Porter, Stout, Stout, Porter

peerless saloon

The Peerless Saloon, circa 1903.

“Peerless Porter” is named after John Cassou’s Peerless Saloon at 106 N. Los Angeles Street (what we know as Anaheim Boulevard).  According to advertisements in the Anaheim Gazette, the Peerless sold fine wines, liquors, and cigars, and  “Anaheim Beer on draft.”

peerless ad

Anaheim Gazette,May 6. 1909

One could argue for quite a long time (over quite a few pints) about whether stout came before porter, or porter before stout.  (As it happens, I’m one of the former.) According to Dr. Michael Lewis, in his book Stout, the first use of the word “stout” appears in a letter written in 1677.  “we will drink to your health in both stout, and best wine,” it says.  Some years, later, in 1722, Ralph Harwood, the owner of the Bell Brewhouse in Shoreditch, East London, is credited with “inventing” porter.  Though there isn’t a lot of hard-fact proof, the story goes along these lines:

In the pubs of the day, beer was served cask-conditioned, usually poured from more than one cask into a mug or tankard.  There were probably several reasons for this.  Malting at the time was inconsistent, resulting in beer flavors that could be unpredictable.  Blending from several (sometimes as many as six!) casks allowed the barman to mix these various flavors for a more predictable result.  There’s also a tax angle – hops were much less taxed than malt and the coal used to make it.  Barmen would blend highly hopped, lower strength (and less expensive) beers with sweeter, malty, expensive beers to make them go further.  Some were known to blend in stale, slightly “off” beer, rather than dump it!

Ralph Harwood’s idea was to do the blending in the brewery, and he concocted a brew to replace these mixtures, saving time for the publican at the Blue Last, a working-class pub in Shoreditch.  The brew contained large amounts of dark brown malt, resulting in a beer that was strong and dark.  Many of the workers who frequented the Blue Last were “porters,” strong backs for hire who carried the loads of goods, from warehouses to the marketplaces.  The name “porter” became attached to the beer, and it stuck.

Our “Peerless Porter”

Chocolate malt

Chocolate Malt

Brewing porter fills the brewhouse with the most amazing aromas.  We begin the brew with the finest North American two-row barley varieties, to provide sweet, malty aromas and very subtle nutty flavors.  We add generous amounts of caramel and chocolate malts to create a full-bodied ale with smooth chocolaty flavor, but without the aggressive bite that sometimes come from roasted malts.  The resulting color is deep and dark – think not-quite black with deep red highlights.  Willamette hops provide a mild, slightly spicy bitterness to balance the malt flavor and sweetness.  Our ale yeast adds a final hint of fruity aromatics.

Note: I was going to add a bit about pairing porter with food, when I came across the following words of wisdom.  “Nuff said, I think:

“Beefsteaks and porter are good belly mortar.” — Scottish proverb, 1760

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The Drive, the Delay, and the Glass


Mural on Hemau’s Old City Hall

In the early 1990s, we lived in a small village in Bavaria.  The town of Hemau was a few kilometers away on Bundesstrasse (County Road) 8.  We often went to the Donhauser Brauerei Gasthof (Brewery Restaurant) on the town square.  The brewery is still in business,  here’s their Facebook page.


Brauerei Gasthof Donhauser, circa 1992

Out for a drive one Saturday, we stopped in Hemau and got no further.  We had to stop, because the main road through the town was blocked.  We had stumbled upon the Hemauer Kirta, an annual town fest.

We parked and walked to the  center of town, thinking we’d just be delayed an hour or so.  In the town square, about a hundred beer garden tables were set up.  The local band was playing German oompah music.  The smell of grilled sausage and onions filled the air.   Our one hour delay turned into several hours of eating, drinking Donhauser Dunkel, and meeting the locals.


Brauhaus Rothenburg glass beside Anaheim Brewery glass

While enjoying the Kirta, we wandered into a second hand shop and bought a glass with the logo from a defunct brewery.  The Brauhaus Rothenburg opened in 1724 (!) and is now a hotel in the walled city of Rothenburg ob die Tauber Altes Brauhaus Hotel website.

We love how the glass is shaped.  Unlike a typical pint glass, this glass begins at the bottom as a cone, then curves in slightly at the top.  This concentrates the aroma of hops and malt, then delivers it straight to your nose.  Your sense of smell contributes hugely to your sense of taste, so the shape of the glass makes a difference in how good the beer tastes.

