is possible. Not awful, just not a lot of flavor.

Nov 04, 2020
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PathofChaos from Maryland

1.47/5  rDev -60.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Harvest gold and crystal clear. Sprouts a slender cap of white which makes it known early that it doesn’t intend to stay long.

Dried corn husk, canned corn, basically a shitload of corn with some fermented grains behind it. If that sounds bad, it's because you have self-respect.

So light and sessionable you could almost mistake it for water, except that its rife with enough carbonation to make an unopened seltzer feel insecure.

My first mistake was paying too close attention to the palate. My second mistake was continuing to drink it. Those corn husks from earlier are a little charred now but they take a backseat to the grain; which comes forward like a some horrid bog monster. Repulsive, unseemly, and festooned with unsavory swamp grime.

Another disappointment from Anchor Brewing Co… which is astonishing, considering they brew the best porter on Earth. Drain pour.

Oct 01, 2020
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a 29 April 2020 bottling date stamp on the label, served in a lager glass.
Look. Exactly as expected for style, or just a shade darker, with a clear amber body and a semi-durable white head. Decent lacing.
Crisp, clean aroma and flavor. Very harmonious with a fine, mildly bitter aftertaste.
Crisp, semi-dry, medium body.
Overall. Excellent example of the style that reminds me of drinking fresh lagers in the Czech Republic.

Sep 19, 2020
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OrdinaryManDrinks from England

3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up because I was in a lager mood. It looks a bit orange tinted when poured. Maybe because I had it after a Belgian dubbel, it felt quite thin. Overall it made for a pleasant though a bit unremarkable experience.

May 28, 2020
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BalancingBrooms from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Crystal clear golden color, with quickly dissipating quarter finger white head. Aroma is of touch of floral hops and hint of pale malt. Taste starts with soft floral notes, wiff of lemon zest, that fades into a soft and lighter bread. Ends crips. Body is light. Overall a nice lager, not gonna blow your socks off, but easy drinking and well balanced though arguably more subtle than some other famous lagers.

Mar 25, 2020
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Mugman8 from New York

3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Part of an Anchor Variety Pack. Pours clear, orange tint , with light creamy head and no lacing. Nice bready aroma, with some floral hop. Taste is fruity, bready and hoppy with a dry finish. Feel is light, mild carbonation. Pretty good brew, but not great. Would have it again.

Mar 07, 2020
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mikeinportc from New York

3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 09/025/19

Pours clear coppery-orange , with light, quickly-dissipating off-white head.

Light bready aroma, slightly fruity,fresh hay, with some floral hop smell.

Taste is toast with the barest dab of orange marmalade, a hint of toffee & caramel as it warms, faint dried apple+pear, and light spicy/floral hop flavor. Mild bitterness that lends to a slighlty drying finish .

Feel is light-medium with light-side-of-moderate, very fine carbonation tingle.

Overall, enjoyable and would have it again.

Jan 07, 2020
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jjamadorphd from Florida

3.36/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid enough lager...

This is definitely more flavorful that your run-of-the-mill lager, but maybe not tasty as others I have had. Nonetheless, this was decent enough. Good dark, golden coloration with frothy head that has very little staying power. The smell is light and malty, almost non-existent, with a mouthfeel that is light as well, crisp, and low in carbonation (just like I like it.) A distinctive barley flavoring that overpowers what citrusy taste I think is hiding inside, though it has a malty smell it doesn't quite translate to the palate. Anyway, I still found this to be better than most and would not hesitate to grab one on a hot summer's day.

May 11, 2019
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jamesroses from Argentina

3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Close to best by bottle

Almost amber in colour. Active carbonation. Small head.

Aromas of herbal hops, and sweet malts.

Taste is spicy with sweet caramel background.

Mouthfeel is on point. Spicy aftertaste.

Nice lager

Apr 24, 2019
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Ronl12 from Massachusetts

3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into pint glass. No date.
Look is nice clear yellow. Smell is basic lager with sweet malt. Taste follows nose as it is traditional lager taste. Feel is light. Overall a good basic lager.

Apr 09, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Actually enjoy this as a change up lager given the definitive hop presence. Still very much lager grains, breadiness, caramel malts, but then has some light citrus from the hops and grass. This is better enjoyed in the smell than taste, with the fruits and herbal grass being less muted than in taste. Feel could be fuller, and there is some muddled textures.

Jan 26, 2019
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MKV from Belgium

3.39/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Clear, light golden color. Not much head. Nicely crisp but pretty thin body. Bitterness throughout but not overpowering. Carbonation on the heavy side. Not much of a distinct flavor.

Dec 09, 2018
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mothmanscott from Georgia

3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes 11/27/13: Pours a clear pale gold producing 1.5 fingers of frothy, clumpy, white head which leaves only a few wisps and motes of lace behind. Aroma is cereal grain and lager yeast, Graham crackers, honey, some citrus and grass. Taste is clean grain, bread, lager yeast, vanilla pound cake, the hops notes are predominately grass with a touch of lemon giving way to a bittersweet finish and an aftertaste that is nicely balanced but transitions to bitter. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth with some prickly pepper spice.

