It’s Better Than Cleveland!
Beer Reviewed: Anchor Steam
Style: Steam Beer
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company
This beer is another in a long line of beers that I tried when I was younger, didn’t particularly enjoy, and haven’t tried it since. If you’re a follower of this blog, you know that I’m describing my history with various beers in an effort to drive home a very simple point: If you haven’t tried a beer in a couple years, give it another opportunity to impress you and you may be surprised.
The motivation for my interest in retrying Anchor Steam came from a bit of reading I did recently about Steam beer. It’s a historic beer associated with San Francisco from more than a century ago. The beer was brewed with lager yeast, but at warmer ale temperatures. Apparently this recipe brewed a crappy, low quality, cheap beer.
I find this interesting, because in the same Wiki page, they make a point of claiming that although Anchor Brewing trademarked the name Anchor Steam Beer in 1981, the beer does not follow the same brewing process than the one from a century ago.
So, why use the name of something crappy if you aren’t going to make a go of the namesake. I’m happy they didn’t follow the recipe, because I recently tried this beer again out at my local public house, and thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I ran out and got a couple of sixes for home use and I continued to find great enjoyment of this inaccurately named Steam Beer.
Let’s watch a happy video:
Quantitative parameters of beer character
- The bitterness of this beer is best measured using The Hitchens Taste Scale, and I would put this at about a +1. Nothing major, but you can tell it’s there.
- This beer has a 4.9% alcohol by volume. A good level for a warm weather summertime drink, and something that can cut through that nasty San Francisco fog. At least in my imagination.
- The color is a reddish amber that I would put at about a 17 on the SRM scale.
Qualitative parameters of beer character
- The aroma is slightly fruity, citrus with a malty goodness. Not a strong flavor, but a brightness that foreshadows a pleasant evening.
- The flavor is a balance of fruit, malt and hops. I nice balance of all the flavors, with nothing dominant.
- The aftertaste is a short-lived hoppy bitterness that isn’t strong, but arcs through the range of flavors.
- The mouthfeel is odd, due to the carbonation (see below). There is flavor, but no tingley bubbles.
- The carbonation is surprisingly light. There wasn’t much of a head, what was there exited quickly, and there seem to be no bubbles in the glass. I think this is the first one I’ve enjoyed that had very little carbonation. Interesting.
- The temperature should be cold. I like the contrast of the ’Steam’ name with a cold brew.
To recapitulate, don’t let distant history with a beer dissuade you from giving it another try. I tried this Anchor Steam Beer and I’m very happy I did. I moved this closer to the top of my list of beers to enjoy without thinking too hard, and I believe you’ll like it as well. Go get some!