Way back when Anaheim was founded, by people with names like Jürgen, Greta and Klaus, it was a popular stopping point on the way up the inland route to Los Angeles, and a lot of beer flowed forth from the taps of the Anaheim Brewery.
Prohibition, that unfortunate experiment in government imposition of morals, killed the Anaheim Brewery--after all, it couldn't pretend to make medicine the way distilleries did--and it closed its doors. Decades later, however, the Gerovac family has brought back the brand and opened the brewery in the new Packing House development on Anaheim Boulevard.
The best beer on tap thus far is the 1888, a brown, hoppy (but not too hoppy) California Common, better known (by those who don't fear cease-and-desist letters from Anchor Brewing) as steam beer. California Common beer was born of our beautiful, warm climate: the lack of cold water and ice meant that brewers had to use the yeast they had at warm temperatures. Lager yeast likes it cold and ale yeast likes it warm; when lager yeast ferments at warm temperatures, the result is the crossover that 1888 represents.
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The 1888 looks great in a glass and has a deeply malty aroma. While it's not a thick, bready beer, it's got some heft to go with all that malt; the hops are nicely balanced and it drinks easily. A pint is $5 and a growler fill (in some seriously awesome-looking growlers) is $15.
If reading this makes you thirsty, good news--today's Friday and the tasting room opens at 4:00.
Anaheim Brewery, 336 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim; (714) 780-1888; anaheimbrew.com. Open Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.