Dec 08, 2018
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jadpsu from Georgia

3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Legacy as part of a 12 bottle variety pack.
LOOK: Pours a very clean light gold with just a faint tinge of amber. All white head that has average retention.

AROMA: Lots if malts come through, along with a touch of yeast as well a little dry hop accent.

TASTE: Bready malts with a touch of caramel, vanilla with subtle sweetness. Drying hops at the finish.

This is a good lager. Not as bland as many it the style and with more flavor than typical lagers.

Nice dry finish.

Oct 20, 2018
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

2.61/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

L - Deep amber, slight rising CO2 into lacing which soon clears.
S - Fresh, grainy notes. Maybe I'm congested I don't sense much more.
T - There is pleasant balanced strength and richness in the middle that goes into a nice gentle dry/hoppy ending.
M - The CO2 appeared low in the glass, but I'm surprised that there is also very, unsually little, CO2 on the tongue. Wondering if this is an unsually low-gas beer, or whether I might have a dud bottle.
O - It's hard to sum up as this is either genuinely meant as a low-CO2 beer, or something isn't quite right here. What I can say is that it would be nicer with more prominent CO2. What is nice is that it's not 'yet another American/American-style over hopped hop-bomb of a brew'.
Bought from Waitrose, London, UK. 355ml bottle. BB 3/2020. The bottle is also notable for having an unusually elegant lable featuring a bear.

Aug 18, 2018
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma of malt,grain,toasted cereal/cracker, and yeasty bread
Taste follows the nose, malt arrives first but is nicely balanced with a mild hop finish

Jul 29, 2018
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a slighty foggy copper with a finger and a half of snow-white head. Head retention is fair. Aroma is pilsner, bread, and toast malts with a dash of yeast. It's a pretty malty, but clean aroma. Flavor profile is pilsner, bread, toast, and biscuit malts with a dash of yeast ester at the end. Mouth feel has a crisp edge, but a velvety, semi-fizzy interior giving a medium thickness. Overall, a pilsner focused almost solely on malts. It does a good job of being simple.

May 30, 2018
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BeerBobber from Nevada

3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours out a lovely golden color with a solid two fingers of slightly off white head that is audibly crackling. The head actually looks somewhat gold as the beer is poured as well.

Has a nice malty clean lager smell. Maybe a bit of sourdough bread with a lightness on that sourdough.

The taste is a touch of sweet and a touch of hops. Picking up a faint hint of lemon in here. Nice bready maltiness. The hops are more pronounced than an AAL but subtle enough to add a nice touch to the lager characteristics.

Mouth feels like it is leaning towards the medium side with a nice clean full mouth of beer feel. The finish is fairly crisp but does have a bit of slickness to the very back.

Overall this is a must try for lager fans and a definite must try for those that like AAL's. This beer really hits a lot of good notes for me. I would love to try this fresh as could be out of the tap. The only thing that holds me back just a bit on this one is the price. I see a lot of reviews that mention it is a bit pricier than other lagers. Yet this one really does taste cleaner, if you will, than the average AAL. So it does have that going for it. Good stuff! Give it a spin and see what you think of this golden California Lager!

May 29, 2018
Photo of ovaltine
ovaltine from Indiana

3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a delicious, crushable lager - big noble hops bringing grassy aromas and flavors, and a suitable-to-style cracker malt backbone. If I lived in California, this would be my lawnmower beer this summer.

May 03, 2018
Photo of sokol_1993
sokol_1993 from California

3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A good beer, with good balance between hoppiness and maltiness, somewhat more toward the former but not as hop-forward as an IPA. A good example of a Californian style lager. Refreshing

Apr 28, 2018
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: Hazy amber orange, with a tiny white head.

Smell: Sour yeast and malt.

Taste: Mild yeasty sourdough bread with a bitter back end.

Mouthfeel: Thick and almost creamy.

Overall: A very unique flavor rarely seen in modern beer. You do have to be in the mood, though.

Mar 30, 2018
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scott_qua_scott from California

3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours clear and golden with copious, fluffy white head. A great example of a lager to my eye.

Smell: Sweet (some mellow fruit right off the bat) and fairly mild. Not a terribly complex smell, but pleasant enough. Again, pretty typical of a lager--the smell doesn't overpower.

Taste: This is an eminently drinkable lager. Upfront it's malty and clean on the palate. Finish has a mild grain taste (notes of...corn, maybe?). The hops kick in only at the very end, with a hint of flowery bitterness that sort of flickers in. The flavor has the drinkability you expect of a lager, but with enough interesting characteristics to be suitably 'craft'-y.

Feel: Clean and relatively high in carbonation. A little thick for a lager, but I actually really like that.

Overall: A great lager. I know this isn't exactly a fresh take, but I've been really impressed with all of the Anchor beers I've had. This has some of the characteristics of their trademark "Steam" beer, but chilled out and made even more sessionable. I'm not a big lager guy, but I like this one a lot.

Mar 29, 2018
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detgfrsh from Texas

3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12oz bottle. Light orange with a finger of white foam. Straw and yeast smell. Medium feel. Tastes of grass, citrus, and a touch of spice. Very good for the style.

Mar 12, 2018
California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 1289 ratings