When Japanese beverage giant Sapporo purchased San Francisco’s oldest and best-known brewery in August, a key piece of news about a new taproom might have gotten lost in reactions to the sale. Now it’s unmissable, announced by a large banner across the street from the brewery itself. Anchor Public Taps, a new pilot brewery and taproom at 495 De Haro Street, will open to the public for experimental, small-batch beers, starting with a grand opening next Saturday, October 21.
Aside from brewery tours and its ballpark-adjacent beer garden, the Yard, Anchor has largely lacked a public space — a bar or taproom for drinkers to gather. In 2015, the company proposed building a second brewing facility and visitor center at Pier 48. But after serious structural issues with the pier itself emerged, the plans slowed to a halt, and following the sale to Sapporo, they were officially put on ice.
These days, with Anchor’s reputation uncertain, the brand needs a home base more than ever. Swallowed up by a bigger company, it’s decided to go smaller, making an appeal to its neighborhood roots.
“Public Taps gives us a way to embrace the experimental and innovative side of brewing that is key to who we are,” Dane Volek, Anchor Public Taps’ pilot brewer, tells Eater. “From fragrant, hoppy pale ales and IPAs, to cask conditioned and barrel-aged beers, we’ll be experimenting with new ingredients and processes.”
Volek will operate a 7-barrel kettle system — a drop in the bucket compared to Anchor’s main, 125 barrel kettle system. Those beers will be brewed under the Potrero Project banner. Meanwhile, Volek will lead collaborations between Anchor and smaller local brewers, another way to keep the brand’s local flavor.
The opening beer list for Public Taps includes 11 Anchor beers, from Steam and Liberty Ale to newer varieties like Go West! IPA. Two Potrero Project beers are on offer: A pale ale and a Berliner Weisse, a sour, low ABV german beer. Three collaboration brews, one with Local Brewing Co., one with ThirstyBear Brewery, and one with New York’s Brewery Ommegang, will also be available.
The Public Taps space was designed by EHDD, whose clients include the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and the Exploratorium. The taproom interior, decked out with historic Anchor memorabilia, was designed by Katie Gong Design. Food from local food trucks will typically be available, and the taproom will be open from 11 to 9 p.m. daily.