When selecting glassware for our Tasting Room, we discovered this type of glass had a name, the Willi Becher.  It was designed by  Willi Steinmeier in 1954, then head of sales at a German glass manufacturer.  “Becher” means a beaker or cup, so the name means Willi’s Cup.

The Brauhaus Rothenburg glass moved with us from Germany to upstate New York, to northern Virginia, and finally to Anaheim, California.  It’s always been a favorite around our house.  We’re so happy to have a beer garden full of Willi Bechers at our brewery.

Barbara & Greg


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Oktoberfest and the Mayor’s Mallet


The mayor of Munich in gets his mallet in position.

Back in 1950, the organizers of the Munich Oktoberfest got the bright idea to have the mayor tap the first keg to kick off the event. Mayor Thomas Wimmer wasn’t exactly a natural. It took him over 15 hits with a wooden mallet to get the tap fully engaged. When he shouted, “O’ zapft ist!” meaning “It’s tapped!”, a tradition was born.

Nowadays, the mayor of Munich is expected to quickly tap that first keg with one or two wallops. There was a bit of a scandal a few years ago when the new Munich mayor was found to be practicing in secret with a brewmaster.


Mayor Tom Tait tapping the keg at the inaugural Anaheim Brewery Oktoberfest in 2011.

Our own Anaheim Mayor, Tom Tait, need no such behind-the-scenes training. He’s a natural. Since our Grand Opening in July of 2011, he’s been tapping the first keg at as many festivals as he can.

Come see Mayor Tom Tait in action at 4 pm on Saturday, October 1st, when he starts the festivities with the ceremonial tapping of a keg of Anaheim Oktoberfest Lager.


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50 + 5 Anniversary

Brewery Anniversary posterCome on by this  Saturday, July 16th, from 5 – 10 pm.  We’re celebrating our 50 +5 Anniversary, with live music, tasty food, and plenty of fresh, delicious Anaheim Beer.

ROUNDTRIP DIPAThe celebration begins in the Beer Garden at 5 pm, when Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait will tap the first ever keg of Round Trip Double India Pale Ale.

You’ve been “Coast to Coast” with our IPA, now join us for a “Round Trip” DIPA.  Brewed especially for our  anniversary party, Round Trip Double IPA is a potent, more intensely hopped version of Anaheim Brewery’s Coast to Coast IPA.  Kevin Kidney’s label evokes a 1950’s era airline travel poster.


mayor and senator

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait taps the first keg of Anaheim 1888, with a little help from state Senator Lou Correa.

Five years ago, we held our Grand Opening.  It was a kind of a re-opening, since the original Anaheim Brewery operated for 50 years, from 1870 to 1920. The last couple of years it was called Union Brewing Company, but the product was still “Famous Anaheim Beer.” National Prohibition put the brewery out of business in 1920.
Almost a century later, on July 16th, 2011, Greg and Barbara Gerovac opened to the public in the modern Anaheim Brewery.

It’s wonderful to reflect on how our neighborhood has changed since that day.  What better way than to raise a glass of cheer with your friends?


Vintage Swing Band Riff Raff

Our favorite vintage swing band, Riff Raff will liven up the evening, and the tasty food from Sausage Masters will satisfy your hunger.

Be sure to get here early – we’ve got free commemorative buttons to the first 100 guests.




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Throw Back 100 Years: Anaheim Beer Sign circa 1916

Valencia Hotel Sign in Red

Hotel Valencia bar, circa 1916. Photo courtesy Anaheim Public Library.

We like to say Anaheim Brewery is “where the past has presence.”  The oversized black and white photos of pre-Prohibition bars in Anaheim give you the feeling of sharing the Tasting Room with folks from the past.

If you look closely at the photo of the Hotel Valencia bar, you may have noticed a small sign hanging on a cabinet in the right side of the picture.

Here it is in close-up:

Valencia sign close up

Close-up of Anaheim Beer sign. Photo courtesy Anaheim Public Library.

The image is a little fuzzy, but you can make out:
Union Brewing Co
Anaheim Beer
For Sale Here


Our friends, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily created a reproduction of the sign.  They placed a photo of Friedrich Conrad in the circle beside the big A, and included the phrase:  In Pursuit of Happiness &  Lager.

