Anchor Blackberry Daze IPA

This is a beer that I tried and Val tried again when we went to Savor this year. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 6.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’re thrilled to announces the release of Blackberry Daze IPA™, a synergistic union of blackberries and hops. Because the blackberry was once wildly rampant in California, it is our ideal choice for this singular Anchor brew. Blackberry Daze IPA (6.5% ABV) gets its hop bitterness and some hop aroma in the brewhouse, but most of the action happens in the cellar when the fruit is added during secondary fermentation. A special blend of loamy, herbaceous hops for dry-hopping complements the brightness and deep complexity of the blackberries. The result is a funky synthesis of rich earth and ripe fruit, hop bitterness and blackberry tartness, with alluring color and aromas up front, sublimely intense flavors, and a refreshingly dry finish. ‘Blackberry Daze IPA is a natural continuum to our growing list of beers made with fruit,’ said Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann. ‘When using fruit in an IPA, we want something that stands up to and also pairs nicely with the hops. Blackberries uniquely compliment the hops, rather than contrast with them. We add some fruit to the brewkettle towards the end of the boil, giving the beer a nice berry jam aroma. Then we add fresh berries in the cellar, imparting a sharp tartness that compliments the beer’s hoppy flavors. The result is an IPA with upfront bitterness that’s countered by tartness and slight sweetness from the berries, creating a play between tart, sweet, and bitter.'”

Random: I’m not a fan of when words are intentionally misspelled.

The beer poured with a huge, three finger, ecru colored head. It went away at a moderate pace and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was orange with a tinge of red and had a lot of carbonation. The nose started with some woodsy hops and quickly went into fruity, red berries. It also had a grape juice note. The taste started with some piney hops and lemon, but quickly transitions into lots of jammy blackberry with a touch of grape juice. The body was on the heavier side, but wasn’t overwhelming. It had a lot of carbonation as well. The finish was lengthy with berries. A bottle of this was $1.71, which came to $.14 per ounce. I really enjoyed the use of fruit in this IPA. It was integrated quite well, I just wish it had a few more hops.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Anchor Dry Hopped Steam Beer

This beer is a new take on a classic. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: California Common/Steam Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We are excited to announce the debut of Anchor Dry-Hopped Steam Beer™, a limited release inspired by Anchor Steam® Beer, the original California Common. San Francisco’s famous Anchor Steam® Beer is unique for its brewing process which has evolved over many decades and is like no other in the world. To give this classic beer a radically traditional twist, Brewmaster Scott Ungermann created Anchor Dry-Hopped Steam Beer. Made with its own special recipe, the brew is dry-hopped with a blend of new and traditional hops. The result weds the rich maltiness of Anchor Steam with an alluring fragrant hoppiness of our ales. Anchor Dry-Hopped Steam Product Image ‘Anchor Dry-Hopped Steam Beer is both a historical nod to our roots and a cutting edge, modern beer,’ said Brewmaster Scott Ungermann. ‘We took our most popular, classic beer and gave it a contemporary twist by introducing a lighter body and an elevated, dynamic hop profile using new and classic hop varieties. The result is a California Common with a unique hop bitterness balanced by a light malty sweetness.’ California Commons are a unique American style of beer created by fermenting lager yeast at warmer temperatures similar to ales. This creates a hybrid between the two beer styles, though lager yeast is always used. Anchor Steam® Beer (4.9% ABV) is the original California Common made in San Francisco since 1896.”

Random: I have done laundry every day this week. One of my favorite things is the smell of clean laundry.

The beer poured with a huge, three finger, fluffy, cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was cloudy and bright orange with moderate carbonation. The nose had a lot of citrus with orange segments and grass. It had some malt as well. The taste had the same orange segments and lemon flesh. There was freshly cut grass and lightly toasted malt as well. It had a moderately thick body with just enough carbonation. The finish was quick with grass and lemon with mild malty sweetness. A bottle of this was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. I thought this was a really interesting take on a classic that went down easily. This beer is highly recommended.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Anchor Go West! IPA

I usually walk past Anchor’s beers, despite the fact that they’re solid offerings. I also like how the cans look a bit retro. I picked up a six of this one and saved one for review purposes.


