India Pale Ale from one of America’s brewing treasures. 6.5% ABV
Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA
By Bill Lau
Posted October 3, 2014
Anchor’s story is a key element in the American craft beer revolution, and in my own beer appreciation and development into a beer aficionado. Their Liberty Ale was unlike anything I’d ever tasted when I first tried it back in the late ’80s; it left an indelible mark on my palate. It was the first “dry-hopped” beer I’d ever tasted; so-called because it employed the British tradition of adding hops to secondary fermentation, to extract extra aroma and flavor.
As craft beers (and my palate) have evolved and found a place for ever-hoppier beers, India Pale Ales (IPAs) have become ubiquitous, so I was excited when I learned of Anchor’s new offering, and very intrigued what they would do with their interpretation.
So, first off, the label – classic Anchor vintage style, an elephant with the Anchor logo. Sweet.
The beer poured a gorgeously clear amber hue capped with a generous pillow of rich, off-white foam. The head slowly settled to a hilly pillow.
Luscious aromas of caramel malt, sweet and toasted, with citrusy and floral hops.
Medium body, lighter on the carbonation, with a smooth texture. Sensation of hop oil covering the palate gradually worked to the back of my tongue.
Flavors started out with grapefruit, tangy sweet and sour caramel malt, then a growing bitterness washed over the palate. Not as in-your-face hoppy as some; more balanced between hops and malt, but with that classic Anchor Steam bittering to drive it home. Mix of grapefruit and toasty malt left behind, with a distinctive resiny, pithy, lingering bitterness. Floral notes showed up late. Pleasing. Very Anchor. The flavors were still on my palate more than a half hour after finishing it!
Rating: Appearance: 5/5 Aroma: 7.5/10 Palate: 4.5/5 Flavor: 8/10 Overall: 16.7/20