In collaboration with award-winning local artist Paul Madonna, Anchor Steam is now clad in a special limited-edition label throughout the entire summer that pays homage to the city’s artistic heritage.
The Anchor Steam® Artist Label is an upward view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge beneath overcast skies — the quintessential summer climate that San Franciscans know all too well. Paul Madonna’s hand-drawn scene is a testament to his trademark style – an illustration many could mistake for a photograph. An author, educator, and award-winning creator of “All Over Coffee,” Madonna is a time-honored Bay Area artist who beautifully captures one of the most renowned perspectives in San Francisco. “The bridge was the obvious focal point for the summer label because Anchor Steam is so inherently tied to San Francisco,” says Madonna. “It’s not only a familiar scene to San Franciscans, but to people all over the world.”
“In a city that’s constantly evolving, the arts have remained a bona fide element of San Francisco. At Anchor, we’re proud to support the rich artistic heritage of the city we’ve called home for 123 years,” says Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann.
The Golden Gate Bridge completed construction on the same year as Anchor’s current brewery, located on San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. Both structures were completed in 1937 and still possess their art deco styles of architecture today. This August, Anchor Brewing Company will celebrate its 40th year operating within the Potrero Hill brewery.
In 1965, Fritz Maytag acquired and revived the struggling Anchor Brewery. Anchor Steam was the first handcrafted beer to be revitalized in America after Prohibition, starting a revolution in beer that originated today’s beer movement. In 1971, Fritz Maytag began bottling Anchor Steam Beer—the first bottled Anchor Steam in modern times. The distinctly flavored San Francisco original has been classically handcrafted in Anchor’s copper brewhouse for 123 years and counting. Neither fully a lager nor fully an ale, Anchor Steam is in a category of its own, created by fermenting a lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures.
Anchor Steam Beer derives its unusual 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. While the origin of the name remains shrouded in mystery, it likely relates to the original practice of fermenting the beer on San Francisco’s rooftops in a cool climate. In lieu of ice, the foggy night air naturally cooled the fermenting beer, creating steam off the warm open pans. Today, Anchor Brewing is one of the very few American breweries that still employs open fermentation on a commercial scale. Although Anchor has modern equipment and their fermenters are made of stainless steel—and not on rooftops—Anchor has kept this process as part of the brewing heritage for Anchor Steam as well as other beers.
Anchor Steam owes its bright copper color, frosty tan head and rich, distinctive flavor to this unique, historic brewing process. It is a process that combines deep respect for brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in Anchor’s cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.
With flavors of mild toasted malt and a touch of caramel, Anchor Steam is balanced by bright, piney hoppiness. It has aromas of toasted bread crust maltiness followed by bright evergreen Northern Brewer hops and floral esters. A smooth and velvety mouthfeel is accompanied by lively bubbles from the natural kräusening process and a crisp, bright hop finish. It pairs well with any seafood dish, steak with caramelized onions, and grilled portobello mushrooms.
Anchor Steam Artist Label is now available for a limited-time nationwide in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles and on draught at select bars, restaurants, and stores as well as at Anchor Public Taps and the Anchor Brewing Taproom. You can find a brew near you by using the Anchor Beer Finder.