On November 7th I had the opportunity to partake of a VIP brewery tour of Anchor Brewing and Anchor Distilling in San Francisco. The event was Anchor’s 2015 Media Brewery Tour to mark this year’s release of their Winter Wheat Ale and the 2015 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ale, from the brewery, and the 2015 Christmas Spirit from the distillery.
The current brewery is located on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, although there are plans to move to a new, larger location in the near future. I had never been to the Anchor brewery, even though I had long wanted to visit it. Tours book up well in advance, so it has seemed hard to find a time when I could go on one, even though I now live within moderately easy driving distance, so I was pretty happy to receive the invitation to this tour.
Upon arriving, and going up the stairs, one first enters the brewery’s well-appointed tap room.
Aside from the handsome bar, the room is lined with cabinets and wall displays filled with curiosities and antiques relating to Anchor Brewing, steam beer, and brewing in San Francisco generally.
Mark Carpenter, who is the head brewer at Anchor, and who conducted the tour for us, shared that those were issued after the 1989 earthquake.
When the earthquake struck and the power went out, the beer was still in the kettles. Mark and some colleagues, along with neighbors, stayed on at the brewery until the power came back on and they were able to transfer the wort to the fermenters. Because the wort had sat in the kettles longer than the usual, the finished beer tasted different than the normal batches. Rather than throw it out, then-owner Fritz Maytag decided to bottle and release it, but with a difference.
Passing through the tap room, we were invited into the brewery proper.
The guest list consisted of about two dozen bloggers and social-media types -hence my invite- who got to taste the new releases, enjoy hors d’oeuvres (including some yummy “lobster corn dogs”) and learn about the brewery.
After a bit, Mark started the tour by inviting us back into the taproom to tell us a bit about Anchor’s history, and about the new beers.
|The lovely all-copper brewhouse|
|In the hop storage room|
|Anchor uses traditional open fermentaters for their primary fermentation.|
|Secondary fermentation tanks in the basement|
The last stop on the tour was the distillery .