Anchor California Lager | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
222 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: 222 | Ratings: 1,147
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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Photo of Burnthedevice
3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reminded me a lot of Pilsner Urquell in its workmanlike approach and classic balance. Earthy. Not exciting exactly, but good. I could go for one of these once in a while when the mood strikes. Very nice, soft mouthfeel.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a very agreeable lager - a lovely find in a small pub with a quirky beer menu. It pours, looks and smells on point for a lager - white fizzy head, active carbonation, and a bready odor. The taste is lovely - malt forward and crackery - reminiscent of stoned wheat thins in the best way possible. The finish is extremely dry, with just enough hopping to remind you this is a well-crafted brew.

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Photo of GOBLIN
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad and it's rather enjoyable through the first half of the can. But after that it just kinda flattens out like it's been sitting in the sun too long. Overall, it has a nice smooth hoppy finish but nothing too exciting. I'll revisit someday

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Photo of mmmbeer89
2.55/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

It's not bad on first drink but it has a coppery aftertaste which isn't very pleasant and it's not great tasting anyway. A middle of the road forgetable beer.

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

Dark gold to amber appearance, 1" of white head. Aroma was largely neutral, maybe a minor amount of hops (Cluster) and lager yeast that wasn't pungent at all.

Lots of barley noticeable, good to check that in a lager, no adjunct corn or rice here. So rare I talk about malt in a lager. Less fruity yeast than in the steam ale. Cluster hops well placed in the flavor and bittering, floral.

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Photo of AC-Mivsek
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours golden, with a quickly fading minimal white head
S-Toasted carmel malt, buttered popcorn, sweet and rich with clean hops
T-Follows the nose, quite buttery, malt heavy, hops finish it off clean.
M-Super smooth, medium body, moderate carbonation. Multiple of these would be no problem.
O-Wow this surprised me. This is a nice smooth malt driven lager, sweet but crisp and clean. Very interesting.

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Photo of Phoneguy
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a golden hue with a 1/4" head which quickly dissipated. Bread & faint hop aromas. Slightly sweet initially with a slightly dry finish and plenty of body. A good pre-prohibition style lager.

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Photo of Wiffler27
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours dark gold with a solid head.

smells slightly toasted and has some of that lager skunk.

taste is toasty and bready. not bad but not what i expect out of a lager. goes down smooth, easy to drink but nothing special.

not my favorite lager but it isn't bad. toasty for a lager, not crisp or clean.

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Photo of TeamMathis
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Out of a can. I really enjoy this. It has a very enjoyable bready and honey taste. Excellent for a summer drink or a lunch drink. Light, but quite flavorful. I'd get it again.

 175 characters

Photo of beershrine
4.26/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Cans

Pours very nicely into a 17oz British glass. Clear golden and bright
Smells hoppy and fresh
Taste is fantastic a little aggressive on the hop load
Mouth feel lingers hops with a malt background, stays on the tongue awhile
I like Cluster hops just don't over use them. In 1876 they probably didn't use
as much hops as today and they were only half as strong so with authenticity
they are way off.

Overall it's a very good beer. I will buy again.
Beautiful packaging great job.

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Photo of Spike
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Hazy, gold with an orange sheen. No carbonation visible. Two finger, fluffy head dissipates to a cap but leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Quite a prominent nose for a lager. Malt up-front with grains in the background. No nasty adjuncts.

T: Spicy, herbal, dry, hoppy. Four words never used to describe anything that came out of

F: Medium body with a good, solid level of bitterness. A little sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Plus creamy carbonation.

O: A great American lager. Drink it cold. Drink it all the time. If this is what American beer used to taste like in the 1800s it makes prohibition even more incomprehensible.

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

Slightly hazy brass with towers of pitted sandstone head that webs. 4
Lots of grass, flowers and hay with thin honey malts underneath. 4
Thread of pils sweetness, a touch of tartness, slight lemon, and some jagged herbal hops. 3.75
Slight orange peel end and ringing herbal tea linger.
Past light, round, some snap. 3.75

There is definite IBUs, which is not expected in an American lager. Should bite crisper in the body. Would like to know more about Cluster - there's a leafy thing to the hops that almost goes dank, and a citrus thing that seems almost proto-Cascade. Plenty more character than a macro, and some change from the expected lager profile.
Rough, in a good way. 3.75

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Photo of JLaw55
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A really nice lager. Definitely has that Californian influence. Light, crisp, and clean flavor profile. Not bready or heavy, no stickiness from the yeast. Almost a slight saltiness to it and somewhat on the dry side. Very easy to throw a few of these back at a time.

