This isn’t the greatest beer in the world, this is a tribute…

Do you remember your first ever craft beer? The beer that started it all for you, that after you’d taken your first sip your life changed forever. For Brett, our Marketing Manager, it was Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. ‘I remember that first sip being absolutely blown away. It was like nothing I’d ever had before. So much flavour, yet so balanced, drinkable and refreshing all at the same time. I’d always liked beer up until that point, but that was a eureka moment for me!’. We started going around the brewery and asking the same question. Everyone remember that beer and most could recite the experience without skipping a beat, like it was still fresh in their memory. It was an amazing walk down memory lane with some awesome, nostalgic beers being talked about, but one beer kept coming up again and again.
Anchor Brewery has been brewing beer in the heart of San Francisco, CA since 1896. The brewery has a long, long history but it was ultimately Steam Beer that they’re known for. Claimed by the brewery to be America’s original craft beer, the legend is that the name derived from the steam that could be seen rising from the brewery's rooftop while it naturally cooled with help from the cool, night air. A mash-up between a lager and an IPA, it had the complexity of an ale but was incredibly refreshing, just like a lager. ‘I remember the first first wave of US craft beers being sold in the UK and buying loads of the retro bottles. A hoppy aroma with some lager esters, gentle bitterness, slight sweetness from crystal malts but a crisp clean finish. Pure refreshment’ recalls Jordan, Head Brewer and Founder of UnBarred, whose idea it was to brew this tribute. ‘I've brewed a steam lager (California Common) a few times over the last 10 years. I think it's a style that is timeless due to its drinkability. Lagers and IPAs are the most drunk styles in the world, so a hybrid of the two styles is a great target to hit as a brewer. With the sad news of Anchor brewery’s closure, I had to bring this style to Brighton and keep it alive, celebrating a style which has been an inspiration to many in terms of balance and heritage.’
So what was it about this humble beer that had us, and millions of Americans and beer aficionado’s all over the world so worked up about it? After all, its beginnings were very humble. Anchor Brewing has roots back to 1896, where German immigrant Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco, bought a saloon and converted that to a brewery that would later become Anchor. To satiate the Americans that started pouring into California because of the gold rush, who were mostly of Northern European descent and loved their lager, Gotlieb and many other breweries in the area started to brew beers like those the prospectors would have been used to drinking. Except, it’s very difficult to brew a beer that’s been perfected in the somewhat chillier climes than California. Having to use what malts they could get their hands on and ferment in a much warmer environment created a completely different kind of beer. Steam Beer. ‘Steam Beer was great because it was different but felt familiar.’ recalls Brett. ‘There was enough about it that it felt special when lined up against these big, hazy IPA’s and that the bonus that it was ever so drinkable. It also felt like it could work for everyone in every situation, too - there was never a time you were drinking it or a food you were pairing it with that it felt out of place!’.
Our tribute, aptly named Anchor IPA, pours bright amber. Aromas of toasted malt, fruity hops & underlying pine jump out the glass and fill your senses. You get the sense that it’s old school right away, but timeless and not at all out of place. Caramel malt & fruity citrus notes sit in harmony to create a mild bitterness and a smooth finish for the perfect hybrid of the lager & ale styles.
This might be the first California Common beer that you’ve ever had, or you might be as old school as Jordan and the rest of the team are but either way we hope you love it for what it is, a good clean and tasty beer that steeped in history and tradition, brewed right here in Brighton as a tribute to Steam Brewing, America’s first craft brewery.