Charles Dunkley

Wondering aloud with words and pictures

Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale


Anchor Brewing Co. Liberty Ale – photo by Charles Dunkley

The original modern American IPA.  Or perhaps the original American Pale Ale?

First brewed in 1975 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, Liberty Ale re-introduced the near lost art of dry hopping to America.  Liberty Ale has the distinction of being the first post-prohibition modern American IPA, the first single-hop ale and the first dry-hopped ale.

Anchor’s Liberty Ale® is the original craft brewed ale and the historic beer that started a revolution. – Anchor Brewing

While Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is considered the original American Craft Beer Ale, Anchor Brewing has that distinction with Liberty Ale.  Which leads back to my opening statement/question.  When first introduced, Liberty Ale was high on the IBU scale at 47 IBUs,  mild by today’s standards.  This puts it on the low end of today’s American IPA and on the high end of today’s American Pale Ale.

Breaking down the answer to where Liberty Ale belongs no one opines better than Ask Bob Brewer.  All I know is it is a damn fine beer.

How does it taste?


Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale in Tulip glass – photo by Charles Dunkley

To me, Liberty Ale definitely tastes far more like an American Pale Ale than an American IPA.  It has that definitive malt backbone I expect from a Pale Ale.  And it has a nice, crisp, light floral hop taste.

Liberty Ale is a single-hop beer.  The hop?  Cascade.  It gives a nice bitterness to the beer, a hint of grapefruit, and a mellow floral note.  I can only imagine by 1975 standards this would have been way out there in comparison to the America Macro Lager.  Today finds this as a real solid American Pale Ale.

With the current explosion in popularity of the Session IPA, I wonder, were this a brand new beer brewed by Anchor for the first time, if this would be marketed as a Session IPA.

Either way, American Pale Ale or American IPA this is a classic and a very important beer in the rebirth of the American Ale and forerunner to the emergence of the Craft Beer industry we know and love today.

On Friday, April 3, 2015, for Episode 152 of the Craft Beer Nation Friday Night Hangout,  we drank and talked about the India Pale Ale.  While no one brought this beer to that show, I knew I wanted to revisit this beer.  And, considering Episode 151 was Pale Ale, it seemed like the time was right.

Definitely an American classic either way.

If you have a strongly held opinion about this beer.  From it’s taste or categorization, drop me a comment and let me know.


Craft Beer Nation
Craft Beer Nation Website
Craft Beer Nation – Friday Night Hangout – Pale Ale

Craft Beer Nation – Friday Night Hangout – India Pale Ale
Craft Beer Nation – Friday Night Hangout – YouTube Playlist

Anchor Brewing
Anchor Brewing Website
Liberty Ale

Ask Bob Brewer: Is Liberty Ale an APA or an IPA?



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Charles Dunkley

I blog about Craft Beer | Technology | Social Media | Music and a host of other topics.I work in the Information Technology field and I'm also a Moderator and Hangouts On Air Technical Producer for Craft Beer Nation.
Charles Dunkley
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