Anchor’s beers became a regular pint for me, especially when I went to Judy Ashworth’s spot, Lyon’s Brewery, in Dublin CA (the first multitap craft beer focused bar I had seen). Judy was the first outside account to ever pour our beer, so I went in there as often as I could. Judy was a huge fan of Anchor and she usually had several of their beers on tap, and I enjoyed at least one just about every visit. I remember after we came out with our groundbreaking Apricot Ale in 1989, she started serving it with a splash of Old Foghorn Barley Wine on top, and she called it “A Foggy Night In The Orchard”. That was quite an honor for a young brewer like me, and the combination was delicious! I went to a LOT of beer festivals back then with San Andreas, and it seemed like Bob Brewer and Bruce Joseph from Anchor were always there too, so I enjoyed chatting with them and drinking lots of Liberty Ale, one the beers that really made me such a big fan of IPA.
Living in the Bay Area during the craft brewing explosion in the late 1980s and early 1990s was amazing. Craft Breweries were popping up everywhere, and just about everyone starting these breweries looked at Anchor as a leader, a mentor, and a spiritual guide. Drinking Anchor Steam Beer in San Francisco, in bars or at sporting events, was so experiential and something to be really savored.
The Ninkasi project, where they replicated a recipe for ancient Sumerian beer was a deep dive into some really cool beer history. I was fortunate to be able to taste this beer at an industry gathering in San Francisco in 1989
My wife’s sister and her husband got married in the early 1990s at their house in Potrero Hill, just a couple of blocks from the Anchor Brewery. At the wedding, one of her uncles was videotaping the ceremony and reception, and took me by surprise by pointing the camera in my face and telling me to say something. They were brewing at Anchor that day, so I said the first thing that came to mind: “I smell hops!”. To this day, the family laughs about that. But honestly, her whole yard smelled like a brewhouse, and I remember the aroma vividly.