Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anchor Steam Brewing Co.

The American Homebrew Association rally took place at the Anchor Steam Brewing Company in San Francisco to promote membership of the AHA and to promote homebrewing.
Dave Bossie drove his wife, daughter and me up to the event but first we stopped off at the 21st Amendment brewery for a couple of pints and lunch. I had an excellent English bitter followed by a Trumer Pils that was a classic example of a German pilsner, a light crisp lager. The 21st Amendment is famous for their watermelon wheat
(American wheat with watermelon) so of course one was ordered to sample. It goes down easy with a surprising balance of watermelon, wheat and bready yeast flavors. Not something I would have regularly but I enjoyed the experience of the tasting. After lunch it was a short 5 minute car ride to the Anchor Steam Brewery and the start of a memorable afternoon. First things first we headed up to the bar where employees were generously serving up all that was on tap and including some seasonal beers that were in the bottle. I started with the 'flagship' steam beer and savored the fresh taste of a great American classic while I took in the scenery of the taproom. Antique serving trays ringed top of the walls completely circling the room along with numerous framed pictures of the breweries great history. A crowd of enthusiastic home brewers milled about sharing stories and information with one another about their favorite hobby. I sampled a 'small beer' from the tap followed by a 'Liberty Ale' and then a remarkable porter.
A large bottle of a seasonal ale appeared. It had a large spicy, ginger, maltiness to it that lingered on the palate. As a group, we wandered about the facility freely and peered through plate glass windows into the different departments. A tour was organized and then led off in one direction but I stayed behind and headed over to the large open fermentation tanks. Their are four huge, shallow vessels for fermenting, at the time only one was in use. The kraeusen forming white and high like marangue with patches of darker areas. I tried the door but it was locked. I would have liked to have gone in and smelled the air. Further down the hall were bails of hops in burlap bags, mostly Norther Brewer.

The author at Anchor Steam (is that 2 beers?)

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