6/26/15: Anchor Brewing's Anchor Steam Beer

6:15 PM


A few months ago (back in April) I reviewed the only Anchor Brewing beer I've ever had: the 2014 Christmas Ale. I liked it.

After discussing it on here I shared my thoughts on the ale with the brewery. They tweeted me back (I shared my write-up with them by linking it in a tweet, you see) and encouraged me to try more of their brews.

Now, over two months later, I'm finally following through one our brief, 140 character or less social media conversation. Today I'll be sharing my thoughts on Anchor Brewing's Anchor Steam Beer with you.

For those of you interested in reading my summary of Anchor's past, you can find that by clicking this link to my 2014 Christmas Ale post. Within that post I provided a run-down of their history (I also linked to a page where you can do more research into the brewery, if you're into that sort of thing).

What about Anchor Steam Beer, though? Well, being Anchor's original signature lager, the brew is laden with tradition. It was first crafted in 1896 and cooled an inventive fashion: instead of using ice, Anchor put their fermenting brew on their roof and let the foggy San Franciscan night air cool it.

Anchor's page for Anchor Steam Beer lists the process (in a slightly greater depth) as well as stating that the lager is brewed with a mixture of caramel and pale malts, is 4.9%ABV, and has a distinctive flavor. A YouTube video embedded within the page also states that the brew has a nice hoppy aroma.

It does, in fact, have a nice hoppy aroma. It's pleasantly light. When I see or hear "hoppy" and "aroma" in the same sentence together I usually imagine and scent so overwhelmingly hoppy it brings tears to my eyes (like some of the strongest, most repugnantly hoppy IPAs). I'm relieved to find this isn't the case with Anchor Steam Beer; it smell like an typical lager with a just the faintest hops mixed in. Purrl doesn't care for it (she only gave it 4 whiffs) but she's a cat who can't drink beer. I like it.


Anchor Steam's flavor is also pleasing. With my unrefined pallet I'd be hard pressed to call it "distinctive." But it's good. It has that toasted bread thing that most (enjoyable) lagers have and an extra little flavor kick, which, I'm guessing, is from the same hint of hops that is noticeable within its aroma.

I don't think "crispiness" is typically used as a taste descriptor, but I'm using it here. The crispiness of Anchor Steam Beer's aftertaste flavor serves to help you identify the definitive end of each swig and a desire for the next. If/When you try this brew, you'll see what I mean.

As for mouthfeel, the beer is light and only minimally fizzy. It oozes drinkability, and that's fine by me. With an ABV like this I've nothing to fear.

This is a great lawnmower beer and I'll be darned if that's not in line with the memory it summons. Okay, not actually mowing lawns or cutting grass but hear me out: Two summers ago I was working part-time, minimum wage at a grocery deli. Instead of driving my car to work (and thereby wasting money on unnecessary gasoline) I chose to walk to work along Athens' riverside bike path. In order to get to the path from my apartment (and to get to my apartment from the path) I need to walk through a residential area spanning a few different neighborhoods.

On evenings where I'd finish work in time to arrive home before sunset, I relished the walk. There would undoubtedly be a few people mowing their lawns and I've always loved the smell of freshly cut grass (as, I assume, many people do). I'd walk through my apartment door with a smile on my face, greet my girlfriend and cats, and grab a cheap beer (as befitting my earnings at the time) from the fridge. While I had very little money those days (and, to be honest, I don't have much more now) life was relatively carefree for me. I miss that summer.

Anyway, this is all what I think of Anchor Brewing's Anchor Steam Beer. It's an easy 8.0/10. Anchor Brewing doesn't seem to be a household name in Ohio but the brewer's definitely worth checking into if you get the chance.

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