Anchor Brewing

Beer Review – Anchor Liberty IPA


anchor-liberty-ipaY’all know the drill! First, I tell you how I acquired the beer in the above photo. Then I tell you about it via a bit of cut and paste from the brewer’s website. And then I proceed with my review and leave you with some final thoughts. Let’s get on with it…

Part 1: The Acquisition

It all started on January 29 at 6:46PM. I sent a photo of a Ninkasi beer that arrived on my doorstep to The Alemonger via text. He responded immediately and told me of his latest Craft Beer acquisitions from Wegmans, i.e. a Stone’s Mint Coffee Milk Stout and a 6-pack of Anchor’s Liberty IPA.

Three hours and fourteen minutes later, we had the following exchange of text messages:

the-alemonger-textsAfter two days of silence, he follows up that brief exchange with the following text:

Liberty IPA is almost Peeper on Viagra.

If you’ve been following our BeerVentures over the years, then you already know that Peeper holds a very special place in my heart, so when the Qui-Gon Jinn of Craft Beer referenced it, I just had to track down a bottle. Thankfully, Anchor beers are readily available in our area, so by the next evening, I had two bottles chilling in my fridge.

Part 2: Words from The Brewer

Here’s what Anchor Brewing Company has to say about their Liberty IPA:

Liberty IPA is Anchor’s reimagining of the craft beer classic Liberty Ale®, envisioned through the lens of today’s IPAs. We first brewed Liberty Ale in 1975 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s midnight ride. This revolutionary forerunner of the modern IPA introduced America to the Cascade hop and the nearly lost art of dry-hopping, a steeping process to infuse beer with bold hop aromas.

Like its predecessor, Liberty IPA is made with two-row pale malt and Cascade hops. It is the combination of Cascade with new hop varieties—Nelson Sauvin and El Dorado—that creates the mouthwateringly complex and robust aromas of pine and citrus in this crisp, American-style IPA.

Liberty IPA is a bright straw golden color and boasts aromas of dank and resinous pine up front, with bold citrus and grapefruit notes on the back end. The assertive bitterness is complimented with hints of a light biscuit malt base and a smooth, dry finish. Liberty IPA is a celebration of the Cascade hopped IPA’s that Anchor first popularized back in 1975 and remain at the forefront of American craft beer trends.

Taking cues from the original Liberty Ale packaging, the newly designed Liberty IPA label features the bald eagle, a symbol of strength and freedom.

Part 3: The Review

  • Appearance: Pale orange color. Very little foam or lacing.
  • Aroma: Quite citrusy with mandarine orange and grapefruit notes. After that, there’s a smattering of honey followed by some resinous pine.
  • Taste: Medium carbonation, i.e. somewhere between soft and creamy and super fizzy like a seltzer. Citrus and honey at the start. Some bitterness shows up at mid-palate, but it’s oh so mild. Quite crisp and clean at the finish with all of the flavors coming together. Leaves you with some citrusy bitterness in the aftertaste.
  • ABV: 6.3%

The Verdict

As I mentioned in Part 1, The Alemonger says the Liberty IPA reminds him of Peeper. I can see where he’s coming from. Anchor’s Liberty IPA is not your typical, super aggressively hopped, West Coast IPA. This beer has a decidedly New England IPA quality to it. Given that Anchor’s original Liberty Ale was brewed in honor of Paul Revere, a native of Boston, this all makes sense. Beers such as Smutty’s Finestkind, Harpoon’s IPA, and Maine Beer Company’s Lunch (more so than Peeper) come to mind (these are all good things by the way). While this beer isn’t quite at the level of Maine Beer Company’s Lunch, given it’s wide availability and modest price ($10.99 for a 6-pack of Liberty IPA vs. $6 to $10 for a 16 ounce bottle of MBC’s Lunch), I’d say it makes a damn fine substitute.

Part 4: The Alemonger’s Review

The following review was taken directly from The Alemonger’s Rate Beer page (with his permission of course):

This is a perfect example of what an old guard craft brewer can still do. With so many upstart breweries engaged in a dizzying game of up-brewmanship a new classic like Liberty IPA can get overlooked. Uniform hazy glowing goldenrod pour supporting a short lingering fluffy white head. Aroma of fresh cut grass, mild pine, and sea air. Initially the flavor profile is as its namesake implies: Liberty Ale but a bracing northwest hop bitterness emerges just before the snappy, dry finish. I’m old school and will always save room in the craft beer fridge for Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and the other flagship breweries. This is no West Coast hop bomb by any means but it’s a very crisp, well-balanced, and versatile brew. Maine Beer Co fans may taste a heartier Peeper Ale in this one.

_________________________________________

Many thanks to The Alemonger for pointing me in the direction of this beer and for allowing us to use his tasting notes!

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