The recent news about Anchor Brewing pulling back it’s distribution to just California and discontinuing Our Special Ale, it’s Christmas offering, had editor John Holl thinking about the brewery’s place in history and its impact.
He invited Scott Ungermann, the former brewmaster of Anchor onto the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast to talk about all that and more.
A few weeks ago Dave Infante, of the excellent Fingers Newsletter broke the news that broke hearts: Anchor Brewing, the venerable San Francisco Brewery, the makers of Steam Beer, and now owned by Sapporo, were pulling back its distribution to focus solely on California – already its biggest market – and would be discontinuing it’s annual Christmas tradition beer: Our Special Ale.
“Our Special Ale has always been a bizarre beer,” wrote Andy Crouch on All About Beer. “It was never particularly popular but it had tradition, pedigree, history and therefore loomed large in American craft beer.”
It’s a loss and in an eulogy of sorts, Scott Ungermann, who was the brewmaster and VP of Production of Anchor from 2014 until 2020 is here to talk about his relationship with the brewery and that particular beer.
Anchor has always been part of his beer DNA. A tour of the brewery when he was in college inspired a homebrewing hobby, which led to a degree from University of California Davis, and then a long career with Anheuser-Busch, including a stretch at it’s Newark, NJ facility, before a chance conversation and a long simmering desire brought him to the top beer job at Anchor Brewing.