Anchor California Lager | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
229 Reviews
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by esdeebrew on 02-15-2013

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Reviews: 229 | Ratings: 1,162
Photo of Bombelsky
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden clear. Nice, two fingers tall, frothy off-white head. Not persisting. Spare lacing.
Moderate malt aroma, moderate aroma of spicy and floral hops.
Medium-high bitter flavor balanced with medium malt sweetness.
High carbonation, watery, medium body, long dry finish, crisp, fresh, spicy.

Fresh pre-proh. lager. Reminds some of European pilsners.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. Bottle

Pours a nice yellow color, nice carbonation, with a pretty nice small off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, yeasty. The taste is hoppy, malty, kinda yeasty. Medium body, with a nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, a pretty tasty brew.

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Photo of Stoutmaster9
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with almost no head, big, swift bubbles.

Aroma is rather faint, malty.

Crisp and easy, light yet grounded.
Initial simplicity giving way to subtle honey, moderate bread flavors.

Subtle grandeur.

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Photo of mjurney
4.66/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Golden color, clear. Lots of carbonation. Thick rocky head.

Sweet pale malts, biscuity, some spicy-floral hops.

Sweet pale malts, bready, biscuity, faint honey. Hop bitterness is moderate, mostly spicy-floral. Finish is very crisp, a little dry. Medium bodied, crisp, refreshing, super drinkable.

Well made lager!!

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured to a tulip glass.

A: The body is yellow crystalline. The head is white, created a two finger thick head but then it went to just one finger thick. Shows a below average retention. No lacing.
S: The aroma is mostly sweet, like big brand beer lager. In the back there's a big malty profile followed by a hint of alcohol, already showing some presence here.
T: The taste is very straightforward, as it is just a loooong profile of malt. Nothing else is present here. It's kinda blank this but I'm really not a lager fan.
M: Body is medium low to low. Carbonation is high and harsh. Bitterness is almost non-existent.
O: Easily the most bland Anchor beer I've had to this date.

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Photo of IronLover
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Golden orange in color with a light haze. Poured with a moderate, frothy, bright white foam with good retention. Medium malt aromas with fruity apple and pear notes through the middle and faint lemon peel near the end. Medium light bodied with medium high carbonation. A brief light creamy feel through the middle is followed by a tangy carbonic bite that accentuates the hop bitterness. Medium light malt flavor up front followed by light citrus notes and medium bitterness through the middle. Light apple and pear flavors from the middle to the end. Finished semi-dryly with light fruity flavors and lingering bitterness. Easy drinking, crisp, and flavorful.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can with a true Pilsner glass
Notes taken from 08/22/15

Golden honey colored body – light amber look with a minimal amount of yeast haze.
Smells is of creamy malts. Grains and breads with some spiced hops, leafy greens, stone fruit and a crisp lager yeast note.
Tastes much the same with a very traditional beery lager flavor. Bready and lightly toasted with some mild earth and spice hops. Fallen orchard fruits and some leafy grasses. Low actual bitterness. Nothing here to really excite the senses. Smooth and creamy which goes down swiftly. Low moderate carbonation with a crisp sensation in the finish.
Has a very blue-collar attraction. Drinkable but also forgettable.

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Photo of drmeto
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

-pours a clear golden-amber with a big,foamy,white head
-high carbonation visible
-honey,vanilla,biscuity,marzipan,spicy,spruce,cooked potatoes
-medium to high bitterniss for the style
-medium,soft carbonation
-light to medium body
A Bomb-ass Lager.
Very Czech in Character, it can keep up with the best Euro Examples.

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Photo of Foyle
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.
2" sudsy white head falls moderately with some mild lacing. Color is clear golden with plenty of streaming carbonation. Pleasant of aroma of sweet malts, cracker, floral & citrus hops. Flavors of bread crust, cracker, pine, citrus, floral. Overall a very well done lager.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Anchor's California Lager off the single shelf at Binnys in my old hood. It poured a clear golden with thin white head that is not leaving any lace. The scent is faint not much there perhaps some wet grain. The taste is nicely balanced and very easy to drink....great session lager. There is a touch of biscuit that give it a good foundation. The Mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall this is a solid beer.

