I couldn’t think of a more fitting beer review for the 4th of July holiday than Liberty Ale by San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company. Liberty Ale was first introduced in April 1975 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s historic ride, and so I thought it would also be fitting to review it on July 4 2009 for America’s 233rd year of Independence! Maybe you’ll consider Anchor’s Liberty Ale as a good beer choice for your 4th of July party or BBQ!
This is The Brew Club’s 3rd Anchor beer review. Last year we checked out Anchor Bock which I thought was a really nice beer, and also the Anchor 2008 Christmas Beer which I could appreciate, but didn’t like as much because it was just toooooo hoppy for my taste! How’s the Liberty Ale going to rate?
The first thing I noticed about the 6%ABV Anchor Liberty Ale was the strong aroma of hops as soon as I popped open the bottle. As I understand it, Anchor has something of a reputation regarding dry-hopping their beers and perhaps that’s the reason, or maybe this was just designed to be a hoppy smelling (and tasting?) beer.
As you can see in the picture, this beer produced a huge foamy cream-colored head and it really was slow to go down! Once it did, there remained a thick, foamy layer on the beer and the lacing was rather clingy as well. I’d say the Liberty Ale is something of a cloudy medium straw color, and looking closely at the beerI could see interesting patterns of very fine sediment floating around. I really wish I could get a decent picture of that. It seems awfully trivial but I thought it was quite interesting and cool looking!
Getting on to the aroma, as I mentioned previously the most dominant ingredient was sweet hops. I’m not a big fan of overly-hopped beers and I tend to shy away from them, but this beer reminded me of the aforementioned Anchor Christmas beer…to an extent. While I remember being able to smell the Anchor Christmas beer from almost across the room, the Liberty ale is much more subtle, more mild. Anyway, that’s what it reminded me of.
I know this beer isn’t technically an IPA, but it looks and smells like an “IPA light” to me, and the taste is pretty much there too. The taste follows the smell quite closely I think with floral hops being the biggest part of the flavor. I thought this beer was relatively smooth drinking because while it had a dominant hop flavor, it wasn’t of the biting or stinging variety which is usually a turn off for me.
The Anchor Liberty Ale left a slightly bitter aftertaste and I experienced a really dry mouthfeel that I just personally don’t like. I can appreciate the care and craftsmanship that goes into making the Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale, but it’s simply not a style of beer that I tend to enjoy all that much. If you like beers with a bit more of a hop presence, then Liberty Ale is a smooth drinker that you might want to consider trying.
For me, I’m glad I had it especially considering the motivation behind its creation, but I’ll probably pass on it in the future and so I’m only able to give it a 2.5 star rating. Your mileage may vary.
Have you tried the Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale? Its been around since 1975, so chances are you might have! What did you think of it?