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Published: April 1st 2009
Located at De Haro and Mariposa
Nice little neighborhood in the Mission district
This morning I hopped on BART at the North Berkeley station, took it to the 16th and Mission stop, then walked several blocks to meet with my Anchor Brewing Tour at 11am. They recommend that you attempt to make your reservation for the tour three to six weeks in advance, as it is a very popular (and free!) tour. I tried to get a reservation for this week about two weeks ago to no avail. Then, I tried again about a week later and there must have been a cancellation or something, but they got me in! I am SO glad I could participate in that tour, it was a great time for me, and I discovered an Anchor beer that just kicks ass.
That beer that I discovered today is called Old Foghorn, and is actually a Barleywine beer, higher in alcohol content and sweeter. It reminded me a lot of one of my Belgian beer favorites, Gulden Draak
. I drank a glass and a half of that, maybe 12 ounces total, and wow what great taste!
Really a fun experience. You arrive sober, and leave very happy. The tour is supposed to last some two hours or so.
My tour was just about to start beyond that door.
Our tour guide Andrew told us of the history of Anchor Brewing, how they weren't around from 1920-1933 due to prohibition, then how the brewery was saved in the 60s by Fritz Maytag of Maytag family fame. We then took a spin in the brew room with the mash tuns and such, and were back in the tap room after about 30 minutes total. So, you hear some cool stuff for 30 minutes, and then you get to taste six beers. We tasted the Anchor Summer, Anchor Steam, Liberty Ale, Anchor Bock, Anchor Porter, and then the really tasty Barleywine, Old Foghorn. They didn't have any Small Beer available nor any of the Christmas Ale. All that for free. Hell of a deal, if you can get in.
Anchor Brewing produces some 90,000 barrels, or roughly 3 million gallons of beer a year, roughly 75% of which is the flagship Anchor Steam beer that is fairly ubiquitous around the US. For comparison, Budweiser produces around 100 million barrels of beer a year. When Anchor's bottling line is running, it fills, caps, labels, and boxes about 260 bottles/minute.
Photos were only allowed in the tap room and in the
Looking North toward the Financial District.
brew room. So, I have no photos from the fermenting room (5 large rectangular stainless steel uncovered containers, one of which was in a separate room and was bubbling rather infrequently, I think that may have been a Porter batch), nor from the bottling and labeling facilities downstairs. They didn't have the bottling line running, which would have been cool to see, and the tour does not touch on the Rye Whiskies (3), nor Gins (2) that Anchor Brewing produces.
If you plan to visit the Bay area, I highly recommend you try to get yourself a reservation to check out the tour. If you like beer, you will be glad you did.
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