SAN FRANCISCO—A parking lot near AT&T Park in San Francisco is Anchor Brewing’s next proving ground.
On Friday the brewery will open a beer garden at The Yard at Mission Rock, a pop-up food and retail venue constructed of 13 recycled shipping containers, in the parking lot adjacent to the home of the San Francisco Giants. From a 40-foot long container-turned-bar, Anchor will serve its core lineup of beers including small batches brewed exclusively for The Yard. The first beer in what is tentatively dubbed the Yard Series will be a double IPA.
Scott Ungermann, Anchor’s vice president of production, hopes to have the “very Cascade-focused” beer on tap in time for the Giants’ April 2 exhibition game vs. the Oakland Athletics. “It’s something Anchor has never done before,” Ungermann said. “We just made our first IPA last year, why not make our first double IPA this year?”
Ungermann said he will pay close attention to whether or not customers come back for more than one of the experimental beers. “That’s the ultimate judge of a beer that people like,” he said. “Do they want another one?”
Visitors hoping to find Anchor standbys won’t be disappointed. “We have the opportunity here to have all of our beers on draft,” said Anchor Brewmaster Mark Carpenter, “which we can’t even do in our own taproom because we don’t have enough tap handles there.”
Additional partners at The Yard—which is managed by the Giants—include The North Face, Peet’s Coffee, SFMade, Off the Grid and The Whole Beast. The pop-up village is temporary (albeit without a defined closing date), but Anchor’s involvement in the neighborhood is permanent. In 2013, Anchor announced plans to construct a brewery, restaurant and museum at nearby Pier 48. The brewery is awaiting permits to develop the facility (one half of which is empty while the other half is being used for storage), but Anchor is committed to the project.
“It’s our future. We’re going to make it work,” said John Dannerbeck, Anchor’s senior vice president. “We don’t see any alternative to Pier 48. With the Giants as partners, it’s easy to be optimistic about it.”
Jon Page is the Managing Editor of All About Beer Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jonpageonline.