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A Delicious History of Anchor Brewing Company


With 9,000 craft breweries in the United States, around 1,100 in California, and 110 in the Area Bay, you wouldn’t be wrong if you said craft breweries are everywhere these days. But that wasn’t always the case. Today’s craft beer boom is thanks in no small part to Anchor Brewing Company.

You simply can’t talk about craft beer without talking about Anchor. The brewery, which was founded in Russian Hill in 1896 is America’s first craft brewery and can trace its roots back to the California Gold Rush. Their flagship brew, Anchor Steam, is a favorite amongst craft beer aficionados and casual beer drinkers alike.

Anchor Steam may be their most most famous and beloved beer, but it was only the beginning for Anchor Brewing Company. Over the last 126 years, the brewery has changed locations and owners a handful of times. Through it all – earthquakes, fires, Prohibition – their commitment to San Francisco has only been outdone by their desire to innovate. And innovate they have, releasing exciting, refreshing beers, each one new and uniquely Anchor.

Anchor Steam

First Brewed: 1896

America’s first craft beer, Anchor Steam is the San Francisco original that has stood the test of time. Steam is crisp, complex, and refreshing and pairs well with San Francisco classics like clam chowder.

Anchor Porter

First Brewed: 1972

One of the first beers produced after Fritz Maytag took over, this iconic American Porter has become the gold standard for the style. Made from a blend of pale, caramel, chocolate, and black malts, it’s deep and layered.

Old Foghorn

First Brewed: 1975

An English-style ale that’s been refined in San Francisco. Old Foghorn is barleywine-style ale that’s cellar-aged and features flavors of rich toffee, stone fruit, and pine.

Anchor Liberty Ale

First Brewed: 1975

This beer was first brewed to celebrate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s ride, and subsequently started a revolution. Today, it’s considered the first American Pale Ale and the beer that started the IPA movement.

Anchor Christmas Ale

First Brewed: 1975

Every Christmas season since 1975, Anchor releases a Christmas Ale whose distinctive label, hand-drawn tree, and secret recipe change every year. Expect something wintry, spiced, and one-of-a-kind.

California Lager

First Brewed: 2012

Inspired by the first West Coast Lager crafted in Lake Tahoe in 1876, Anchor California Lager is a balanced, smooth, and refreshing love letter to the Golden State.

Crisp Pilsner

First Brewed: 2021

Crisp, effervescent, and the color of midday sun gold. Anchor’s take on pilsner tastes clean and refreshing, with layers of smooth malt, honey, mild minerality, and a subtle hop bitterness.

Tropical Hazy IPA

First Brewed: 2021

This juicy, tropical IPA features fresh aromas of mango and pineapple. Tastes like that island vacation you’ve been meaning to plan, minus the trip to SFO.

Easy Weekend Lo-Cal Hazy IPA

First Brewed: 2022

This is Anchor’s flavorful take on lighter beer. An IPA with delicate notes of apricot and peach that clocks in at only 99 calories per can.

West Coast IPA

First Brewed: 2022

A celebration of the evolution of Anchor’s dry-hopping techniques, this bold and bright West Coast IPA is refreshing while packing a punch. Expect lots of citrus and fresh hop character.

On any given day, you can try a selection of Anchor brews at Anchor Public Taps, the beer garden located directly across the street from their brewery in Potrero Hill. Order a pint, enjoy food from local food vendors, and enjoy a  taste of our city’s history.

And, of course, you can always pick up a 6-pack at your local store. Anchor Steam is the obvious choice, but why not also try something new. You’ll be happy to know beer from this local legend continues to impress.

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