Appearance: Opaque black body with no visible carbonation. Pours to a large, tan, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.
Smell: Typical porter aroma of dark malts and toffee sweetness. Slightly tangy.
Taste: There’s something bittersweet about drinking a traditional porter from a traditional brewery. Anchor Porter epitomizes the style, which makes it good in that it’s familiar. Though it’s also quite familiar, almost cliché (if that term could ever apply to beer). It’s sweet, but not overbearing and highly drinkable. If you want a good porter, you get that here.
The bottle I was drinking was relatively old, which probably could have been avoided had the brewery used an easier-to-read bottling date instead of a code. I did detect some tanginess to the palette, though it seemed to accentuate some of the notes. It begins with an English-like taste with hints of fruit, but mostly dark, toasted malt. There’s significant bitterness through the middle with a distinct peanut brittle-like flavor all throughout the back end. It’s slightly tangy or sour, though it works with the beer’s natural flavors of roasted peanuts and toffee. Nothing in the way of chocolate or coffee, though, which is fine. It leaves a slightly dry aftertaste, but its easily tolerable. Either way, it’s a by-the-book porter: no frills; but nothing off, either.
Drinkability: What separates porters from stouts is their drinkability, and Anchor Porter is a good example of that. The mouthfeel is soft, smooth and comfortable. Though slightly thin, consistent carbonation is noticeable. It’s easy to drink in large swigs or small sips. At 5.6% ABV it’s got enough body to satisfy and work well as a standalone beverage, though a bit too heavy to session.