Anchor Christmas Ale 1983

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It’s day nine of my holiday hotfoot to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1983 was the ninth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the eight previous year’s beers, another variation based on Liberty Ale, still a hoppy pale ale, with no spices added. It was the last year that they based their Christmas Ale on Liberty. From this year forward, also, the label design became relatively fixed and each subsequent label was similar in design. This ninth label was a “Greek Fir,” or “Abies cephalonica.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 1982

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day eight of my seasonal scurry to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1982 was the eighth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the seven previous year’s beers, another variation based on Liberty Ale, still a hoppy pale ale, with no spices added. This eighth label was a “Tanoak,” or “Notholithocarpus densiflorus.”

Anchor-Xmas-1982

Anchor Christmas Ale 1981

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day seven of my seasonal scamper to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1981 was the seventh year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the six previous year’s beers, another variation based on Liberty Ale, still a hoppy pale ale, with no spices added. This sixth label was an “Olive Tree,” or “Olea europaea.”

Anchor-Xmas-1981

Anchor Christmas Ale 1980

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day six of my seasonal sprint to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1980 was the sixth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the five previous year’s beers, another variation based on Liberty Ale, still a hoppy pale ale, with no spices added. This sixth label was an “Oak Tree,” or “Genus: Quercus.”

Anchor-Xmas-1980

Anchor Christmas Ale 1979

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day five of my jolly jog to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1979 was the fifth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the four previous year’s beers, another variation based on Liberty Ale, with no spices added. This fifth label was “[i]nspired by the Original Christmas Ale Tree.”

Anchor-Xmas-1979

Anchor Christmas Ale 1978

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day four of my marathon run to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1978 was the fourth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the three previous year’s beers, a variation based on Liberty Ale, with no spices added. This fourth label was “[i]nspired by an evergreen in the Sierra Nevadas.”

Anchor-Xmas-1978

Anchor Christmas Ale 1977

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day three of my mad dash to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

1977 was the third year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the two previous year’s beer, a variation based on Liberty Ale, with no spices added. This third label featured a “Douglas Fir,” or “Pseudotsuga menziesii.”

Anchor-Xmas-1977

Anchor Christmas Ale 1976

xmas-christmas-ale
It’s day two of my march to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

Although that’s not entirely true for 1976. Anchor’s historian, Dave Burkhart, explained that for this year the label was done by a different artist, Richard Elmore. “Fritz’s original idea was to use a different designer each year to design the new label but, although he has a great longtime working relationship with Richard to this day and the 1976 label turned out beautifully, he saw the wisdom and ease of just changing the tree and recipe each year and continued with one designer — Jim Stitt — from 1977 on.” A few years ago, Burkhart asked Stitt to draw another Giant Sequoia for a label so in that way, now it is possible for Jim to say, even though he could never say he designed all the Christmas labels, that he’d drawn all of the trees.

1976 was the second year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was similar to the previous year’s beer, which itself had been based on Liberty Ale, with no spices added. This second label featured a “Giant Sequoia,” or “Sequoiadendron giganteum.”

Anchor-Xmas-1976

Anchor Christmas Ale 1975

xmas-christmas-ale
With 41 days until Christmas, 42 including today, I thought it would be fun to work through all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

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Jim Stitt and Fritz Maytag in 1979.

1975 was the first year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and it was apparently based on another beer they’d released earlier the same year, Liberty Ale, with no spices added. This first label featured a very simple silhouette of a Christmas tree.

Anchor-Xmas-1975

Historic Beer Birthday: Ernst F. Baruth

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Today is the birthday of Ernst F. Baruth (April 28, 1842-February 1906). While what would become Anchor Brewing began during the California Gold Rush when Gottlieb Brekle arrived from Germany and began brewing in San Francisco at what he called the Golden City Brewery, it didn’t become known as Anchor Brewing until 1896, when “Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific Avenue and named it Anchor. The brewery burned down in the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake, but was rebuilt at a different location in 1907.” Baruth had passed away the same year as the earthquake, shortly before it.

According to Anchor Brewery’s website:

[In 1896] German brewer Ernst Frederick Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific (the first of six Anchor locations around the City over the years) and named it Anchor. No one knows why Baruth and Schinkel chose the name Anchor, except, perhaps, for its indirect but powerful allusion to the booming Port of San Francisco.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much biographical information about Baruth. He was born somewhere in Germany, and arrived in New York City on August 13, 1875, on a ship named the “SS Neckar” that departed from Bremen, Germany and then sailed to Southampton, England, before heading west to America.

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The Anchor Brewery in the early 1900s.