“Anchor Steam® Beer derives its unusual name from the 19th century when “steam” was a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of America under primitive conditions and without ice. While the origin of the name remains shrouded in mystery, it likely relates to the original practice of fermenting the beer on San Francisco’s rooftops in a cool climate. In lieu of ice, the foggy night air naturally cooled the fermenting beer, creating steam off the warm open pans. Once a nickname for any Californian or West Coast beer brewed under these conditions, today the name “steam” is a trademark of Anchor Brewing and applies only to the singular process and taste of our flagship brand – San Francisco’s original Anchor Steam® Beer. The classic of American brewing tradition since 1896.”
Served in a footed flute glass. Pours a light amber to honey hue with a frothy three finger crown forming over the top. The head retention is excellent, gradually receding and omitting a thick sheet of lace down the walls of the glass. The aroma is that of a standard lager with the addition of a distinct spicy hop note coming forward. A touch of sulphur is unfortunately detected but it’s subtle and almost has a slightly burnt rubbery scent to it. Fresh herbs liven it up a tad and a somewhat sweet, bready malt fills it out. Not bad. At least there’s some character unlike most lagers we’ve tried. In the mouth it’s thin and a little watery in texture.Co2 is moderate and a fleeting bitterness develops late in the sequence. Body is light on and super sessional. To this beers credit the flavour mirrors the aroma….only better. A sweet, delicate malt is laced with a spicy hop character that combines beautifully to create a somewhat earthy mid palate. As it rolls on a kind of grainy biscuit note ushers in a herbaceous hop bitterness to finish off. Length isn’t too bad either. Honestly this was quite enjoyable, you won’t hear us saying that about lagers too often. Well, technically it’s half lager half ale and that’s probably why we’d choose a steam ale or a “California common” over a standard lager any day. They seem to just have that extra zing that lagers are missing. Good offering.