Ask any craft beer afficiando about the origins of craft beer especially in the United States and it won’t take much time before the name Fritz Maytag, Anchor or Steam beer enters into the conversation.
Fritz Maytag was one of the lucky few who was set to inherit a fortune and sitting in San Francisco in 1965 heard that a brewery was closing and as a Stanford graduate with money to spare he turned around the fortune of the Steam Beer Brewing Company with modern equipment and a new recipe which was an updated version of steam beer which is called steam beer because of the way that the beer was cooled. The beer gave off steam as it cooled because ice was not used to cool the beer as it was on the east coast but I have seen a whole bunch of different stories about the name but what is for sure is that you won’t see many other steam beers because Anchor own the word steam as a trademark.
Fritz turned the Steam Beer Brewing Company into Anchor and from there built the brand and with Sierra Nevada formed the basis of the modern craft brewing industry.
Today I try the beer that started it all and get to check another 1001 beers. Incidentally I am at 129 so less then 900 to go.
Anchor Steam Beer is 4.9% and pours a clear golden brown colour with a light fluffy head which quickly evaporated and smelt of herbal hops and a touch of caramel malts. The taste is very good upfront, not complicated but not dumbed down simple. This beer is the kid in school who was near the top of the class in primary school but once you hit high school everyone catches up. Steam beer was once the king of the playground but since the 60’s everyone has caught up. This beer is still great perfect on a hot day, if it was an Australian beer this is what I would bring to a BBQ. This beer has a light spritz character and has just enough bitterness and malt sweetness to pair with almost anything.
You can get it at Goodwood Cellars.