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Photo of JakeScully
4.49/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this American pale Lager from Anchor into a teku glass.

Good! I was reminded of the typical aroma from Anchor and could recognize it in a blind taste.

This brewery delivers, you can safely purchase it... CHEERS!

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Photo of tlema1
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: clear straw yellow, with a thin white, long lasting head
S: biscuit malt and a slight earthiness
T: malty, earthiness from the hops
F: very light body, but a good upfront mouthfeel
O: need more good lagers like this....well done

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Slightly hazy pale gold color. White, sticky crown of foam. Rather lacy.
Sweet biscuit malt, slightly earthy and funky from the yeast and also very herbal in the nose.
History comes alive with this brew. Love original recipe recreations. This one has a nice, if not rather thin, malty flavor, honey, bready and amber malt tasting. Vety subtle hops, although, earthy and slightly sour along with the heady yeast makes this interesting, if not slightly mundane compared to todays big complex offerings.
Based on true style, it delivers exactly what it promises, and not much more.
The feel is pretty light, rather thin in fact.
I really dig it when modern brewers bring back an historic brew from the the ages past, however, at the end of the day i have to review a beer based on how much I liked it. Complexity of flavor is low, easy to drink and rathet enjoyable, but slightly mundane.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Brewing Company "California Lager"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, coded "6FX" = bottled on 2016 February 24
$1.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

The question was put forth, "What breweries do you find you can always rely on?", and one of my answers to that is Anchor. With very few exceptions they've always put out solid beers, and each one of them has always had a clear Anchor character. This one is no exception, despite the fact that it's actually a re-creation of a beer that was brewed way back in 1876.

In the glass it's a deep amber that's headed towards becoming copper in color, with a lovely white head of creamy froth that holds well and leaves some remarkable lacing behind.

The aroma is floral and spicy (cinnamon?) with a hint of yeasty sulphur over a delicately caramel accented maltiness.

The flavor follows suit but adds a touch of fruitiness (juicy apples and berries), and a bit of grassiness. The Anchor yeast is quite clear, although not nearly as clear as it is in their flagship Steam Beer. It's superbly balanced, allowing the malt to shine upfront and then steadily erode through to the finish which is dry but not bitter. Some floral, fruity, spicy, and grassy notes linger gently for some time.

In the mouth it's light-medium with a gentle, delicate caress of carbonation across the palate.

In the end it's fairly basic, and really nicely balanced - but it's also really quite unique due to it's floral and fruity character. I even wonder, is there some cinnamon or other spice added, or is that perhaps coming from the Cluster hops? It's massively drinkable, and I can't imagine a situation wherein it wouldn't work or would seem out of place. As stated at the outset, this is another completely reliable beer from the Anchor Brewing Company. It may not turn heads, but I doubt any head would turn away from it.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into lager glass.
Slightly hazy orange golden beer, good off-white head and retention.
Smell - grain, salty cracker, hay, cereals.
Taste - grainy, good hopping.
Medium body and carbonation.

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Photo of 0_0
3.14/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Simple Rating so I can enjoy this simple brew.

It takes like an average lager, much so an upgrade from a watered down "college" beer but definitely not complex enough for its lofty price and rating.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big graham cracker malt aroma. Bready but not heavy seeming. Grassy floral hops. Somewhat herbal. Clean lager character. Touch of citrus peel.

Pours clear golden/light orange. Small frothy white head. Good lacing and decent retention.

Rich graham cracker malt with steely bitterness. Light citrus, somewhat lemony. Green, grassy, bitter hops. Malt character is big but not heavy and quite dry.

Light body with medium carbonation. A certain kind of slickness. A touch of mineral character. Steely bitterness fills the palate. Juicy malts wash away.

Perhaps a robust take on Czech pils? Tons of flavor while still being fairly refreshing.

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Photo of Bulabeers
2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

L: Huge monster head. Golden colored.
S: A little malty and some hops. Hard to distinguish.
T: Very well balanced lager just not a lot going on.
F: A little watery after that monster head.
O: It's okay.

