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Anchor California Lager | Anchor Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
84
good
212 Reviews
Anchor California LagerAnchor California Lager
BEER INFO

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

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:
212
Ratings:
1,094
Avg:
3.74
pDev:
25.94%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
278
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 212 | Ratings: 1,094
Photo of Act25
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm on a lager kick and Anchor Steam comes through as always. This is a must try.

A: Clear, nice fluffy white head, not much lace, but a nice pour.

S Classic but subtle. It's sweet, lemon-scented grain: Crackers, blonde bread. Simple, direct, pleasant, easy.

T Both sweet and hoppy w lots of flavor. Not quite as good as Ayinger.
Great end of summer beer, was great with fish. It's blonde, light malt with balanced lemony, citric hops.

M: Light bodied and refreshing with a lovely tingle, more going on than in most lagers. Great finish, good carbonation.

O: MUST TRY. Great food and fish beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of draheim
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a clear coppery straw color w/ a 1-finger white head, lively carbonation.

Aroma is mostly grainy malt and floral hops. Delicate and light.

Taste is likewise crisp, light, and mildly fruity. Has a nice hoppy bite to it. Refreshing.

Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, very drinkable.

Overall a well-crafted lager from Anchor, enjoyable and balanced.

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Photo of bearfootdaddy
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Golden slightly amber, with a white one finger head

Smell- Malty smell , fresh and young, sweet.

Taste- light, taste like it might get bitter but never does.

Mouthfeel- flat like water and refreshing

Overall- easy drinking, could drink a whole six pack.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/26/13.

Pours a clear golden yellow with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and grassy aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, grass, and fruity flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but has a slightly better smell to me.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 FL. OZ. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a full, crisp, dark golden body with a thin white pale lager head.

Smell: Bready malts and slightly metallic (almost Noble hop smelling) hop aroma.

Taste: Pale malt flavor with a spicy hop bitterness for balance. I would imagine that this is what an all malt version of Budweiser would taste like based upon the classic American hops (Cluster). Like a craft version of Michelob, only better.

Mouthfeel: Spicy, prickly mouthfeel from the carbonation. Appropriately refreshing.

Overall: Very interesting and I am glad this made it's way to Maryland. Only problem is that at $11.99 a six pack, I wouldn't make this a regular go to.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A picture-perfect lager, from the head down to the bubbles nucleating at the bottom of the glass and back into the classy bottle from which it came. Presentation matters, people! Bright 24-karat golden body with an upward flurry of champagne bubbles, forming a resilient, smooth, snowy white head.

And it smells almost as good. Fresh grain – like really good Middle Eastern bread, or a sack of malts, or caramel corn. Dandeliony hops give the slightest of nods. Chewy and airy, balanced and zesty – a lager to sink your teeth into. It is first and foremost a showcase for pure malt flavor – I involuntarily picture amber waves of grain when I take a sip. Bready and substantial, with a rich nuttiness like halva. The hops creep in, along with the bubbles, with their slightly soapy lemon-lavender flavor, to whip the malts into shape. Juicy. Refreshing. Balanced. Full of character. Superb!

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 2013 July 10 (3LJ). Served in a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Clear deep gold with a 1/16" persistent white head. Nice strands of delicate lacing.

Smell: Clean, herbal hops, some citrus, maybe a hint of geranium? A tiny bit of skunk hint on a swirl.

Taste: Crisply bitter up front, quick clean malt middle, with a bit of cracker to it. Finish is nicely bitter. Lingers a bit with orange zest citrus, a bit of pine, and some more malt which reminds me of the slightly sweet finish of Munich Helles. Tasty from start to finish.

Mouthfeel: Lively carbonation, just south of fizzy. Hop oils stick to the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: I like just about everything that Anchor puts out so I'm trying to be objective here but I will wonder out loud if I'm not capable of that. Nicely hoppy, with a different hop profile than all the other hoppy CA beers out. If this is what beer was like in CA in the late 1800s, I'd be happy if this was all there was. I do think it would be better with food, and I'm thinking some stronger tasting seafood, as one is enough for me without food. Nice at the end of the day, but I'm not wanting another right now. Another tomorrow yes, and maybe another one the day after that, but not one right after the other. The only thing I didn't quite care for was the carbonation - but Lagers are supposed to have a bit more carbonation. I think it's just me wanting thicker and less carbonated beers lately.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 3LW so July 23, 2013

A: Pours a golden yellow color with a fingers worth of fluffy head that fades down to tiny bubbles

S: Lightly fruity and grainy, with some floral hops and bready malts

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a light spicy hop presence and fruitiness, followed by the graininess and bready malts. Finishes with lingering bready malts and light floral hoppiness

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A solid re-creation of a "classic" 19th century lager. Just enough flavor and aroma to make it appealing and highly drinkable. For the classic American lager fans

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Photo of plaid75
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a pale brass hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured soft pale malts and a light grassy hop.

