Castle Hill Hotel
1957—Michael Jackson, still in high school and under legal age, drank his first beer here. It was a half pint of mild from the local Hammond’s Brewery. A year later, on August 5, 1958, Jackson began working as a reporter on the local newspapers. Still under age, he joined his reporter colleagues for pints in the pub at lunch. Now earning a wage, he could afford bitter. Twenty years later his landmark World Guide to Beer, in which he approached the broad topic of beer with a journalist’s curiosity, was published. It eventually inspired a continent of new brewers.
478 Green, San Francisco
1965—Fritz Maytag tasted his first Anchor Steam at the Old Spaghetti Factory (now the home of the Bocce Café). Fred Kuh, the owner, told Maytag that if he wanted to see the local brewery where the beer was made, he’d better hurry, because it was about to close. Maytag saved Anchor from bankruptcy by buying a 51 percent share of the company and purchased the rest in 1969. He was selling Anchor Steam in bottles by 1972. Within another three years, he had reintroduced a truly hoppy beer (Liberty Ale), a special Christmas beer, and a barley wine to American beer drinkers.
American Hop Museum
22 B St., Toppenish, WA
1972—Development of Cascade hops began in Oregon at Corvallis in 1956 and continued at Prosser Station in Washington’s Yakima Valley. It was released to commercial development in 1972. Starting with Anchor and Sierra Nevada Brewing, Cascade became a signature of small-batch brewers, but in those early days there were only large brewers to buy the fledgling hop. “You’ve got to remember that there were only about five varieties of (domestic) hops then,” said Ralph Olson of Hopunion. Today, brewers may cram 16 kinds of hops into a single beer. With 75 percent of the hop acreage in the United States, the Yakima Valley is rich with hop history, much of it kept at the museum.
1974—The first Beer & Steer was held at Sugarloaf Mountain. Going on 300 homebrewers gathered in the mountains, camped if they wanted, built a stage, listened to live music, and drank a lot of beer. There was no place to keep kegs cold, so they piled snow into a truck and chilled thousands of bottles. This became an annual event for 10 years, and an occasional one after that. It started before there was an official homebrew club in Boulder and well before Charlie Papazian launched the American Homebrewers Association. “I’m sure it helped Charlie learn how to put on large-scale events,” said Charlie Matzen, who helped found Zymurgy magazine. “By the time we did the first (AHA) competition, we knew we had the ability to put something on.”