ABV: 6.7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The California Gold Rush compelled thousands to Go West!
‘to see the elephant,’ a metaphor for the doggedly optimistic risk-taking linked then and now with America’s intensified pursuit of happiness. As early as 1849, India Pale Ale—prepared by British brewers for export to India by adding dry hops to barrels of hoppy ale—was also going west, from England around the Horn to San Francisco. In 1975, Anchor—America’s first craft brewery—led the modern revival of dry-hopped handmade ales. Fast-forward to Go West! IPA™, made with 2-row pale barley malt and dry-hopped with a unique blend of 4 American hops. Its mouthwateringly complex aromas of citrus, pine, and the tropics; spiky bitterness; gleaming golden color; and clean finish unite to create this singular 24-karat IPA. Go West!, where the impossible is possible. This brew pours bright, clear golden color with light tan head, has strong tropical and citrus fruit aromas balanced by the spiky freshness of pine needles. You get bitterness up front followed by subtly sweet maltiness, a light body and very smooth finish. You get hop bitterness, clean and fresh, and a hint of sweetness creates a complexity that leaves you wanting more.”

Random: I always liked the song “King Of Wishful Thinking” by Go West.

The beer poured with a full finger of white head that dissipated slowly. It didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and orange with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was grassy with orange rind. I didn’t pick up much malt on it. The taste had notes of fresh-cut grass with grapefruit pith. There was lightly toasted biscuit malt at the end. It had a medium body with enough carbonation. The finish was long and citrusy. This was $1.62 a can, which broke down to $.14 per ounce. This was a pleasant, drinkable IPA that I would have again. It didn’t wow me, but I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Anchor Zymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale

I’ve never seen any of the Anchor Zymaster series on shelves, so when I saw this one, I picked it up without knowing anything about this one. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 6%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Anchor Brewing Company’s Zymaster No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale is inspired by Anchor Brewmaster Mark Carpenter’s journey to this Estonian island in the Baltic Sea. Inhabited for over 8,000 years, Saaremaa has been occupied by Germany, Denmark, Sweden, czarist Russia, and the Soviet Union. Its culture is a rich and fascinating melting pot. Yet few outside of Estonia have ever experienced its uniquely native beers. Mark enjoyed them so much that he not only brought back his memories of Saaremaa but some brewer’s yeast, as well. Inspired by Mark’s Estonian beer journey, Anchor’s Zymaster No. 6 takes you on a journey to Saaremaa by way of San Francisco. Zymaster No. 6 (6% ABV) is a medium-bitter pale ale with Old World hop flavor and aroma. Made with pale barley malt, it has a light body and clean finish. But what makes Saaremaa Island Ale exceptional is the native yeast that Brewmaster Mark Carpenter clandestinely brought back from his Estonian beer journey. It took months for Anchor to isolate and culture this special strain, so essential to the unique character of Saaremaa Island’s indigenous beers. Anchor’s trial brews confirmed that this yeast, reminiscent of some Belgian varieties, contributes a richly complex piquancy to this deliciously distinctive ale with overtones of freshly ground clove and allspice.”

Random: One thing I’m looking forward to in the new house is even countertops.

This beer poured with a one finger white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with high carbonation visible. The nose was sweet with honey and caramel malt. The taste was really sweet up front with caramel malt and honey. Then, some slight bitterness came through with grassy hops. It had a moderately thick body with high carbonation on the tongue. It had a long, sweet finish with honey and then some grass. This beer was only alright. I didn’t pick up any of the spice or yeast characteristics. The cost was $5.29 for the bottle, which marked down from the normal price at the beer store, which I found to be very affordable, since it was $.33 per ounce. Although, it still didn’t make me like this beer’s flavor any more.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Anchor Winter Wheat

Here’s a beer that I bought a sixer of a few weeks ago. The other half actually enjoyed it. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 7%

Style: American Dark Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’ve been making wheat beers since the summer of 1984. They’ve all been golden summer refreshers instead of dark winter warmers—until now. Anchor Winter Wheat™ is made with a unique blend of malted barley and five wheats from Belgium, Germany, the Midwest, and a family farm just 75 miles away, where we get our soft red winter wheat. Sown in November and harvested in June, it is used in artisanal flatbreads, cakes, and pastries. In 1848, California farmers forsook their amber grain for golden fortune. By 1878, California wheat was back big-time, winning gold at the Paris International Exposition. There was even a wheat beer brewery in North Beach, one mile from our first home. Today, the robust flavor, malty complexity, enticing aroma, ebony color, and thick, creamy head of Anchor Winter Wheat™ reflect this delicious heritage. Anchor Winter Wheat™ is made with a unique blend of 2-row pale barley malt, Belgian roasted wheat malt, German pale spring wheat malt, ‘Midnight’ and hard red wheat malts from the Midwest, and unmalted soft red winter wheat from a local family farm. The result is a smooth, complex, dark brew with a creamy, lacey head; deep, rich mouthfeel; nutty, bread-like, and subtly roasted flavors; and a crisp, clean finish. A special ale yeast provides clean flavors with hints of dark fruit. And a single hop, Northern Brewer, provides earthy, woody, and minty notes with just the right amount of bitterness.”

