• Review – Anchor Steam Beer

    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:

    • Appearance
    • Aroma
    • Mouthfeel
    • Flavor
    • Aftertaste

    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.

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AnchorBrewing

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anchorbrewing


    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.

    Final Thoughts

    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.

  • Review – Stone IPA

    Today Chris and I are reviewing Stone Brewing Co.’s India Pale Ale.  We’re doing some work on the site and figured we’d double dip with a review of a great beer.  In our ongoing review series we’ll be covering the following 5 items:

    • Appearance
    • Aroma
    • Mouthfeel
    • Flavor
    • Aftertaste

    Here is a quick guide for the beginner http://indybeers.com/beer-tasting-guide/.

    (Note written after my review) – For the record, I have finished my review and I’m waiting on Chris to do his.  He is on is second beer, but won’t come up for air on coding the site.  I may have to take drastic measures soon.

    About Stone Brewing Company:

    Based out of Scondido, CA they brewed about 115,000 barrels in 2010.  Stone has been brewing beers for about 15 years.  They are happy to offer tours, but they tend to get busy so make sure to call ahead if you plan to visit the brewery.

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/StoneBrewingCo

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StoneBrewingCo


    Scott: A nice classic golden beer with a slight tilt towards dark.  When I poured Chris’ beer I did it too fast and he got a nice size head.  For mine I poured more slowly and got a very easy to manage head on the beer.

    Chris: A cloudy, amber colored beer with a fair amount of head. I wasn’t opposed to how Scott poured the beer. While drinking the first beer I noticed the inside of the glass was coated with head based residue.


    Scott: You can definitely smell the hops, but it’s not overpowering like some beers.  There is almost a slight citrus smell at the end.

    Chris: I have a cold right now so my sniffer is on the fritz. The hops are there but don’t seem too strong.


    Scott: Small bubbles, with a lingering feel on the left and right side of the tongue.  The the beer has a slightly heavy feel, like a light syrup thinness.  Overall, very pleasing palate.

    Chris: Seriously? This is category. It’s beer.


    Scott: Ah, the meat of the matter.  A very good IPA, although not my favorite.  The flavor is full, but not too heavy.  These will go down easy, but not too quick.  At 6.9% that is probably a good thing.

    Chris: Let me preface this section by saying that I’m not a huge fan of IPAs. I find most of them too hoppy with a strong tangy taste, almost bitter. All that said, Stone has done a pretty decent job by not knocking me off the stool. Something in my gut tells me, I really should review this when I don’t have a cold.


    Scott: There is an enjoyable hoppy aftertaste that seems to be lingering longer the more I drink.  Very pleasant, and makes me want to drink more.

    Chris: For an IPA it seems decent. I have a feeling my cold is masking the hoppiness.

    Final Thoughts

    Scott:  I would give this beer a 5/5 overall.  Out here on the East Coast it showed up as $10.99 for a 6 pack, so not an everyday beer, but one that should be enjoyed if you are given the opportunity.

    Chris: Score it 3.5/5 for me. My head is pretty loopy right now and not from this 6.9 ABV IPA. Based  on this experience, I would probably try it again.