Anchor Brewing

Beer Review – Anchor Brewing Porter

Anchor Porter Label

As I am drinking this bottle of Anchor Brewing’s Porter and writing up this review, Mrs. G-LO is fast asleep in the room above me. Tomorrow morning at 8:30, she will be flying to San Francisco for the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting (sounds like fun right?). It would have been great to join her in San Francisco for part of the trip (I’ve never been there), but due to work obligations (it’s budget season!), I wasn’t able to take any time off.

In honor of her journey, I decided that I would review this beer from San Francisco’s very own Anchor Brewing. I figured that if I couldn’t try this beer in its natural habitat, I may as well try it at home.

Here is some information about this Porter from Anchor Brewing:

With deep black color, a thick, creamy head, rich chocolate, toffee and coffee flavors, and full-bodied smoothness, Anchor Porter® is the epitome of a handcrafted dark beer.

A blend of specially roasted pale, caramel, chocolate, and black malts, along with our top-fermenting yeast, creates complexity without bitterness. The brew is hopped at a high rate, and naturally carbonated. The result is dark in the glass, but surprisingly light on the palate.

Anchor Porter® became the first modern American porter when it was introduced in 1972. As we celebrate its 40th anniversary, our porter continues to reward those who look beyond its intimidating appearance to discover its smooth, full-bodied drinkability. Anchor Porter® is the definitive American Porter.

Let’s find out if this beer is an American classic or simply just another beer…

  • Appearance: Deep, dark mahogany color with a bit of light brown coming through at the edges when held up to the light. Thick, one inch tan head that dissipates slowly. Good bit of sticky lacing.
  • Aroma: The nose is not nearly as robust as I would have expected when I first poured it, so I decided to douche it up with the camera while this beer warmed up a bit. Letting it sit was a good move! The classic Porter coffee and chocolate notes are front and center. The coffee is of the American roast variety, i.e. it reminds me of the Ellis or Lacas brand coffees that I have had on numerous occasions at one of the many Diners in the Philly/South Jersey area, and the chocolate is of the semi-sweet variety. Also getting hints of raisins and dried apricots.
  • Taste: Medium bodied, i.e. not too watery and not too thick. Lightly carbonated with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. A good bit of dried fruit sweetness at the onset followed immediately by a small dose of hoppy bitterness. From the middle to the finish, the roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate take over. Leaves you with a soothing coffee aftertaste that lingers for a few minutes.
  • ABV: 5.6%

While I have had the Anchor Steam Beer on a few occasions over the years, for whatever reason, it wasn’t until recently that I started to dig deeper into the rest of Anchor Brewing’s line-up, and boy am I glad I did! In the past five months, I have grown to really appreciate their Christmas and Liberty Ales, and I am happy to report that their Porter is also supremely delicious. It has everything you look for in a dark beer but without the high octane punch of a Russian Imperial Stout or a Baltic Porter. Don’t get me wrong, I have grown to love those big beers, but they’re not something that I would want to drink on a daily basis. For those times when I crave a dark beer, but don’t want to go overboard, Anchor Porter is definitely worth considering. The verdict: a true American classic!

17 replies »

  1. We just tasted our home-brew porter and were thrilled. I find it’s one of the varieties of beer that is really hit or miss. I love the traditional flavors we expect in a porter but hate when they are overwhelming. I’ll have to try the Anchor soon! Thanks!


    • Glad to hear that I’m not the only one that missed the boat on this beer. It was really well done! Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald and Maine Beer Company King Titus are great too, but they’re a bit higher octane. If ever there were a session porter, this would be it.


    • I’d say it’s well worth trying, and since you’re already on the West Coast, I bet you can get a super fresh version.

      How about an Anchor Porter “Beer and a Movie” review with a movie that was filmed in San Fran in 1974 (the first year this beer was bottled)? Apparently, The Conversation will fit the bill. Or you can go with any of the Dirty Harry films.


      • Yes, one of the benefits of being on the West Coast is that brews from the likes of Anchor, Stone and Lagunitas are readily available everywhere.

        And Dirty Harry’s been on the BAAM docket for awhile. Just trying to nail down a copy. BUt if that doesn’t work out, fortunately there are plenty of movies that take place in SF that are worth watching. For example: any film noir ever. Thanks for suggestions!


  2. Did you ever have one of those days when you woke up wondering what it might be like to spend 4 or 5 hours individually drying miniature marshmallows with a circa 1977 Vidal Sassoon hair dryer (sans diffuser) in order to recreate larger than life statues of popular folk/rock singer’s torsos?

    Me neither.

    But tomorrow’s another day.

    I’ve always been a fan of Anchor Brewing. Anchor Steam was my first craft beer epiphany beer in the Fall of 1984. Ever since then they’ve had a special place in my craft beer fridge. Their Christmas “Our Special” Ale is at the top of my list of most anticipated seasonals every year – regardless of season. Anchor Porter is rock solid. Very hard to beat if you’re looking for a traditional domestic Porter. Consistently excellent. Ages reasonably (though unintentionally) well too.


    ….wonder if one of the newer model hair dryers would do the trick……


  3. You should try Anchor Summer Beer. It’s not overly citrus like some other beer in this style. If you’re thinking about trying it out you can read my review at


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