Anchor Brewing traces its roots back to at least 1896. The brewery survived
prohibition, but nearly went under in the mid nineteen sixties until it was
rescued by beer lover and entrepreneur Fritz Maytag. His last name may be on
a major appliance in your home, and that's where Fritz's wealth and ability
to buy the brewery came from. He purchased it in 1965 and slowly nursed it
back to health with years of hard work and dedication.
Though not a microbrewery, Anchor was producing Christmas ales as early as 1974 and a hoppy India pale almost that far back too. Maytag's beer was widely available, though pricey, long before any other craft beer. I remember getting six packs of Anchor Steam back in 1983 in Rhode Island. At $9.00 a six pack, it was a rare treat, but a very special one.
Anchor Steam seems to be a bit more reasonably priced, now. I can often get it for about $7.50 here in Atlanta. But as always, it's important to make sure it's fresh. This is a very perishable brew.
Indeed, I often had trouble in the 90s finding it in good condition on tap. On 8/17/1998 I wrote of a glass at the Mews Tavern in Wakefield RI:
Anchor Steam: Disappointing, listless, not flavorful at all. The keg had been on way too long. I've still not experienced a _really_ fresh keg of this beer, though I have had some excellent bottled Anchor Steam. This did not match up.
Steam Beer is a thing of beauty to behold even before you take a sip. The
golden orange liquid supports a creamy, thick head formation of small, very
tightly packed bubbles. A steady stream of bubbles rises to the top of the
The nose hints at fruit and caramel malt. The palate is smooth, clean and crisp, slightly toasty and very malty and firm-bodied. There's a subtle fruitiness. A lively hop bitterness gradually sneaks up on you and doesn't make it's presence fully known until about thirty seconds after you've finished your sip.
Certainly an American classic, it's a great beer to match with just about any cuisine. Tonight I'm enjoying it with another American classic: a juicy, lightly seasoned steak with a baked potato and yellow squash.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.