Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

SF Beer Week begins with a new beer from Anchor: Our Barrel Ale

By William Brand
Friday, February 6th, 2009 at 9:35 pm in Uncategorized.

Just left the kickoff party for SF Beer Week at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco and is there ever news.  Anchor unveiled a new beer and it’s a stunner.

Meet Anchor Our Barrel Beer. It’s 8.02 percent, aged six months in charred oak barrels that had been used to age Anchor Old Potrero Straight Rye Whisky.  They only have about 100 cases of  magnum –50. 7 ounce – bottles 12 bottles to the case. No kegs; no 12 ouncers.

The beer, Anchor Proprietor Fritz Maytag said, will only be sold at the brewery. Price: $30 a bottle. It’s going on sale sometime in mid-February, Fritz said.

The taste: It’s a medium brown beer with copper highlights; it pours with a bit of foam that fades fairly rapidly as barrel-aged beers tend to do. It has a nose of wood, vanilla and spice. The taste is very mellow, smooth, faintly sweet with a drying, mild vanilla finish and a bit of warmth from the alcohol.

On first taste, I give it FOUR STARS. It’s a great barrel-aged beer. As one brewer — not from Anchor — said during the presentation: “They really got it dialed in.:”

Maytag and Anchor brewmaster Mark Carpenter, as usual, had little to say about how the beer was made. Mark said it’s 9.02 percent alcohol. Fritz said it’s a blend of Anchor’s other beers, but not Anchor Steam.

So — just guessing we’re looking at Anchor Porter, Old Foghorn, Liberty Ale and maybe Bock.  Whatever, this is a beer worth waiting in line to buy. What a great start for SF Beer Week.

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