There's something very wrong-looking about Anchor beer packaged in a container other than their iconic stubby bottle. Even the veteran brewery's large-format bombers have retained the classic shape. So it felt a bit weird to come to this can of their California Lager, but that's just the times we live in.
This San Francisco 4.9%-er pours a hazy, bitty yellow, topped by a thick mat of loose bubbles. It's plain but decent fare to taste, mostly quite grainy but with a heavy layer of banana and mango on top. The fruit is accentuated by quite a dense texture and very low carbonation for a lager. I'm not quite sure what to make of this. It's a bit too weighty to chug down but isn't quite complex enough to be a sipper. I guess they're going for a kind of Munich helles smoothness but it just doesn't quite have the cleanness of that style.
We stay in California next, well maybe: this bottle of New DogTown pale ale carries a helpful reminder that Lagunitas operates out of Chicago now too. It's a tangy beast, an innocent pale gold but tasting brassy and galvanic at first while the aroma is all rubber and sulphur. So far, so industrial. My palate took a little time to refocus. Once it did I found there's much more fun to be had in here. Yes it's intensely bitter, but there's orange and grapefruit, gunpowder and sherbet, spinach and weed to be enjoyed too. It's perhaps a little watery, especially given the stonking 6.2% ABV, but those powerhouse hops leave me feeling very forgiving indeed.
Apologies to anyone who thought this post was going to be on the respective merits of beer genres. Like any self-respecting beer fanatic, I enjoy both.