#166 Anchor – Humming Ale

Name: Humming Ale
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Co. (San Fransisco, USA)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.9%
Source: Victoria Park New World

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a little bit in love with Anchor’s packaging.

Those plump little bottles! The quaint vintage label designs! Don’t you want to just take them home and squeeze their little cheeks!?

No? Just me then.

Anyhoo… The Humming Ale is made with Nelson Sauvin hops (yup – they’re from Noo Zulund!), which they describe as a “rare and unusual” variety with a unique character. Isn’t it neat that our hops are so exotic in America?

I thought this was great – the Nelson hops make it quite different from most Pale Ale’s from California, but it still had that citrussy dry character which I associate with the style. It had a bit of a floral aroma as well as the citrus, and in the mouth I got flavours of caramel malt alongside a pithy grapefruit bitterness. The finish was dry and actually a little tart, making it super refreshing and quaffable.

And because this post needs a bit more filler I’d just like to say sorry for all these “woman hiding behind beer” photos. While they are good for proving that I did actually drink the beer, they’re not good for showing you things like just how adorably cute those Anchor bottles really are. The slightly-better-but-still-pretty-crap iPhone photos will be back just as soon as I get a new phone. (Though I’m secretly enjoying not having one so I make no promises of when that will be).

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#63 Anchor Brewing – Old Foghorn

Anchor Old Foghorn Ale

Name: Old Foghorn
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Co. (San Fransisco, California, USA)
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 8. 8%
Source: Regional Wines (Wellington)

I was planning to come on here at some stage and rant about barley wine. About the fact that it’s not wine and it’s not even really a style as far as I can tell because apparently it just means “the brewers strongest offering” – and surely strong is not a style.

But then this beer shut me right up. You know what? I don’t even care if barley wine is a pseudo-style*. I don’t care if they call it “the beeriest beer in town.” If this Old Foghorn is anything to go by, barley wine is a style worth getting to know.

This one is made by Anchor in San Fransisco, who (I think) make the most aesthetically pleasing range of beers out. See?

Anchor Brewing beers

I knew I was in for a treat as soon as I began to pour it. It glugged into my glass like canadian maple syrup – thick and with a lovely golden-amber hue.

It smelled even better than it looked – like caramel, banana lollies, rum’n’raisins… basically anything sweet and sticky and delicious you can think of.

It delivered on the palate, too, with the sweet malty flavours balanced slightly by a mild bitterness that came through in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was full and oily like a dessert wine – in fact everything about it was like a dessert wine – and it left me with the same sticky lips and warm alcohol heat in my throat.

This is the kind of beer that I would like everyone who says they “don’t like beer” to try. In fact, I think the only people who wouldn’t like this are those weird folk who say they don’t like desserts. (And they’re clearly bonkers anyway.)

*UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that Barley Wine is not, in fact, the mysterious pseudo-style that I though it was (lazy googling – guilty), and it’s definition can be found here.

Published in: on October 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm  Comments (14)  
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#2 Anchor Liberty Ale

Anchor Liberty Ale

Name: Liberty Ale
Brewer: Anchor Brewing Company (San Fransisco, U.S.A)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6%

I really should have saved this beer for the fourth of July. You can’t see it that clearly in my lazy iPhotograph, but the label on Liberty Ale features a bald eagle clutching hops and barley perched atop a shield emblazoned with stars and stripes. If that’s not enough, the Liberty Ale was first brewed on April 18 (my birthday, huzzah!) 1975 to commemorate some ride by some famous patriot in the American Revolution.

Although I usually have a knee-jerk reaction to any form of patriotism, I love the vintage, slightly cutesy look of all Anchor labels, as well as their unique bottle shapes. If I was the beer-bottle collecting type, I would definetely hang on to these guys.

And the beer. Now, I’m just a baby fawn taking my first shaky steps into the world of beer tasting, so you’ll have to excuse me if my notes are a bit weak. As you can see it poured a slightly cloudy amber colour with a small white head.  After sniffing the beer for a long time and shouting “It’s like… it’s just like… Something!” at my frightened flatmate I just gave up and took a sip. Then I wrote down:

  • Grapefruit Marmalade
  • Slightly burnt toffee
  • Hint of manuka honey
  • America, F**k Yeah!

I could definitely see myself drinking more of this beer in the summer. It’s refreshing, slightly malty, and has a bit of hoppy zing, though it doesn’t last long. Somehow the name, the label and the backstory made me think this would be punchier, but instead I thought it was quite delicate and fairly easy drinking.

Anchor Liberty Ale – I salute you!

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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