The taste consisted of grainy pale malts, a light earthy sweetness and a grassy hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the softer side of the style.

Overall a tasty session lager.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle in a DFH shaped pint glass

A - Light bronze color with a milky off-white cap. Unimpressive retention with minimal lacing.

S - Strong cereal grains, caramel, light citrus, applesauce, toast, grass, tea like aroma.

T - Firm hop bitterness transitions into a hefty amount of sweet grainy malt, tannins and minerals hit the edges and back of the tongue along with grassy and pine hops start to build into a long dry finish.

M - Full bodied, full prickly carbonation, very smooth on the finish.

If you had this blind you wouldn't believe it was a 4.8% pale lager. This is heavily hopped, full flavored and full bodied making for an excellent session beer.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rich deep gold color. Touch of chill haze, which faded away to excellent clarity. Three fingers dense white foam.

Assertive fresh hay aroma.

Firm sweet, but not too sweet, foundation. Perfect balancing hops. Clean finish.

Sturdy mouthfeel with real depth.

Everything you could ask for in a lager: clean, refreshing, tasty.

It seems Anchor is still in good hands.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

lots of lagers this month for me, and maybe none more satisfying than this one all things considered. I like anchor this fall, bottling (or at least distributing) a few new ones. this is a full bodied and full flavored lager, caramel in color and boasting almost an inch of just off white suds on top, airy but patient. it smells like it should, slightly rich, dry though, with a complex grain engine and delicate hop accents. the flavor is spot on, not sweet at all, not bitter, not thick not thin, not sharp and muted, but balanced in a sense of the term reserved for the best of the best. definitely malt forward, but there a lot of complex subtleties to this. heavier than some, I cant drink a sixer in a sitting, but I don't need to be able to in order to enjoy this one. a little filling, a lot flavorful, well done again by the brewery that can do no wrong. a lager worthy of repeating.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden yellow with moderate to heavy amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some faint burnt orange highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a finger thick pillowy surface covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of grainy bready malts with light aromas of floral and grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of bready and grainy malts with only a hint of honey-like sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of floral, herbal, and grassy hops which impart a light to moderate amount of bitterness which slowly fades away.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp and smooth.

O: Easy drinking and with the low ABV, definitely sessionable. Not sure how many of these I would desire to have in a single session as there is not that much interesting to the flavors of the beer. Probably would have made a great beer for enjoying as I grilled but I only got the chance to sample it as the grilling season is starting to wind down (only grilling out about 1 time per week vs. 2-3 nights over the summer when it is to hot to run the oven in the house).

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A code printed on the label. My first beer from Anchor Brewing Company. Excited to try it, expectations are decently high; I tend to enjoy craft lagers.

Poured into a Miller Lite pint glass.

A - Pours a slightly hazed goldenrod colored body with two fingers of creamy bubbly fluffy off-white head. Lots of bubbles rushing topside. Some thick fluffy white lacing.

S - Smell is of fresh sweet grains, wheat, corn, & white sugar.

T - Taste is extremely bready, malty, & earthy. Grassy, grainy, wheaty, crackery, and coppery / metallic, with just a hint of citrus pith. Some scratchy peppery spice in there somewhere, also.

M - Feel is crisp & carbonated with a lightly bitter, dry finish.

Overall, a simple, traditional, classic styled lager. Low 4.80% abv, medium bodied carbonation, high drinkability. Well worth trying, for the lager enthusiast. Looking forward to trying more from Anchor Brewing Company.

Anchor California Lager ---3.5/5

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Photo of Luigi
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a clear golden color with a creamy white head that raised right to the top of the glass with out pouring over it. There is plenty of sticky lacing around the glass and the head retains as a thin blanket on top. Head retains till the last sip.

The aroma is a full of grassy hop with a some pine hints. The two row malt backs up the hop with a soft bread hints. Overall a very clean aroma.

The first thing to hit the palate is the grassy/ mild pine like hops. Hints of citrus lingers as well. But, not like American pale ale. The hops are soft and well balanced with the mild sweetness from the barley. Finishes dry and crisp with some hop bitterness lingering on the the tongue.

Medium/light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation and finishes very clean. Perfectly balanced flavor and refreshing. This could be one of top all malt American pale lagers I have had ever tasted. If you see it buy it!

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Photo of Theheroguy
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

After my first round of tasting this lager I was sure it had at least three kinds of hops. It's nicely bittered, has an herbal leafy hop flavor, and it has a very pleasant and gentle hoppy aroma. To my surprise I learned that in fact this lager is only brewed with cluster hops. This beer has given me a greater appreciation for the complexity and versatility of that strain. I'll be using more of it in my home brews in the future. I highly recommend this lager I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of rx-beer
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Deep golden color, 2 inches of head, very nice head retention, and decent lacing.

S - Light hops with sweet biscuity malts and some alcohol

T - Bready malt gives way to mild grainy boozy bitterness and then fades into a light taste of crackers while retaining a bit of the bitterness.