That phrase is a quotation from the Anaheim Gazette.  Back in 1873, an athletic club from Los Angeles took the train to meet their Anaheim counterparts.

Anaheim Beer tin sign revised

Reproduction Anaheim Beer Sign

“The excursionists arrived about 10 o’clock, a.m., and were received by their friends with open arms and the firing of anvils. With their banner flying, and preceded by the Los Angeles Band, they marched through the principal streets to the Verein Hall, where an impromptu exhibition of agility was given after which they dispersed, and went in pursuit of happiness and lager.”

Twenty bucks gets you one of these embossed aluminum signs.  Put on your own “exhibition of agility” as you hang it on the wall of your Man Cave, then fire an anvil (whatever that means) and go off in pursuit of happiness and lager.

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Collect ’em All


Three sizes of Anaheim Beer Glasses: Pint, 33 cl, and 5 oz taster.

How’s your Anaheim Brewery glass collection?  Do you have every glass, stein, and mug ever made?*

Well, here’s another one to round out the bunch.  It’s a one third liter (33 cl) logo-ed glass.  We use them for high alcohol brews, like our Anaheim Bockbier.

Same price as the pint or 5 ounce taster glass, just $3.

*A complete set is on display in the Tasting Room, including a commemorative glass Greg & Barbara presented to everyone who helped out at the Grand Opening, July 11, 2011.

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Anaheim Brewery Celebrates 5 Years

Anaheim Bockbier to Kick Off 5 Year Anniversary

2016 marks the beginning our fifth year of brewing in downtown Anaheim, and we’re planning a series of special events and beers to celebrate.

1888 TEXT

Label designed by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily. Copyright Anaheim Brewery.


To start things out with a bang this month, we’ll release our Anaheim Bockbier.  At 6 pm on Friday, January 8th, the Mayor of Anaheim will tap a special cask of unfiltered “Kellerbock” as a preview to the full release the following week. Mayor Tom Tait will present the Mayor’s Trophy to Greg and Barbara Gerovac for winning Brewery of the Year at the 2015 OC Fest of Ales.

Anaheim Bockbier is a classic golden-colored strong lager.  Despite its strength of 8% alcohol by volume, Anaheim Bockbier is smooth and drinkable.  While there is a lot of variety among the Bock beers of the world, ours is quite traditional – full-bodied, slightly sweet, with a hint of a floral note.

History of Bock

Bock beers are most associated with the town of Einbeck, in northern Germany (about halfway between Kassel and Hannover).  As far back as

bock beer pc

Bock Label, circa 1870

the middle ages, Einbeck was famous for its excellent strong lager.  By the 1300’s, the city was exporting its beer to countries from Britain to Russia.  Einbeck actually had a city-wide quality control system, under which citizens could brew their own beer, but the brewing equipment was owned by the city council; a professional brewmaster took the equipment to the homes of people who wanted to brew, oversaw the brewing process, and certified the quality of the beer.

By the 1500’s, the Bavarian city of Munich was importing beer from Einbeck – so much that they hired a brewmaster from Einbeck to produce their own version of the strong lager.  Bavaria is a lot like our own deep south – accents can be startlingly different, and in Bavarian, “Einbeck” sounds a lot like “Oanbock.”  The word Bock, in German, translates to “goat,” which is why so many Bock beers feature a goat on the label.

A Cool Story About the Goat and Bock Beer


A 19th Century Bock Label

After Munich started to produce its own “Bock Bier,” a brewmaster from Einbeck came to town.  He claimed, of course, that his original, northern brew was stronger.  Of course, the Bavarian brewer disagreed, and the two decided to settle the question with a drinking contest (like you do).  Each brewmaster would drink the other’s beer until one could no longer stand.  The contest went on for several hours, and drew quite a crowd in the brewery’s courtyard.  Someone left a gate open and a goat (a Bock) ran in and knocked the Einbeck brewmaster off his feet, making the Bavarian the winner.  “No fair,” cried the northern man, “a Bock knocked me down!”

“Yes,” replied the Bavarian, “and I brewed it!”

The Awesome Label

Our label, designed by Jody Daily and Kevin Kidney, features a “Bock” admiring a glass of Anaheim Bock.  Wearing traditional lederhosen, he’s enjoying his beer beneath the tree in our beer garden.

Enjoy Anaheim Bock, and as always, drink responsibly.  But if you see any goats in the Beer Garden . . .

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