Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Anchor Trip: Anchor Party!



(click images to make 'em BIG)

When we last left off, I was telling you about the Barleywine Festival at the Toronado. After that, Amy and I hitched a ride with a nice Brit named Phil over to the Anchor Brewery. In case you've been wondering, the deal is that every year the employees at Anchor pick one club to be the California Homebrew Club of the Year. They use a top secret formula that balances achievement in competition with the homebrewing and beer education/outreach. Or something. Anyhow, 2007 is the 6th year we've won.

What happens when you win? You get a big, fat party thrown in your honor. How big? About 150 Falcons made the trek from our home in Los Angeles. Plus we brought along at least 50 friends from other clubs in the state (and a random Brit off the street). The party works like this -- Anchor gives us free run of the brewery (though sadly this year the hop room was locked...) and as much Anchor Beer as we can drink. Plus, they cook us tri-tip and chicken for lunch. And our band plays (yes, our club has a band). Beers we drank:
  • Steam
  • Liberty
  • Bock
  • Porter
  • Summer Wheat
  • Old Foghorn

That's right, not only Old Foghorn on tap, but as much as you could drink. The whole thing was a total blast. The beer rocked, the band rocked, the food was outstanding and eternal cheers to the Anchor employees for volunteering to play host to a bunch of beer snobs slobs and their beautiful wives. Und now, pictures!!!

Derreck and President Cook



Earnesto, Jimmy and Amy



Babu and Beardo



That's Dave. Hope his finger is OK



Jeremy Raub looking dapper. And happy



Craftsman brewer extraordinaire, Merlin Cup winner and all around good guy Todd Peterson



Anchor Employees



Fletch and Amy



OK -- about half way through the party, Anchor dude Bob Brewer (yes, his real name) stops the festivities to present us with the California Homebrew Club of the Year Trophy. Accepting the honor is none other than our dear President, Steve Cook.



Madonna and Child Steve and the Trophy



But what's this? The copper mug atop the trophy comes off? But why?



And why is Mr. Brewer filling up the 2-pint mug with Anchor Steam? Is Steve going to pass it around so that we can all share in the victory/celebration?



Steve sure does look happy, doesn't he?



We sure as hell ain't no wine club.



One last pose for the cameras and then...



Chug! Chug! Chug! Yup, tradition holds that the winning club's president has to slam the entire 2 pints in one gulp. Steve spents months in training.



The amazing part? Steve didn't spill a drop. All that training paid off.



OK, so let's have a peak at the brewery. Obviously (see below) Anchor is one the most beautiful breweries around. Yup, real copper, scavenged from some brewery in Germany. On the left is the boiling kettle and to the right is the mash tun.



Here's a cool shot of inside the lauter tun (the grain is pumped from the mash tun to be lautered in a separate vessel). See the pipe coming down fro the top which empties into that asket looking thing? That's the pipe for the HLT. The water falls into that basket and then flows out to the sparge arms. Pretty fricking cool. The bottom is all stainless.



Here's that lauter tun. Just a thing of beauty. You can see Anchor's lab in the background.



Sigh... This is Anchor's grant. Useless, yeah, sure, but look how beautiful it is. Though I should point out that Patrick Rue's Bruery has a grant.



Some more beer porn for you



I can read your mind, "What in the hell is that?" That my friends, is one of Anchor's six open fermenters. They have four in this big ole clean room, and two others in back. Each cool ship (in the first room) holds 120 barrels.



The Trub Also Rises



Sailing the Seas of Yeast



Here's on of the two fermenters in the back. These two are deeper and squareer than the four up front. The yeast also seemed stained darker, so I think Porter is being fermented in this picture. Do different shaped fermentors work better for various beers? Probably. [Edit: Drew is claiming that all four up front ferment steam and the two in back are for everything else. So, there you go.]



Now that's a plate chiller



This switchboard, which lets the brewers route beer all over the brewery, used to really impress me. And then we went to Lagunitas. You'll have to come back in a few days to see that. Still, very cool.



And finally, former Three Floyds and Firestone Walker brewery Jim Cibak was there. Jim's moving back to Indiana where he and some pals are opening up Crown Brewing. Expect lots of DIPAs, Barleywines and Imperial Stouts. Hey, my kind of guy.



Cheers!

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