Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Place I Live: Anaheim Brewery

At our house we only drink craft beer. We have an appreciation for the details that go into the brewing process, are generally amazed by the different techniques used to create flavor varieties and for the most part beer just tastes better when crafted by hand. Last year in the Fall we found out that the Anaheim Brewery had just opened up in a restored building that my parents remember from their childhood as having been the Packard Building.

Our first visit to the brewery was pretty cold and we all bundled up and took the short car trip over to The Colony to sample Anaheim Brewery’s beer flight. When we arrived we found ourselves in a simple tastingroom with white walls, industrial ceiling and light fixtures with a long wood bar and wood stools. Facing the bar, the view is through large windows that open to the brewing floor’s shiny steel and copper tanks.
While enjoying our beer flight we met Greg Gerovac, who along with his wife Barbara are the owners and brewmasters of Anaheim Brewery. They hold 20 years of brewing experience including some time spent in Germany. On that visit we not only met new people and drank new beer but we also began to learn about the brewing history of Anaheim and the people who used to live there.
Barbara explaining the brewing process at the ANA Home and Beer Tour

Last year was not the grand opening of Anaheim Brewery but instead the Grand Re-Opening. Brewmaster Friedrich Conrad was the original owner of Anaheim Brewery back in the late 1800s. It was actually one of the three breweries in the Anaheim city limits until they were all closed during prohibition. None reopened until 2011.

Packard Building on Anaheim Blvd
While working with the city to find the perfect building to hold their brewery, Greg and Barbara were offered what is known as the Packard Building for a temporary location. Built in the 1920s, the building housed a Packard dealership that closed with the falling economy during the depression. The building was not in its original state since during street widening the front 12 feet had been removed, but with the help of the Anaheim historical librarian, a photo was found of the original building and the restoration commenced to make the new facade resemble the original building as much as possible.  

During the grading process of the renovation 400 license plates were found. Specifically, 200 sets of California license places dating back to 1929. They were found in bundles and it was discovered that the ones in the middle of the bundles were well preserved. The sequential license plates are thought to have belonged to the Packard dealership and were for cars that did not sell before the dealership went out of business with the crash of the stock market and beginning of the depression. Back then cars came off dealer lots with license plates.

In an effort to use the found license plates, an artist in Colorado was commissioned to create chandeliers and art installations for the Packard building. You’ll find them hanging at the front of the building inside the Umami Burger restaurant. After discovering the rich history of the building, Greg shared that the Packard Building would remain the home of Anaheim Brewery, saving it from being torn down.

Greg behind the bar

Greg was kind enough to take Jeremy and I on a tour of the brewery where we learned about their brewing process and about the history that went into making the new Anaheim Brewery brand. The brewery keeps six beers at a time; four constants and two seasonal. They are Anaheim Gold, Anaheim Hefeweizen, Anaheim Red, Anaheim 1888, Old Pacific IPA and Anaheim Stout . My favorite is the Hefeweizen. It is unlike any other Hef I’ve ever tried before and has a bit of a banana flavor that comes from the yeast used during fermentation. Jeremy’s favorite is the Anaheim 1888 which is the breweries flagship beer. It is brewed based on the original brewing style from Friedrich Conrad’s days.

The beer labels for the Gold, Hefeweizen, Red and 1888 were designed by wood cut artist and Anaheim resident Chris Maya. Greg explained that they wanted to capture the history of Anaheim including the brewing on the labels so they feature two old people and two old buildings from Anaheim. Friedrich Conrad is the face of the Hefeweizen and Helena Modjeska on the 1888. Modjeska was a Polish actress who immigrated to Anaheim in 1876 and was among the first settlers. The Sunkist Packing House, which is currently being renovated, is on the Gold label and the Red label has the Woelke-Stoffel House, a Queen Anne Victorian that was a farm house and then used by the American Red Cross.  The Old Pacific IPA features a 1902 Packard Old Pacific which really bonds the history of the brewery and the building.

If you stop in to sample Anaheim Brewery’s beers take note of the little touches they’ve added too. Their bartenders are known as flight attendants who deliver each flight sized beer one at a time so that your next beers don’t get warm while you enjoy the one before. The flights are served in beer glasses with the jingle “One for a nickel, Two for a dime. Get your beer in Anaheim.” Since each flight sample is poured one at a time you are given wood coins with the same jingle that you trade your flight attendant for your next beer.
Aside from very much enjoying Anaheim’s beers, we love the care that Greg and Barbara have taken to make their tag line “Where the Past has Presence” come to life. I know we will keep enjoying their beers and hopefully earning our place as regulars.

For more about the beers visit Jeremy’s blog!

Anaheim Brewery
336 South Anaheim Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92805
Linked up: Mercantile Muse


  1. cool! love that they're giving the packard building new life. great building. love craft beer too. we've a good few microbreweries in our area. it's a good thing.

    1. We enjoy New England beers in our home too! Especially Sam Adam's Oktoberfest.


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