#AnchorSteam Archives – PorchDrinking.com
There are times in our lives where we reach for comfort, for the known. Items that have happier memories attached to them to bring us back to simpler roots and uncomplicated moments. We are experiencing weird, uncomfortable, scary and unpredictable times, and it can be reassuring to reach for the classics. Our drinks of choice are no different, and although it may no longer be Flagship February, we can still take comfort in our local year-round lineups from the independent breweries we hope to support through this.
Anchor Steam®. Those two words serve as a metaphorical window into a world filled with a veritable wealth of American beer history.
To view Anchor Brewing is to observe three distinct stages of American brewing: 19th Century to Prohibition; the resurrection of American craft and the establishment of craft as a business worthy of significant investment. To drink the beer is to enjoy a historical brewing process that afforded West Coast brewers an ability to brew successfully without ice; it also helped remind later-twentieth-century beer drinkers that beer need-not be clearish-yellow and full of adjuncts.
Peanut butter, chai tea, lemongrass, oranges, roadkill, lemons, gunsmoke, dill: these are a few of the featured ingredients in craft beers on display at my local bottle shop. The variety does not stop there. How about a triple-pale ale, dry-hopped, cosmic-toasted, sour-peat-pilsner-stout loaded with enough alcohol to sterilize a barbershop comb? Is there a “normal” in beer anymore? And when did the word “infused” become the craft beer buzzword? Everything is infused.
Anchor Brewing’s “Christmas Ale,” also known as “Our Special Ale,” is in its thirty-eighth year. I only wish I had heard of this brewery out of San Francisco before this summer; the recipe is different every year, and it would have been nice to have something to compare it to. The tree used on the label is also different each time around. This year it’s Araucaria heterophylla, or a Norfolk Island pine.