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Anchor’s trip inside the barrel


I’ve spent the better part of today mingling with the Anchor staff inside its historic brewhouse, and it’s definitely an understatement to say this place is steeped in history. While the post-war German brewing tanks and framed photos documenting Fritz Maytag’s acquisition of the brewery in the 1960s is a constant reminder of things past, there’s an exciting new experiment in the works that caught my attention. As many of you know, Anchor Brewing doubles as a distillery; a small shrine-like apparatus tucked in the bowels of the facility. Here, Anchor concocts its sought-after, small-batch gins and whiskeys (like the delicious, robust 18th century-style whiskey modeled after George Washington’s spirits once distilled at Mount Vernon). Being a fan of most things barrel-aged, it seemed obvious to ask when the brewery might start housing its beer inside the distillery’s used barrels. The answer? Well, they’re doing it right now. Turns out the brewery is revisiting a very limited run of barrel-aged beer it made a few years ago for San Francisco Beer Week. Currently, the team’s aging Liberty Ale, Anchor Bock, Anchor Porter and Old Foghorn in its various toasted and charred whiskey barrels, and plans to blend the result by the end of this summer. Although no hard release date has been set, the culmination, Our Barrel Ale, is definitely slated to hit the market later this year. Look for its release in kegs and 22-ounce bottles.


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at

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