Random: I spent about 5 hours on the warehouse floor yesterday, walking back and forth. Needless to say, I am in pain today.

This beer poured with a one finger, tan head that dissipated slowly, but didn’t leave any lacing on the glass. Instead, it left a crown on top of the dark brown, almost black body. Because of the color, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose had wheat, fig, cocoa, roasted malt and cherry. The taste was really good. It started with cocoa, nuts and roasted malts. It quickly moved to wheat, cherry, and figs. It was really robust for a winter seasonal. The body was thick with high carbonation. It had a long finish with cherry and wheat and cocoa. I thought this beer was one of the best I’ve had from Anchor. For $.92 a bottle, this breaks down to $.07 per ounce, which is definitely on the cheaper side. I would highly recommend this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Anchor Summer Beer

This was a brew that the lawyer picked up for me from Trader Joe’s. I’m pretty surprised that I haven’t tried it yet. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 4.6%

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The crisp, clean flavors of Anchor Summer ® Beer are refreshingly light, a thirst-quenching American-style filtered wheat beer. Released each year in advance of the summer season, Anchor Summer ® Beer is an all-malt craft beer, with over 50% of its malt derived from malted wheat. It is fermented with a traditional top-fermenting ‘ale’ yeast, yielding a clean, balanced flavor that highlights the refreshingly light flavor of malted wheat. The head is unusually abundant due to the natural protein deposits of wheat, with a thick consistency similar to meringue. First brewed in the summer of 1984, Anchor Summer ® Beer is the first American wheat beer in modern times. Anchor Summer ® Beer is intended to be a lighter beer for those who don’t want to sacrifice historic tradition or character.”

Random: Although the label is simple, I like it. Anchor’s labels are retro, but still visually pleasing.

This brew poured with a thick, two finger, pure white head that dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing, but not much. The body was a clear, straw yellow color. There was moderate to high carbonation visible as well. The nose was rather subtle. I got wheat and grassy hops without much else. The taste was very light. There was some wheat and lemon with grassy hops. It was really light and also had a bit of bread to it. The body was light with moderate carbonation. It had a quick and clean finish with grassy hops. This brew was alright, but nothing impressive. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Anchor BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red

I reviewed a beer a few nights ago and didn’t have time to post it. We’re having our usual Sunday morning coffee and have to start getting ready to go into NYC for brunch. Hopefully I’ll get to hit up a beer spot. Anyways, this is a brew that Val picked up for me in her travels. Let’s see how it went.


ABV: 6%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our fall seasonal, BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red™, was inspired by a native California tree, its incredible leaves, its delicious syrup, and the best colors of fall. Bigleaf maple thrives along the banks of California’s mountain streams. Native Californians once made rope and baskets from its bark. Today, artisans handcraft its wood and burl into custom guitars. In autumn its huge leaves, up to a foot across, can display a full range of color as they slowly turn from green to gold to red. Bigleaf maple sugaring in California dates to the 1800s; yet this tree’s unusually flavorful syrup remains the product of a small group of hobbyists. A hint of maple—including bigleaf maple—syrup in every brew perfectly complements the malty complexity, balanced hoppiness, and rich fall hue of BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red™, a red ale like no other.”

Random: The meow is staring intently outside attempting to find a bird.

This brew poured with a full two fingers of deep cream-colored head that was slow to dissipate and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear chestnut color with moderate carbonation. On the nose, I got nutty malts with a touch of maple, but relatively mild without much else. The taste had some caramel malt and then a big hit of bitterness with floral and grassy hops. The maple was completely lost and didn’t come out in the taste whatsoever. I also got a touch of biscuit as well after a few sips. The body was medium thickness and had moderate carbonation. The finish was pretty long with hop bitterness. This brew was only alright. I wouldn’t rush back to have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Anchor Humming Ale

Another day over. I watched some more Walking Dead episodes with my sister before Criminal Minds. I really do love the show. I can’t wait until the weekend. I think I’m going to bottle my Raspberry Wheat beer. If I’m exceptionally ambitious, I may brew another batch. So, this beer is from the California six-pack. Let’s see how it goes.

