Distillery visit: Anchor Brewing & Anchor Distilling
February 1, 2012 § 3 Comments
Almost 2 weeks ago, I had the amazing & somewhat unexpected pleasure of spending an afternoon with Bruce Joseph inside the famous Anchor brewery & distillery in San Francisco, California.
Bruce is a legend.
After a long history of working in the brewery, he spearheaded Anchor Distilling with Anchor’s long-time former owner, Fritz Maytag. They started in the early 1990’s looking back into America’s history to understand and re-create the original American whiskey (we’re talking about figuring out what and how our first president, George Washington, distilled, folks). Turns out, it was 100% Rye whiskey that was aged in toasted, not charred, barrels. Thus, Anchor’s 18th Century Style Whiskey was born!
Anchor continues to make the 18th Century Style Whiskey and their Straight Rye Whiskey in small batches. They have also added two gins to their portfolio: Junipero (which is beautiful & I encourage you to get your hands on if you haven’t already) and Genevieve; a unique, 17th-style gin. This was the first time I had tried the Genevieve and was happy to have done so. It is very pleasant on the palate, light citrus and herbs with some serious complexity & viscosity as well. And this baby goes down very easily … almost too easily. This is not a gin to be used in a martini – no – this is to be enjoyed neat, over ice or, as per Anchor’s suggestion, shaken with ice.
After a five hour tour that was a perfect balance of tech talk, industry speak, distilling geek-out moments and, of course, some sampling of products, it was a magical afternoon that started with a random knock at the door and the luck of good timing.
Ok, enough chit-chat! Let’s get to the photos!
Hello Anchor! … the excitement grows!
Yay! Whole, beautiful HOPS!
Oh beer, how crisp, refreshing and lovely you are!
That’s some serious Steam Beer, baby!
Look at all of that gorgeous, shiny, whiskey-producing copper
Fermenting 100% rye, upon which we did a little impromptu tasting!
Bruce Joseph & me, Allison Patel … the Whisky Woman 😉
You certainly do get around! I have not yet tried the Anchor spirits. Their Rye gets very good reviews, so I’m curious to try it some day. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing!
I love to travel and as much as possible, always try to go to places where there is either a distillery or winery nearby … so perhaps I should warn all distillery owners out there; heads up, I may come knocking! 😉
As for the whisky, this was the 2nd time I have tried it and have enjoyed it both times. Unfortunately, there was plenty of drinking around both of those events so I can’t give accurate tasting notes but I know enough that I liked the spirit very much! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to pick up a bottle and write a proper tasting review.
Rogue also produces spirits- we had some on a visit to Oregon and it wasn’t bad, but not amazing-must-have-again. And the cost was attrocious. How was the cost on Anchor’s spirits? Have you encountered other brewery/distillery combinations?