From the Brewery:
“Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.
It is a process that combines deep respect for craft brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.
Anchor Steam® Beer derives its unusual name from the 19th century when “steam” was a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of America under primitive conditions and without ice. While the origin of the name remains shrouded in mystery, it likely relates to the original practice of fermenting the beer on San Francisco’s rooftops in a cool climate. In lieu of ice, the foggy night air naturally cooled the fermenting beer, creating steam off the warm open pans. Once a nickname for any Californian or West Coast beer brewed under these conditions, today the name “steam” is a trademark of Anchor Brewing and applies only to the singular process and taste of our flagship brand – San Francisco’s original Anchor Steam® Beer. The classic of American brewing tradition since 1896.” 4.9% ABV California Common/Steam Beer
Purchased from Das Bierhaus in Fresno, California.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. The body is remarkably clear, with a nice amber/apple juice color. A large, slightly off-white head is poured (which was likely accentuated by an aggressive pour into the glass), which dissipates to a thin covering and leaves light lacing. Surprisingly little carbonation is visible for a lager-ish beer.
The aromas are light, smelling like a sessionable summer beer, sans the use of adjuncts used by most macro lagers. Present are bread/crackery notes from the base malts, as well as some lemon citrus and grassy tones.
Anchor Steam has a medium-thin body, and has an easy mouthfeel that offers just light carbonation pep and faint hop bitterness. The flavors match the nose pretty spot on; slightly sweet cracker/grainy malts mixed with a bit of lemongrass citrus, which lingers lightly on the palate.
While not an outstanding beer, it’s always nice to drink a lager-style beer that doesn’t use any cheap adjuncts (corn, rice syrups, etc.) to sweeten the beer or inflate the ABV. The result is a decent, malt-forward beer that is easy to drink and moderately refreshing. If this is the quintessential California beer, then my home state is doing okay. I prefer something a little more hearty, but pretty much any beer drinker can get behind this one. 7/10
Anchor Brewing Company – San Francisco, California