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Anchor Brewing
(Sapporo Holdings Limited)
Tours
1705 Mariposa Street
San Francisco CA 94107
Telephone: +1 415-863-8350
Hours: Call two weeks in advance for tours.
Brewer: Tom Riley
[Contact] [Update]

Notes

Opened: 1896

Annual Production: 103,000 bbl

Contributor: Mario Kornmesser

Opened more than a century ago...purchased in 1968 by Fritz Maytag. Beautiful place...walking around the brewhouse is like visiting a cathedral. The almost-tangible pungence of the hop room, the immaculate copper vessels, the understated magnificence of the open fermenters...oh yeah, their beers are pretty good, too. Call at least two weeks in advance for tours.

Here's the key to the three-letter bottling date code on the back label:

  • First character: last digit of the year. (e.g. 7=1997, 8=1998)
  • Second letter: month code
    JanFebMarApr
    MaYJUnJuLAuG
    SepOctNovDec
  • Third character: day of month code:
    • Letters A-Z = days 1-26
    • Numbers 7-1 = days 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

So that bottle of Old Foghorn, stamped 6JV, was bottled January 22, 1996.

Now that the 21st Century has reared its ugly head, it appears that Anchor may have changed their date-coding scheme. Any idea how to decode "1YV2"?

Anchor also distills Junipero gin and two styles of Old Potrero whiskey, although the distillery was not included in Sapporo's August 2017 acquisition of Anchor.

Updated: November 24, 2021

News

Beer List

  • 4.90% abv.
    • Date: July 5, 2013 (#9218)
      Package: draught
      Place: Jake's Cigars and Spirits, Omaha NE
      Score: 17 points
      Appearance (3)
      Bright amber. Dense head.
      Aroma (3)
      Biscuity, bready, grassy.
      Mouthfeel (9)
      Light-medium body, moderate carbonation. Big grassy hop flavor, medium bitterness. Biscuity, grainy malt, mildly smoky.
      Overall Impression (2)
      Good stuff.

  • 7.00% abv.

  • 6.80% abv.

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    5.90% abv.
    • Date: April 7, 1996 (#1348)
      Package: bottled
      Place: Kamuela Liquor Store, Kamuela HI
      Score: 16 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Orangey-opaque, good head. Isn't the draft version transparent? Fruity-peppery aroma. Great body, reasonable caramel flavor, and a boatload of fine hop flavor! Great beer.
    • Date: January 27, 1995 (#728)
      Package: draught
      Place: The HopYard, Pleasanton CA
      Score: 17 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Bright, pale, great white head. Dry-hops...could be bigger. Very clean. Great body and flavor balance...not real assertive, though.
    • Date: November 5, 1994 (#497)
      Package: hand-pumped
      Place: The HopYard, Pleasanton CA
      Score: 18 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Pale, great head. Smells fruity and nice. Smooooooth. Just bitter enough. Served from a beer engine.
    • Date: July 5, 1993 (#129)
      Package: draught
      Place: Lyon's Brewery, Dublin CA
      Score: 18 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Pale-amber, thick head. Fresh hoppy aroma. Good body. Spreads bitterness across your mouth, down your throat, and gone. As good as it was at the temple...er, brewery. "Quaffere ad infinitum."

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    Robust Porter
    5.60% abv.
    Awards:
    • Date: November 6, 2001 (#3979)
      Package: bottled
      Place: Woodman's Food Market #20, Green Bay WI
      Score: 14½ points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Black, moderate brown head. Sweetish, blackish aroma. Medium-big body, lots of black malt and lots of hop flavor. Mildly bitter in the middle, fairly roasty in the finish. Dated "1YV2".
    • Date: April 1, 1998 (#2602)
      Package: bottled
      Score: 18½ points
      Overall Impression (3½)
      Black, thick head. Licorice aroma, herbal, anise, some coffee. Thick, black, sweet, sharp from the black malt. Creamy. Coffee and hop bitterness late.
    • Date: April 26, 1996 (#1398)
      Package: bottled
      Place: Kamuela Liquor Store, Kamuela HI
      Score: 12½ points
      Overall Impression (2½)
      Pretty black, OK brown head. Sweet black aroma, with a very small hint of roasted barley. Sweet-ish. Not nearly the Big Black Beer it used to be. All of the Porters I've tasted lately have reminded me of Imperial Stouts...
    • Date: November 27, 1994 (#622)
      Package: draught
      Place: Pacific Coast Brewing, Oakland CA
      Score: 15 points
      Overall Impression (2½)
      Huge creamy brown head. Extremely dark brown. Black malt aroma...much softer than I remember. Smooth. Black malt bitterness works well with high hopping rate...but burnt character is gone!
    • Date: June 13, 1993 (#85)
      Package: draught
      Place: St.Mary's College Beer Festival, Moraga CA
      Score: 17 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Deep deep red. Very nice indeed burnt aroma. Sweet, black flavor. There's NO WAY this is the same old porter. He says they haven't changed the recipe!?!
    • Date: March 22, 1993 (#5)
      Package: draught
      Place: Pacific Coast Brewing, Oakland CA
      Score: 17 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Black. Black black black. Roasted barley nose and not much else. Heavy and burnt. This is really a stout and they should say so. One of the best...rates better than 17.

