When Anchor Brewing started tweeting back on November 21st, it was just a small sign of bigger things to come. Yesterday they flipped the switch on a new website with a more modern flair. The previous version was outdated, appeared tired, and clearly wasn’t suitable for such a venerated and pioneering craft brewer. Now visitors will enjoy a more streamlined experience, gorgeous photos, informative videos, will easily find event news and have quick access to social media accounts.
From the outside not much has changed at the brewery since Fritz Maytag sold the company to Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio back in the spring of 2010. Could this be the beginning of more widespread change in 2012? Time will tell.
Below is a brief tour, but you should go experience it for yourself.
Most of the site functions like a large scrolling slide show. The brewery section, featured above, walks visitors through the Anchor facility, brewing process and ingredient selection.
Each Anchor beer also has it’s own page containing a description, historical background and the beer’s vital statistics. The crowning achievement for these pages, and maybe the whole site, are the short videos about each beer. They’re highly polished, informative, playful and feature the brewing crew who provide explanations and historical tidbits. The best video on the site is the closest thing to a TV commercial the brewery has ever produced. It could easily fit into a long spot between innings of a Giants game.
A few other interesting things you can find on the site include a legend to the codes that appear on the bottles, news about events and an online store to buy Anchor gear. The latter section still utilizes the old sites look and feel, but that will likely change in the future. What won’t you find on the site? A blog.
Overall, the upgrade was a massive improvement over the old website. Anchor finally has an online presence that’s on par with it’s competition.
Triple Voodoo Brewing has been making noise around the Bay Area for just six months. Until recently, the only way to try their beer was on tap, but they now bottle and distribute their beer within the San Francisco area. Their first release is the Inception Belgian Style Ale. From the description, the base beer is a Belgian Tripel, but the style has been altered quite significantly to introduce some California flavor into the mix.
Starting off with the look of the label, I like the Triple Voodoo logo. It’s bold, eye catching and made the bottle really easy to spot on the shelves, but the rest of the label looks a bit plain and needs some work. For example, I don’t understand why “TAP INTO THE EXTRAORDINARY” is in all caps, while “mythical sensation in a glass” is not? I also think the plain two-tone Red and Black color scheme is a bit plain and uninspired.
As for the bottle’s contents, the color is a clear golden-orange, which is already a departure from the more traditional hazy and cloudy Trappist style. An inviting layer of frothy white head covers the top of the beer with lots of visible carbonation rising to the top of the glass. The head fades away fairly slowly to reveal some lacing. The nose again reveals a hybrid of west coast style and Trappist tradition. The banana yeast, lemon, and clove aromas, common to the Belgian style, are definitely the strongest elements here. However, there is more hop presence than normal, giving this a little bit of a West Coast kick.
The beer starts off with some mild banana and fruity esters alongside some light clove and sweet biscuit malts. The flavors grow in intensity as the beer sits on the tongue a bit, however, there is a nice balance that’s a constant throughout. Somewhere in the mix, the hop flavor comes through as soft and not very bitter. It feels medium bodied with a lively, yet gentle carbonation. The beer keeps its balance through the finish where the sweetness of the fruity esters and malt linger for some time afterwards.
So is the Inception Belgian Style Ale worth a try? Absolutely. At $8 for a bomber it’s not going to put too much of dent in your wallet and your reward is an interesting Belgian/West Coast hybrid.
Photo © Dave McAvoy