Anchor Brewing’s extended history dates back to 1871, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle purchased an old saloon near Russian Hill and transformed it into the Golden City Brewery. In 1896, he sold it to another German brewer, Ernst F. Baruth, who renamed it Anchor Brewing and introduced the San Francisco brewery’s iconic “steam beer.”
Anchor enjoyed years of success but also significant setbacks. Fires following the 1906 earthquake engulfed the brewery. Later that year, both of its owners died unexpectedly. Prohibition shut Anchor’s doors in 1920, and when it finally reopened in 1933, it was again consumed by fire.
In 1965, when Anchor was on the verge of bankruptcy, Fritz Maytag rescued the struggling brewery and sparked America’s modern craft brewing revolution.
Despite the proliferation of head-turning new beer styles and breweries, Anchor continues to hold its own in the world of craft. Its original steam beer is widely considered one of California’s great brews, and newer beers such as the Go West! IPA and Anchor Saison are attracting a new fan base.
The Anchor brewery in Potrero Hill offers daily guided tours of its three-level brick facility, ending with a tasting session in the taproom. There, visitors sample several Anchor beers on draft, from the historic to the experimental.
Those who’d rather get straight to imbibing can visit the Anchor Beer Garden near AT&T Park.