SAN FRANCISCO — When your company is over a century old and one of the biggest names in the beer industry, one could argue there’s no need to change a thing. Recognizing the value of fresh draft beer, Anchor Brewing is giving Bay Area local beer lovers a fresh way to enjoy their beer — out of growlers.
At the beginning of June, the oldest San Francisco brewery announced they would start to pour their beers seven-days a week from their Potrero Hill brewery and beer garden at The Yard at Mission Rock.
Scott Ungermann, brewmaster of Anchor Brewing Company, pointed to the evolution of their flagship beer’s availability over time.
“When Anchor Brewing Company started brewing Anchor Steam Beer back in 1896 it was only available on draught,” Ungermann said. “1971 marked the first bottling of Anchor beer in modern times. Back then having bottled beer seemed modern and cool, but times have changed. Today craft beer fans often relish the freshness of draught beer and growlers have grown in popularity. We heard their cry and are now proud to offer Anchor growlers at our brewery and beer garden. We’ve also increased the number of limited-release draught-only beers we brew and our growlers will also help Anchor fans bring home these tasty brews.”
After purchasing a $10 empty 64-ounce Anchor-branded growler, visitors can fill up Anchor legacy, seasonal, Yard series or high ABV brews from between $8-15 depending on the beer. Beer drinkers can expect to see most of the lineup available, like Anchor Steam, Anchor Porter, Mango Wheat, Meyer Lemon Lager, Anchor Christmas Ale, and Old Foghorn Barley Wine.
The return to the focus on draft is symbolic for the advances that Anchor Brewing has achieved. Originally started in 1896, Anchor Brewing pioneered the “California common” beer style (also known as “steam beer”).
As public taste shifted toward mainstream lighter beers being heavily pushed by the biggest breweries of the ’50s, the brewery’s sales took a hit, eventually closing its doors briefly in 1959, before being rescued by another buyer.
The brewery didn’t bottle its beers back then, instead focusing solely on draft. According to Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, operational issues back then and imperfections in the brewing method had caused some batches to become contaminated, creating a sour flavor that unfortunately caused beer drinkers at the time to take notice.
When Fritz Maytag purchased Anchor Brewing in 1971, he not only rescued the brewery from potential bankruptcy, but he also refined its brewing process and expanded its lineup. Soon after, Anchor Steam became available in bottles.
Today, of course, few beers have the OG label that Anchor Steam gets credited with in the local beer industry. Now, local beer drinkers can enjoy it in fresh growler pours, in addition to the bottled formats and draft offerings from local bars.
Potrero Hill (Monday-Sunday, 9:30am-7pm)
The Yard – Mission Rock (Monday-Sunday, 11am-9pm)
*No growler sales on Giants game days*
$10 64 oz. Anchor Growler (empty)
Core & Legacy Beers (Anchor Steam Beer, Anchor California Lager, Go West! IPA, Liberty Ale, Anchor Porter, Brekle’s Brown)
Seasonal & Specialty Beers (Mango Wheat, Meyer Lemon Lager, Orange Splash Lager, Summer Wheat, Anchor Saison and Brotherhood Steam Beer)
Yard Series & Christmas Ale (Old Potrero Pale Ale, Opening Day IPA, Golden State IPA, Anchor Christmas Ale)
High ABV Beers (Old Foghorn Barley Wine, Anchor Barrel Ale, Hop Thee Well Triple IPA)