Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Anchor Summer Beer

It was a hot sunny Sunday afternoon so I couldn't think of a more apropos beer to drink given the conditions than Anchor Summer Beer. Normally I'm not a fan of generically titled summer seasonal brews, but Anchor usually makes good stuff. Would this win me over?

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (679) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 17, 2012
The "summer ale" is a style that pedestrian drinkers tend to like because they’re clean and refreshing, but more sophisticated drinkers like me want something more complex and robust. Anchor Summer Beer is the type of beer that appeals to the former, but won’t annoy the latter.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a wheat beer glass.

Appearance: Clear gold body with plenty of spastic effervescence visible. Forms a huge, bright white, frothy head which mostly evaporates but not completely and laces the glass pretty well.

Smell: A slight sour/skunky aroma, but that seems to be indicative of the style. Slight lemony notes and a hint of seasoning. Otherwise, mild and clean.

Taste: Beers of the "pale wheat ale" style tend to be some of my least favorite. It’s hard to do anything with the style without making it overly gimmicky in some way (i.e. adding tons of hops and/or seasoning and spices). Anchor Summer Beer doesn’t take the gimmicky route, it’s pretty straightforward and unapologetic that it’s deliberately mild and clean. It begins with a clean taste of lemon - somewhat similar to that of a saison, but without the intensity. There’s some distinct bitterness through the middle - probably European hops and reminiscent of the flavor found in a pilsner from overseas. There’s not generic grainy taste to it at all, though. I do detect a hint of some kind of generic, indistinguishable spice or seasoning of some sort as the second half closes out. A bit of lemon peel on the finish, but the aftertaste is completely clean.

There’s nothing here to truly savor, but there’s nothing about it that’s off-putting, either. I could see lesser experienced drinkers finding this quite appealing, but veteran alesmiths will likely want more. More attributes than flaws, but not enough to warrant a genuine recommendation from me.

Drinkability: I drank Anchor Summer Beer outside on a hot sunny summer afternoon and it certainly did refresh me. The thin, slightly crisp/slightly tepid mouthfeel made it really easy to suck down and the lack of aftertaste was actually a good thing. At 4.5% ABV it’s technically a session brew, but I think most drinkers would session it out of performance value rather than their genuine interest in it.

Grade: 5/10

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