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Anchor Brewing Co. Celebrates 126 Years of Anchor Steam Beer

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If you’ve ever enjoyed a tall, cold pint of craft beer in San Francisco – or anywhere else in the U.S. for that matter – you have Anchor Brewing Company to thank. As America’s first craft brewery, Anchor is known for bringing craft brewing techniques stateside and has been innovating within the beer category ever since.

Their first and most popular brew, Anchor Steam, is so good, in fact, that San Francisco dedicated a whole week to it. In 2015, the third week in August was proclaimed Anchor Steam Week.

To mark the seventh annual celebration, the brewery is hosting a celebration at Anchor Public Taps, their pilot brewery and tap room in Potrero Hill, on Sunday, August 14th. Activities include special Anchor Steam flights, Anchor Steam-battered fish tacos from Sam’s Chowder Mobile, a DJ spinning vinyl, games, and custom totes made in collaboration with SF graphic artist Sam Culkins and his clothing brand, CULK.

It’s a celebration befitting a beer that has been a mainstay in San Francisco for 126 years. One might even say that the city is as much a part of the Anchor Steam recipe as hops, grains, and water. Legend has it that back in the 19th century, the chilly San Francisco air naturally cooled the fermenting beer, creating the visual of steam rising from the brewery rooftop. The practice of fermenting beer outdoors due to lack of refrigeration, combined with the unique lager recipe, gave us Steam beer.

To this day, Anchor Steam is fermented in shallow, wide, open fermenters and cooled entirely by filtered San Francisco air that flows through the fermentation room. The equipment is modern, but the original concept remains the same as it was 126 years ago. Except for the occasional hot day, the brewery simply uses the naturally cool air from our city’s foggy coastal climate.

Anchor Brewing Company’s commitment to their technique is only rivaled by their commitment to San Francisco itself. Founded on Pacific Street near Russian Hill, the brewery’s history can be traced all the way back to the California Gold Rush. That’s when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in the Bay and purchased a beer and billiards saloon, which he transformed into a brewery. Years later, in 1896, the brewery was purchased by German brewer Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr. They named it Anchor, and a San Francisco legend was born.

A series of unfortunate events – the untimely deaths of both owners, the fire following the great earthquake, Prohibition, World War II – led to a grand total of six location changes. But through it all, Anchor remained anchored to San Francisco. The brewery moved into its current home on Mariposa Street in 1977, new distinctive beers began to join the lineup, and it soon became clear that Anchor was leading a brewing revolution. With roots like this, it’s no wonder that San Francisco decided to honor the brewery with a week dedicated to their pioneering spirit and commitment to brewing here in the Bay.

Anchor Brewing remains one of the most iconic breweries in America, and all of their beers are still handmade right here in San Francisco. Head to Anchor Public Taps – located directly across the street from their brewery – on Sunday, August 14th, to celebrate this San Francisco icon. The Steam Week launch party will take place from 12:30-4 PM. In addition to special flights and Steam-battered grub, you can also shop the brewery’s new limited-edition merch collection, designed in collaboration with SF clothing brand CULK.

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