Anchor Liberty Ale - 40 years old this year!

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BeerVikingSailor, Jan 7, 2015.

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  1. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I have been doing some reading and research and realised that the very first real "modern" IPA, came out 40 years ago this year, the amazing and delicious Anchor Liberty Ale, which came out in 1975

    Fritz Maytag also bought his share of the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco, 50 years ago this year as well....pretty incredible!

    When is the last time you enjoyed Liberty Ale?

    All you youngsters out there, why not try the ale that started the craft beer scene in America, at least as far as hoppy IPA's go anyway! Anchor Steam beer (California Common) was around longer (1971 I believe), but Liberty was the first single hop, dry hopped beer out there in the US!

    Cheers to Anchor and happy "40" to Liberty Ale!
  2. Hodgson

    Hodgson Initiate (135) Nov 17, 2014 Ontario (Canada)

    Nice to see this. I had one last night, actually, and it reminded me how this beer's DNA is in every IPA, the style which is the legend of modern American brewing.

    The actual history of Liberty Ale is very interesting. It didn't quite start in '75 - well, it did and it didn't. I'll let the history nerds expound.
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  3. TonyLema1

    TonyLema1 Poo-Bah (1,787) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina

    My Cascade Hop mistress...I haven't visited her in a while...time to celebrate a 40th birthday...thanks for the info
  4. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,384) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Had it for the first time a year or so ago and it is an impressive ale. 40 years ago though, wow.
  5. JerryT

    JerryT Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Love the Anchor Steam Liberty Ale. I think I'll pick up a case. Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (995) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Nostalgia is like a nice old shirt. You know it's there and you put it on and then you know why. My wife wears a beautiful old McGregor shirt that was my Dad's back in the 50s and it is beautiful on her and I literally go back in time when she does. Anchor Liberty comes close.
  7. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,661) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Great way to put it!

    It may not be as revered as it was in the late 80s/early 90s, but it's still a damn tasty brew. If only I knew how to read their date code back then...
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  8. DucRacer900

    DucRacer900 Initiate (86) Aug 13, 2013 Massachusetts

    Still one of my favorite beers....Happy Anniversary
  9. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Big fan of both Anchor Liberty Ale and Anchor Seam Ale. They are two of the beers that make up part of my regular rotation of beers in my fridge. Those two beers make Anchor Brewing an American institution worth preserving.
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  10. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I will be making regular purchases of Liberty Ale this year by way of anniversary celebration!

    Damn fine brew!
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  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    In another thread it was asked which was the best beer for beer. Below was my resonse:

    Permit me to suggest 1965: the year that Fritz Maytag purchased Anchor Brewing and saving that brewery from closing. IMO, 1965 was the seminal moment of the US craft beer movement.

    Cheers to Fritz!
  12. offthelevel_bytheplumb

    offthelevel_bytheplumb Devotee (409) Aug 19, 2013 Illinois

    It's probably been 3 years since I've had it. Something will be done about that the next time I go to the bottle shop.
  13. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (511) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Well, I'll be damned, we share a birthday. Perhaps I'll make a date to finally try this one from Anchor, just always seemed to look past it to stuff like Old Foghorn. My bad Lib, no hard feelings...
  14. BodiesLexus

    BodiesLexus Initiate (0) Feb 23, 2011 New York

    About 2 years since I first (and last) tried Liberty. It's very good. My favorite Anchor brews are Porter and Steam, though. And I applaud the recognition of what Fritz and Anchor have done over the years .... pretty sure I saw a Michael Jackson vid where he visited Anchor some years ago, which really hammered home to me how "serious" brewing can and should be done in this country. To think that Fritz decided that great beer should be given the attention that great wine gets, way back when, shows how revolutionary this brewery was/is. Cheers on 40 years of Liberty, and many more!
  15. walterk

    walterk Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2014 Mississippi

    Never had a bad beer by Anchor but haven't tried this one. I will pick up some tomorrow.
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  16. jfh

    jfh Devotee (420) Apr 25, 2008 California

    wow, another sign I'm old. Back in 80 or 81, I remember going to Anchor with a friend and buying a case of Liberty Ale to bring back to Davis. I can't be sure, but I've always thought it was the first really hoppy beer in town. I don't recall ever seeing it on tap, but that was back when there basically wasn't any craft beer. At the time, it was amazingly hoppy, nothing else was like it. If you're planning a trip to SF, call the brewery and get in for a tour.

    now off to my Bike Dog growler of Simbus (Simcoe, Columbus hops) IPA.

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  17. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,847) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    Does anybody know if the recipe has changed over the years?

    It's still hard to believe a brew this hoppy has been around so long. What took so long for the style to get so popular?

    I drink at least a couple three 6-packs of Steam and Liberty Ale a year. They're always great.
  18. Hodgson

    Hodgson Initiate (135) Nov 17, 2014 Ontario (Canada)

    Well, first the Cascade hop, which was different than previous domestic hops used in the industry, had to get invented and released by USDA for use by growers and brewers (1972).

    Then, someone had to pick up on its unique qualities. The big brewers mostly stayed away because although they played a key role in underwriting the research that led to Cascade, by the 70's, they were starting to de-emphasize aroma in their beer.

    It fell to homebrewers (one of whom was Ken Grossman, also probably Jack McAuliffe) and Anchor Brewing to pick up on it. From there it's all history.

