Until fairly recently I didn't venture into Safeways very often. So with the threat of imminent demise of the chain I followed the missus on one of her safaris into these less familiar parts. There had been a marked reorganisation of stock and I was quite surprised what they had on display in their Beers, Wines and Spirits department. (Enough to keep me running these reviews for a few days I'll be bound!) I have already reviewed a couple of guests from the other side of the Atlantic. Here is a genuine American brew sequestered in the North East of England. THE BOTTLE Liberty Ale (from the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco) is housed in a traditional brown 12 fluid ounce bottle and sealed with a red crown cap that bears the Anchor trade mark. It bares an ornate front label which shows again the Anchor in front of an American shield and bald eagle with wings spread in a field of hopes and barley. The rear label attests to its American authenticity (there isd a huge barcode which starts with the number '0'), converts the contents into metric (355ml) and declares the brew to be 5.9% ABV. The neck collar gives a précis of the origin of the beer (see below) and repeats the Anchor motif. THE BREWERY "The rich history of Anchor Brewing can be traced all the way back to the Gold Rush, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco with his wife Marie and infant son Frederick. Brekle applied for citizenship in 1854, and his brewing and business acumen would soon lead to his ownership of a little San Francisco brewery on Pacific, between Larkin and Hyde, which would one day become known as Anchor. By 1896 there were more than two dozen breweries in San Francisco! Anchor's seven unique beers - including Anchor Steam®?are all produced in one of the most traditional and handsome breweries in the world. Each brew is virtually handmade from an all-malt mash in our
handcrafted copper brewhouse, a veritable museum of the simple, traditional breweries of old. We strive to practice the art of classical brewing, and we employ state-of-the-art methods to ensure that our products are clean and clear, pure and fresh." [Reprinted from the Anchor Brewing Company web site: http://www.anchorbrewing.com/index.htm] Liberty Ale was first introduced on April 18th, 1975 to commemorate the bicentennial of the famous ride by Paul Revere.(%%) Liberty Ale® is brewed strictly according to traditional brewing methods, and uses only natural ingredients - water, malted barley, fresh whole hops and yeast. A special top-fermenting ale yeast is used during fermentation and is responsible for many of Liberty Ale's subtle flavors and characteristics. Carbonation is produced by an entirely natural process called "bunging," which produces champagne-like bubbles. "Dry-hopping (adding fresh hops to the brew during aging), imparts a unique aroma to the ale." The web site also declares that the ale is brewed to 6% ABV (%%) Paul Revere (1735-1818) American Patriot. He was a participant in the Boston Tea Party. His main claim to fame was a gallop on horseback in 1775 from Boston to Lexington to forewarn his compatriots of the advance of the British troops before the battle of Lexington in the American War of Independence. This was immortalised in a poem by Henry Wadsworth (1863) THE TASTING My bottle was stored in a cold room (about 40ºF ? this is an American beer after all) so I class it as cool rather than chilled. The crown cap came off with a puff of vapour. Liberty Ale pours with a good sparkle (the natural carbonation process) and generates a creamy head. It is a fairly light amber colour and is turbid in the glass. There is a gentle sparkle but no sediment. It has a mildly malty nose. The first taste is a quite powerful and complex mixture of flavours. It is both q
uite sweet and sour with distinctly fruity and slightly citrus overtones. This then develops into a prominent refreshing bitter afterglow on the palate. CONCLUSIONS This is a most delightful foreign visitor to these shores. This beer is well rounded, full bodied, delicious flavours and strong for an American (6% ABV) . Drink a couple of bottles and you can begin to appreciate just what Britain's old colonies have achieved since they wrested their independence from old King George. Maybe it's a brew to celebrate one of the seminal moments in that long remembered confrontation - but maybe too it's a way of cementing the formidable bonds of friendship that stretch across the mighty pond . Well, anyway!! Anchor Breweries Liberty Ale is available at Safeways - price £1.29 for a 12 fl oz bottle. Would I drink it again? You betcha!
