Today we went on the Brewery Tour at the Anchor Brewing Company on Potrero Hill. They only offer tours on weekdays, at 10 AM and 4 PM, so we showed up at 9:45 with our drinking faces on and the goal of knocking out as many drinking related puns as possible before leaving the tasting room. I won’t share with you the worst of them, but let’s just say you should be hoppy you weren’t there (for that part at least).
Apparently people were still recovering from the atrocity branded as the “Super Bowl” yesterday because the normally full tour of 35 spots had only brought nine lucky people to the brewery. Better for us. Sucks to be them. We opened the door and the first thing you notice is the smell of cooking wort. The delicious smell of brewing. It was my favorite part of home brewing, opening the top of the boiling pot and taking in the aromas. I can’t imagine what it would be like to work in that smell every day. Oh yeah, heavenly. Heavenly would describe it.
We were told about the company’s “humble beginnings” which I found to be an entertaining story of entrepreneurship and preserving the joy found in a glass of craft beer. Everything from the location of the brewery to the shape of the glass bottles comes with a story wrapped in the American spirit. It’s a pretty cool adventure they’re on over there on the hilltop.
I’ve been home brewing in various capacities for years, invited to visit a brewery (I still want to go, Jason!) but I hadn’t taken a tour through a real commercial brewery before. The sheer magnitude of the machinery involved is astonishing. Even though they aren’t one of the “major three” breweries, Anchor Brewing Company produces about 43 million delicious bottles of beer a year.* (I can’t be sure of this number, but I think that’s what they said.) I watched thousands of bottles be washed, filled, labeled, inspected, sorted, and boxed in the few minutes I stood in the room, during the morning tour.
Ending back in the tasting room, we were invited to try a flight of seven Anchor Steam Beers. I’m not going to bore you with my opinions on each beer, I’ll save that for another post. I will, however, bore you with the rest of this over flowery recollection and appreciation of the whole experience, mostly because I started writing this on the way home from the brewery. I don’t want to keep it bottled up inside… sorry, I had to!
As for the “steam” part of the Anchor Steam Brewing Company story, of course, I’m not gonna tell you… you should take the tour. You’re learn that and a whole bunch of other fun facts about the beer you love. You’re going to need to make reservations pretty far in advance, or maybe you can call on the morning of? Either way, you should eat first… and immediately after.