    Liberty Ale was first released by Anchor in '75, however this beer was a limited edition commemorative (Paul Revere's ride) which was not repeated after for some years. It differed in some respects from current Liberty Ale, e.g., it was dark-colored. Anchor released Our Special Ale each year thereafter and this also frequently featured Cascade. In 1983, Liberty Ale, which was based on the most successful Our Special Ale, became an annual release and took the the form it has today, pale-colored and 100% hopped with Cascade.

    Credit must also be given to Blitz-Weinhard's (of Portland, OR) Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, a lager that featured a notable Cascade character. It came out about the same time as that first Liberty Ale in '75, maybe before. Michael Jackson wrote about it in his early books. It played a role too in getting that "taste" into the specialty beer annals of America albeit it was brewed by a large old-established regional.

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale picked up on Cascade in the wake of its use by home brewers, Anchor, and New Albion Ale from Jack McAuliffe. From all this Cascade, and the taste of somewhat similar hops developed in its wake (Centennial, Chinook, Citra and many others), became the signature of American pale ale and IPA.
    #18 Hodgson, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  19. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,358) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Love this beer. I've got one in the basement I'm dying to open now.
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  20. mikepcarney

    mikepcarney Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2009 Ohio

    Ditto. It's been awhile.
  21. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    You owe it to yourself.....this beer started (in many people's eyes) the world of "craft / micro" is always delicious!
  22. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I am also a BIG fan of Anchor Porter and Steam beer as well.....I believe the Anchor Porter was also the first "modern" day Porter when it came out in 1972...from Anchor website....

    " Anchor Porter® became the first modern American porter style beer when it was introduced in 1972. As we celebrate its 43rd anniversary, our porter continues to reward those who look beyond its intimidating appearance to discover its smooth, full-bodied drinkability. Anchor Porter® is the definitive American Porter -

    See more at:
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  23. walterk

    walterk Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2014 Mississippi

    Planning a beer store trip for after work today!
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Since it was brought up in a prior post I thought folks might enjoy watching Michael Jackson talk to Fritz Maytag. The whole video is great but the Anchor Brewing portion starts at 2:45.

  25. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    Cool, thanks, Jack

    The impact Fritz Maytag and Anchor Brewing has had on craft beer in America cannot be stressed enough!
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  26. DucRacer900

    DucRacer900 Initiate (86) Aug 13, 2013 Massachusetts

  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,121) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Cascade hops? Ick. :wink:
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  29. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Happy B-day to Liberty Ale and Anchor Brewing.

    Here's a small sample of top notch journalism, copied from the article linked in the thread "Wasted: How the craft beer movement abandoned Jim Koch" printed in Boston Magazine [what a surprise].

    "There’s no disputing that America is experiencing a craft-beer revolution—and that Koch’s Boston Beer Company birthed it."

    Oh, Noooooooooooooo!! This means Fritz Maytag and Jack McAuliffe were only figments of the imagination? And there was no craft/microbrew until Boston Beer Company came into existence? Wow. You learn something new every day.

    I think I'm going to try and send the writer of this article a link to this thread.
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  30. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,307) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    I've picked up a sixer of Liberty Ale to have each 4th of July as it seems an appropriately named beer. And it's a very good beer to boot. My only nag is that it's a bit difficult to find fresh around these parts probably due to the fact it doesn't turn over fairly quickly, which is unfortunate as it is very good imo. Hopefully more people will seek this out and this can change.
  31. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (364) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I still pick up a sixer every now and then, most recently about two weeks ago. Like SNPA, it's a beer from my youth whose allure has not faded no matter how much my own has.
  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Andy Crouch is a pretty well-respected beer writer, author of The Good Beer Guide to New England, and writes for the Beer Advocate magazine. (He also posts here on BA but I can't remember his screen name).

    The way I read that sentence, he's saying Koch's BBC birthed the "revolution" rather than "craft beer" itself. Which, though arguable (or, maybe I should say, disputable :grinning:?), is a valid opinion.

    I myself often get annoyed when Koch is said to be a "craft beer pioneer" but that, too, is another somewhat vague and subjective claim.
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  33. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Well-respected or not, his writing is subject to various interpretations. To me, saying Jim Koch birthed the craft beer revolution is like saying Thomas Jefferson birthed the American Revolution. And in my cynical mind, seeing that the article was in Boston Magazine made me think that maybe he was trying to curry favor with Mr. Koch [who seems to like to have his ego stroked].
  34. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I would not go so far to say Mr. Koch "birthed" the craft beer my mind, that would go to Fritz Maytag (1965 - purchased Anchor), Jack McAuliffe of New Albion (1976), Ken Grossman of SN (1980), etc.....Mr. Koch was part of the early group of young and upcoming micro-brewers....but saying he "birthed" anything, in 1984, other than the Boston Beer Co. is not accurate.
  35. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (811) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I am thinking of writing to Anchor and asking them if they plan to do anything special for the "Liberty Ale" anniversary.....that would be awesome.....they do not have any special t-shirts or glassware on their website store.
  36. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    To be 100% accurate, the people who birthed the craft beer revolution were home brewers - before and after it was legal to do so.
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, (since this is supposed to be a thread about Anchor Liberty Ale....) Fritz Maytag was not a homebrewer.
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  38. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (936) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    You can make a case that Koch is the Henry Ford of craft beer. That is no small thing.
  39. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    I stand corrected. 99 44/100s accurate.
  40. cookiequiz

    cookiequiz Initiate (0) Apr 15, 2013 California

    And what credit to the home drinkers?


    Actually it looks to be a bit early to celebrate the anniversary, but who cares. We'll just have to re-celebrate in a few months.

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