Anchor California Lager | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
223 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: 223 | Ratings: 1,148
Photo of CloudStrife
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottled October 11, 2013.

A: Pours a clear amber gold with a nice white head sitting on top. Leaves lacing all down the sides of the glass. Just a touch of visible carbonation in this one.

S: Very mild aroma with a sweet malty character. Hints of bready and toastiness. The sweet malts seem to be most prevalent.

T: As with the aroma this lager is on the sweeter side of things. I believe it is the barley coming through that makes this brew balance out nicely. Hops do mellow it out some but the grainy malt sweetness comes back for the aftertaste. T

M: Light to medium body with a well rounded creamy character. Clean finish that keeps this one sessionable.

Overall this is an enjoyable lager showing there was much better beer around pre-prohibition than there was in the 80's. Worth a try if you like lagers.

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Photo of jlindros
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into my SA PP glass right to the top exactly, head rises a little over the top, nice pillowy fluffy 1.5 finger head that fades at a med pace at first, then pretty much stops as the bubbles streaming up from the bottom balance the pot marked head fade. Crystal clear honey tan color.

Nose isn't bad, starting with some nice pilsner malts, a little straw like, some lager crispness, some fruity lager characters as well, a very light steam beer kinda soft lager malt characters, mild grassy Czech Saaz like noble style hops, hint of a grainy crackery aroma.

Taste starts light and refreshing, pretty crisp, with more straw toasty pilsner malts, into a mild sweet malt character and even slightly syrupy like, with more light crackery flavors. Hops are stronger than I expected, a little grassy and hint spicy, more Euro style hops with a little nobble grassy but also little earthy herbal, and fair bitterness. Hint of a sulfury lager note. Finish is not as crisp, little syrupy sticky and fairly bitter, bit more lager notes and grassy hops.

Mouth is med bod, nice carb, little syrupy for a lager.

Overall OK but not great, started OK but got a little syrupy sweet and not too crisp, hops are a little stronger than expected but not bad, so a decent beer.

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Photo of Hammer35
3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light golden color with great carbonation and a pale head that has good retention.

Smell: Malts and grain with a fruity note.

Taste: Very similar to the aroma. Grainy and bready with a distinctive apple flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and malty. Well carbonated.

Overall: Decent, but much fruitier than I expected. I thought that this would be similar to Anchor Steam and maybe that's where the problem came in. Just a bit too grainy and appley for me.

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Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a small collar around the edge of the glass. The head eventually completely faded away.
S: Light aromas of floral hops are present in the nose along with notes of bready and caramel malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the malts are a little stronger and have flavors of biscuits, bread, caramel and crackers while the hops contribute a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied, clean and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and doesn't have very strong aromas or flavors so it seems like it would pair well with lighter fare meals.

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Photo of fx20736
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6 pack from Beers of the World on 11/22/13.

Appearance: Old Gold with 2 fingers of soft white foam.

Aroma: a fragrant bouquet of Pilsnerish malt aznd Noble Hops.

Mouthfeel: creamy and smooth.

Taste: upfront crackery malt, a soft touch of floral hoppiness and an unexpected kiss of orchard fruit sweetness.

Notes: Never had a pale lager like this before, it has elements of a Pilsner and Helles. This is a unique and delicious beer.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up this beer in Totowa a few weeks back, having never tried this before. Been a long time since I had anything from Anchor and I expected this to be as good as their other offerings that I enjoyed. While this beer didn't blow me away, it was easy to enjoy, light on the alcohol and a good representation of the style. It's just hard to find a lot of depth in a lager like this though, even from Anchor!

This had a crisp, golden hue to the pour with a moderate head and hardly any lacing to be seen. Not a strong aroma here either but certainly, there was some grass and lemongrass to be found here. More of that was in the taste with a bit of grain,wheat, and sourness in the back. Very crisp from start to finish, the malt was cracker-like but not chewy, with a hint of starch underneath it. An easygoing beer like this had enough going for it to make it enjoyable, even though none of the flavors in particular stood out or lasted long.

I only bought one bottle of this but since it was so light on the alcohol, I could have easily had a few more in one sitting. Those who love the Steam or the seasonals may be a bit disappointed here since this fell just a bit short of those but like everything else they brew, this was true to stylistic form and enjoyable, in a subtle way that increases by each sip.

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Photo of USAF77
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

ChainGang says most of what I experienced. Its a nice looking Lager tho the head and lacing were a bit disappointing. The carbonation was a little above medium.

Yes herbs in the smell and some citrus. Smell deep enough you'll get to the grain and the malt.

The strength of this lager is in the taste. It has that little crisp bite to it I like from my Lagers. Really well balanced bread, grain, but it could be a little bit maltier. Its finishes nice and dry while leaving the mouth nice and wet for the next sip. The after taste takes a few minutes to settle to the roof of the mouth. Very nice.

""Overall: Brisk, clean, refreshing."". Yeah I have to agree. It finishes crisp, just like I like my Lagers to. This is an above average Lager and Im kinda sorry I only bought one bottle in a sample 6.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - 6-pack - $9.49 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a deep yellow, perfectly clear, with a smallish, lightly fizzy, white head.

Smell: Light, lightly malty notes of crustless white bread, crackers with a sliver of fruitiness, lemon, and grassy herbs.

Taste: Soft, bready barley, a bit crackery, with an ample cereal sweetness present. Scantly grainy. Lemon, herbal-toned hops, maybe a bit grassy. Further taste of sans salt saltines on the drying, nicely bitter finish a zip of suds.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation, a little lively.

Overall: Brisk, clean, refreshing.

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Photo of Huffs
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a light head, white, with mild retention and little lacing. Appearence was clear with a golden straw color. Aroma was light with grain and some floral notes. Taste had notes of grass, light hops and some citrus. Mouthfeel was mild to light with a dry aftertaste and a nice bitter bite at the end.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a light to medium golden amber with a brief white head dissipating quickly to a thin ring around the glass. Mild lager aroma of bready malt, light apple juice and a hint of hops. Flavor follows, with mild bready and biscuit malt, light apple juice, and a pleasant light neutral hop finish. Light to medium bodied. A pleasant low key lager, but similar enough to Anchor's other light beers that I can't really tell them apart from memory. A nice recreation of a historical style, but maybe I've moved on since the 1800s.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.01/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden color. The head is about one fingers high, and barely off-white. Retention is acceptable, and the lacing is thin yet consistent.

S: Typically lager-y: tons of cracker, a touch of lemon, and some grass generally comprise the aroma. No twists, turns, or excitement here; it is well-done though.

T: Apart from the crackery malts, there are some diacetyl elements right before the finish: they neither take away nor take it to the next level. The finish is slightly lemony. Not much to say about this one, really.

M: The malt backbone seems to cut in during the swallow, creating a brew that's just a hair too full. Meanwhile, it's hoppiness does a reasonable job of drying the (otherwise sweetish) finish out. Carbonation - if not low - is at least gentle.

O: A competent lager and a nice history lesson, just not very exciting. It's rather boring, frankly, but it would go well with food.

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Photo of Act25
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
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 +0.8%
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 -0.3%
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 -4%
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 +5.1%
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 +9.9%
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 +4.8%
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%
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 -4.5%
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 +1.6%
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 +13.3%
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 +2.1%
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 -6.7%
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 -0.5%
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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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,148 ratings.
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