M - Smooth medium to light body with light carbonation.

O - This beer really took me by surprise. Was expecting a traditional pils/lager flavor based on the aroma and appearance, but then wow - what a kick! ...but in a good way. Love the complexity of the flavors. Would not hesitate in coming back to this beer.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a golden straw yellow with great clarity and bubbles are seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Grassy hops, 2 row sweetness, and bready malts.

Taste: Same as above with mild tingly hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, crisp, chewy, refreshing, medium to full bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Smells like commercial domestic, but tastes like a cradt brewery. Good stuff.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours with a fizzy white head that fades fast. The color is a crystal clear straw. Light carbs.
Aroma is grainy and malty with a hint of hops.
The taste is malty and grainy. Plenty of bread and/or crackers yeast and sutle hops to give a semi bitter finish.
On the palate there is a crisp dryness. It finishes clean with a semi bitter finish.
A good well made brew.

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Photo of DrinkinBoy
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Appears a bright clear gold color with a cream white head. Retention and lacing are decent.

S - Surprisingly lacking in hop aroma, which is disappointing. However the pale malt aroma is nice, basically a stronger but similar smell to domestic lagers.

T - Flavor begins very light and works into a balanced bitter/sweet flavor in the middle. The finish has a great lager crisp finish. The lingering aftertaste is not very enticing.

M - Medium body. Perfect amount of carbonation for style.

O - Definitely worth a try. Seeing this style come out from Anchor is very exciting, and as usual they did not disappoint. It is great to see them not have to fallow in the "let's just make a [insert style] and load it with American hops" like both craft brewers big and small do today.

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Photo of emerge077
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale bright gold, racing streams of carbonation, long lasting head of foam and some random spotty lace around the edges. Surface coverage

Mild aroma, lager yeast, dry and bready.

Soft and supple feel, biscuity malt, light apple and a vague herbal bitterness in the aftertaste. Smooth and very drinkable, simple but still flavorful. Prototypical example of the APL style.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picking up what they could, westward travelers made beer from all kinds of things as they attempted to make beers traveling toward the promise of gold. Where the California Common ale is well documented, it makes sense that the more tried-and-true Lagers would have also been part of the early settler's beer drinking diet.

Like any well made lager would, Anchor's pours with a medium gold color and bright clarity. Building a creamy ivory-white foam, its head character is long lasting and proud with lacing collars as the beer fades. It's a rather fantastic looking Lager!

Grainy-sweet aromas of raw barley, supple bready sweetness and a richer bread crust rise to the nose for a crisp and pleasantly light scent. Floral hops give a slight perfume character that's similar to honey suckle. Light apple and sulfur lurk in the background and help to round the scent but careful not to make too meaningful of an impact.

To taste, the ale fares similarly- part-malt and part-grain to start, its sweetness is light and is of fresh baking bread, light dough and yeast. But its cracker-like taste reels in the slight fruitiness of honey, apples, and slim citrus. What's floral in aroma provides a soft flowery herb taste before developing a spicy and earthy bitterness that overrides the malts and ensures a crisp and clean finish.

Light bodied, the ale's elegant sweetness might imply more weight, but its bolsterous carbonation lightens the body and floats the lager over the middle to arrive in a finish of lemongrass bite, herbal warmth and pepper.

The lager is surprisingly crisp, clean and refreshing as it shows no apparent off flavors and keeps its balance well in tact. Its a fabulous beer that is sure to fare exquisitely with sushi and Cobb salad.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A recreation of one of America's first "craft beers", this historic lager pours a clean golden-amber, with a luxurious head of white bubbles. Sparse, but tall spokes of lace.

Nose is crisp lager grains and malts. I get toasted barley. Perfect lager aroma.

Flavor is subtle -- heavy on the grains and malts up front, with niche touches of citrus hops and a tingle of bitter under the tongue near the finish.

Overall, a superlative and flavorful lager.

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Photo of mactrail
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Attractive golden color shading to the amber side. Foam lasts well. This really tastes like a Kolsch to me. It has that perfumey hop note that seeps into the flavor as well as the aroma. Very thin body with a sharp edge and crackle of carbonation. Crackery and grainy malt flavor. Rather bitter aftertaste. A little winey and acidic, but very light bodied.

Interesting and quite drinkable, but on the sharp and thin side. I like what they say is a historic use of Cluster hops. Maybe this is a good niche for Anchor-- interpreting classic brews from the past-- that don't involve Babylonian recipes. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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Photo of wedge
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

@ Milltown

Sparklingly clear golden color with a small, sticky head above. Clean, simple aroma of surprisingly fruity lager yeast and a little floral character. Clean yeast, slight biscuit and cereal grain, and light fruit such as pear and grape. Light and soft with a satisfactorily crisp end. A pretty nice, neat little beer that I might pick up in the future if I'm looking for something on the less-hoppy end of the pale lager spectrum.

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 212 ratings.
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