“Our historic, art deco building on San Francisco’s Potrero Hill was a coffee roastery before it was our brewery,” says Anchor Brewing Brewmaster, Scott Ungermann. “We’ve joked for years that it takes a lot of coffee to make beer. Now, in collaboration with local roaster Four Barrel Coffee, we are doing just that—literally.”
“We start in the brewhouse with our radically traditional recipe for Anchor Porter, which we’ve been brewing since 1972. We end up in the cellar, where we add Four Barrel Flash-Chilled Coffee—developed with Anchor especially for this beer—during secondary fermentation. The coffee used is brewed hot, then flash-chilled within 10 seconds. This proprietary method ensures the vital aromatics and key acids of a great cup of coffee are captured and preserved.”*
You can learn more about Four Barrel’s Flash-Chilled Coffee HERE, courtesy of Sprudge.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Anchor Coffee Porter, from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
color: Dark Brown
stemware: Nonic Pint Glass
Anchor Coffee Porter pours into my glass very dark brown—nearly black—and is topped by a generous, two-finger thick dark beige head that fades pretty slowly and leaves a layer of thick film and lacing with excellent retention. This is a really great looking porter. And its classic porter look is equaled by its classic porter aroma—mild coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, licorice, and nuts.
In terms of flavor, however, there’s not much about this beer that’s “classic porter.” It’s a pretty light-bodied beer that’s somewhat thin and has a moderately high amount of carbonation despite its creamy mouthfeel. The flavor profile features roasty chocolate malts, black walnut, brown sugar, burnt toast… The closer the beer gets to room temperature, the more I taste the Four Barrel Coffee—black cherry, raisin, plum; especially through each sip’s dry finish.
I haven’t had much luck this year with coffee-beers and, despite both Anchor’s and Four Barrel’s reputations for quality, I honestly wasn’t expecting much going into this purchase. And, to be sure, this isn’t the best I’ve had. However, it’s certainly one of the better ones I’ve had. The carbonation was a bit too much, especially for the beer being so thin and light. The flavors were perfect, though, and the the slight booziness was just right. If this beer were thicker and/or fuller and less carbonated (perhaps nitrogenation would do the trick), it would have easily cracked my top five. Still, though—a great offering from Anchor.
*content and photo courtesy of Anchor Brewing Co.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.