With many brewery histories, you know the story in broad strokes already because most breweries have only been around since the 1980’s. (please do not call that ancient history)
But after you read the glorious coffee table book, The Anchor Brewing Story by David Burkhart, you will have been taken on a tour of beer in San Francisco that will be brand new to you.
That is because Anchor Brewing has been around since 1896 but its DNA goes even further back. Burkhart takes you to 1848 and the gold rush and to 1856 and Gottlieb Brekle and his Golden City Brewery which then became part of the Co-Operative Brewery before raising Anchor in 1896. This brewery went through earthquakes and owners and moved around San Francisco so much that you need a map app to orient yourself.
The book picks up steam when Fritz Maytag enters the picture. His drive for quality and “Wholicity” rescued Anchor from obscurity. His arrival finally brought stability to the brewery and innovation and curiosity as well.
Maytag was there at practically every important milestone in California craft brewing history. He was also there for distilling which was really not a thing when he dipped his toe in. Wine, he did that too.
A good history book takes you back in time and then whisks you through major events. The balance and tone of the writing is balanced and fun. Burkhart does that in the coffee book format which doesn’t provide as much word space. For that he is to be commended and the book purchased.