Breaking News – Anchor Brewing to Cease Operations

Bad news has come to pass as Anchor Brewing who was bought by Sapporo in 2017 will cease operations and the business will be liquidated.  According to news released, Sapporo had been attempting to sell the San Francisco heritage brewery for some time now and found no bids.  

A financial knight could ride in during the liquidation process and the Anchor Public Taps will remain open until the beer runs out.  One of the beers on tap is the 2023 Christmas Ale which was being ramped into production. Probably the biggest whale in the beer ticking world for some time.  

You can get the sad details from Dave Infante at Vinepair who should get a tip of the hat for the journalism he has done on this story.  But, to me, this development seems to come at a weird time.  A history of Anchor (which I reviewed on this blog) came out recently, Sapporo let Anchor buy the ingredients for Christmas Ale, Anchor came out with a new summer Mexican lager and the vitriol over the bland logo re-brand had faded.  Those moves don’t signal floundering to me.

If Sapporo thought that the money would come from brewing Sapporo in San Francisco, that seems misguided since Sapporo owned Stone seems much better suited to that task.

Fingers crossed that this is not the end, end but maybe, and this might be an idea too crazy, there should be a brewery who only does beers from defunct craft breweries.  A place that snaps up recipes like the steam beer and Christmas ale and Liberty Ale so that they are not completely lost.  

Beer Review – San Pancho Mexican Lager from Anchor Brewing

The doorbell rang on a recent Tuesday, and lo and behold, I had a package from Anchor Brewing. I tore it open to find a lovely media sample box for their San Pancho Mexican lager.

That means, time to review…

First, I sampled the Yucca chips. Thumbs up. Then the Choco Amaranth squares. Not a thumb up or down. SP pours a bright orange color and the first sip reveals an interesting combination of nicely lager-y with an undercurrent of citrus. Not lime per se but certainly citrus. It is quite zippy on the tongue with a bit of metallic aftertaste. I am glad there was no faux lime experience, so the beer gets the biggest thumbs up.

Hops & Rice

Are You Hoppy Like Me? from 21st Amendment Brewery might just be onto the next hoppy trend. Big in ABV but light due to rice in the bill could really showcase rotating hops varietals.

“This Imperial Rice IPA delivers crisp, bright and clean malt flavors, accompanied by the flavors and aroma of grapefruit, mandarin, stone fruit and lemongrass. While it may be 8.2% ABV, the rice leans it out, making it light and easy to drink! It’s dry hopped with Talus and Comet hops…”

Irish Coffee

Readers of this blog will know that I enjoy beers created to taste like cocktails, Fort Point Beer Co. has a new release that would also make my late dad happy, his go to drink, an Irish Coffee in beer form.

Buena Vista, an Irish Coffee Inspired Stout, “Rich and roasty, this stout is brewed with Bittersweet coffee from our friends at Oakland’s and aged in Irish whiskey barrels for layers of vanilla, oak, and caramel.”

Book Review – The Anchor Steam Story

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.


Anchor Brewing has entered the helping business with their Stay Strong SF campaign. They hooked up with Bay Area artist, Jeremy Fish who created and put up “special artwork across several boarded up bars and restaurants across the city. The design is a modern twist to the San Francisco flag, with a Phoenix rising from the ashes.  Every poster has a QR code that directs you to donate to the United States Bartenders Guild.” If you have left your heart in SF you can get a poster which are available to download for free HERE.

Little Bay Creatures

The Bay Area will be getting some Down under beer in the form of Little Creatures who are opening a brewery and restaurant in San Francisco this summer. You will have to dodge construction of the new Golden State Warriors Sports and Entertainment Center and Warrior fans to get the Fremantle beer.

Now you can hop from the worldly Mikkeller to Little Creatures for non US beer in San Francisco.

SF Beer Week ’19

Starting with an Opening Gala, the 2019 SF Beer Week promises a load of fun beer events most notably the original events that serve as the backbone for the week: “the world’s first Double IPA Festival, now including Triple IPAs, in its 18th year at the Bistro in Hayward, on February 2nd, and the Celebrate Craft party for industry and friends at Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, on February 9th.”

Check HERE to see all the events as they pop up on the calendar.

Mikkeller San Francisco is Hazy

Time does fly. The San Francisco outpost of Mikkeller is now 5. And now they have planted a large flag in California with a brewery in San Diego and a lovely DTLA spot that is one of my favorite spots to taste beer.

Now they are going hazy for a “Quintuple dry hopped” hazy IPA to mark the five year mark. Makes me wonder what type of beer will be popular when the LA location turns that age.