Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Now on Tap: Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

Style: steam beer

Brewer: Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, California

ABV: 4.9%

The "steam" in Anchor Steam Beer might refer specifically to any number of processes, effects or looks, but more generally, the word connotes beer made in California starting in the mid-nineteenth century. For a beer with such a beautiful amber color, Anchor Steam is surprisingly and welcomingly refreshing. There's a slight hop to it, but the overwhelming sensation is the soft foaminess that sustains throughout most of the glass. I always assumed that the ever present effervescence was what "steam" referred to, now I imagine that the foam swishing around the glass might recall the look of the Pacific crashing on the rocks in the sunset.

The flavor notes are all over the chart, with different sets of taste buds evoking such diverse savors as caramel, honey, cinnamon, citrus, toast, pine and biscuit all chased with a slightly bitter finish. All of these combine in a drink that is appropriate at any time of the year, with almost any dish. This particular pack was enjoyed with a batch of my homemade chili. My chili is usually thick and spicy, so a refreshing beer like Anchor Steam is a perfect offset.

Anchor Steam is a terrific intro beer for drinkers who would like to move towards away from traditional pilsners and into the areas of more dominant hops and malt. Further exploration into the Anchor family of beers should lead you strait to the Liberty Ale, and if you can find it, the annual Christmas Ale, which in spite of its ever-changing recipe, has never been know to disappoint.

Rating: 8.7

Recommended with: The spiciness of the chili had a tendency to overpower the spectrum of flavors, so I'd recommend a dish with a more delicate food. I would think that a flaky white fish, nicely fried and salted with chips, would make a good pairing.


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