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Photo of CJanders
4.65/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is the ultimate summer pleaser. Not too light like a European lager but not to heavy like the Lagunitas Pils, Anchor's California Lager is smooth, refreshing AND flavorful. Lagunitas and the Europeans make that and either or proposition.

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Photo of Weisenbeer
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very good standard lager. Imagine Budweiser. Now imagine it made in small batches with quality ingredients. Now you have Anchor California Lager. (The preceeding comments are meant to be complimentary) ☺

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Photo of Malt_Man
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Served cold from 355ml can into pilsner glass.

L) Darkish golden colour, slight haze. Huge surge of small bubbles. Dense white head. Actually looks superb.

S) Barely anything, but it is cold.

T) Quite a bit of hop bitterness in there, a bit of a weird fruity flavour which I would classify as an off-flavour in a lager although I am sure it is deliberate from a brewery of this standing. A bit of a rubbery flavour at the back of the mouth.

F) Dries the mouth out a bit, a fairly strong bitter aftertaste.

O) Well, it definitely tries to do something different for a lager, but the bitterness and skanky off-flavour just make this a bad one for me, I don't like it. Give me a Steam Beer instead.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice clear good. Aromas of flowers, bread and a sweetness that is sort of like honey. The taste is nicely sweet and has floral hops and a mild bready facet. Nice solid lager with a clean finish.

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Photo of beergoot
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Crystal clear, dark gold body; fluffy, billowy, white head; sticky lacing along the glass. Sweet, honey aroma. The flavor mimics the aroma; perhaps a lot of crystal malt; light cereal grain notes. Light body; crisp; mostly dry finish.

Light, very flavorful lager with just a twinge too much sweetness, otherwise a solid offering overall.

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Photo of Chaz
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper-golden in color, topped with a tannish, off-white head*. Looks a bit like a Maerzen or Festbier based on its coloration.

The nose suggests nothing more than a classic ale lager, and somewhere in-between a Pils and something like an Export Lagerbier -- it's much more bready and full than an average Euro (or below average) Euro Pale Lager, however. Sweet malts, honey-ish and floral hops notes, a bit of metallic twang, but no single dominant American or C hop profile, so I'm happy for a clean, old school lager.

Sweet and a touch tangy on the first sip, lighter fruity esters in the aromatics, and a lighter bitterness. Fairly dry finish, but there are some great aromatics (honey, tea-like, floral) going on, here. It's not a sweet, bland, one-dimensional lager by any means, and the bitterness is so subtle that it's almost an afterthought.

Mouthfeel seems a bit lighter than average for the style, but this isn't a "light" or low-calorie / diet beer profile by any stretch. As in the first initial sip and subsequent tastes, the profile is consistent and coats the palate, tongue, roof of the mouth, etc. Carbonation is average for the style, and is lightly-scrubbing in this fresh canned example.

Overall, a better than average American pale lager, and recommended to anyone who needs a Pils substitute or a break from the Attack of the Hops. ;)

*I poured it into a 400mL German Pils glass and the head stood for an impressive three minutes as I tried to take an adequate photo for WBAYDN? It's a nice looking beer, but looks as it should, for a fresh beer, which is why I rate it as average rather than above average or more.

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Photo of Steelocation
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bought this in a 12 pack in 12oz bottles. I saw no expiration date and the bottle was labeled "5LP." I poured it into a 12 ounce pint size glass.

Appearance: cloudy and golden with lively bubbles. It had a very little head but to be fair, I tilted the glass and poured it slowly.

Smell: vary malty and sweet with floral scents.

Taste: It has a nice dry finish with some aftertaste. Very strong in carbonation and hoppy.

Mouth-feel: Carbonated, crisp, and goes down a little coarse. Letting it sit in your mouth long enough and you will still feel the carbonation.

Overall: it's a fruity lager which reminded me of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Not to be mistaken as a Samuel Adams but the fruity part. I enjoyed that it remains well carbonated even until the end. A nice lager to have around the house but prefer to bring another kind of lager to parties.

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,162 ratings.
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