Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting California Common
A Review of Anchor Steam by Anchor Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/8/2011 by Chops
I have been on the hunt for more of the California Common Beer style ever since I got my hands on a local interpretation. I've been quite anxious to learn more about California Common Beers and the best way to learn is to drink them. They are such unique little buggers and are unfortunately incredibly hard to find. It seems like the most commonly available version is the Anchor Steam by Anchor Brewing Co. Seems like a good place to start, so let's dive right in.

In the glass, Anchor Steam has a clear light copper coloration and looks much like a rich lager. There is a good amount of carbonation in the beer resulting in a decently large fluffy white head, which dissipates quickly. A sweet and malty caramel smell rears its head first, which is dominant over a light hop profile. There is also a woody element lurking underneath the aroma bed, giving the beer an earthy quality. So far so good.

The mouthfeel is what immediately grabs your attention with that first sip. It's very creamy, very smooth and very front loaded. The first second of this beer almost takes the form of an IBC Cream Soda. It doesn't last for long though and soon transforms into a balanced hoppy blend. It's almost like the hop profile missed the starting gun and then has to play catch up, which it does with a vengeance. It dominates the finish and provides a tangy hoppy exit on top of a now muted malty layer. The hop character reduces its bite as the beer warms, which finally settles into a nicely balanced, medium-bodied cream ale. So if you find the hop profile a little distracting, just give the beer a little time to warm up. The drinkability significantly increases with time.

Overall, Anchor Steam is a very tasty brew that can easily be viewed as a session beer. It has great flavor and a very nice presence. I can recommend Anchor Steam to any level of beer fan. Novices will find it to be a flavorful upgrade without getting over hopped. Beer veterans will find it to be a delightful session version of the California Common Beer style. I for one will be enjoying many more of these in the future as I continue to explore the style.

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Anchor Steam by Anchor Brewing Co.
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