The Anchor Brewing Company is up there with Sierra Nevada and the Boston Brewing Company in terms of it's old-school American craft beer reputation. At least, that's how it is in my mind. So, to celebrate the 49ers' upcoming appearance in the Super Bowl, I've decided to finally explore this San Francisco brewer's work.
First and foremost is a beer that everyone's seen, heard of or tried. Anchor Steam Beer is the centerpiece of the range, and is named for it's very own style - a steam beer, or California common. I don't exactly know what that is, you'll have to look it up yourself. It pours a surprisingly dark amber with a small yellowish head. Sticky malts and light fruity hops make up a balanced but gorgeous aroma, with elements of spice dotted here and there too. The taste is also full of surprises, with chewy, buttery malts opening things up. Bitter grapefruit peel follows up, and the whole thing is very syrupy and satisfying.
Great beer, really better than I'd anticipated.
Liberty Ale is paler and cloudier than the steam beer, looking rather more like honey. Piney hops of the West Coast persuasion dominate the aroma, smelling fresh, juicy and appealing. Citrus fruit opens the tasting too, and the beer starts to feel more like a Sierra Nevada styled affair until a lovely sweet malty finish takes hold and leads you to the finish, where a final spike in the hop bitterness signs off proper.
A gorgeous beer that I can see myself having again. In fact, I'll probably be having both of these again very soon. Clearly it's a brewery worth exploring, so explore I shall.