Before I came to San Francisco, I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of beers from the United States. However since my visit to this city and other visits to the country afterwards, the craft beer scene in the States has vastly improved and is now on par with some of the major European beer brewing powers. I got invited to check out the brewery at the Anchor brewing company which produces one of the best beers I have come across stateside, Anchor Steam Beer.
Where is Anchor Brewing?
The brewery is a bit of mission I found (as a visitor to the city) as I wasn’t too sure on the public transport situation so I took a taxi. The building is very easy to find, which is located at 1705 Mariposa Street, CA 94107. I have to admit, the outside of the building is very grey and warehouse looking but after I walked through the doors, up the stairs and entered the taproom where the tour starts, everything is wooden, rustic and had a warm feeling about the place.
The tour begins & a brief history
As mentioned, the tour starts at the taproom and I was listening to a great talk from the tour guide about the history of the company which I actually found quite fascinating. The company started way back in 1871 when a bloke called Gottlieb Brekle brought a saloon on Pacific Street in the city for around $3,500 (which was a bloody lot of money back then) and transformed it into a brewery. Twenty-five years later, the brewery was renamed to Anchor to which we know as today. The name change can in line with a German brewmaster Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel Junior brought the brewery out. Since they bought it, the brewery has moved to several locations around the city and eventually landed up on Mariposa Street.
After a few mishaps in the early twentieth century with owners dying, earthquakes in the city, the prohibition years, the brewery started to get bigger, beer was being bottled and is now shipped out all over the states and beyond (yes, even in the UK I can buy bottled beer). All the beer which is exported is all brewed here in this very brewery.
We moved on from the talk and our guide took us around America’s oldest and first craft brewery, taking in the copper brewhouse (where the brewery still uses the old machinery from decades ago like mash tuns, brew kettles, a lauter tun and grant – I don’t want to explain what all these are, they are all explained in the tour). My guide was very informative and explained all the methods of how the beer is brewed from start to finish, where the hops come in from, the dry-hopping ancient technique to the fermentation process.
After touring the brewery it was time for…..
Tasting some of the beers! Dam straight, I always find this to be the best part of any brewery tour. There were several beers to try, ranging from their top beer (Anchor Steam) which is a steam beer (which are made by fermenting lager yeasts at warmer ale yeast fermentation temperatures), an American pale ale, lager, an IPA (Indian Pale Ale), and I think the last one was a Christmas Ale (as it was in the winter months I done this tour). Each one the tour guide gave a quick description of how it was made and the history. There were glass display cabinets with old beer bottles, limited edition beer bottles (and newer beer bottles of course), which I found interesting. I love checking out beer (and wine) labels from over the years and comparing them to the modern equivalent.
I was really impressed with the tour guides and their knowledge on the beer, the processes to make it and the history. They really knew their stuff and when a question was asked from the tour group, they were very quick to answer. The beer itself I loved it and I really did love the decor of the taproom. If anyone gets a chance to do this brewery tour whilst in San Francisco, then its a must on anyones list.
To make bookings for a tour with Anchor Brewing – please click here.
A personal note from me – my time at Anchor Brewing was sponsored by the company. The opinions in this post are my own and is totally honest. I would like to thank the staff for making the tour an enjoyable one.
Have you checked out my other posts on San Francisco?