Anchor Brewing Company digs up a classic from the Gold Rush days.
By Hudson Lindenberger
There comes a time when an iconic brand pays tribute to its roots. Levi’s re-launched the classic trucker jean jacket; Starbucks has gone back to their original logo and In-N-Out still has employees dress in their classic uniforms. Anchor Brewing Company, one of the oldest breweries in America and well known for their flagship brand, Anchor Steam, is paying tribute to their California roots with their new year-round release Anchor California Lager.
Anchor Brewing can trace their roots back to 1896 when Ernst F. Baruth and Otto Schinkel Jr. bought a brewery on Pacific Street in San Francisco and renamed it Anchor. The brewery survived the great earthquake of 1906, several demoralizing fires over the years, Prohibition and a temporary closure in 1959. In 1965 it was saved from imminent closure when Fritz Maytag, a young Stanford grad, purchased the brewery and opened the first craft brewery in the world. The purchase of the brewery and Fritz’s commitment to brewing unique beers has been hailed as the first step in what has become an overhaul of the American beer scene.
It is fitting that this epochal endeavor should pay homage to its roots with the release of California Lager. Based off a recipe for the first lager brewed in California in 1876; the brewers at Anchor have remained true to its roots using Cluster hops (the main hop in the state during the 19th century) and two-row California barley. Released throughout the state in early 2013 and outside the state later in the year, the beer is a fitting tribute to The Golden State.
The California Grizzly Bear stalking across the label leads me to hope this beer will stand up well to other lagers. The beer pours crystal clear with a light gold color into your pint glass with a one-inch head of soapy white bubbles. Your nose picks up light malts with a hint of herbs and fresh sweet rolls. The taste is quite refreshing – a tad bitter up front followed by the sweetness from the malts, then a hint of hops. It has a resemblance to a European lager but somewhat sweeter. The lager has a crisp mouth feel that goes down pleasingly smooth – just what you are looking for in a lager that weighs in at 4.9 percent alcohol.
I would give it four out of five stars; a satisfying session lager that you could enjoy after a day working in the yard, climbing a mountain or just lazing around the house. The beer comes in six packs, twelve packs and twenty-two ounce bottles and is sold in most liquor outlets and bars. Grab a six-pack and pay tribute to a true pioneer.