Anchor Steam Beer — Anchor Brewing Co.

The beer that birthed the craft brewing revolution in North America, Anchor Steam — aside from being a piece of history — is also an awesome beer.  Anchor is the only remaining gold-rush era brewery in San Francisco.  Started in 1874, it survived through the 1906 earthquake (okay, it was actually destroyed, but they rebuilt), prohibition, and a variety of ownership changes, yet in 1965, it was nearly bankrupt.  Taking an interest in local brewing, Fritz Maytag (heir of the Maytag appliance company) bought the brewery, and revitalized it.  They own the trademark on the name “Steam Beer” (a contentious issue among some craft brewers), which is one of the few truly American beer styles.  They still produce a variety of beers, including Steam, and their epic Liberty Ale.

Anchor Steam pours a golden yellow with a generous head.  Aroma is malty, but with a clear presence of Northern Brewer hops.  Herbal and just a little spicy.  Taste is more hop-forward, though it’s not a hop-bomb.  Hops show flavours of parsley and mint. Very clean astringent finish.  While they own the trademark on the name, many brewers make “California Common”, the un-trademarked name for the style.  And while many are excellent, none quite capture the essence of this classic.

ABV: 4.9%
Style: Steam Beer/California Common
Price: $6.86
Presentation: “Fatty” bottle, 355ml rating rating

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