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    California Common Beer
    4.90% abv.
    Awards:
    • Date: July 23, 2003 (#4974)
      Package: draught
      Place: Peabody's Ale House, Oshkosh WI
      Score: 16½ points
      Overall Impression (3½)
      Bright red-amber. Thick head. Spicy aroma, slightly grainy and sulfury. Medium body. Richly malty with a big Northern Brewer hop flavor and a real nice bitterness. Just a hint of diacetyl.
    • Date: April 7, 1998 (#2691)
      Package: bottled
      Score: 17½ points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Amber, high carbonation, thick head. Pretty clean aroma. Medium body, big grapefruit flavor.
    • Date: May 12, 1996 (#1468)
      Package: bottled
      Place: Kamuela Liquor Store, Kamuela HI
      Score: 16 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Red-amber, low carbonation, good head. Not much aroma...maybe a little oxidized? Good body, fruity hops. Finishes pretty clean.
    • Date: August 1, 1995 (#1119)
      Package: draught
      Place: The HopYard, Pleasanton CA
      Score: 15½ points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Golden-amber, good carbonation. Malty nose. Big, bitter. Malty finish. Not as fruity as bottled version.
    • Date: February 5, 1995 (#756)
      Package: draught
      Place: Pacific Coast Brewing, Oakland CA
      Score: 16 points
      Overall Impression (3)
      Huge head! Amber. Spicy, lots of esters. Fresh! Sweet. Great body and bite.
    • Date: June 13, 1993 (#84)
      Package: draught
      Place: St.Mary's College Beer Festival, Moraga CA
      Score: 15 points
      Overall Impression (2½)
      I definitely need to get my eyes checked. Even this looks yellow. (Note: this was an outdoor festival.) Good hops and crystal malt nose. Nice and smooth...a little off-bite. This is usually a much better beer. Is this keg out-of-condition?

  • Specialty Beer
    6.00% abv.

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    Traditional German-Style Bock
    5.50% abv.

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    Brekle's Brown
    American-Style Brown Ale
    6.00% abv.

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    Brewers Pale Ale
    American-Style Pale Ale
    5.30% abv.

  • Christmas Ale 2002
    Herb and Spice Beer

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    Christmas Ale 2003
    Herb and Spice Beer

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    Christmas Ale 2005
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Christmas Ale 2007
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Christmas Ale 2011
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Double Liberty IPA
    Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
    8.20% abv.

  • Go West! IPA
    American-Style India Pale Ale
    6.70% abv.

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    Humming Ale
    American-Style Pale Ale

  • IPA / India Pale Ale
    American-Style India Pale Ale
    6.50% abv.

  • Mark's Mild
    English-Style Dark Mild Ale
    4.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 1993
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 1995
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.
    Awards:

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    Old Foghorn 1996
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 1998
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 2000
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 2001
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.
    Awards:

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    Old Foghorn 2002
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 2004
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    8.20% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 2006
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    9.40% abv.

  • Old Foghorn 2007
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    10.00% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 2008
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    9.40% abv.

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    Old Foghorn 2009
    Barley Wine-Style Ale

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    Old Foghorn 2010
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    9.40% abv.

  • Old Foghorn 2011
    Barley Wine-Style Ale
    8.80% abv.

  • Our Barrel Ale 2009
    Specialty Beer

  • Our Barrel Ale 2011
    Specialty Beer

  • Our Special Ale 1992
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Our Special Ale 1993
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Our Special Ale 1994
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Our Special Ale 1995
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Our Special Ale 1996
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Our Special Ale 1997
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Our Special Ale 2000
    Herb and Spice Beer

  • Saison Spring Ale
    French & Belgian-Style Saison
    7.20% abv.

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    Small Beer
    English-Style Pale Mild Ale
    3.30% abv.

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    Summer Beer
    Light American Wheat Beer without Yeast
    4.60% abv.

  • Wheat
    Light American Wheat Beer with Yeast

  • Zymaster #4 Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale
    French & Belgian-Style Saison
    7.20% abv.

  • Zymaster #5 Harvest One American Pale Ale
    American-Style Strong Pale Ale
    7.20% abv.

  • Zymaster #6 Saaremaa Island Ale
    Specialty Beer
    6.00% abv.