Sunday, September 6, 2015

Anchor Brotherhood Steam Beer

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1447) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 6, 2015
Anchor Brewing out of San Francisco was one of America’s first true “craft” breweries (well before that term was coined). They’re best known for their trademarked Anchor Steam beer – which is an interesting lager/ale hybrid. I’ve always found it to be okay, but nothing special. This edition, the “Brotherhood” Steam Beer is a modernizing of the recipe with plenty of hop aroma, flavor and bitterness. Is it any wonder I like it better than the original? 

I poured a 12oz can into a mug. There was no freshness date. It cost $3.25 ($0.29 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful copper color; quite clear with tiny, slow carbonation bubbles visible. Pours to an average-sized, white, soapy head which retains laces pretty well.

Smell: Lovely hop aroma with notes of pine, grass and perhaps a touch of mint or some herbal character.

Taste: While I wouldn’t say this beer is absolutely wonderfully delicious, I will say that it is well-balanced with plenty of hop and malt character that create for an interesting dynamic, but also complement each other. Similar to a Vienna lager, there’s a nice taste of the amber malts here; they create for a lightly sweet caramel and bready flavor. Lingering in the background is a mild zesty taste of grassy hops and a firm bitterness. On the back end the hops become much more prominent and even bite a little. Pine needles and a light kiss of mint are noticeable. It might not sound like a good combination, but they actually play off the malt base nicely. This is much more interesting than Anchor’s flagship steam beer – I hope they make this a perennial offering and not just a one-off.

Drinkability: The thing about steam beers (a.k.a. California Commons) is that they tend to have the taste of ale but the body of a lager. Brotherhood Steam Beer is a bit bigger in body than the average lager, but maintains the consistent carbonation and accompanying crispness of a lager. The hops actually linger for a bit and leave a slight starchy sensation. I would not call this beer refreshing, but it easy very easy to drink quickly. At 5.6% ABV this is strong enough to stand up to a meal, but still light enough to tempt you into sessioning it.

RATING: 8/10

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