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Anchor California Lager | Anchor Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
85
very good
220 Reviews
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States
anchorbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
220
Ratings:
1,132
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
25.6%
 
 
Wants:
49
Gots:
290
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 220 | Ratings: 1,132
Photo of drmeto
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L:
-pours a clear golden-amber with a big,foamy,white head
-high carbonation visible
S:
-honey,vanilla,biscuity,marzipan,spicy,spruce,cooked potatoes
T:
-honey,spicy,biscuity,grassy,grapefruit,nutty
-medium to high bitterniss for the style
F:
-medium,soft carbonation
-light to medium body
O:
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 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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Photo of dar482
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer offers bready and biscuity malts with a grassy and earthy hop quality, with some fruity notes coming through, possibly from the hops or warmer fermentation, onto a medium bitterness on the finish.

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Photo of n1ckels
5/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Famed Wine Critic Eric Asimov, published a review of Lagers (Lagers Enjoy a Renaissance) in the NY Times March 12, 2015. The top 4 blind rated lagers were Full Sail, Anchor, Brooklyn, and Atlas Brew Works (all 3 stars). After reading this, I made it my mission to try more lagers. Was not impressed with the Full Sail. I liked Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold--good but not excellent. Anchor was and still is a revelation. I've been drinking it over a year now, and its brilliance has yet to fade. In fact, I enjoy it more than ever.

This is the best lager in America. Each time I drink it, I am reminded at how simple and satisfying it is. I could drink it anytime of day, any day of the year. And I always crave it more than the last time. It is crisp. It is exactly what I want from a beer. Too often I crave a very specific beer or style, indulge, and am disappointed. And this seems to always happen with IPAs. Sculpin and Hopslam, for example, I remember them being so wonderful the first time. What happened? Now they bore me to tears.

Anchor has made a timeless, perfect beer here. When I find this beer, I always buy it and usually I buy out the store. It is that good. In some ways, it is plain. One could argue it has no soul, it's colorless like the Murakami character. It's no flavor explosion, but we must ask ourselves, is a flavor punch to our face what we want out of a classic beer? What do you want out a beer? There's no novelty here. I believe this lager will be here for decades. There's too many ales, pilsners suck, and there aren't many transcendent lagers. This is one. You of big egos may try, knowing you won't be impressed, and say so. But I guarantee you will find yourself coming back to this. And I will warn you- you will pass up other 'amazing' beers in your fridge until this is gone. Prepare to get married. It is flawless, an American masterpiece of fermentation. Introduce to anyone of any taste, and they will enjoy. Trust me.

 1,995 characters

Photo of Squire123
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Legacy lives on.

Call me old fashioned, but, wait a minute, I am old. Skipping past that (like I could skip) I am glad to see this reintroduction. Oh, I'm not saying it's the same as the original or anything, yet it is a look back. And why not, like a classic car, they made some good stuff back when. This beer showcases Cluster hops which in one form or another have been used in this Country for about 300 years now which is quite remarkable when you think about it. Golden color, refreshing hop forward flavor, solid malt frame, good texture and taste, lots to recommend it and no flaws that I can find. Shows what the simple approach can accomplish.

Put this on your buy list. Write it down now so you don't forget.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a stange.

A: Golden-Amber color with a big, sticky head. Great retention, thick and spunky webs of lacing.

S: Sweet pale malts and some soft biscuity and bready aromas. Hops give off soft grassy, oily, and floral notes. Fragrant, nuanced, balanced, and delicious smelling.

T: Sweet, bready, and biscuity malt. Oily hops bring a modest bitterness and flavors of freshly cut grass. Orange blossom. Beautifully balanced finish brings oily hops and sweet bready malt together.

M: Medium-light body. Full and easy with some soft creaminess and just the right amount of weight and substance. Ample prickling carbonation brings a deep crispness.

O: This impressed the hell out of me. Hands down one of the better American-made lagers out there, and it has a great sense of history and even terroir. So easily quaffable too. A real beer drinker's beer.

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Photo of HoppyBastard
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, there is no "best by" date that I can find.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear, light copper color with less than one finger off-white head that quickly dissipated until just a ring of small bubbles remained around the glass, very little lacing on the glass, medium carbonation.

SMELL: caramel and toasted bread.

TASTE: initially sweet caramel and toasted bread then an earthy, metallic hop profile.

PALATE: medium body and carbonation.

OVERALL: this is a very unusual lager, it's malt forward and the cluster hops are very earthy, I'm glad I tried it but not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Continuing on the vein of Californian Lagers (see my last review was on Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner, n00b!) I came across Anchor’s own take on Lager, and given that they were plum out of plums (and more importantly Nooner Pilsner) at my local Plum and Beer Emporium, I decided to give Anchor a shot at impressing me. The bottle label claims this is based on California’s first Lager brewed in 1876 in an ice pond, how poetic, and beery... I’m sold.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a stein.

A: A not so lively pour somehow produced a 3.5 cm white head that Odin would be proud of... I’m entranced whilst waiting for it to drop down. The body a hazed amber-tinged golden colour, also quite entrancing. Odin is pleased Anchor. 10/10.

S: A bit on the doughy side with half-baked bread notes, a subtle grainy character - bit like a wet bag of barley (nothing wrong with that), a dab of honey, and a light grassy hop note... aroma is very much slanted towards yeast/malt, but hey it’s a Lager, what did you expect? 8/10.

T: Flavour is a touch muted, but we were expecting a bit from the aroma so it’s no biggie, with all of the above: half-baked bread, grains, honey, grassy hops. The yeast and malts do dominate the hops, but there is a touch of bitterness towards the mostly crisp/dry finish. Aftertaste is a bit of that old Lager chestnut: vegetal matter and detracts slightly from the overall experience. Anchor needs to sort that shit out. 7/10.

M: Borderline medium bodied with a light carbonation... Lagers don’t seem to be as fizzy as I remember them, maybe it’s just me, oh well I prefer less gas anyway. 7/10.

D: Pretty decent as far as Lagers go, and we all know I’m not the biggest fan of Lagers anyhow (although in summer they sure can hit that spot) but I think Anchor have done well here without making this a “Wow!” beer like Sierra Nevada’s Nooner [two separate styles I know, but Lagers and Pilsners are so close that if they were humans they wouldn’t be able to legally marry]. In any case this is a beer that I would probably get again, though the aftertaste needs work... could use a touch more oomph in the hops department like Nooner... so that’s a semi-hesitant recommendation from me, with provisos. 8/10.

Food match: I’m going to err on the side of pizza with this brew.

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Photo of singletary
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I drank it from a 12 oz bottle. Nice taste and smell to it, has a bit of a bite to it but still very drinkable. I would have another one of this in the future. Overall a very nice lager.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, drank straight from it.
Nice, crisp flavors and an easy drinker.
A touch of Euro feel to the lager, but overall, very good.
I would definitely consider this as a go to lager.

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,132 ratings.
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