Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Skunk List: 8. Anchor Small Beer

Brewery: Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California

Style: Small Beer

ABV: 3.3%

Rating: 1 star

This was my first real 'wow, I guess I know nothing about beer' moment. I usually quite enjoy Anchor beers; Steam is as drinkable as it gets and their porter is one of the best out there. This one, a new find for me, was a can't miss, I assumed. And cheap! Less than three bucks for a big bottle of Anchor beer was an unbeatable bargain. I found out why upon the first sip.

It had that cold, carbonated sting that made it only possible to take one small gulp at a time. You know how it's hard to chug a cold Mountain Dew because it has too big of a bite on the throat? This was the same way, except that instead of limey sugar this one tasted like a post-kegger mix cup or all the random half cups of beer left in the house. And with an ABV of 3.3%, what's the point.

Turns out a small beer, which are very few in number these days, is created by using the runoff from a different, stronger beer. In this case, Anchor's Foghorn Barleywine is the initial beer. Once that beer has been formulated, the remains are spruced up a bit and turned into this travesty. It is called, generously by the brewer, a bitter. This is more bitter than bitter. It's an orange peel that's been soaked in keg water for a few days bitter. In fact, the only reason this got one star, upon reflection, was the name on the bottle.

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