Although SF Beer Week doesn’t officially launch until later tonight, there’s already been one event that took place at Anchor Brewing on Wednesday. Three weeks ago, they announced their new Zymaster Series and later revealed that the first beer in the series would be a pre-prohibition California Lager. Wednesday night, Anchor held an event to launch the new beer.
The new Anchor Zymaster Series No. 1: California Lager
Anchor co-owner Keith Gregor, Barb Condie, Steve Shapiro and me at Anchor Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Mike Condie.)
As I wrote before, Anchor based the beer on a lager from Boca Brewing, who is believed to have made the first one in the state, around 1875. The town of Boca was located in northeast California, roughy 6.5 miles from Truckee. In 1880 it had a population of around 200 people, though today it’s literally a ghost town. The brewery was founded in 1875 and closed in 1892, four years before the Anchor Brewery opened.
Me, Brenden Dobbel (from Thirsty Bear) and Shaun O’Sullivan (from 21st Amendment). (Photo courtesy of Mike Condie.)
An old ad featuring the Boca Lager, the inspiration for Anchor’s California Lager.
In addition to the California Lager, Anchor was also serving the latest batch of O.B.A. (Our Barrel Ale) which this time used a different blend and also the recent Brekle’s Brown.
There were plenty of other local brewers in attendance to try out the new beer. Here, from the left, is John Tucci (from the San Francisco Gordon Biersch), Aron Deorsey (from Beach Chalet) and Zambo (from 21st Amendment).
So how’d the beer taste? Consensus was that it was pretty good, an interesting beer. Having had several other pre-prohibition lagers, it tasted better than most of the others. In fact, I can’t think of one I enjoyed more. A lot of the others used corn, which was common then, but I believe Anchor’s is all-malt, and the taste seems to reflect that. It’s only slightly sweet, but smooth, and the Cluster hops are fairly muted and restrained. They never overpower the flavor of the beer, they’re just there for balance. The overall flavors are similarly mild, making the beer very sessionable.