Anchor Steam beer, one of America’s most popular craft brews, first got its name from the nickname “steam” that was historically given to beer created on the West Coast without ice. It may refer to the method in which beers were once fermented on rooftops in San Francisco’s chilly air.
The Anchor Brewing Company has become a trademark of San Francisco, and its brewing site allows for visitors to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse (and taste!) of how the beer is made. It was originally opened by a German man who immigrated during the California Gold Rush. After being revitalized in the 1960s, Anchor Brewing led the way for the popularity of craft beers.
The facility has three floors in total, including large copper kettles, dark wood panels and historic photographs on the walls of its taproom. There you can taste many of the company’s seven beers, and if you’re lucky, one of the seasonal brews will also be on tap.
Anchor Brewing Company can be found in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, just beside the downtown area of San Francisco. The taproom is located at the corner of Mariposa and De Haro Streets. Muni bus routes 19 and 22 drop off just a few blocks from the brewery. Tours (by reservation only) are given twice daily on weekdays. Those who participate will also have access to the brewery taproom. The tour and tasting takes around 90 minutes.