Friday, November 13, 2009

Anchor and SDBW

The first "micro brewed" beer I ever had was Anchor's Steam beer. It must have been in the early 80s when I was still in high school. My sister bought it for me when we were shopping at Corti Brothers' market in Sacramento. I hated it, but it made me realize that there was more to beer than Budweiser or Coors. Back then, outside of Anchor, it seemed like the only exotic beers were European beers, and in particular German beers. The world of craft beers has seen dramatic growth since the early 80s and America now leads the world in beer creativity, and Belgium has eclipsed Germany as the foreign beer of choice.

The funny thing is that even as my beer palate has expanded over the years, I still don't like Anchor's Steam beer. I guess persistence pays off, because I did not get discouraged and kept trying new beers despite an inauspicious start with Steam. ( I like other Anchor beers, just not Steam.)

I saw that Anchor's Fritz Maytag, the godfather of craft beer, was going to be at the Toronado on Thursday night as part of San Diego Beer Week. I made an excuse to be in North Park Thursday night and popped in to meet Mr. Maytag. I could only stay a short time at Toronado and most of it was spent watching Maytag get interviewed. I did get a chance to introduce myself to Maytag and told him that his Steam beer was the first craft beer I ever tasted. He was gracious but did not seem too impressed with my lame story. It's a story he's probably heard thousands of times. Judging by the age of the crowd that gathered, I was not the only person with an "Anchor as my first micro beer" story to tell, because most of the guys (and they were all guys) gathered around to meet Mr. Maytag looked older than me. I may have piqued his interest more if I told him that I didn't like Steam then and still don't now.

I did get to try Anchor's new Humming Ale, a light bodied pale ale. This is a draft-only beer brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops, the same New Zealand hops that Alpine uses to perfection in its Nelson IPA. Humming Ale is not going to replace Nelson IPA in my beer pantheon, but it is a good beer. It is a clean, crisp pale ale. It has a light body and a mild bitterness in the finish. The hops are not prominent but give a balance to the beer. I don't know what the ABV is but it's not that high. Humming Ale is not as distinctive as Nelson, but it is worth drinking all the same. Humming Ale is only on draft and I don't think that much was brewed, so try it while you can.

No comments: