Beer of the Week: Anchor California Lager

Established during the California Gold Rush, Anchor Brewing Company was set up by Ernst F Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel Jr., in 1896 – taking over an old brewery in San Francisco.

Without icehouses or modern refrigeration, a small brewery – Boca – created California’s first genuine lager 20 years beforehand, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State. A recreation of this historic American beer, Anchor eventually launched their first lager in 2013, previously best known for their Anchor Steam Beer: named after the 19th Century brewing technique used on the West Coast of America, under primitive conditions and without ice.

Brewed in San Francisco, Anchor’s California Lager is crafted using two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th Century California) and the brewery’s own lager yeast. The all-malt brew is then kräusened and lagered in the brewery’s cellars. Another homage to California’s unique craft brewing heritage, Anchor California Lager has a label inspired by an original illustration of a California grizzly bear by Charles Christian Nahl, later going on to inspire the design for California’s modern state flag.

When poured from the can, Anchor California Lager is golden, crowned with a creamy white head. On the nose, light malt aromas are prominent alongside wafts of yeast, somewhat typical of Anchor’s range. Elsewhere, some grassy hop notes are joined by toasted bread. When sipped, Anchor California Lager is medium-light bodied, harbouring some further notes of toasted malt and sweet grain, plus a sweet hint of treacle with underlying bitterness. This moderate bitterness continues on the finish, quashed by some final sweet notes. With a relatively low ABV (4.9 per cent) and lightness that’s backed by impressive depth of flavour, Anchor California Lager is an easy-drinking, refreshing pale lager.

Further information on Anchor Brewing Company can be found here.


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