Anchor Steam’s roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager is our re-creation of this historic American beer.
Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, this all-malt brew is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. Its golden color, distinctive aroma, creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and smooth finish make Anchor California Lager a delicious celebration of California’s unique craft brewing heritage.
The California grizzly bear on our Anchor California Lager label is from a woodcut by Durbin Van Vleck (1833–1898), courtesy of The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. First published in 1856 in San Francisco, it is a superbly crafted rendering of an original illustration by Charles Christian Nahl (1818–1878), who had painted both eastbound and westbound versions of this bear. Nearly a century later, Nahl’s bear served as inspiration for the design of the bear on California’s modern state flag. Although that bear is heading west, our bear—like the bear on Boca Brewing’s historic lager label—is heading east.
Anchor Brewing Company California Lager
A TIME-HONORED BREWING TRADITION
Anchor is America’s first and oldest craft brewery, with roots dating back to the California gold rush. Today, our beers are handmade from an all-malt mash in our traditional copper brewhouse. Our process combines the time-honored art of classical craft brewing with carefully applied, state-of-the-art modern methods.
THE HEART AND SOUL OF ANCHOR
Every drop of Anchor beer is made right here in our traditional copper brewhouse. Decades-old handmade tools of the trade — mash tun, lauter tun, grant, and brewkettle — are literally at the heart of our historic American brewery, surrounded by our offices, quality-control lab, and taproom. It is a constant reminder of the brewcraft at the core of who we are.
MODERN TECHNIQUES FOR AN ANCIENT CRAFT
In the 1960s, Anchor was perhaps the most primitive small craft brewery in the world. By 1971 the year we began bottling Anchor Steam beer we had perhaps the most modern small brewery in the world, with state-of-the-art quality control systems in place to ensure that our beers are always pure and fresh, from brewing, through finishing, packaging and transporting. We know of no brewery in the world that matches our efforts to combine traditional, natural brewing with such carefully applied, modern methods.
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