I’d Tap That: Anchor Steam Beer has stood the test of time and is still a great beer 100 years later
Glassware: The Steam Beer is a straight forward style meant to be enjoyed for long drinking sessions with lots of flavor and aroma. A glass that allows the beer to stay cool for as long as possible is a great choice. A dimpled mug is a fantastic choice as it keeps the hands away from the glass and the thicker siding maintains the beer’s cooler temperature. However, a pilsner or nonic pint glass also serves the beer quite well.
Description: Anchor Steam Beer pours a clear dark amber color with slight golden hue and pillow white head that leave traces of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very malt forward with subtle hints of caramel sweetness backed with whiffs of fresh floral hops. The taste follows the nose and is malt forward with sweet caramel leading the way across the palate. A pleasing slightly earthy/floral taste from the hops washes over giving a very refreshing quality to the beer before hints of lightly toasted malts round out the experience. The medium body and light carbonation give the beer a very smooth mouthfeel and help impart the refreshing qualities of this great beer. Anchor Steam Beer is a phenomenal beer to enjoy any time of the year but is especially delicious during early spring!
Food Pairing: Anchor Steam Beer is a true workhorse of a beer and due to its light qualities can pair well with many dishes. Weighing in at 4.9 percent ABV Anchor Steam Beer is subtle enough to make a great match with a light afternoon salad, but the heavy malt profile makes it an even better match when that salad is topped with a protein of some kind, especially chicken or steak. While many lighter beers find pairings with only lighter dishes, Anchor Steam has enough impact to be able to hold up against bigger dishes as well. Try pairing it with a delicious burger from the grill and do not be afraid to top it with bacon, onion rings and bacon. It will only make the beer more delicious. The malt sweetness will immediately gravitate toward the sweet flavors of the meat and, despite its small size, has enough heft to scrub the palate clean. This is a workhorse beer which means it is good for everything, including desserts. Try pairing Anchor Steam with a slice of fresh apple pie drizzled with caramel and topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. You can thank me later.
The Final Word: Many beers claim a rich history when trying to replicate older beer styles, however Anchor Steam Beer is a bit of history itself. This is the beer that helped revive American craft beer as it was the beer that caused Fritz Maytag to purchase the fledgling Anchor Brewing and bring new life into a dying company that would spearhead the American craft beer movement. The beer dates back to 1896 with its unique blend of ale and lager style creating a light refreshing beer that drinks very much like a lager. The trick with this beer is the use of a lager yeast strain fermented at higher temperatures, something not traditionally done. It is rare to find beers in this boom that have deep roots in beer history that have not only withstood the test of time, but are still just as enjoyable when stacked against the seemingly endless onslaught of new craft beers. Try Anchor Steam Beer today, not because it has been around for more than 100 years, but because it is still a world class beer.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company
Beer: Anchor Steam Beer
Style: California Common/ Steam Beer