The can: Anchor Steam Beer, $11.99 per six-pack
The back story: For most fans of craft beer, Anchor Steam is a familiar name. The San Francisco brewery behind it, Anchor Brewing Co., now owned by Japan-based Sapporo Breweries
But enough of the technicalities. The real question is what makes Anchor Steam relevant right now? In short, cans.
After 100-plus years, Anchor is available in standard 12-ounce cans for the first time. (Don’t worry, bottle lovers — it’s still available that way, too.) A generation ago, cans were considered a no-no for beer geeks, largely because of the metallic taste some felt they imparted to the brew. But that has changed in recent years with better can-lining technology. In fact, cans have become the go-to vessel for many a craft aficionado, with market researcher Nielsen
If anything, Anchor is a little late to the trend: Venerable craft brew Samuel Adams
Either way, Scott Ungermann, brewmaster at Anchor Brewing Co., says he’s a can fan. He notes that cans have several advantages — for example, they are light-proof (light is an enemy of beer) and leak-proof. And he says the can-lining technology of today does “preserve the flavor of beer quite well.”
What we think about it: We admit we’re still of that older-school bottles-are-better way of thinking. But, truth be told, Anchor Steam in cans is still, well, Anchor Steam, an enjoyable brew that’s mildly hoppy and has a pleasing caramel-like sweetness. Ungermann says you should also pick up a “final hint of banana.”
How to enjoy it: Just crack open a can and enjoy. The Anchor team says the beer does pair especially well with grilled foods — perhaps a steak with caramelized onions.