Kicking off SF Beer Week at a private event at the Anchor brewery in the Portero Hill neighborhood (it's sixth location in its 113 year history) got me in the spirit in a hurry. Many local brewers represented as did various beer-world flotsam and jetsam (ahem). Not only were we treated to Anchor brews fresh on tap and an undying plate of Maytag Blue cheese, the reception ended and guests were invited to gather around the mash tuns and brew kettles for a toast. The debut of Anchor's newest, and very limited release, Our Barrel Ale.
(Left to right are SF Beer Week's creators: Celebrator's Tom Dalldorf, Magnolia's Dave McLean, Beer Chef Bruce Patton, Fritz, 21st Amendment's Shaun O'Sullivan, and beer scribe extraordinaire Jay Brooks.)
Introduced by owner Fritz Maytag and his longtime brewmaster (since '71) Mark Carpenter, this beauty clocks in around 8-9% ABV. It's a blend of other Anchor beers (notably Porter and Bock, and I'd guess no Small Beer) aged around six months in their proprietary barrels--those of Old Potrero
Straight Rye Whiskey. Take some of my favorite beers, blend, aged in barrels of one of my favorite whiskeys, and you've got yourself the "ideal social interchange beverage," if I may borrow a quote Fritz told me.
On a scale of one to ten, I unwaveringly give it a 10.
Just don't start licking your lips. This uber-ltd release goes on sale SOON but with no official release date, and there are barely over 100 cases--bottled only in magnums (would that be "magna"?) like Our Special Ale (a.k.a. Anchor X-mas)--and they'll only be available at the brewery. Thank goodness I live in San Francisco.
Afterward, Half Pint & I headed for our favorite "cheap'n'cheerful" grub stop, Tommy's Joynt, which knows a thing or two about old school Anchor tradition.
Can't wait to see what the next nine days have in store.