Anchor, Humming Ale

Anchor Brewing Co.
Grade: B+

Humming ale? I have no idea, but Anchor claims it's an old brewing term. I guess I'll buy that. A creamy white head tops a nicely clear golden ale. There's a little bit of particulate floating around, most likely the residual yeast from bottle conditioning. The aroma is unique to be sure, nicely spicy. There are hops here, but I can't readily identify them. It's nice to find a hoppy ale that doesn't have the usual citrus/pine that most American beers have. There's a bit of a bread-like, toast in the aroma as well. The flavor carries those spicy, earthy hops, but a pronounced malt flavor, purely of grains hits the palate first. The body is getting towards the lighter side, thinning out a little at the end. There is a good amount of lingering hop bitterness, not acrid, but certainly present. There isn't much sweetness in this beer at all, it finishes very dry. 

I can absolutely see this as a good summer beer. It's crisp, refreshing, and flavorful enough to keep me interested. A common problem I have with many "summer" beers is that they are all to often flavorless. Just because it's hot out doesn't mean I want to drink beer-flavored water. This beer is not only crisp and dry enough to drink on a hot day, but it has a unique hop character that I'm not used to. Anchor has managed to make a hoppy beer without the crutch of the classic America citrus hop, which is exciting to me. I'd put this in my cooler, certainly, but is it a groundbreaking ale? No. But I wouldn't turn one down if you offered it to me.


Rational Realist said...

I had Humming last fall during San Diego Beer Week. It was supposed to be a one-time only batch, brewed with New Zealand's Sauvin (?) hops. Now it's brewed regularly. I thought it good, and probably the grade you gave it. But if you are going to go New Zealand Sauvin, you have to go Alpine Nelson IPA. It is one of the best ever IPAs. You won't remember Humming after Nelson.

Mike R Lynch said...

Thanks for the info on the hop type! That was really bugging me, because I really liked the unique profile.