Anchor Liberty Ale was released on April 18th, 1975. According to folklore it was released to commemorate Paul Revere?s mythical ride of 1775. As legend would have it, he rode from Boston to Lexington to warn the revolutionaries that the British were coming to arrest them and this signaled the start of some kind of Independence War. Whether you believe in fairy tales or not, the resulting commemorative beer truly signifies a revolution of independence. Anchor Brewing, especially well known for its Steam Beer, has been at the forefront of the American craft brewing renaissance since Fritz Maytag rescued the company from near bankruptcy in the 1960s. Since the craft brewing industry was almost non-existent at that time, many of Anchors beers have become the American benchmark in their style. While many of the earlier craft brews have been improved upon by newer microbreweries, Anchor Liberty Ale is still highly acclaimed as one of the best of its style. Which style that is exactly may be open to debate, some say it?s a pale ale, some say its too hoppy and should be classed as an IPA. Fritz Maytag?s intention was in fact to produce a robust American interpretation of the great ales of Britain and he visited several British breweries in the process. At 6% ABV it?s certainly on the strong side for a pale ale. Tasting Notes Anchor Liberty pours to a cloudy, pale orange hue, with good head formation and lively carbonation. The aroma is especially hoppy and fruity. A sweet minty herb and peppery spice comes through alongside the piney, floral hops and a touch of orange zest. A hoppy, prickly bitterness at the front introduces the fairly light, well carbonated palate. This is balanced well in the middle with a fair sweetness that is biscuity with lemon and orange fruits. The hops are assertive in the finish, both in their dryness and in their bitterness, a bitterness that lingers well into the aftertaste. The aftert
aste itself has an exceptional complexity with strong hop bitterness and fruity sweetness playing well against each other. Verdict I read somewhere that Anchor Liberty is an excessively imitated beer but for me thats really difficult to say. I have a hard time throwing it in with the American Pale Ales because it seems to be richer in flavor and complexity with a higher alcohol content and elevated bitterness. I also struggle to identify it with the standard west coast IPA which is usually characterized by an instantly noticeable grapefruit finish and often tropical fruit middle. For arguments sake, I would class it as an IPA, but I cant say that without adding that it has a complexity and style that seems to be all unto itself. I should also add that Ive been drinking this beer on draft for a couple of years, and this is the first time Ive ever tried the bottle. From memory it seems that the draft version is a little lighter, and I would definitely favor the bottle. This is an ale that most serious beer fans seem to really appreciate. If you enjoy Sierra Nevada or any pale ale this is certainly worth trying out.
Are all beers from the USA tasteless rice-drinks of the standard and quality of Coors and Bud Lite? Thankfully, NO. They have real beer with flavour as well and here's a little opinion about one of them. First introduced in 1975, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere's historic ride, LIBERTY ALE is brewed strictly according to traditional brewing methods. Like all Anchor Brewing Company products, only natural ingredients are used - water, malted barley, whole fresh hops and top fermenting yeast. Anchor brewery uses hops in their natural form - as flowers, rather than as an extract. The main portion of hops is boiled with the juices of the barley in a traditional copper brew-kettle, but a further seasoning of Cascade hops is added when the beer is cellared for maturing. This means that the hops are VERY dominant in the bouquet. The practice (known as dry-hopping), of adding hops at this stage is often thought of as being typically British. A British-style yeast is used, and the beer is matured for several weeks at natural cellar temperatures. This conditioning is also typical of the way some classic British ales are developed. This gives the beer a greater fruitiness and complexity. It's ironic really, that a beer that commemorates the American Revolution utilizes British brewing techniques. ____________________INTERMISSION_________________________ A guy walks into a pub and tells the barman to line up 10 glasses and start filling them with beer. So the barman starts filling the glasses up with beer, and the man is right behind him drinking them straight down. The barman says, "Hey, whats your hurry?" The man replies, "If you had what I have you would do the same thing." The bartender backs off and asks, "What do you have?" The guy says, "About 75 pence!" __________________________________________________________ Re
turn to Op. * THE POUR * ANCHOR LIBERTY ALE pours to a slightly hazy, almost cloudy, pale golden, straw-like colour with a full, off-white head, and a moderate amount of carbonation. The head dissipates fairly quickly. Very fragrant, zesty-cirtus and slightly herb-like hop aromas are immediately evident. Also noticeable is a light caramel maltiness and an almost indiscernible fruitiness, but the assertive hop aroma dominates. The nose on this beer is very strong with aromatic, pine-scented, floral highlights brought about by the abundant presence of these hops. * THE TASTE * Well... it's quite soft, with a little fruitiness. Malty caramel flavours, and a nice mouthfeel knock at the door. But it's the hops that kick that door wide open. Bitter, pine-scented, aromatic, floral, perfumy, herbal hops. Medium-bodied to light, it's a smooth beer. There's a nice grain dryness to it, a tea-like flavour, and some citrus bitterness. The bitterness gets very slightly pungent. Liberty Ale finishes with more malty flavours, leading to a very dry, zesty, coarse and grainy, hop bitterness that lingers. * THE VERDICT * Liberty Ale is quite strong, at 5.9% ABV. With its aromatic dryness and intensity of flavours, and a firm, crisp, biscuit-like, malt character, it's perfect for whetting the appetite. It's great for a summer afternoon BBQ when you don't want any sudsy, tasteless mouthwash, and you crave something with a bit of character. Hey! why limit yourself to that scenario. I drank a couple the other night while trying not to watch Athletics on the TV and they went down a treat. Does that qualify it as a 'sports drink'? It's widely available in all the supermarkets at around £1.30 for a 330ml bottle. How is it that a bottle of beer can travel halfway round the world and still be competetively priced against beer brewed 10 miles away? An excellent sipping beer....not a bad session beer...in fact an all round great beer. Would I drink it again? - Gee whiz, I guess. Thanks for reading, Sláinte ©proxam2002
This is a classic beer that deserves not only our attention but respect. Pioneering American style this beer is a fundamental beer to understanding the American beer movement.