Today Chris, Mathew, and I are reviewing Anchor Steam Beer. I was recently reading the book Home beermaking: The complete beginner’s guidebook and there was a section in the book talking about “steam beer”.
Steam beer, the only native American beer style, was born in late 19th century San Francisco, when refrigeration and ice were unavailable to Eastern immigrants accustomed to lager brewing. Desiring local beer, they brewed with lager yeast at (unrefrigerated) temperatures, producing a robust, highly hopped (partly for preservation reasons) brew more like an ale than a lager in flavor, yet with a unique sharp character imparted by the warm fermenting lager yeast. Unlike most draft beers at the time, steam beer was carbonated (by krausening), and the hissing noise issuing from a freshly-tapped keg probably gave rise to the name steam.
That is a nice piece of history, but it’s the next part that caught my eye:
Today, steam is a trademark of Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco.
I find that funny simply because the top of their bottle states:
…Anchor alone has used the quaint name “steam” for its unique beer.
With all the fanfare, we figured we give the beer a try.
In our ongoing review series we’ll be covering the following 5 items:
Here is a quick guide for the beginner http://indybeers.com/beer-tasting-guide/. At the bottom of that page is an HTML template that can be used in our comments if you would like to post your own reviews along with us.
About Anchor Brewing:
Based out of San Francisco, CA they have roots in the area that go back to 1849. I was going to post more information about them, but I really hate their website. The “Our Craft” and “Our History” sections are bad. The guys over at Aleheads should consider using it in their “worst brewery websites” series.
Scott: There was a slight cloudiness to the beer. It had a good golden/amber color. I must have poured mine wrong (or right depending on your personal thoughts) because I got almost no head. My second beer I poured with a heavy hand to get a nice thick, creamy head.
Chris: The body was a cloudy shade of amber. Pouring this beer differently changed the appearance. If you slowly poured it into a glass it had almost no head. If you didn’t baby it, the head was a fluffy off white that lasted throughout the entire glass. Lots of bubbles floated up from the bottom as carbonation was plentiful.
Mathew: There was a small head but seemed to vary a lot with everyone’s pour. It was also very bubbly and not creamy like the description says. The color was a light Amber with a slight cloudiness to it. There seemed to be a large amount of carbonation as there was a continued bubble stream from the bottom of the glass, like a soda, the whole time I was drinking it.
Scott: Not much on the nose. Maybe some hints of malt and grass.
Chris: The aroma was very mild. Hints of grain and sweetness were noticable but faint.
Mathew: There was not a lot of aroma and it was hard to distinguish.
Scott: Very crisp and smooth. Lots of light carbonation across the tongue.
Chris: Medium-bodied with abundant carbonation.
Mathew: There was a large amount of carbonation leaving a bubbly feeling on the tongue, like champagne.
Scott: As with everything else, light in flavor, but that’s not a bad thing. It has a very approachable quality to it. Unquestionably easy to drink. I could see myself putting back more than a couple of these.
Chris: I was very happy with this beer. It had a clean, lightly sweet caramel taste with no hoppy bitterness.
Mathew: It had a light beer taste with a hint of wheat but was not strong with any flavors.
Scott: Nothing too much on the backend. Mathew mentioned that it had a bitter aftertaste, but I think that is only in comparison to the mild flavor of the beer to begin with. Held against any other beer it wouldn’t be considered as bitter.
Chris: I didn’t pick up on much of an aftertaste.
Mathew: At first it seemed to leave a sticky dry aftertaste but as I moved to my second one that went away and it have the taste and feel of a light lager.
Scott: At $9.99 a six pack I won’t be rushing to drink a lot of these; however, if I find myself looking for something easy to drink, and this is part of my selection from which to choose, I would happily drink a few more. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Chris: Above I noted that it didn’t have much of an aftertaste. Beyond this being a clean-light beer it was so easy to drink and found myself going through one very quickly. I like trying new beers and this one was a good one. Its mild palate makes it and easy to drink. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5.
Mathew: The beer was not bad, it was supposed to beer a mix of an ale and lager, I didn’t really get that as I am a big ale and lager fan. I think it more had the mix of a light beer with a hint of Champagne. I would drink again but would not order at a bar. I would rate it 3.5 out of 5 with a 2.5 out of 5 on the manufactures description.
Oh you east coast guys know nothing about good Anchor Steam… To get the best, You really need to drink it at Mission Rock, directly across the street from the brewery, a mile north of Candle Stick park. 🙂 It’s not so much in the way you pour it as it is in the temperature as when its poured… I have heard it said “it’s too strong”, but you should always keep in mind Anchor Steam, is a manly beer. Made for the hard working men on the docks and shipyards. Its heavily robust flavor enhances the end of the day when a moderately malty, pronounced hop bitterness is called for.
San Francisco, CA.