Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Letters – Anchor Porter, Beer-By-Mail, Growlers

By William Brand
Thursday, November 16th, 2006 at 6:08 pm in Uncategorized.

Letters to the Blog…This exchange with Alan in Washington came from my column Nov. 1 about Anchor Porter, one of my all-time favorite beers. IU mentioned that I’ve probably tried 5,000 beers since I first tasted Anchor Porter in the 1970s and it’s still in my top five. You can find the column here.

Bill:
5,000 beers? Is that hyperbole or reality? I guess
I never really started counting, but it raises an
interesting question. I guess I did count over 400 beers tried in my last trip to Europe.

Unfortunately we rarely see Anchor Porter up here
around Seattle. Bottleworks is the best bet, but I think
they run out of each shipment quite quickly. I keep waiting
for them to release an imperial stout, what could be more
English? And – regarding strong beers not Anchor Porter – it would be nice to bottle it in those tiny nips. This trend towards bigger bottles for bigger beers is getting annoying. I don’t want to have to wait for a few friends to visit before I crack open my latest barley wine, imperial stout, quad, etc.

Alan, Poulsbo, WA


Hi Alan. Actually, I just picked the number out of the
air. I figure, even if I only drink one beer a night,
five nights a week, That’s 275 in a year. Take that
times 32 years (since I first tried Anchor Porter)
and it’s 8,800. And I KNOW I’ve tried a lot more than
that; You’re probably ahead of me.

Hmmm. An Imperial Stout from Anchor? Intriguing question.
I totally agree with you about packaging strong beers
in 22 ouncers. I usually drink a bit, try to cap the
bottle tightly and hope it will survive until the next day. Sometimes they do, but often they don’t.

I always intend to go to a wine shop and get one of those
devices that lets you suck all the air out of a bottle,
then cork it tightly. They cost about $30 and I’m too
cheap, I guess.


Bill:
A great article. I too believe that Anchor Porter is one of the best out there. Believe it or not, I especially enjoy it with Thai grilled salmon. Maybe it’s the peanut sauce.
Arne, San Francisco.

Wow Arne. Peanut sauce, salmon and Anchor Porter. Gotta try that one. b

Ordering Beer By Mail

Bill:

I keep checking the web for good online
beer stores. I’d love to be able to get most of the beers
from the Upper Midwest and New England. So far, none of the
American stores I’ve found cover those areas very well.

http://www.vintagecellar.com/
http://liquidsolutions.biz/main/
http://www.belmont-station.com/
http://www.beergeek.biz/
http://www.internetwines.com/beer.html

Sometimes you can get great stuff from these guys, but you have to do it by phone:

http://www.johnsgrocery.com/Departments/Beer/browse.cfm?
action=browse&method=origin&arg=US

Alan

Thanks for the beer store links, Alan. Trouble with
ordering beer by mail is it’s very heavy, so shipping
can cost a lot. Way back when, before California stores
stocked decent Belgium imports, I ordered a few by mail.
Had to have them sent to my brother’s house in Reno,
since at that time shippers couldn’t send beer (or
wine) directly to California consumers. I believe that’s
changed. b

Anyway, as I recall, six bottles cost around $75. about
half the price was the shipping. But maybe things have
changed. Have you ordered anything by mail?

I’d love to be able to get Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and
Three Floyds Dark Lord, among others.

Bill:

Shipping is still steep, but some few beers are worth it. It’s best to get a case or more, then the price isn’t too bad per bottle. I’ve bought a few “antique beer bottles (unopened)” via ebay. One of those links has Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. I’m tempted to grab more of that.
I’ve had a few sips now and then and wonder if it’s as good as I remember. Plus I’d like to compare it to my own bourbon baggie imperial porter.

I also bought some bottles of Utopias for $125-170. At
that price the $20-25 shipping doesn’t seem so bad. I buy
it, or a friend, then we all gather and split the price
depending on how many samplers we get out of it.

Alan

Bill:

I like that story of the origin of the term “growler”. Sounds as likely as all the others. I’ve heard stories of its origins based on German etymology, the name of a bucket manufacturer near an early American brewery, etc. Where’d you find this one? I’d love to check it out.

Alan

German etymology? Hmmm. I dunno where I first heard that one. Most likely from Michael Jackson. But I can’t be sure. Those 5,000 beers have blotted my mind.No, now I remember… I got it from someone on the old Compuserve beer list back in the early 1980s. I think it might be accurate,or at least a decent explanation. The guy who posted it was from Philadelphia, I believe.

Here’s more…In my first newspaper job, circa 1964, I worked for a guy whose first job was as an assistant at a weekly newspaper in Wilbur, Nebraska. His job at noon was to run down to the local brewery and bring back a bucket of beer for the printers. Let’s see, he was 35 then in 1964. He must have been a teenager at the time of the beer bucket, so say 20 years earlier…1944. Fascinating. b.

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