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Beer Reviews: Anchor Porter

Anchor Porter, a hallmark of the Anchor Brewing Company, is renowned for its rich history and pioneering spirit in the craft beer movement. This review delves into the heart of Anchor Porter, exploring its unique qualities, flavor profile, and why it continues to captivate beer enthusiasts around the globe.

Anchor Porter is more than just a beer; it’s a sensory experience that transports you to the heart of craft brewing tradition. Pouring a deep, almost opaque brown with a creamy tan head, it exudes an aura of robust elegance. The first whiff is a medley of rich aromas: roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a hint of coffee, interwoven with subtle notes of toffee and dark fruits. It’s an invitation to savor, to delve deeper into the complexities that lie within.

The Heritage of Anchor Brewing

Before we immerse ourselves in the dark allure of Anchor Porter, let’s take a moment to appreciate the brewery that brought this masterpiece to life.

Founded in 1896 in San Francisco, Anchor Brewing endured the tremors of earthquakes and the trials of Prohibition to emerge as a cornerstone of American craft brewing. The introduction of Anchor Porter in 1972 marked a significant milestone, not just for the brewery but for the craft beer movement at large.

It represented a commitment to quality, tradition, and the art of brewing, principles that Anchor Brewing has upheld to this day.

A Review of This Robust Porter from Anchor Brewing

Anchor Porter had been sitting on the shelf of my favorite beer store for about five months before I finally picked up a six-pack to sample. I kept away from this beer for a couple reasons despite it hailing from one of my favorite American breweries. For one thing, I’ve been a huge fan of Anchor’s Steam Beer and Liberty Ale for years and have been looking forward to the day when I’d have more of their products to try. So, when Anchor Porter finally showed up in Edmonton, I was concerned it wouldn’t live up to the anticipation.

Also, as much as I hate to say it, American craft breweries have been hit or miss for me when it comes to darker beers. For every Old Rasputin you come to love, you find a half dozen others that just suck out loud. As it happens, the last time I went to pick up beer, I was on a porter kick and used that as an excuse to grab a six-pack of the Anchor offering. And when the time came, I got home, left a bottle of porter on the counter to come up to the proper temperature, and poured myself a glass.

Deep, ruby-colored porter pours into the glass. Anchor Porter is crystal clear with pinpoint carbonation supporting a dense, mocha-colored head with good retention, up front, malt, cocoa, and licorice in the aroma. This is supported by nuts and hints of acidity. Combined, the aromas of Anchor Porter give a vaguely roasted aroma. Not quite roasted coffee, not quite roasted malt, but there it is. Way in the background are the hops, offering notes of pine.

My first impression is of a decently full-bodied ale with a lush, almost oily mouthfeel. The flavor starts off predominantly offering roasted malts, dried pitted fruits, and offerings of smoky, piney hops in the background. The flavor is fairly linear, moving directly from roasted malts to smokiness and pitted fruits in the center with a bracingly dry finish that lasts and lasts. Interestingly, it’s the smokiness that seems to provide the beers through note or backbone.

I’m gonna have to give it an 8.42 out of 10.

Anchor Porter definitely leaves an impression and not a bad one at that. This is definitely an American porter, being far more robust than the English models. And what I find enjoyable is how it’s able to be robust and decently balanced. None of the flavors or aromas are out of proportion to anything else. And the beer’s roastiness seems to do well, pulling the whole thing together. If you’re a fan of English porter or any flavorful dark style of ale, I think you’ll like Anchor Porter.

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John Crafton

Written by

John Crafton

John Crafton, a seasoned beer reviewer with a decade's experience, is celebrated for his refined taste and extensive knowledge of brewing. His passion for craft beer has led him across the globe, tasting and reviewing a diverse array of brews. John's writing simplifies the complex beer world, catering to both newcomers and connoisseurs.