Liberty Ale

Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Brewing’s Liberty Ale is one of their beers that I can get here (unlike their Bock which I reviewed yesterday) but for some reason never had. It’s one of their older beers—first brewed in 1975—and according to their site is brewed "strictly according to traditional brewing methods." Traditional it is; this beer oozes tradition.

That’s a good thing, by the way.

Appearance: Yellowish-orange, clear with a hint of haze. Very traditional looking, if that makes any sense… Head is fairly white and leaves a slight bit of "legs" on the side of the glass.

Smell: Hoppy, with a fruity character… a berry. Very clean, malty.

Taste: Very competent, nicely bodied pale ale with a nice, cleanly bitter hop running through it. Very well balanced, hops are refreshing and complement it perfectly… very traditional. I quite like it.

Mouthfeel: A hint on the watery side of medium bodied; the hops and the carbonation tickle the tongue.

Overall: Wow, I used "traditional" a lot. Excellent beer. A classic. I’m tempted to go so far as to proclaim it an iconic American beer. It’s really, really good.

Ironically, Jay over at Hedonist Beer Jive reviewed it today also, and had the opposite reaction:

What Liberty Ale is is a decidedly average – no, check that – below average American pale ale. Even a hometowner says so. 5/10. I’ll stick with the ‘Steam.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores 88 out of 100, with 98% approval. On RateBeer, it scores 3.62 out of 5 and is in their 90th percentile.