Anchor Steam Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Brew-Thru, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Brew-Thru

    Brew-Thru Initiate (179) Jan 8, 2017 Virginia

    Haven't had an Anchor Steam beer in a long time. Yesterday stopped at Wegmans and treated myself to a 6 pack of Anchor Steam.

    Enjoying one after working in the garden with high heat and humidity today.

    Realize, IMO, Anchor Steam tastes very similar to a mild Octoberfest. I don't recall Anchor Steam tasting similar to an Octoberfest or reminding of me of an Octoberfest the last time (many years ago) I enjoyed an Anchor Steam beer.

    Perhaps my tastes have changed? I realize as we age this happens.

    Or, has Anchor Steam beer changed? (I know they are now owned by Sapporo Breweries Ltd)

    Or, have my beer tasting abilities improved as I've been homebrewing since 1995?
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Depending on your impressions of Oktoberfest, I can see equating Steam to the style. The fruity esters from higher fermentation and the (usual) hop character in Steam set it apart from a typical Bavarian Okto, but the Steam's malt character is reminiscent.

    I've had a six or 2 since the new owners started brewing Anchor Steam and haven't found big changes from the past, but it's been almost a year since I last tried it -- so I could be way off base.
    EMH73, deanzaZZR, JLaw55 and 5 others like this.
  3. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,432) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    It's been years since I had an Anchor Steam, but it always seemed like just another adjunct lager to me but with just a tiny extra bit of flavor. I'll have to pick up some to revisit this beer to see if I'm missing something.
  4. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (2,982) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Society Trader

    I drank one a week or two ago after a 3 year hiatus...didn’t like it 3 years ago, didn’t like it now...reminds me of rancid sweet apple juice, with a vegetable hoppy vibe...not my kind of lager. Cheers!
    VABA, Shanex, dcotom and 2 others like this.
  5. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,628) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I bought and drank the last 6pack in town and it tasted as fine as I remember it. It has sizable flavours from both the hops and malt so I reckon that I wouldn't equate it to a Marzen. Shrugs.
    SFACRKnight, Bshaw22 and steveh like this.
  6. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,083) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    I dont buy it anymore, but remember buying it as far back as 1982. Didnt remember hating it, but liked strohs signature much more.
    Brongo likes this.
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Let me guess, you really weren't into beer when you first tried the Steam -- 'cause it's pretty far from anything adjunct... that is, in its original, Maytag incarnation. As mentioned, I don't know what the new brewers have been doing to it -- but they've only been at the mash tun a few years now.
  8. thuey

    thuey Aspirant (259) Nov 13, 2015 California

    As a San Franciscan, I think Anchor Steam is pretty underrated in today's beer world.

    It's true that it's not my first choice at a beer bar (but definitely at dive bars which aren't craft). I had a pour at a beer fest last month and still enjoy it after all these years. It's clean, a little bit malty, and a dry bitterness that exemplifies the West Coast. Of course, it's possible ours tastes better because it couldn't be fresher...
  9. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,628) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    It still maintains a 3.85 average and the latest page of reviews has many +4 ratings.
    KentT, steveh and Bshaw22 like this.
  10. Bshaw22

    Bshaw22 Defender (606) Aug 29, 2013 Wisconsin

    I've had 1 x 6 pack and on tap about 5 times in the past 6 months. This is still a very solid beer. It has more of a hop bite than your average super malty Okto.
    Also, this is not a typical lager using a much higher fermenting temp and different yeast strain. I believe this yeast gives this a much different (more ale like) flavor profile and texture than your average lager.
    mudbug, deanzaZZR, bubseymour and 4 others like this.
  11. Runnerhiker

    Runnerhiker Initiate (29) Jun 4, 2019 North Carolina

    I use to drink this all the time (back when there were lot fewer craft options) and enjoyed, although I liked the Liberty Ale even better.

    I bought a 6 pack a few weeks ago and was a little disappointed, seemed to lack the distinct aromatic freshness that I remembered and seemed a little sweeter.

    Still, Anchor Steam along with Samuel Adams will always have a warm place in my heart for help getting the younger version of me into craft American beer.
    TrojanRB, keithmurray and Bitterbill like this.
  12. Bshaw22

    Bshaw22 Defender (606) Aug 29, 2013 Wisconsin

    The other thing I really like about this beer: you really don't have to think about it. Just drink it! It's enjoyable, and has nothing off putting. It's a great beer for sitting around and sharing with friends. Something we've kinda lost...
    beerluvr, SABERG, CaptainHate and 9 others like this.
  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,628) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    It used to be all over town but I let the $12 a 6pack scare me away. I could kick myself in the arse for letting that happen.