ABV: 5.9%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This bold, frothy, effervescent ale, with hints of citrus, finds its name throughout English literature that might just as well describe its taste, its history, or just how it makes you feel. The recipe for Humming ® Ale and its resulting flavor, owe much to the traditional methods used to make our Liberty Ale®. Both are brewed using pale malt, a natural carbonation process called ‘bunging,’ and dry-hopping, but the unique flavor profile of Humming comes from a distinctive hop from New Zealand called Nelson Sauvin. Humming is an ancient beer term, found everywhere from Robin Hood to Herman Melville, used to describe a strong, effervescent ale with a lot of character or just in praise of a truly good beer. Originally created to celebrate our 30th anniversary of our Mariposa Street location, it is now available each July – November, Humming has quickly become a classic that lives up to its name. Anchor Humming ® Ale, a beer with character deserves a name with character.”

Random: I really haven’t been wowed by Anchor beers, but I really have respect for the history of the brewery.

The brew poured with a two finger head that was incredibly thick (and looked like egg whites) and pure white. It took forever to dissipate and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, light orange color with light, visible carbonation. The nose had a definitely citrus quality with orange and lemon and some coriander. The taste had a bit of spice, even some lime, then some grapefruit and finished with malt. Honestly, this wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The body was medium and the carbonation was less than expected. The finish was quick with a bit of citrus and spice. This beer was definitely boring, but drinkable. I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Anchor Steam Beer

Last night was the end to an absolutely crazy week. I hit the gym after work with one of my buddies after work and ended up spending a few hours there, just chatting in between sets. I ended up going out with my buddy Joe (who tends to accompany me to all beer related events) to a local bar which has some craft beer, although the selection isn’t really fantastic. I picked Anchor Steam because I’ve never had a Steam Beer before.

ABV: 4.9%

Style: California Common/Anchor Beer

Trivia: According to BeerAdvocate, “The California Common, or Steam Beer, is a unique 100% American style lager. It’s usually brewed with a special strain of lager yeast that works better at warmer temperatures. This method dates back to the late 1800’s in California when refrigeration was a great luxury. The brewers back then had to improvise to cool the beer down, so shallow fermenters were used. So in a way the lager yeast was trained to ferment quicker at warmer temperatures. Today’s examples are light amber to tawny in color, medium bodied with a malty character. Mildly fruity with an assertive hop bitterness.”

Random: I can’t believe Villanova lost in the NCAA tourney yesterday. Very disappointing.

The brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body is a clear amber color with mild visible carbonation. The nose is really muted. And I mean muted to the point that I was sticking my face in the glass and couldn’t get much. I was really searching and got a slight hint of hops. The taste was boring at best. There was a crispness to it, which was the good part. Otherwise, I got some malt on it with a hint of hops. Wow this is just bland. It goes down easily but I think my qualm is more with the style. It’s just very boring to me. I could easily put a few back, but I really wouldn’t want to. Finish is quick and unremarkable. This one just wasn’t my cup of tea. This has just been the week of boring beers for me. Hopefully tonight’s selection is a little bit better.

Untappd Rating: 1.0/5.0

Anchor Porter

This was another one of those beers that I’ve heard a lot of good things about, but always passed by. I don’t know why, but the label just wasn’t inviting to me. I know, I shouldn’t judge a beer by its label, but I always end up doing that. Well, no more. It’s definitely porter weather, so I popped it open on one of those cold nights that we had a week ago.

ABV: 5.6%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the Anchor website, “Anchor Porter is a unique dark brew, which was introduced by Anchor in the early 1970s. Anchor Porter, like all of Anchor Brewing Company’s products, is brewed with only natural ingredients. Specially roasted dark malts are used, along with a top-fermenting yeast. The brew is hopped at a very high rate, and is naturally carbonated to produce an intensely rich flavor and thick creamy head. The rich flavor of Anchor Porter has earned this delicious and unique brew a worldwide reputation for outstanding quality.”

Random: I’ve never had an Anchor beer. Perhaps I should pick up Anchor Steam next time I make a beer run.

This beer poured with a one finger tan head that lingered, leaving significant lacing on the glass. The body was a very dark brown color with moderate visible carbonation. The nose had definite notes of roasted malts with hints of smoke, coffee and mild chocolate. The taste had a lot of the coffee that was apparent in the nose. There were also some notes of chocolate and vanilla. This was a really well-balanced beer. The bitterness and malt really worked in concert with each other. The carbonation was moderate and really went well with the flavors in the brew. The body was perfect as well, it wasn’t too thick or thin. The finish was pretty quick with the same coffee flavor. This was definitely an awesome brew, especially for a cold night. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0