Anchor Brewing Company
The craft beer movement as we know it today started around
1988 with breweries like Rogue Brewing Co. and Great Lakes
Brewing Co. starting small in a world that didn’t know what craft
beer was. For that matter, neither did the new, small breweries.
All they knew was that they wanted to make the best beer
around and not compromise for anything.
Let’s jump back in history from 1988, to the year 1871. It was
in this year that German immigrant Gottlieb Brekle purchased
a beer and billiards saloon and opened a brewery on Pacific
Street in San Francisco. It wasn’t until 1896 however that the
brewery was renamed Anchor Brewing by Ernst Baruth and his
son-in-law Otto Schinkel. Nobody’s quite sure where the name
Anchor came from, but it’s widely accepted that it was meant to
be a tie-in with the booming Port of San Francisco.
A series of unfortunate events hit Anchor Brewing, including
the death of Ernst Baruth, the devastating earthquake and fire
of 1907, and of course Prohibition in 1920. Between the repeal
of Prohibition in 1933 and 1965 Anchor Brewing saw its share of
change, but in 1965 a new era started at Anchor, known as the
It was in 1965 that Fritz Maytag, upon hearing of the planned
final closing of the storied brewery that he loved, decided to
purchase a majority stake in the brewery in an attempt to keep
the doors open and improve on the beer Anchor brewed.
In 1971, 100 years after Gottlieb founded the original brewery
on Pacific, Fritz Maytag started brewing what would become
the most recognizable beer produced by Anchor still today:
Anchor Steam Beer. Even though nobody knew what a microbrewery
or craft beer was at the time, it was pretty evident that
Fritz and Anchor were on to something pretty amazing, and
were leading a revolution in brewing that was far from the light
lagers that were popular at the time.
Jump ahead to 1984 and Anchor Brewing releases the first
wheat beer produced in the United States since Prohibition
to celebrate their 5th anniversary. Jump ahead even further to
1993 and we find another first for Anchor with the opening of
their in-house distillery at the brewery; a first of its kind in the
Today Anchor Brewing Co. is one of the most traditional breweries
in the United States, producing one of the few remaining
versions of the California Common, also known as Steam Beer.
Anchor’s beers are still brewed in handmade copper vessels in
their San Francisco brew house with the same level of care that
Fritz Maytag brought to Anchor nearly 50 years ago.
Year Round Beers
The beer that started it all for Anchor, Steam takes its name
from a nickname beers brewed on the west coast in the 19th
century were given thanks to the lack of ice during brewing and
the often warm conditions they were brewed in. Much like the
name of the brewery itself, the actual source of the Steam nickname
isn’t clear, but it’s believed that it comes from the cooling
of fermenting beer on San Francisco rooftops by the cool night
air, creating a steam that rose from the warm beer.
Steam was at one time a nickname for all beer coming from
the West Coast, but today it’s a trademark of Anchor Brewing
Company and only applies to this great beer.
Anchor Steam Beer is a 4.9% ale that smells of rich, semisweet
malt with a bready, biscuity aroma paired with a slight
hint of citrus. The taste can be described as slight caramel with
a touch of citrus and the same buscuity malt character found in
Overall Anchor Steam Beer is a great, easy-drinking beer that
is well balanced, not too bitter, and has more than enough flavor
to never be considered boring or overdone.
Starting in 1849 the hoppy and delicious IPAs from England
started making their way to the West Coast by way of San Francisco
and while the gold rushers loved the refreshing bitter beer,
it wasn’t until 1975 that Anchor started the tried and true act of
only a year old, but off to a great start. Anchor IPA is 6.5%
ABV and offers a great West Coast hop kick while keeping the
malt profile nice and balanced.
Anchor’s California Lager was first brewed in 2012, but its
roots go all the way back to the beginning of the brewery and
the Gold Rush. Made after California’s first genuine lager,
brewed by Boca Brewing in 1876, Anchor’s version is a recreation
of this historic beer.
While Anchor’s version isn’t cooled in a mountain ice pond
like Boca’s version was, it’s still a true to the original version
that will surprise you.
The first thing you’ll notice with this beer is the aroma, which
is extremely floral, with some hop character showing through.
The taste features crisp citrus notes with a strong, yet very
drinkable bitterness that moves to the grassy, earthy category.
California Lager has a dry finish that leaves a slight yeasty
taste that is not unpleasant. California Lager is an excellent
version of an American Pale Lager that has enough character
to stand on its own, while still perfect for pairing with a variety
Liberty Ale was first brewed on April 18th, 1975 to celebrate
the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s historic midnight ride,
and it’s still being made today. Liberty Ale is a 5.9% ABV ale
that’s made with whole cone hops and is also dry hopped to
create a delicate yet satisfying taste that makes this American
IPA surprisingly easy to drink.
The aroma of Liberty Ale features citrus in the forefront with
some bready, yeasty characteristics in the background. The
taste can be described as having pear and grapefruit present
with a balance of malt and bitterness. Liberty Ale is naturally
carbonated, which gives the beer a unique higher than normal
fizziness and unique mouthfeel.
Craft Originals Variety Pack
Can’t decide on what beer to get? Check out the Craft Originals
Variety Pack. In it, you’ll get Anchor Steam Beer, Anchor
Porter, Liberty Ale, and Summer Wheat.
Along with the year-round beers offered by Anchor, they
also offer a seasonal beer for each time of the year.
Spring Saison – This beer is light, fresh, and spicy. Coming
in at 7.2% it has a little kick to match up with the spiciness
of a true Belgian saison.
Summer Wheat – The currently in-season seasonal, Summer
Wheat is perfect in the can or bottle and is easily one
of the most refreshing beers offered by Anchor. A wheat
beer that comes in at 4.5% ABV, it’s light, fresh, and just
what you need for a hot summer day.
Autumn Red Ale
When fall rolls around the calendar again, slightly darker
and maltier beers are just what we need to stay warm.
Autumn Red Ale from Anchor is a 6% ABV red ale that first
saw the light of day in 2013. Malty with a nice hop profile,
Autumn Red is meant for the fall.
The tried and true Anchor Christmas ale is a great yet mysterious
winter ale. Each year there’s a new tree on the label
and a new beer in the bottle. Nobody but the brewer knows
exactly what the beer will be each year, but it’s a pretty safe
bet that it’ll be great.
Winter Wheat (new)
The newest of the seasonal beers offered by Anchor, Winter
Wheat is a dark wheat beer that comes in at 7%. Made for
cold winter months, Winter Wheat is malty with hops present
in the background. This beer is earthy, woody, and perfectly
what you need to warm up on a cold night.
Anchor Brewing Co. is proudly distributed by rank B. Fuhrer
Wholesale throughout the Pittsburgh area.