    I wanted my $2...a Better Off Dead reference. :wink:
  14. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (266) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    They're ale lager hybrids
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  15. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,401) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I’m a regular drinker of Anchor Steam and haven’t noticed a shift in its flavor profile.

    It is relatively malty, so I understand the Oktoberfest comparison.

    But while you can’t beat Festbier with Schweinebraten, nothing goes better with Dungeness Crab & Garlic Fries than Anchor Steam!
    mudbug, SABERG, deanzaZZR and 10 others like this.
  16. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    I had my first Anchor Steam back before I knew there was such a thing as "craft beer". Here, in Florida, were these squat bottles from San Francisco with a neat looking label and flavor I had never had before.
    Other beers have come and gone, but when I can't find anything interesting on the shelf Anchor Steam is the beer I always come back to.
    deanzaZZR, Bshaw22, John_M and 2 others like this.
  17. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (789) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Anchor Steam is delicious.
  18. eppCOS

    eppCOS Savant (931) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Shit, now I'm thinking about Dungeness Crab, fries, and Anchor Steam. Thanks a lot, @TrojanRB !
    SABERG, deanzaZZR, Bshaw22 and 5 others like this.
  19. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,401) Jul 27, 2013 California
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    I didn’t even mention crusty sourdough’s understood!
    officerbill, eppCOS, Bshaw22 and 2 others like this.
  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Yeah -- what's that old-timey sandwich joint with the great sourdough? They always had Steam on tap, didn't they?
    TrojanRB likes this.
  21. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,401) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Man, hard to say. There are so many.

    Defintions are fuzzy and I’m sure that @jesskidden can enlighten us, but I grew up in the Bay Area believing they were the oldest “craft” brewery on the west coast, if not America. My uncle actually tried to buy it from Fritz in the early 70’s.

    A favorite of mine is Sotto Marie, a restaurant that’s been operating in little Italy for 100 years:

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  22. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,035) Sep 24, 2007 Montserrat

    A few breweries around here brew Califronia Commons, usually pretty good examples too.
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  23. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Savant (974) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    First of all true jealousy to TrojanRB's crab bite!

    I like a post to Anchor Steam! It is not a top shelf brew but, absolutely I would choose it over a very large (increasingly large) muddle of big brewery crap that pervades most pubs. If I go to an open mic or smaller venue that is not known for craft beer and I see Anchor Steam it is a relief for me. No Budweiser! Or Mac & Jack, or Men's Room!

    This beer style is in it's own niche, between the likes of Oktoberfests, Quadruples, and Scotch Ales. It is a long lost art aside from this IMO consistent example and Revel that is stays on - for my fallback. Without disappointment.
    SABERG and TrojanRB like this.
  24. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California

    It's heavier than a lot of lagers and lighter than a lot of ales. It's malty and smooth. I could see the comparison to festbier. It is a great beer in my opinion. Nothing crazy, just a tasty pleasant beer for beer's sake.
  25. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (275) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I still find Anchor Steam (and SNPA and SABL) to be well balanced beers that have a pleasant hop flavor and aroma, and refreshing hop bitterness, aside from the caramel malt body, which has never struck me as overly sweet for either beer. To my tastes the hops are perfectly balanced in each beer, both the flavor and the bitterness. Then again I still look at beers from the perspective of macro beers (American AAL, Swedish Exports, German lagers, Czech Lagers, European adjunct lagers), and how they taste relative to those. In the time I have been drinking beer neither of those points of reference have changed enough for me to notice, and neither has Anchor Steam hence my unchanged, favorable opinion of it.
    SABERG, afrokaze, Bitterbill and 4 others like this.
  26. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,297) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I wouldn't say "nothing." I get an intense amount of isoamyl acetate from it. I find it borderline unenjoyable. I'm not saying it has high levels of isoamyl acetate... it's just my perception, right or wrong.

    The last time I had Steam was a few weeks ago on draught in San Francisco. I haven't noticed any short term changes in this beer in recent years. It never resembled an Oktoberfest or AAL for my tastes.

    A couple of years ago, I was lucky to try a non-pasteurized & non-filtered version at the brewery, and I really enjoyed that beer.

    Any beer in the intro to Jackson’s The Beer Hunter deserves some respect.
    SABERG, sharpski, Bitterbill and 3 others like this.
  27. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Crusader (760) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    As a Steam drinker for many decades, and after visiting and touring the brewery twice in the past 7 months, always a great beer and unique.
    I have not detected any major flavor shifts or changes since the change in ownership....I think many younger craft drinkers have lost the ability to enjoy a simple, well crafted beer without a lot of hype....or perhaps they never acquired that ability, due to all the over hopped over hyped beers that now seem to dominate much of the market.

