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Liberty Pale Ale

July 29, 2009


A Liberating Libation

Anthony Says:

Liberty 1I’m not all that proud to admit it, but the first time I tried Anchor Liberty Ale was for this review. I’ve been eyeing it at my local liquor store for years, but for some reason I just never got around to purchasing it. I even went to the store to buy a few bottles for an Independence Day party this past year, but wound up walking out with a six of Sam Adam’s Boston Lager (not that I regret this decision). Liberty Ale has sort of been the “beer that got away” for me, I suppose. On the other hand, however, Gatlin has been a fan of this brew for quite some time; I’ve got to thank him for finally picking up a couple to review, because otherwise it seems this quality beer would have continued to fly under my radar.

Liberty Ale pours a deep golden hue with a thick bubbly head-pretty much the standard appearance for any good pale ale. Nose is a pronounced pine and citrus, underlain by light floral scents and a hint of sappy malt. Hop aromas shine through nicely, far more so than most pale ales. You can really tell that this beer has been “dry hopped”, meaning fresh hops have been added after the initial boil, thus adding to aroma and flavor without affecting bitterness.

Dry hopping is also apparent in the initially sharp palette bite of herbal citrus hops; this is followed by flourishes of vanilla and honey, and finishes in a lightly lingering caramel malt flavor. With a nicely understated carbonation, Liberty Ale’s mouthfeel is pleasantly full-bodied for the style.

This is a really great American pale ale. While the heavy presence of hops might initially lead one to think IPA, Liberty Ale isn’t at all spicy and retains a perfect balance between hops and malts. This has all the qualities of a great session beer. Perhaps my only complaint would be that, at 6% alcohol content, it’s a little on the strong-side for the style. That having been said, I will definitely be leaving the store with these in hand more often.



Gatlin Says:

Liberty 2 Ahhhhh, Liberty. The sweet goddess walking endlessly by the shores of our individual actualization and hedonistic tendencies. She is the gatekeeper to both our desires and all that we shun. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty”. Trust me my friends, this beer is tempestuous. Named in commemoration of Paul Revere (who I dressed as for Halloween this past year, but was commonly mistaken for a conservative pirate) and his historic ride, Anchor’s Liberty Ale is currently the best American pale ale available in Ontario.

Technical Rundown:

  • Container: 650 ml brown glass bottle
  • Alcohol: 5.9% by volume, 4.80% by weight
  • Color: 6 SRM
  • Bitterness: 47 IBU


This beer poured a massive, bright-white head that stuck around forever and left a huge amount of lacing on the glass. The body was slightly hazy and pale, orange-gold in colour. A high amount of carbonation was observed. Pretty much the perfect American pale ale in appearance.

On the nose were strong scents of citrus and pine with very mild malts. Simple yet pleasant, the aroma is ideal for the style. Once swirled in the mouth, a resinous pine flavour emerged, followed by a sharp spicy hop bite and nicely cleansing citrus undercurrent. Subtle oak and vanilla malts were noticeable on the backend. This beer is just so damn good. If it’s available in your area, go pick up a bottle and give it a try.

Liberty 3

Some Final Thoughts

Anthony Thinks:

  • Excellent balance between hops and malts
  • Great beer for all occasions
  • Extremely drinkable


  • Almost closer to an IPA than a pale ale
  • Not sold in regular sized beer bottles (at least in Canada)
  • A little too strong for a session beer

  • 4 stars. Liberty Ale is a well crafted American pale ale of exceptional quality- perhaps even the benchmark of the style. My sole concern is that 6% alcohol content is just a little too strong for a good session brew, especially one that is so dangerously drinkable

Gatlin Thinks:


  • Perfect aromas and flavors for the style
  • Really well crafted (one of the best outside of the trappists)
  • Very drinkable and refreshing without sacrificing flavor


  • British pale ale lovers may be overwhelmed by the hop presence


This is a solid 4½ star American pale ale. Anyone can and should drink this beer. Perfect for a summer BBQ and goes especially well with fish-and-chips!

So, What’s On Your Mind?

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