Would drink again: Yes
Would purchase again: Yes

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Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

In bottle at the Apple & Pear Taphouse in St Helier, Jersey. Pours a clear golden colour with a thin white head. Aromas of American hops and pale malt. Taste is smooth of sweet malts with some fruits and pines. Very smooth mouth feel and finish. One of the best lagers I've had for a while.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Served in a shaker pint glass.

Another always-there-but-never-tried bottle thanks to the auspices of VDubb (though I apparently did have this before, a couple years ago). This one pours a clear sunset straw topped by a finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises mild sweet biscuit, light lettuce, and a breeze of lightly-briny sea air not unlike a coastal scotch. The taste generally brings in more of the same, but now with a heaping helping of vegetation and herb to make things completely awkward. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a very fluid feel. Overall, a decent enough brew, but the hops do no favors here, and everything else just comes across lackluster.

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Photo of Slaterlovesbeer
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poursb a wonderful golden color into a pint glass. Steady hrad that is light and airy. Very thick head that dies down at a slow and steady pace. Aroma is that of barley and grain. Flavor is all barley, almost zero hops. Very smooth with a nice refreshing mouthfeel. Overall a very nice lager. Budweiser is to Motel 6 as this is to the Plaza hotel. A fine, crisp, refreshing lager. And the fact some procedes go to help wildlife preservation is a plus (although it does not affect my rating). Overall pretty good. Will try again if its convinient.

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Photo of BikingDutchman
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Very clear pale yellow with a white head.
S- Sweet malt with a touch of floral hops.
T- Very clean and balanced. Floral and slightly earthy hops are more prominent than in the smell, but still retain a nice balance with the not-too-sweet malty flavor. Finish is dry, letting the hop flavors come back through.
F- Med/high carbonation that I like in most lager styles. The beer is light and fairly dry.
O- A nice easy drinking beer. I like the older-style cluster hops and their floral/earthy flavor.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Really well done lager by the folks at Anchor, boasting a fine fresh lager yeast nose, almost like salty ocean air, followed by a smooth malt palate, not excessively bready nor distinctive but satisfying nonetheless, and with just a touch of tangy hops. Easy drinkability, this is one of those lagers that should be part of everyone's regular rotation.

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

This is a very pleasant, well-rounded lager, one of the few American-brewed ones that can stand up to the big boys from Germany and the Czech Republic.

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Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden hue with a small head. Smells of grain and faint lemon zest, plus grain and cracker and even biscuit. Taste is of crackers and sweet biscuit, with floral hops and a grain finish, with hints of orange and lemon zest. Overall an excellent lager. Well done.

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Photo of snowmageddon
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a bright, clean deep golden yellow with a puffy billowing white head that levees minimal lacing on my tulip.
S: grass, hay, light bready malts
M: the mouthfeel is actually a little on the creamy side for a pale lager, with some mild prickly carbonation.
T: biscuit, caramel, grass, hay. medium-length grassy/earthen hop finish
O: fantastic, refreshing beer that isn't mindblowing but does not have any huge flaws. I think the mouthfeel was a standout characteristic. Great summer beer.

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

Appearance 3.5: Weak head. Lacing is also almost non-existant. Pours out a lagery pale gold. Nothing special.

Smell 3.25: Smells like a lager. Nothing bad at this level, but certainly nothing special.

Taste 3.75: Front is dry with some nice hop bitterness. Middle also starts out dry, with some residual hoppiness. This transitions into a slight sweetness that sneaks in from the edges. Finish is dry and refreshing. Only in the aftertaste do the familiar unpleasant lager elements sneak in: corn, boiled vegetables, etc.

Mouthfeel 3.75: Good. Again, nothing special or unusual.

Overall 3.75: A good lager. If anything, it is a bit dry for the style, particularly in the mid-level of the taste. Would be good with food, etc. However, price must factor into the equation and this beer is far, far too expensive ($25 for a case of 24 in ATL, GA) for what you get. There are better (Grolsch, Heineken, Moose Head, etc.) out there for much, much less.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a can
Soft creamy head retained for a while after I poured into a pint glass.

Not much smell

Light malt taste, even less hops

Light on the mouth
Very refreshing.

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Anchor California Lager from Anchor Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,147 ratings.
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