Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor: Steam Beer (USA: California Common: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Rudy red amber. Large off white tight bubbled froth head.

Nose: Bread and butter pudding. Mild glacier cherries. Mild citrus hops. Light raisin. Slight musty hops. Cinnamon. Suet.

Body: Half way between fizzy and frothy in feel. Prickly hops. Cinnamon and light cherry. Odd esters. Sparkling feel. A solid malt middle. Yeasty. Apricot.

Finish: Cinnamon. Dry hops. Dry feel, evaporation? Moderate bitterness. Barley cake. Champagne? Lemon. Smoke.

Conclusion: Now, after I have finished writing up the beer review, and have made my mind up, now I look at Anchor’s official description of the beer. They refer to the steam beer as “evanescent”. This is a) pretty much exactly the word I was struggling to find during the entire review and b) A word I’m not going to use now as I’ll be fucked if I’m using ad copy in my review.

The thing is this beer is all about the texture. The flavour is ok, cinnamon, good restrained bitterness, slight cherries and citrus freshness, but what it really brings to the table I the texture. I am mildly annoyed that it is called “Steam beer” as I spent most of the time trying not to write down “Steam like” but it bloody is.

The texture if that weird mix of frothy yet fizzy, slightly Belgiumesque with lots of yeastiness and esters, slightly prickly at times. It seems to dry and evaporate even as you drink it. The weird texture is refreshing as hell and it is the defining element of the beer. If I allow myself at least a small steam reference, it is like steamed pudding in feel.

It is not a beer for flavour excitement or examination, I do however wish I could hold the texture on a tray to dissect it and work out exactly where each part comes from. Despite average flavour the texture makes it very drinkable, bit high abv to session but definitely the feel for it. With the small bottles you could happily stand a few.

Very different, distinct enough to be enjoyable despite average flavour. If you have never tried it I would recommend giving it a shot and I think you will enjoy it.

Background: So, this beer as given to me by Ales By Mail. UK Mail, who did the deliveries for them, had screwed me over and messed up an order repeatedly, then failed to do a decent investigation. Ale By Mail offered me some beers to say sorry, but I told them not to worry, it was ukmail who screwed me over, not them. So they sent me a few beers anyway, which was nice of them. So, Ales by Mail. Very nice people. UKMail, staffed by useless tossers who screwed up, lied to me on the phone, and failed to do a damn thing about it. Just saying. Anyway, I’ve had Anchor Steam a few times before but never reviewed it so I thought it was the perfect time.

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