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.

Featured Review – Resonance Blended Saison from Fort Point

I usually see Fort Point beers in their distinctively designed cans that look like architectural drawings. This time though, I get a distinctive 22oz bomber. Resonance pours a lovely yellow-orange color. It is light and effervescent. The word that I keep coming back to is, Simple. I am getting light wood notes and a little grapefruit with a bit of funk in the back too. Reminds me of Saison Dupont.

20 Years of Thirsty

When I was much younger and much less wiser about beer than I am today, on a trip to San Francisco with the Mrs., we walked by ThirstyBear Brewing. I convinced her to get some food so that I could try the beer.

Now I hear that they are throwing a party for their 20th Anniversary and they are brewing up a special 20th Anniversary Ale that is described on the website as “a multi-grain fresh hop ale brewed with malted barley, wheat, rye and oats. Hopped with fresh cascade, Columbus and gargoyle hops from Hopsmeister Farms served on nitro.”

Not only that, but they are throwing a party with a bunch of local breweries, music and flamenco dancing. Plus the release of a special barrel-aged beer by the name of “Dark Age”.

It is gratifying to see that a place that I have visited all of twice in my Bay Area travels is still plugging along. 20 Years is to be celebrated.

Hitachino in SF

Hitachino Nest Beer has a solid and established reputation in the United States and is one of the few Japanese breweries that has made inroads (along with Baird) with craft beer fans who haven’t stopped drinking foreign beers.

The 200-year-old Japanese brewery is taking that a step further and opening its very first U.S. restaurant San Francisco. An Izakaya (Japanese tavern) by the name of Hitachino Beer & Wagyu.

There will be ten exclusive Hitachino beers on tap, brewed specifically for the restaurant alone. For the Sake crowd there will be somewhere from five to eight sakes from Kiuchi Brewery, alongside local wine.

Mark another stop in San Francisco for international beer.

Review – HPB & Cellarmaker

The event that I was looking forward to the most was the collaboration + tap take-over between Cellarmaker Brewing and L.A.’s own Highland Park Brewery.
With the focus being on the Brett IPA that they created together with the awesome name of Sharing Sandwiches. And though that beer was fine, it suffered from the where is the IPA syndrome that I have found in this sub-style. The Brett just takes over and leaves it’s indelible mark.

But the other three beers from San Francisco were all really good in different ways. Mocha & Cigarettes didn’t have much in the way of smoke that I could detect but what I did taste was a lovely milk chocolate porter. Really smooth with a touch of vanilla.

Mo’ Passion boasting Mosaic, Southern Passion and Zeus hops was also a really good hop offering. Bright and fruity on the nose with a bitterness that shined.

My favorite though was the Typo Pills. Probably not for purists of pilsners because this had a hop hit to it that brought out some Sweet Tart notes to me. But I really liked that combo. It was crisp and delightful.

Those beers alone would have justified the packed house.