This week I want to do a review on a summer beer,  and I wanted to try one that I hadn’t had in awhile.  So, with out further ado,  Anchor Brewing Co.’s Anchor Summer Beer.  This beer is absolutely delicious. I had one earlier this afternoon in my kitchen before I went to work and immediately remembered how good this beer is after not drinking one probably since last year.

First off though, a little Anchor Steam history…

The Anchor Steam Brewing Company was originally founded in 1896 in San Francisco, CA.  It has been mainly known to produce “steam beers” which rely on the fermentation of lager yeasts without refrigeration.  Lager yeast is generally developed to ferment at cold temperatures .

The early 2oth century brewers would pump the wort up to the roof of the brewery and with the help of the Pacific winds blowing off the coast, would cool the beer in large vats, producing steam like visuals around the brewery’s sky. The result of that was usually a dry, sub-par but cheap lager that was easy to make, hence the other popular name for the style, California Common beer.

Frederick "Fritz" Maytag III, the early years at Anchor Steam

After surviving multiple fires, Prohibition, and 2 world wars, the brewery found itself in financial trouble trying to compete with the new infestation of mass-produced lagers.  So, in 1968 Frederick “Fritz” Maytag, of the famous washer/dryer manufacturing family, bought the brewery simply because he loved the Anchor Steam beer so much and couldn’t bear to see the brewery close. Under Maytag’s authority the brewery began to produce higher quality, darker beers and set the tone for the craft brewing surge in the US.

Now known as the “Father of the Microbrewing Revolution” Maytag has watched over the last 40 years the success and revitalization of Anchor Steam and sparked the advent of craft brewing across America.  Hear hear!

Here he is in more recent times.


Anchor Steam Summer was first brewed in 1984 with ale yeast and wheat and continues to do so using the same recipe

Appearance: Dark golden color.  Great frothy head of foam.  Nice bubble action from the CO2.  Was hard to look away from that head though.

Aroma: Very simple. Slight hops but mainly wheat malt.  Bready.  A little pilsner in there too.  A bit vegetal.

Taste: Very refreshing.  Not too dry.  Not too sweet. Not too bitter.  Light and clean.  Nice, light wheat malt backbone.  You could easily drink a twelver of this stuff all night.  Faint hop linger in the aftertaste.

Overall Thoughts: Do yourself a favor and buy a six pack.  That’s all I need to say.  There are a lot of overly bitter and malty ‘summer’ beers out there that throw way too much shit in the brew these days.  This beer keeps things simple and proves that quality is better than quantity in that regard.  I think most beer geeks think this beer is ok, above average but I think it’s awesome.

Unofficial Rating: A+

Here’s a short video with Fritz Maytag explaining the Anchor Steam culture…


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