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Photo Courtesy of Erin Conger

Since 1896, one beer has been synonymous with San Francisco and now, after almost 122 years, it’s getting a facelift and joining the recent trend of canned craft beer.  Anchor Brewing Company recently announced, just in time for summer, that it will be canning its iconic Steam Beer for the first time, though it won’t exactly be the type of can were used to seeing from many of its counterparts, but rather, a 19.2-ounce aluminum version.

This flagship beer has an interesting history, filled with many ups-and-downs, the most important of which probably came in 1965, when Fritz Maytag acquired the struggling brewery.  Less than a decade later, in 1971, Maytag began bottling Anchor Steam – the initial bottling of modern times – making it the first revitalized handcrafted beer in the United States after Prohibition, which perhaps trail-blazed the craft beer movement America has been immersed in for about the last decade of so.  Not quite a lager and not quite an ale, this unique beer, which derives its somewhat unusual name from the 19th Century, when beer brewed on the west coast – and without ice – was referred to as “steam.”  We could delve a little further on how it’s believed Anchor Steam got its name but our beer is starting to get warm.

“No matter how many new beers we create, we never stop celebrating our flagship brew,” Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann said in a statment. “Anchor Steam is one of a kind, with a unique, rich flavor and unparalleled history. Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors or embarking on an urban adventure, now Anchor Steam can easily go with you to even more places. We hope Anchor fans will enjoy the look and feel of our new 19.2oz cans, which puts a modern twist on the classic Anchor Steam design.”

Anchor claims that the taste has everything to do with the brewing process, a process that “combines the deep respect for brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters and gentle carbonation in Anchor’s cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.”  But its Anchor Steam’s copper color and tan head, along with a mild toasted malt flavor with a touch of caramel and a piney hoppiness, that have long made it a west coast staple.

Want to get your hands on a can of this long-standing California tradition?  Well, that shouldn’t be too difficult, as a four-pack of the super-sized pounders will be available nationwide.