    Now if only the distributor in NE Ohio would carry other Anchor products - like Liberty Ale and Old Foghorn!
  28. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Yeah -- wish I could be more help, but I stopped at this place many moons ago -- on my first trip to San Francisco. Saw it featured on the Food Network some years later -- supposed to be famous for their sourdough as well as their sandwiches. IIRC it was on the way to Oakland, but still on the SF side of the bridge (maybe vice versa?).
    TrojanRB likes this.
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Oh, how I guffawed watching MJ's uncomfortable time trying to drink Anchor (Steam or Liberty?) from the bottle! :grin:
    Bitterbill likes this.
  30. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,401) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Hmmmm.....maybe Tommy’s Joint on Geary? Great old time sandwich shop....a little divey....good beer list. I know it’s been on Diners Drive In’s and Dives
    zid likes this.
  31. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    I've always really liked Anchor Steam, but at $12.99 a six pack I won't buy it when Summit and Sierra Nevada 12 packs are the same price.
  32. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,297) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Man, Tommy's Joynt takes me back.
    TrojanRB likes this.
  33. Bshaw22

    Bshaw22 Defender (606) Aug 29, 2013 Wisconsin

    Never noticed that in the beer before. It’s very uncommon for mass produced lagers to have any sort of unwanted bacteria or off putting flavors. However, taste is certainly objective.
  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Looks like a cool joint, but the place I remember was more sandwich shop than tavern. It's hell to get old. :wink:
    TrojanRB likes this.
  35. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,433) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    was going to add raw oysters or clam chowder as well. Anchor steam is a Great seafood beer!
    deanzaZZR, officerbill and TrojanRB like this.
  36. peteboiler

    peteboiler Initiate (138) Dec 16, 2010 Florida

    Anchor Steam is an amazing beer! Light, but loads of flavor. And, I think, it is a bit different and unique for a lager and that stands for something.
  37. tjwarren

    tjwarren Disciple (336) Dec 31, 2008 Ohio

    I always liked Anchor Steam. Found it to be somewhat unique when fresh and pretty ordinary when not. It is what I get when I don’t know what I want (if I can find it less than 3 months ago. Had it on tap finally in San Diego in January and found it better on tap. As to the Octofest comparison I can see that as the hops fade. I wonder how old your stuff was?
  38. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (121) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Now that it's available in the 19.2 oz can format I drink it regularly, often as the last beer of the night instead of a porter or stout. It has lower ABV and is still flavorful with some malt and yeast goodness.
    sharpski, Bitterbill and TrojanRB like this.
  39. Brew-Thru

    Brew-Thru Initiate (179) Jan 8, 2017 Virginia

    Bottles are dated 031119 so these are not super old. However, perhaps the journey from the west coast to the east coast wasn't the best preserving quality journey?
  40. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,785) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    By chance, I went beer shopping yesterday and spotted 3 cases of Anchor Steam Beer sitting in the aisle, fresh off the truck - of course, the distributor and retailer both ignoring the "please refrigerate" request on the case. As is my custom whenever I see newly-arrived Anchor products at a store, I popped a flap on the case (didn't see a code on the cardboard) and pulled out a bottle and read "050119" - May Day! - just about the freshest Steam I've found in many years - 10 weeks from bottling. Damn. Pretty close to my normal 3 month cut-off. Ah, I debated...

    Might have been this thread (in combination with the weather and having too much higher ABV stuff at home) that spurred me on the buy it. Pretty cheap well, reasonable, too, checking the receipt today (since it wasn't on the shelf yet) - $9.99. Had to wait to get it cooled off but found them as I remember it best, living in CA in the mid-70s.

    Someone wrote "light" above and when I read it I scoffed 'cause Anchor Steam in the pre- and early craft era was often described as a "heavy...dark beer" that was "not for everyone..." but yeah, I'll buy that designation today - when so much craft is 6%-up - abv's that were nearly unheard in the US outside of some "malt liquors" of when Maytag took complete control of Anchor.

    I can see, too, how some might find the caramel malt reminds them of some US "less than authentic" Oktoberfest-labeled beers...

    Nearing 4 months :thinking_face: I debated about being slightly over 2 months.:wink:

    Anchor's FAQ still says:
    So, if true, the fault would be with the storage conditions after arriving at the wholesaler and/or retailer.

    For all the good Maytag did for US beer, he did have a few beliefs that are out of step today. He told the Wall Street Journal back in 2006 (“The Search for Fresh Beer”Jan. 28):
    #40 jesskidden, Jul 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019