In 2021, Anchor is rising once again! This year marks the 125th anniversary of Anchor Brewing, and the brewery set out on a mission to reinvigorate their brand, connect with new drinkers and continue their legacy with a fresh new look and exciting innovations. But this OG craft brand owes much of its success to what some consider the “liquid Godfather” of the last 50 years of American craft beer… Anchor Steam Beer.
“In my mind, it’s the first craft beer,” says Randy Mosher, author of Tasting Beer and one of the world’s leading experts on the beverage. What makes Anchor Brewing’s flagship beer so special? Anchor Steam Beer derives its name from the 19th century, when “steam” was a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of America under primitive conditions and without ice.
The fermentation of Anchor Steam Beer takes place in shallow, very wide, open-fermenting pans, cooled entirely by filtered San Francisco air moving through the fermentation room. These fermenters are an important part of Anchor’s unique brewing history and represent a marked difference from the vertical tanks found in other breweries in America.
Once a nickname for any California or West Coast beer brewed under these conditions, today the name “steam” is a trademark of Anchor Brewing and applies only to the singular process and taste of their flagship beer. This historic brewing process, along with the best natural ingredients (no adjuncts), lend Anchor Steam a deep amber color, creamy head and distinct flavor – the crispness of a lager with the complexity of an ale.
In Philadelphia, Anchor started picking up steam (no pun intended) in 2019. Steam Beer was up 1.6% after over four years of decline, and draught was up 41.4%, thanks in large part to a couple of great bars giving the beer another shot. Although COVID greatly impacted on-premise and draught sales in 2020, Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs saw Anchor Steam package sales grow 12.3%, proving that this legendary brand is not going away anytime soon.
Aaron Gutzler, Regional Sales Manager for Anchor Brewing, is optimistic and energized about the future of Steam Beer in our region. “Our new packaging (cans and new graphics) will help introduce this iconic and great-tasting beer to a new generation of beer enthusiasts.”
“In my mind, [Anchor Steam
Beer] is the first craft beer.”
– Randy Mosher, author of Tasting Beer