There was a big party Wednesday evening at The Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill District. That Anchor was hosting a party is not news. Many local craft beer lovers have attended parties at Anchor. They are gracious and generous hosts for groups ranging from home brewing clubs to non-profits. And of course, at these parties, (by reservation), their tasting room is open for guests to try most, if not all of their beers. This night there was a new tap handle in the house as Anchor presented to the invited guests their newest ale, Brekle’s Brown.
This beer was brewed to celebrate 140 years of brewing history in San Francisco and as an homage to Gottlieb Brekle, the owner and brewmaster of the brewery he purchased in 1871, which became Anchor Brewery, in 1896.
Current Anchor brewmaster, Mark Carpenter, adorned in his white Anchor brewer’s suit, held court throughout the evening amidst Anchor’s classic copper kettles. At one point, he was joined by the special guest of the evening, Jane Cunningham, the great granddaughter of Gottlieb Brekle. She was accompanied to the event by her good friend and fellow San Francisco native, Louise Petrusich. Loiuse told us a charming story of the olden days when she would accompany her parents to
a brewery in the Potrero Hill area. She painted a picture of the joyous weekly gatherings of families inside the brewery, The adults would drink beer and chat and the kids had the run of the place.
We found Brekle’s Brown to be a richly-flavored, smooth ale. The complex flavors, derived from the blend of the malts make it seem like you get something new to taste with each sip. As the beer warms different layers reveal themselves. Very drinkable, it’s as clean, nuanced and balanced as anything Anchor does but with a noteworthy flavor twist from the Citra hops, one of the newest hops in commercial cultivation. Brekle’s Brown shows off a combination of a lemon-pie aroma from the Citra hops and a rich toasted and caramel-like flavor from the crystal and Munich malts, all in a smooth, dry beverage. According to Mark Carpenter, Citra was developed specifically for its aroma contributions. Using no other hops during the boil highlights the bright lemon-tart tastes and aromas in this beer.
For those who do not like the bitter chocolate and coffee-like flavors from the more roasted malts in many dark beers, this could be your gateway dark beer. Coming in at a deceptive 6%, many would consider it a little strong to be called sessionable. However, we could easily see our way to having more than one at a sitting.
Brekle’s will be available as draft-only (at least for a while!). It’s not out of the question that there may be bottling in the future. Anchor will be doing releases at select pubs throughout the Bay Area. BART and/or MUNI will get you to most of them.